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TV Ratings: ‘This Is Us’ Is a Real, Live Hit

“This Is Us” is looking more and more like one of the few genuine hits to come out of the broadcast season. In preliminary Nielsen ratings for Tuesday night, the freshman NBC drama drew a 2.8 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, managing to actually build on its “The Voice” lead-in in the demo.

Even rarer in these days of vanishing Gen Y viewers, “This Is Us” scored a 2.0 rating in the 18-34 demo, half a point higher than “The Voice” and more than double just about everything else in that age range.

In total viewers, “This Is Us” had an average audience of 9.8 million. That’s lower than the total audience of time slot competitor “Bull” over on CBS (12.97 million), but a massive 75% bigger draw in the 18-49 demo (1.6).

Also on NBC: At 10 p.m., “Chicago Fire” returned for its fifth season with a 1.8 demo rating and 7.5 million viewers, up two tenths in the demo from its finale in May. “The Voice” at 8 p.m. pulled in a 2.5 in the demo and 10.64 million viewers overall.

So what explains the “This Is Us” windfall? One possibility: Previous episodes have followed two-hour installments of “The Voice,” airing at 10 p.m., which has been something of a dead zone for all networks for years, now. While you run the risk of losing audience with any schedule change, moving the show back an hour could have been just the boost it needed.

Shows that follow “The Voice” tend to hold up decently as long as their lead-in performs, sagging when it does in the middle of the season, after the Blind Auditions conclude. “This Is Us” appears to be bucking that trend.

Elsewhere on the guide:

CBS’s other new installment on Tuesday was “NCIS” at 8 p.m., which held fairly steady from last week with a 1.7 demo rating and 14.48 million total viewers.

ABC’s Tuesday comedy block premiered to moderate success. “The Middle” returned with a 1.7 in the demo and 6.6 million viewers; new comedy “American Housewife” actually built on that in the demo with a 1.8 (6.49 million viewers). “Fresh Off the Boat” went to Taiwan for its premiere and came back with a 1.5 in the demo and 4.96 million viewers. “The Real O’Neals” started its second season with a 1.2 demo and 3.76 million viewers. And “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” garnered a .9 in the demo and 2.82 million viewers, more or less matching its last episode in the demo and ticking down slightly in total viewers.

Fox had a rough night, with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “New Girl” not seeing any lift from their crossover episodes—both were down a tenth from last week, to a .9 in the demo. “Brooklyn” had 2.1 million total viewers; “New Girl” had 1.96 million. “Scream Queens” matched its low of a .7 demo rating and was off a bit in total viewers, with 1.64 (compared to 1.7).

The CW’s “The Flash” and “No Tomorrow” both dipped from last week. “The Flash” still drew a 1.0 in the demo and 2.75 million viewers, out-drawing Fox in the hour. “No Tomorrow,” though, lost half its demo audience from its premiere last week, weighing in with a .3 and just 843,000 total viewers.

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