NBC is up with every single one of its series on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights compared to Premiere Week 2012. The network has won seven of nine hours in the demo among broadcasters. In total viewers, it’s won six of the week’s first nine primetime hours and has moved from third place to first — making those Comcast guys look pretty clever for having re-upped NBC programming chief Bob Greenblatt’s contract without waiting for Premiere Week numbers.
How did NBC do it? Easy! It dumped comedies, inflated The Voice, and replaced highly serialized dramas with procedural crime dramas. The Blacklist replaced Revolution on Mondays at 10, Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire replaced Parenthood Tuesdays at 10. On Wednesday’s NBC ran a two-hour season debut of Wolf’s Law & Order: SVU, like last year, but this time with a drama lead-in instead of comedies. Three nights into Premiere Week, NBC’s least timeslot-improving series is its most NBC-ish: returning Revolution. Wednesday at 8, it logged a 1.8 rating and 6.8 million overall viewers. But that’s still better than Animal Practice and Guys With Kids fared in the hour on Premiere Week Wednesday last fall. Revolution is up 29% and 13% better in the demo, respectively, and 34% and 37% in total viewers, respectively. Meanwhile, Blacklist, James Spader’s glorious scenery-chewing master class clocked a 3.8 demo rating and about 13 million viewers. which is about 36% better in viewers and 12% better in the demo than Revolution’s performance in the hour during Premiere Week 2012.
Still, the prettiest dress in the Premiere Week Store so far is ABC’s new Tuesday drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which snagged a timeslot-winning 4.7 rating in the demo and more than 12 million viewers in an hour where, last fall ABC stumbled badly with its all-star edition of Dancing With the Stars. Most impressively, where last year’s Premiere Week Dancing results show suffered a fourth-placed 2.2 million demo viewers, MAOSHIELD this year averaged just under 6 million of them — nearly a 4 million demo viewer improvement.
MAOSHIELD is TV’s highest-rated TV drama debut in nearly 4 years in the age bracket. In total viewers, it’s only the biggest opening since CBS’ summer launch of Under The Dome. But Dome did not launch in the teeth of CBS’ NCIS season debut, with its Cote de Pablo-is-leaving storyline, nor did it face the first week of The Voice, featuring the return of judges Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera. ABC did not come by its success in the hour at the expense of CBS or NBC. Room For Everyone Tuesday meant MAOSHIELD could do crisp business, while CBS’ NCIS attracted its usual 20 million-plus viewers and 3.6 demo rating, and NBC’s The Voice bagged 12.9 million and 4.1 demo rating. Collectively in the hour, those three broadcast networks cumed nearly 45 million viewers. Which just goes to show that three broadcast networks can succeed in the same hour with the right programming — though not four, particularly if the fourth is subjects us to a second episode of Dads. In its second week on Fox, Dads tumbled to a 1.5 demo rating (down 32%) and 3.7 million viewers (down 2.1 million).
Thursday night’s big battle? Michael J. Fox vs. Robin Williams.