The first two new scripted series of the 2014-15 broadcast season, NBC’s Mysteries of Laura and Fox’s Red Band Society, debuted last night. Both are dramas, a heavily time-shifted genre that renders fast national ratings if not meaningless then often misleading. Still, with new shows, viewers would be more inclined to sample the first episode semi-live before deciding if a new series is worth putting on their DVR list.
By that token, Mysteries (2.1 in adults 19-49) had a very solid start as anything with a 2 in front of its live adults 18-49 rating is considered great these days. Meanwhile, Red Band Society (1.3) was soft, there is no way around it, especially given the big promotional campaign behind it. But it does fall in the grey area of too soon to tell. It did not pop, so it is safe to say it will not be one of the breakouts of this fall. However, with its young skew, the teen hospital drama is far more prone to time-shifted viewing, so the live rating is expected to go up significantly. Fox projects a 62% Live+7 bump to a 2.1 18-49 rating. Also encouraging for Red Band was the fact that there was no drop-off between the first and second hour in 18-49 and there was actually a little uptick in total viewers.
The Mysteries of Laura (10.4 million viewers) had a special airing following the season finale of America’s Got Talent (2.3, 12.0 million viewers). AGT‘s closer was down .2 from last season’s finale in 18-49 but this year’s finale aired from 8-10 PM vs. 9-11 PM last year and it may be adjusted up a tenth. (It also was up 4% in total viewers to become the most watched AGT finale in 3 years.) Mysteries, which stars Debra Messing as a homicide detective and a mom of two misbehaving boys, retained 91% of its AGT lead-in, the top retention by a mile among the four dramas NBC has previewed behind the talent competition’s conclusion. That would hold true even if Mysteries is adjusted down a tenth in the finals because of a minute of a AGT overrun as the next best retention was 61% for Lipstick Jungle. Mysteries logged the highest 18-49 rating for any ABC, CBS or NBC programming in the Wednesday 10 PM time period, excluding sports, since Feb. 26. It dwarfed the NBC drama that debuted in the Wednesday 10 PM slot last fall, Ironside (1.3, 6.8 million). For Mysteries, this was not a regular time slot as the show will debut in its Wednesday 8 PM berth next week.
Showing how quickly things change, Red Band‘s 1.3 live premiere ratings matched that of Ironside, which qualified as a flop last fall. While the premiere of NBC drama grew 38% in Live+7, Red Band’s increase will likely be much bigger, 62% per Fox’s calculations.Red Band‘s lead-in, Hell’s Kitchen (1.4) was down a tenth from last week.
Elsewhere last night, CBS aired Big Brother (2.2, down 8% from last week) and the finale of Extant, which shot up 38% from its series low of 0.8 last week. That was the heavily DVR-ed sci-fi drama’s best live 18-49 rating since July 30. On the CW, Penn & Teller (0.6) was up a tenth from last week.