Ratings: Solid Return for CW’s ‘The Flash’ While New Tuesday Comedies Fade

NBC's 'Tonight Show' Dominates With Lady Gaga, Jay Leno Visit

Courtesy of CW

UPDATED WITH FINALS: CW’s “The Flash” raced back on the small screen Tuesday night, returning to solid numbers even if it couldn’t approach where it began a year ago. The superhero saga may have picked up some disaffected comedy viewers in the 8 o’clock hour, as ABC’s “The Muppets” dropped some more in week three and Fox’s “The Grinder” and (to a lesser extent) “Grandfathered” tumbled after their OK starts a week ago.  Also looking shaky or Fox is 9 p.m. horror comedy “Scream Queens,” which saw another decline in its third week.

Some of the evening’s more male-skewing fare may have been impacted by the opening night of Major League Baseball’s postseason. An elimination game ON ESPN between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees pulled a 2.3 rating in adults 18-49 and 7.6 million viewers — up sharply from last year’s similar Wild Card game on TBS between Oakland and Kansas City (1.7 in 18-49, 5.2 million).

Looking at Tuesday’s primetime broadcast action, according to Nielsen national estimates, “The Flash” averaged a 1.4 rating/5 share in adults 18-49 and 3.58 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour. A year ago, it opened with a monster 1.9 in 18-49 and 4.83 million viewers overall, going on to become the network’s most-watched series ever; the 1.4 is in line with its post-premiere average of last season. In adults 18-34, “The Flash” (1.1 rating) beat out the comedy hours on both ABC (1.0) and Fox (0.7).

Tuesday’s premiere was well-received by critics, with Variety‘s Brian Lowry saying that it appears to be “full speed ahead” for the show in its second season. “The Flash” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg chatted with Variety about the premiere’s surprise ending and about what’s ahead this season.

Leading out of “The Flash,” the second-season premiere of “iZombie” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.53 million viewers overall) was about at last season’s same-night average. It opened with a 0.8 in 18-49 and 2.3 million viewers last March and wrapped in June with a 0.5 and 1.45 million total viewers.

Elsewhere, NBC tied with CBS for the night’s lead in 18-49 even though “The Voice” aired a recap show from 8 to 10 p.m. (2.2/7 in 18-49, 8.87 million viewers overall), which rated about 40% lower in the demo than last week’s two-hour original. The weaker lead-in resulted in a low for “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.45 million viewers overall) in its final 10 p.m. airing before moving to lead off the night next week.

At ABC, “The Muppets” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 4.85 million viewers overall) was down another 15% (0.3) in 18-49, after losing about 30% from its premiere (2.9) to week two (2.0). It still easily bested Fox’s competing comedy “Grandfathered” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.87 million viewers overall), which was down 25% (0.3) from its premiere.

The 8:30 p.m. comedy battle saw ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 4.85 million viewers overall) pull well ahead of Fox’s “The Grinder” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.15 million viewers overall), which slid 33% (0.5) from its debut. After matching “Grandfathered” in 18-49 last week, the Rob Lowe comedy fell 0.2 behind John Stamos’ new show. “Boat” built on “The Muppets” for the first time, doing so virtually across the board.

And at 9 p.m., “Scream Queens” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.97 million viewers overall) was down 14% (0.2) from last week and 29% lower than its Sept. 22 premiere score in the demo (1.7). In the same hour, “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.32 million viewers overall) was down just a tick from its premiere and is about where it was at this point of last season. “SHIELD” was the night’s No. 2 broadcast in men 18-34 (1.1/5), behind “The Flash” (1.4/6), and a tick behind “NCIS” as No. 1 in men 18-49 (1.7 vs. 1.8).

At CBS, “NCIS” (2.2/8 in 18-49, 16.86 million viewers overall) and “NCIS: New Orleans” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 14.18 million viewers overall) were on par with last week, while rookie drama “Limitless” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall) was down a bit (0.2) in its third week but maintained 100% of its “NCIS: New Orleans” 18-49 lead-in while building on it again in 18-34 (1.0 vs. 0.8). “Limitless” ranked No. 1 among 10 p.m. series in demos for the first time.

Next week will be the big test for “Limitless” as it faces tough drama competition from the return of NBC’s “Chicago Fire.” Its competition last night was NBC’s “Best Time Ever” and ABC’s repeat of “Quantico” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.12 million viewers overall).

CBS tied with NBC for the night’s 18-49 lead while winning outright in adults 25-54 and dominating in total viewers.

In late-night, meanwhile, NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” dominated with guests Lady Gaga and Ronda Rousey and a surprise visit by Jay Leno during the monologue. In Nielsen’s Local People Meters, its 1.2 rating in adults 18-49 beat the combined totals of CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (0.6) and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (0.5).