ABC Chalks Up the Biggest Broadcast Drama Premiere in Four Years — And the Worst in Network History

Sep 25, 2013  •  Post A Comment

ABC kicked its fall rollout into high gear Tuesday night with the premieres of four new programs, including the eagerly anticipated "Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Based on preliminary numbers for the key 18-49 demo, results were mixed, to say the least.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the Alphabet Network scored big with "S.H.I.E.L.D.," which delivered a 4.6 average in viewers 18-49 at 8 p.m. to equal NBC’s two-hour "The Voice" as the top-rated broadcast shows of the night. But ABC’s other new drama, "Lucky 7," laid an egg at 10 p.m., pulling in a 1.3 average and finishing a distant third in the time slot.

The 18-49 turnout for "S.H.I.E.L.D." was reportedly the biggest drama series debut on a broadcast network in four years. The show also delivered 11.9 million total viewers. At the other end of the spectrum, the demo result for "Lucky 7" reportedly made it ABC’s lowest-rated fall drama premiere in network history.

Somewhere in the middle were ABC’s two new comedies: "The Goldbergs" had a respectable 3.2 average in 18-49, while "Trophy Wife" settled for a 2.3. When the dust settled, ABC wound up in a tie for second place for prime time overall.

NBC won the 10 p.m. hour with the season premiere of "Chicago Fire," which came through with a 2.8 in the 18-49 demo to top CBS’s season premiere of "Person of Interest," with a 2.3. The "Chicago Fire"-"The Voice" combo gave the Peacock Network a comfortable win for the broadcast prime. "The Voice" was down from a hefty 5.1 average rating on Monday, but up from a 4.0 for the Tuesday premiere a year ago.

CBS’s double premiere for its "NCIS" franchise saw the season debut of the mothership deliver a 3.4 average in adults 18-49 at 8 p.m. — the lowest premiere for the series in six years, and seven-tenths of a point below last year’s 4.1 — followed by a 3.0 for "NCIS: Los Angeles" — down from a 3.4 a year ago and the show’s lowest premiere ever.

Fox saw its numbers drop significantly after getting a jump on the new season a week ago. "Dads" lost seven-tenths of a point in the 18-49 demo from last week, sinking to a 1.5 average; "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" was down eight-tenths to a 1.8; "New Girl" drooped eight-tenths to a 2.1; and "The Mindy Project" slipped four-tenths to a 1.5.

NBC led the way for prime time overall with a 4.0 average in the 18-49 demo, with CBS and ABC tied for second place with 2.9 averages. Fox (1.7 average) and Univision (1.2) trailed.

CBS rode its lineup of procedurals to a big win in total viewers with 16.0 million for prime time, topping NBC (12.5 million), ABC (8.1 million), Fox (3.7 million) and Univision (3.1 million).


  1. How quickly we forget about “Windfall” on NBC (2006)

  2. TV series about lottery winners usually flop. Remember “Lotttery”, another tv series that ran on ABC (for 22 episodes)during the 1983-84 tv season.

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