ABC needed some ratings magic this fall and it got it last night from a professional. David Blaine’s Real Or Magic celebrity special from 9:30-11 PM drew a 2.5 rating in 18-49, winning its time period, posting ABC’s best numbers in the time frame this season and helping the network score its best 18-49 finish on the night since premiere week. (Check out a clip of Blaine wowing Ricky Gervais below.) Even more impressive, Blaine topped Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2.3) as ABC’s highest-rated program of the night on a fraction of the budget of the superhero drama. It also did better than ABC’s scripted magic franchise, Once Upon A Time, has been doing this fall. Since TV is a copycat business, expect more magic specials to pop up soon. Fox already has one in the can with close-up magician JB Benn, which could be scheduled soon.

Here’s a clip of Blaine needling Ricky Gervais last night:

carlycane
1 year
I'm not a Shaw fan either, but now I know that she isn't going anywhere. The producers...
Tertullian
1 year
@Vaughn Leland Post of the day. Hysterical.
David Blaine
1 year
Thanks. Very flattering.

There was more good news for ABC last night, as S.H.I.E.L.D. finally posted a week-to-week uptick (.1) after slipping since the premiere, an indication that the freshman drama may have bottomed out. But sandwiched between S.H.I.E.L.D. and David Blaine, The Goldbergs (1.6) was down 6%.

By looking at the ratings for CBS’ Tuesday dramas, you wouldn’t tell how eventful they were, with NCIS introducing new main character Ellie Bishop (played by Emily Wickersham) to replace Ziva, and Person Of Interest bidding a shocking farewell to one of its main characters. NCIS (3.0) was even with last week (up a tenth from the fast national), POI (2.0) too was flat, while NCIS: LA (2.5) was up a tenth. POI still won the 10 PM hour, topping NBC’s Chicago Fire (1.9) for a second time. The firefighter drama dropped 14% to a season low. Its lead-in, The Voice (3.1), also was down, by 9%. The Biggest Loser (1.9) was flat. With NBC’s 9-11 PM declines, CBS’ steadiness paid off — the network logged its first outright Tuesday night win in adults 18-49 (2.5) this season and was once again the most-watched network with 15.5 million.

Fox’s comedies posted ups and downs, with Dads (1.3) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (1.5) each up a tenth, New Girl (1.7) flat and The Mindy Project (1.2) down two tenths to a series low. Mindy‘s drop is somewhat alarming as it was the lowest-rated in the block despite having the strongest lead-in. It is unclear how long it can keep its berth at those levels.

This was unfortunate for the CW breakout The Originals. The drama was on a roll, tying its series high last week, but its momentum was snapped last night with a pre-emption for a Lady Gaga special (0.3), which drew a third of The Originals’ 18-49 rating last Monday. (The supernatural drama probably ran out of originals as it premiered early.) Naturally, Supernatural (0.9) was hurt by the lead-in, down 18%.