As Sarah predicted based on her father’s affection for the procedural, Scott Bakula’s NCIS: New Orleans was a huge hit for CBS last night. It was the highest rated freshman premiere so far, and it’s likely to hold that title. It was seen by 17.1 million folks last night, the majority of whom do not matter to advertisers (which I always think is strange considering how much more disposable income older people have).
In total viewers, NCIS: New Orleans walloped the second season premiere of Agents of SHIELD, besting it by over 12 million viewers. But in the 18-49 demo, it was considerably closer: NCIS: New Orleans scored a 2.5 to SHIELD’s 1.9.
Both shows, however, were dominated by The Voice in the demo, with a 4.0 (and 13 million viewers overall), proving that there’s still a lot of juice left in the tired singing competition format.
The ratings for SHIELD were also way down from last year’s premiere, when it scored 12 million viewers and a 4.0 in the demo, but on the bright side, they were about even with the second-season premiere, which is to say, it didn’t lose viewers. I suspect, too, that positive notices for the season premiere plus continuing interest in the Marvel universe will ensure increased numbers once DVR and On Demand viewership is accounted for. For the record, since Agents of SHIELD did something of a reset following Captain America: Winter Soldier, you can easily jump back in with the premiere and not be lost.
The big losers of the night, however, continue to be on Fox, with Utopia (1.9 million viewers, 1.9 in the demo), a creatively rejuvenated New Girl (2.3 million viewers, 1.3 in the demo) and The Mindy Project (2.1 million viewers, and a 1.0 in the demo), which are scoring basic-cable level ratings. It’s ugly.
Meanwhile, a shitton of people continue to watch NCIS (18 million, 2.9), while Chicago Fire (9.4 million, 2.7) and Persons of Interest (10.7 million, 1.8) continue to prove the durability of procedurals. and ABC’s Forever (which followed SHIELD) did well enough to at least get a second week before it’s cancelled (6.5 million viewers, 1.7).Lucky 7, which held that timeslot last year for ABC, didn’t make it to its third week.
I would like to remind everyone, however, that none of this matters. DVR numbers will be much different from overnight numbers, and networks have smartly begun to use different metrics in addition to just Nielsen ratings in determining the viability of a show. Nobody is cancelling SHIELD anytime soon (The Mindy Project, on the other hand?)