Fox and ABC already launched some of their shows last week, but the 2013-14 fall season formally kicked off last night with a fully loaded schedule from all of The Big 4. In a night of all originals with the return of heavyweights like The Voice and heavily hyped series premieres such as Hostages and The Blacklist, NBC won Monday in both adults 18-49 (with a 4.6/12) and viewers (with 13.982 million watching). CBS was second in the demo with a 2.7/7 rating, while ABC was No. 2 in viewership with 12.737 million.
Related: 2013-14 Broadcast Season Preview
The real battle royale on the first night of the new season was at 10 PM. The head-to-head new debuts saw a thriller vs. a terror era procedural with CBS’ Hostages (1.8/5) and NBC’s The Blacklist (3.8/10) facing off. The first round easily went to James Spader’s showcase post-Office return to NBC over the weak result of the Jerry Bruckheimer limited series on CBS. However, with a strong lead-in from the two-hour Season 5 debut of The Voice (4.9/13), Blacklist didn’t make the fast nationals of last year’s 4.1/11 premiere of Revolution — the biggest drama opening in the last 3 years and the best NBC has done in 5. Granted, Revolution had a lot less competition for its September 17, 2012 debut. Still, despite a performance better than its last two premieres, a name star and waves of promotion for The Voice (4.9/13), the fact that The Blacklist wasn’t on par with Revolution should be a source of concern for NBC over the long term.
Having gotten a good summer out of the cable model with Under The Dome, CBS looks to have come up short with its new 15-episode limited series Hostages, about a surgeon whose family is taken captive by a rogue FBI agent just before she is about to operate on the President. CBS’ only new drama this fall fell short of the preliminary rating debuts of both the 3.1/9 of Elementary on September 27, 2012 (down 42%) and the 2.5/7 of now-cancelled Vegas (down 28%) on September 25, 2012.
Also in the 10 PM slot, ABC’s Castle (2.2/6) was back last night for its sixth season. The crime drama starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic had long-distance romance and toxicity on Monday. It also had 10% growth in the key demo over its previous premiere.
With original coaches Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera back, The Voice kicked off its fifth cycle with a rendition of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock’n’Roll” with the duo and Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Hot off the show’s best reality-competition category Emmy win on Sunday night, the Mark Burnett-produced series was up 17% from the show’s previous fall season debut on Monday September 10, 2012. It also bopped up 2% from Season 4’s March 25, 2013 premiere. Last night’s two-hour Voice soundly beat the 2.2/7 one-hour Season 3 September 11 debut of fellow singing competition The X-Factor.
There were more new show premieres last night as Chuck Lorre saw his fourth show on CBS premiere with Mom (2.5/6). The 9:30 PM sitcom centers on a newly sober parent played by Anna Faris who has reengaged with her own ex-addict mother played by Allison Janney. It was down 19% from the 3.1/8 that Mike & Molly drew on September 24, 2012 debut in the time period.
Before Mom, the 9 PM slot saw the Season 3 return of 2 Broke Girls (2.8/7). The sitcom fell a sharp 24% from its second-cycle opener on September 24, 2012 to hit a premiere low. Before that How I Met Your Mother (3.6/10) was back for its ninth and final season with an hour-long debut at 8 PM. The ensemble comedy was even with last year’s September 24, 2012 season launch. Next week the new comedy We Are Men takes over the 8:30 PM slot as HIMYM goes back to 30 minutes.
In the second week of its 17th cycle and facing a lot more competition than it did last week, ABC’s two-hour Dancing With The Stars (2.3/6) tumbled a hard 26% from last week.
On Fox, Week 2 of the ninth season of Bones (1.9/5) saw the comedy drama slide 17% from its September 16 episode. From a night it’s had almost to itself to a very crowded Monday, newbie Sleepy Hollow (3.1/8) — which proved Fox’s highest-rated fall drama debut since 2001’s 24 once Live+3 were added later last week — was down 11% from last week’s premiere. Fox is projecting that Bones will go up 42%-58% in Live+7 to a 2.7-3.0 and that Sleepy Hollow will rise 48%-61% to a 4.6-5.0
It was a solid night for NFL football on ESPN’s Monday Night Football as the Denver Broncos’ 37-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders scored a 10.3 overnight rating based on metered markets. That’s even with the ratings result of last week’s Cincinnati Bengals-Pittsburgh Steelers game.