After one of the poorest performances in premier week by the network, CBS came slamming out of the box with the biggest drama on television, ‘N.C.I.S.‘ and never let its foot off of the throttle until after the ‘Late Late Show‘ signed off at 130A. In every hour from 8P (ET) until 130A, CBS was #1 in total persons reached.
And they had competition as 47.9 million viewers were sampling what was new at 8P.
At 8P, NBC came after them with their #1 program, Emmy winner ‘The Voice‘ and drew a respectable 14.14 million viewers. ABC’s new highly anticipated ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘ came in a respectable third with 11.90 million viewers. But Mark Harmon and his crew came in with nearly 20 million viewers (19.475 million vs 20.16 million last season in its premiere) in the overnight ratings. But, the show was one of the weakest openings, content wise. There was no real surprise except the attempts on the lives of the key members of Gibbs team. The much anticipated farewell to Ziva, was just PR hype as she was never on screen for the entire hour. Perhaps Michael Wilbon on ESPN’s ‘Pardon The Interruption‘ said it best earlier in the afternoon, “What? You’re going to get rid of Ziva David? Keep her on!”. She and Tony’s kismet is near perfection. She has to show up next week or the audience now has alternatives.
At 9P, the ‘NCIS-Los Angeles‘ train just keeps moving ahead. Clearly a much tighter content offering than its senior show on this night, ‘LA‘ continues to improve. It crisply tied up all of the ends from last spring’s cliffhanger, and brought the promise of more. It’s 16.17 million viewers (vs 16.72 million last year in it’s premiere) blew away any and all competition. It was quickly followed up with an extremely strong performance in one of the network’s great programs, ‘Person Of Interest’ which debuted this season at 10P on Tuesday. It delivered 12.29 million viewers, 25% more than its best competition, NBC’s ‘Chicago Fire‘ (9.25 million). allowing affiliates of CBS a very strong lead in that continued through ‘The Late Show with David Letterman‘ (3.2/9 vs ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno‘ 2.5/7 vs ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ 2.0/6) and ‘Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson‘ (1.5/6) victory over ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon‘ (1.4/5).
ABC had a very good surprise, not only in its ‘Marvel‘ opening at 8P, but its new comedy at 9P, ‘The Goldbergs‘. It drew 9.11 million viewers, easily one of the best comedy openings of the new season. That could not be said for its followup, ‘Trophy Wife‘ or it’s 10P premiere, ‘Lucky 7‘ (the lowest rated fall drama premiere in ABC history), both of which finished third in their time slot. Get the bullpen ready for that last hour and one-half. The network averaged 8.1 million viewers for the night. It could have been better.
FOX is another story. ‘Dads‘ (3.65 million), ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (4.0 million), ‘New Girl‘ (4.1 million vs last year’s premiere of 5.33 million viewers) and ‘The Mindy Project‘ (3.04 million vs 4.71 million in last year’s premiere) could barely ‘show’ even against cable programming. While cable ratings will not be available for the night until tomorrow, TNT’s ‘Rizzoli & Isles‘, FOX News Channel shows, and USA reruns and other programming on cable probably did better than this sorry lot. It was a tough night for the lot in the neighborhood of Alcoaland. While it was announced on the same day that legendary producer and director, Robert Zemeckis was heading to FOX to produce a new show, all one can add is that he better do it in a hurry before everyone forgets it is a broadcast network. The network averaged 3.7 million viewers on Tuesday.
To round out the evening, Univision had 3.1 million viewers; Telemundo had 1.2 million viewers and The CW had 1 million viewers for the night.
While ‘NCIS‘ had its lowest rating in 6 years, it is still one of the most powerful programs on all of television. Let’s hope the writers understand that and make sense of the mess on Tuesday. As for NBC, there must be smiles all around Comcast land. At ABC, they have to love the first hour and one-half. And at FOX, they are hiding under their desks attempting to avoid the pink slips.
Quick update: Monday’s overnight results on cable shows ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ drew 13.918 million viewers placing it third among networks for that evening. CBS was fourth.