Is the black hole known as ABC’s Thursday 8 PM slot ready to swallow another high-profile scripted series? Shawn Ryan’s well received submarine drama Last Resort launched to a modest 2.2 rating/share in adults 18-49 last night. That was just a tenth better than last fall’s debut of the now-defunct Charlie’s Angels in the hour but qualifies as ABC’s best drama debut in the slot in three years as My Generation was DOA in the period in 2010. ABC continues to dispatch new scripted fare to the Thursday 8 PM slot where it’s only had success with the unscripted Wipeout for the past few years.
Last Resort was one of two new series to premiere last night. The other, CBS’ Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary, did better, winning the 10 PM slot with a 3.1/9 in 18-49 and 13.3 million total viewers. It built on its lead-in (2.9/8), a rare feat for a 10 PM show, and it was up by 11% in the demo from the season premiere of The Mentalist in the time slot last fall. One encouraging sign for Last Resort was the 15% 18-49 rise from the first to the second half-hour. (Elementary‘s demo rating slipped by 9% from the first to the second half-hour.)
The two top Thursday series, CBS’ Big Bang Theory and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, bucked the trend of a returning series opening lower this fall. Big Bang (4.8/15, 15.3 million) was even with last year’s fast national opener in 18-49 and up 9% in total viewers for the comedy’s most watched premiere ever. Big Bang was the highest-rated and most watched program last night. Grey’s Anatomy, which resolved a major cliffhanger, drew a 4.3/12 in 18-49 and 11.5 million viewers for its ninth season premiere. That was up 5% in 18-49 and 11% in total viewers from last season’s debut and the medical drama’s second best numbers since March 2011. Grey’s was followed by the second season premiere of Scandal (2.2/6, 7 million), which was up 10% in the demo from its series premiere in the slot in April but down 21% from the season debut of Private Practice in the hour last fall. Its half-hour to half-hour dropoff was 20%.
On CBS, Big Bang was followed by the transplanted Two And A Half Men (3.5/10, 12.4 million), which logged its lowest-rated telecast ever on the new night, dropping from Big Bang, the show it once helped establish as a hit on Monday. 2.5 Men did improve on the debut of the short-lived How To Be A Gentleman (2.7, 8.8 million) in the slot last September but in the demo, it was down from the October season premiere of Gentleman‘s replacement, utility player Rules Of Engagement (3.7/12). Given how vulnerable CBS’ once-formidable Monday lineup was this week without 2.5 Men, CBS’ decision to move the veteran to Thursday does raise questions.
At 9 PM, Person of Interest (2.9/8, 14.3 million) was down 6% in the demo from last fall, up 8% in total viewers. CBS won the night in adults 18-49 (3.4/10) and total viewers (13.8 million)
Fox’s The X Factor (3.2/10) was down 6% from last week. Despite the debut of Sarah Jessica Parker, Glee (2.5/7) dropped 14% from last Thursday. Because of NFL pre-emptions, NBC’s fast nationals are inflated and will be adjusted down in the finals. So here they are just as reference: SNL Election Special (1.7/6), Up All Night (1.8/5), The Office (2.4/7), Parks & Recreation (2.1/5) and Rock Center With Brian Williams (1.2/3).