UPDATED with final ratings, 1:30 PM: Given the state of comedy on the broadcast networks, expectations for newcomers have been low the last couple of seasons. And then there is NBC, which had been struggling in the genre so much, it took comedies off the schedule altogether for the past few weeks. Now half-hour comedy is back on the network with multi-camera sitcoms Undateable — brought back after a better than expected summer run — and new entry One Big Happy.
With the best NBC lead-in you could wish for, The Voice (3.1 in 18-49, down -9% from last week’s fast national, 12.5 million viewers), Undateable drew a 1.9 in the demo and 6.5 million viewers for its second-season premiere. That was of course up (+46% in 18-49) from the comedy’s series premiere, which aired in the offseason (May 29). Launching in the same slot against stronger competition in the fall, freshman comedy Marry Me, which has slim renewal chances, started off with a 2.3 in 18-49 on a 3.3 lead-in from The Voice. (The singing competition is expected to go up in the finals.) UPDATE 1:30 PM: Indeed, The Voice was adjusted up to a 3.2.
The premiere of One Big Happy (1.6, 5.6 million) was below the second-season debut of About A Boy (1.8) in the slot last fall but posted slightly better lead-in retention (84% vs. 78%).
While none of the comedies were DOA, it seems to make much more sense for NBC to keep Chicago Fire behind The Voice at 9 PM and use it to launch another drama. After flourishing behind two-hour Voice editions for several weeks with big ratings gain, the firefighter drama fell hard losing its strong lead-in. Last night, it drew a 1.6 in 18-49 and 7 million viewers. That was -24% in the demo from last week but up +14% vs. the last episode with no Voice lead-in on February 17.
The CW turned on the lights on Tuesday with its midseason comic book-themed lineup of The Flash and iZombie. The Flash returned from a monthlong hiatus with a 1.2 in 18-49 (3.55 million total viewers), down -20% from its most recent outing on February 17. Look for the gap to close a little in the finals as the show was likely impacted by the daylight saving time change. UPDATE: The Flash ticked up a tenth to a 1.3, so the decline was -13%).
iZombie debuted with a 0.9 in 18-49 and 2.34 million viewers in the fast nationals. That was on par with the premiere of The 100 (0.9, 2.67 million) last midseason, though iZombie had a stronger lead-in. (The 100 actually built onto Arrow‘s 0.8, 2.36 million). UPDATE: In the finals, iZombie was adjusted down to a 0.8. All in all, still an K start for the the new drama, which is more offbeat and quirky than the CW’s typical superhero comic fare. It actually tied Fox in the 9 PM hour among 18-49 and topped it in total viewers.
Fox aired a New Girl repeat and new The Mindy Project (0.9, even with last week) in the 9-10 PM time period, preceded by a new Hell’s Kitchen (1.3), also flat with last week.
Comedies had never been a suitable lead-in for ABC’s Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., so it is no surprise that Fresh Off The Boat and alternative comedy Repeat After Me airing reruns did not hurt the comic book drama (1.6), which was actually up +7% from last week. The bump probably had something to do with with fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. had lesser competition in the 9-10 PM time slot with NBC’s The Voice retreating from the hour and CBS’ NCIS: New Orleans airing a repeat.
Photos courtesy of NBC and the CW.