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The Biggest Story of Premiere Week? One Network's Resurgence Deadline

Just a few days into the 2013-14 broadcast television season, the re-emergence of one network has surfaced as the story of the season, Lisa de Moraes writes on Deadline.com. That network is NBC -- and its hot start to the season is the story even though ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." may be the hottest new show, de Moraes writes.

"NBC is up with every single one of its series on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights compared to Premiere Week 2012," she writes, citing numbers for the key 18-49 demo. "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."

NBC's revival can be attributed to a few simple strategic adjustments, according to de Moraes. "How did NBC do it? Easy! It dumped comedies, inflated 'The Voice,' and replaced highly serialized dramas with procedural crime dramas," the piece reports. "'The Blacklist' replaced 'Revolution' on Mondays at 10, Dick Wolf’s 'Chicago Fire' replaced 'Parenthood' Tuesdays at 10. On Wednesday 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."

One NBC show that has bucked the uptrend is a drama that performed well for the network as a freshman last year. "NBC’s least timeslot-improving series is its most NBC-ish: returning 'Revolution,'" de Moraes writes. "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."

The report adds: "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."

The latest chapter in the story, Thursday night's results, doesn't look quite as cheery for NBC, with the numbers still being crunched. In a key showdown featuring the return of two high-profile TV stars, preliminary figures show that the new Robin Williams comedy on CBS, "The Crazy Ones," trounced NBC's new "Michael J. Fox Show." Nielsen overnights in viewers 18-49 show "Crazy" with a 4.0 average rating to a 2.1 for "Michael J. Fox."

We will report in full on Thursday's broadcast results when more complete numbers become available later today.

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