September 25, 2013



Marvel took over more of the universe last night.

Daily Comparison 2013 Tue Sep 24 three way

ABC:  AGENTS OF SHIELD was meant to be a blockbuster from the moment its development was announced, and so it was, with a giant 4.6 start that tied The Voice in the 8PM hour.  That’s 50% higher than the 3.1 debut for ABC’s last try at the superhero ring, No Ordinary Family in 2010.  It’s also the highest drama premiere on any network since 2009–although that distinction gets tarnished a bit when you remember that the 2009 number was from the same network’s V, which barely limped into a second season.   It’s also the top-rated drama to air at 8PM in almost a decade, since Lost in 2004.  And it won’t be competing head-to-head with The Voice for most of the season, since that show moves to 9PM when it shrinks back to 1 hour, which should blunt the erosion that usually follows a splashy start.  At 9PM, THE GOLDBERGS did a very fair job of holding its huge lead-in, losing about one-third of SHIELD‘s rating for a 3.2 that was second only to The Voice in its slot.  The halo effect started wearing off, though, with the 2.3 for TROPHY WIFE at 9:30PM, which fell behind CBS.  And you never would have known the night began so big for ABC by 10PM, when LUCKY 7 belied its name with a 1.3 that puts it up front in the season’s First To Be Canceled competition.

NBC:  CHICAGO FIRE always perked up in a big way when THE VOICE aired a Wednesday episode that led into it, and that worked again last night just as the network had planned.  The Voice had a 4.6 over its 2 hours, up a big 0.6 from last fall’s first Tuesday despite the superhero competition, and that boosted Chicago Fire to 2.8, a massive gain from last season’s 1.9 debut on a Wednesday that didn’t feature the singing competition.  That gave Chicago Fire the hour and NBC the night.

CBS:  Not a great night for The Eye.  NCIS debuted at 3.4 in its 11th season debut, down almost 20% from last year’s 4.1 start (although admittedly that was against softer competition).  NCIS LA followed it with 3.0, down 0.4 from last year but still enough for 2d place in the 9:30PM half-hour behind only The Voice.  At 10PM, PERSON OF INTEREST hit a series low 2.3 in its first Tuesday airing.  That’s justifiable–its lead-in was 1.6 points behind the one Chicago Fire had, and yet it only lost the hour by 0.5–but still a disappointment for the network, and below the 2.5 premiere for last year’s canceled Las Vegas.

FOX:  The fun is over now that the real competition has arrived.  DADS lost one-third of last week’s premiere rating, down to 1.5 and 4th place in the slot.  BROOKLYN NINE-NINE didn’t do much better with 1.8, also down 30% from last week–that’s below the 2.1 debut for last year’s canceled Ben & Kate.  At 9PM, NEW GIRL also got smashed, down 0.8 from last week to 2.1.  And while the 0.4 drop for THE MINDY PROJECT is less steep than the rest, that still leaves it at a precarious 1.5.

CW:  Still airing summer programming, with 0.5 for WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY (down 0.3) and 0.2 for CAPTURE (down 0.2).

Tonight’s roster is mostly season premieres, with the lone newcomer BACK TO THE GAME on ABC.  That network brings back THE MIDDLE, MODERN FAMILY (for a full hour) and NASHVILLE, while NBC starts REVOLUTION on its new day and time followed by a 2-hour LAW & ORDER: SVU and CBS has SURVIVOR, CRIMINAL MINDS and CSI.  FOX will hope for the best for its already-shaky THE X FACTOR.  On cable, both BROADCHURCH on BBCAmerica and TOP CHEF MASTERS on Bravo air season finales.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."