UPDATE 2PM: The Final Live+Same Day ratings just came in. Veterans Dancing with the Stars (5.1/13 among adults 18-49 in the finals), Two and a Half Men (4.9/12) and House (4.2/11) as well as rookie Hawaii Five-0 (3.9/11) all gained .1 from this morning’s fast nationals, while The Event (3.6/9), Castle (2.7/7) and Chuck (2.0/5) dropped .1, and Chase (2.3/6) was down .2. (NBC’s early numbers were boosted by an NFL game in New Orleans.)
9:30AM: And they’re off! The broadcast networks last night began what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons in years. The opening night featured the premieres of 5 new series airing against Monday Night Football on ESPN. No blockbuster out-of-the-gate hits despite heavy promotion for Hawaii Five-O and The Event. But three of the rookies did solid business: the new Chuck Lorre comedy for CBS Mike & Molly (3.9 rating/10 share in adults 18-49, 12.2 million viewers overall), the Hawaii Five-0 reboot on CBS (3.8/10, 13.8 million viewers), and NBC’s The Event (3.7/9, 11.2 million). One did just OK: NBC’s Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama Chase (2.5/7, 7.9 million). And one flat-out bombed: Fox’s much-lauded Lone Star (1.3/3, 4.1 million).
Here is a rundown network-by-network:
For me, one of the biggest surprises of the night was how well Two And A Half Men did. In its eighth season, which hung in the balance when star Charlie Sheen threatened to walk away in the spring, the veteran sitcom drew a 4.8/12 in 18-49 and 14.5 million viewers, up 7% from last year’s premiere, which faced a two-hour House. As expected, its new lead-out, new comedy Mike & Molly, was down from what the time slot’s predecessor, Big Bang Theory, did last year (-17% in 18-49). Nevertheless, its 81% retention of Men‘s demo lead-in against heavy competition is respectable. It was better than the 72% retention the last new series, Worst Week, did in its premiere behind Men. Similarly, Hawaii Five-0‘s numbers at 10 PM are solid and it won the hour but was down 12% from the season premiere of CSI: Miami in the time slot last fall. CBS opened the night with How I Met Your Mother (3.6/10, 8.8 million), which was flat with last fall, followed by Rules of Engagement (3.1/8, 8.3 million), which was down 6% from last fall’s premiere of the short-lived Accidentally on Purpose. Overall, CBS was solid second for the night in adults 18-49 (3.8/10) and total viewers (11.9 million)
At 9 PM, The Event was up 68% from the underwhelming premiere of Trauma in the same period last fall. The drama starring Jason Ritter scored NBC’s highest non-Olympic rating in the hour since Feb. 2 2009. At 10 PM, Chase was down 17% from the last scripted premiere in the time slot, My Own Worst Enemy, in 2008. (Vs. the inflated Jay Leno Show premiere last year, it was down 53%.) At 8 PM, the fourth season premiere of Chuck (2.1/6) was down 19% vs. its spring season premiere last year but up 17% from its May season finale. Overall, vs. premiere Monday last year, NBC was up 12% in 18-49 and 40% in total viewers, though the network’s fast national numbers were probably inflated a bit because of NFL coverage in New Orleans last night.) NBC edged Fox for 3rd place in 18-49 (2.8/7) and total viewers (7.3 million)
Bristol Palin and the ghost of Patrick Swayze drove the Dancing with the Stars premiere to a 5.0/13 in 18-49 and 21.9 million viewers overall. It was up 22% in the demo from last fall’s premiere (but down 22% from the spring cycle’s debut.) It did particularly well in the young demos, logging its highest-rated premiere in 3 years among adults 18-34. At 10 PM, Castle (2.8/8) was up 22% from last fall’s premiere for its best numbers since April but may have been inflated by a DWTS overrun. Overall, ABC posted its most-watched opening Monday in 11 years and won the night in 18-49 (4.2/11) and total viewers (17.7 million).
The season premiere of House (4.1/11, 10.5 million) was down 37% from its two-hour debut last season. Lone Star was the lowest-rated program on the Big 4 networks by a mile, squandering whooping 69% of its House lead-in and bleeding profusely from the first to the second half-hour. This marks a drastic reversal of fortune for Fox, which finished fourth last night (2.7/7, 7.3 million) after winning its first premiere Monday last year.
Against stronger competition and following a soft season premiere last week, Gossip Girl (1.5/4 in 18-34) was actually up in the 18-34 demo by 7% last night. It was also up by a sliver in total viewers with a 1.9 million.