Twenty-six hours after its big Season 2 premiere after the Super Bowl, NBC’s The Voice was back on the air, delivering American Idol-size ratings in its first post-Super Bowl outing. The singing competition posted a 6.6/16 among adults 18-49 and 17.7 million viewers from 8-10 PM last night, logging NBC’s highest non-Olympics 18-49 rating in the slot in eight years. It was NBC’s highest-rated regular non-sports telecast on any night in more than four years (since the Season 2 premiere of Heroes in September 2007) and the network’s first in-season win in the Monday 8-10 PM time period over all original competition in more than three years (since Deal Or No Deal in November 2008.) The Voice grew steadily throughout the two hours (5.3, 6.2, 7.3, 7.7). As for its post-Super Bowl dropoff (60%), it was in line with its predecessors (Fox’s Glee (59%) and CBS’ Undercover Boss (67%, but it had to face the Olympics in its first regular airing). Versus the Season 1 premiere, The Voice was up 29%.
The stats for the debut of NBC’s heavily promoted new musical drama Smash are not as overwhelmingly positive. It got off to a solid start with a 3.8/10 in 18-49 and 11.5 million viewers to rank as the third-highest-rated new drama series premiere this season behind ABC’s Once Upon A Time (4.0) and Fox’s Touch (3.9, technically a preview after Idol). It posted the best 18-49 rating for any regular 10 PM drama this season and outpaced the season premiere of CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 (3.4), which followed the highly rated debut of 2 Broke Girls (7.1) in September. And, in a testament as much to NBC’s weakness in the hour with ratings duds like The Playboy Club and Rock Center With Brian Williams as to the strength of Smash, the new drama quadrupled the network’s season average in the slot. But there are some reasons for concern, related to the drop-off from The Voice lead-in and mostly to the 19% slide from Smash‘s first to second half-hour. Also, this is one of the most expensive first-year shows on the air, costing some $3.5 million an episode (its pilot was made for almost twice as much) and backed by the biggest promo campaign this season. (Outside sources peg it at a record $25 million, though NBC brass maintain that it stayed under $10 million). NBC won the night in 18-49 and total viewers.
NBC’s revamped Monday lineup took a toll on the competition, especially Fox. Fox’s House (2.4/6) was down 17% from last week, Alcatraz (2.2/5) down 21%.
A milestone at CBS that was overshadowed by the NBC fireworks: What I considered inevitable given the ratings trajectories of 2 Broke Girls and Two And A Half Men finally happened last night. Rookie Girls (4.3/11, down 7% from two weeks ago) edged veteran Men (4.2/10, down 9% to a season low) for the first time with originals to become CBS’ top-rated Monday comedy. (In the battle of the sexes, girls beat men, how about that!) The only other series to accomplish that was The Big Bang Theory before it was relocated to open a Thursday comedy block for CBS. Will 2 Broke Girls follow it next fall? How I Met Your Mother (4.0/11) was down 9% from three weeks ago, Mike & Molly (3.4/8) was down 11% to a season low, and Hawaii Five-0 (2.7/7) was down 4%. ABC’s The Bachelor (2.6/6) weathered the storm well, flat with last week, while Castle (2.0/5) was down 5% from two weeks ago.