Big Opening Night for the Fall Broadcast Season — Including Strong Starts for Two New Dramas

Sep 23, 2014  •  Post A Comment

The 2014-15 TV season got off to a hot start Monday night for broadcast nets in general and in particular for two new drama series, as both Fox’s “Gotham” and CBS’s “Scorpion” opened strong, Variety reports.

“NBC (‘The Blacklist’) and Fox (‘Sleepy Hollow’) also launched the sophomore seasons of their biggest new shows from last year, with the former looking very strong in its return and the latter taking a fall — likely losing some drama audience to time slot competitor ‘Scorpion,'” the story reports.

CBS also unveiled its temporary Monday placement for its hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” creating a showdown between TV’s top comedy and its top reality shows, NBC’s “The Voice,” which is No. 1 in young adults, and ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” which leads the way in total viewers, the piece notes.

“In the night’s opening half-hour — which featured ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ ‘The Voice,’ ‘Gotham’ and ‘Dancing With the Stars’ — 43% of adults 18-49 and 45% of adults 25-54 watching television were tuned in to one of the Big Four networks, according to Nielsen. In total viewers, they totaled more than 49 million.”

And those numbers will swell as DVRs and other forms of delayed viewing are accounted for.

Based on preliminary Nielsen “live plus same day” figures, including time-shifted viewing through 3 a.m. today, “The Big Bang Theory,” which aired back-to-back episodes, was the top entertainment show of the night in the key demo of viewers 18-49, with a 5.3 rating/17 share, along with 17.8 million viewers overall, at 8 p.m., followed by a 5.4/15 and 18.0 million viewers at 8:30.

“Despite taking on much tougher competition than it faced a year ago when it premiered on Thursday (also with back-to-back originals), ‘Bang’ was down just a bit,” Variety notes.

“Big Bang’s” strong debut appeared to boost its leadout, with the premiere of CBS’s new drama “Scorpion” pulling a 3.3/9 in 18-49, with 14.0 million total viewers — “which matched last summer’s ‘Under the Dome’ as the net’s strongest drama premiere in 18-49 over the last three years,” the story notes, adding: “CBS was hoping that the drama about genius crime-solvers would mesh well with the ‘Big Bang Theory’ audience, and that appeared to be the case on Monday. Considering the huge lead-in it had, ‘Scorpion’ held up pretty well on the half-hour, going from a 3.4 to 3.1 in 18-49.”

Up against “Scorpion,” the season-two premiere of Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” managed a 2.0/5 in 18-49 with 5.5 million total viewers — off 43% in the 18-49 demo from its series premiere (3.5) and down from the season-one finale (2.4).

“Leading into ‘Sleepy Hollow’ on Fox was the much-anticipated Batman prequel ‘Gotham’ (3.2/10 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall), which placed third among the broadcasters in 18-49 for the 8 o’clock hour, but is also one of the net’s best drama premieres in recent years — and did this rating as a self-starter kicking off the night,” Variety reports. “Among 8 p.m. dramas to bow on Fox, ‘Gotham’ is the top-rated in 18-49 since ‘Prison Break’ in 2005.”

NBC’s “The Voice” held up reasonably well against the increased competition, delivering a 3.9/11 in 18-49, with 12.7 million total viewers — down about 20% from its premiere a year ago. ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” settled for a 2.0/6 in the 18-49 demo and 12.0 million total viewers, slipping about 15% from last week’s season premiere.

“It was no contest at 10 p.m., with NBC’s ‘The Blacklist’ (3.4/10 in 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall) beating the combined demo scores of CBS’s season finale of ‘Under the Dome’ (1.8/5 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) and ABC’s special preview of new Tuesday drama ‘Forever’ (1.5/4 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall),” the report adds.

The top program of the night overall was expected to be on cable, where ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” served up two big-market teams in the Chicago Bears and the New York Jets. The game had a 9.2 overnight household rating.

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