NBC on Monday night put up its biggest premiere numbers in recent memory, as its lights-out drama Revolution drew 11.7 million viewers and a 4.1 rating in the adults 18-to-49 demo.
Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, Revolution now stands as NBC’s strongest series launch in five years. On Sept. 26, 2007, Bionic Woman bowed to 13.9 million viewers and a 4.9 in the dollar demo. (Lest anyone put too much stock in the comparison, it’s worth noting that the reboot was yanked after eight episodes, closing with an anemic 5.93 million viewers and a 2.1 rating.)
The early results for Revolution are encouraging, as they underscore NBC entertainment president Bob Greenblatt’s strategy of positioning Sunday and Monday as the network’s twin anchor nights. The mantra: Success in the early part of the week should lead to stronger performance on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Revolution got a nice boost from lead-in The Voice, which averaged 13.6 million viewers and a 4.7 in the demo, marking a 12 percent improvement from the season premiere and making it the most-watched installment of the show’s third cycle.
All that being said, there was some slippage in the half-hour results. After averaging 12.3 million viewers and a 4.4 in the dollar demo in the 10-10:30 p.m. segment, Revolution dropped to just under 11 million viewers and a 3.8 rating in the final half hour, a difference of 14 percent.
Revolution will face its regular time slot competition starting next week, when ABC rolls out Season 5 of Castle and CBS returns with all new episodes of Hawaii Five-0. Both rivals delivered similar results during the 2011-12 campaign, as Castle averaged 9.76 million viewers and a 2.1 rating while Hawaii Five-0 drew 9.57 million and a 2.5.
If NBC last night enjoyed a long-overdue victory, Fox suffered a staggering blow. The series premiere of The Mob Doctor died on the table, averaging a woeful 5.11 million viewers and a 1.5 rating in the demo.
Fox has had its share of difficulty in the Monday 9 p.m. time slot. After delivering just 4.06 million viewers and a 1.3 in the demo, the critically-lauded drama Lone Star was the first new series of 2010-11 to get whacked. Other recent occupants include: Lie to Me, The Chicago Code, The Good Guys, K-Ville and New Amsterdam.
Leading off the night for Fox was the Season 8 premiere of Bones, which scared up 7.98 million viewers and a 2.3 rating, down 30 percent from its year-ago opener (10 million viewers and a 3.3). A year ago, Bones enjoyed the benefit of leading out of The X Factor.
Last season, Fox aired the eighth and final season of House in the Monday 9 p.m. slot. (The Oct. 3 premiere drew 9.78 million viewers and a 3.9 rating.) House eventually moved to the 8 p.m. slot to make way for midseason entry Alcatraz, which bowed Jan. 16 to 10.1 million viewers and a 3.3 in the demo.
If Fox in the next few weeks should decide to fit The Mob Doctor for cement shoes, it could slot the Kiefer Sutherland series Touch into its Monday night lineup. Touch isn’t slated to return for its sophomore run until Friday, Oct. 26, when it is slated to lead into the final season of Fringe.
If there’s a bright side to any of this, it’s that Fox has an ace up its sleeve in the Kevin Williamson serial killer drama The Following, which is scheduled to premiere in midseason. Media buyers are particularly enthusiastic about the show, which is as dark and uncompromising as anything on Fox’s cable sibling FX.
“The benches are extremely deep this season,” said Sam Armando, svp, director of strategic intelligence at Starcom MediaVest Group Exchange. “There may not be as many new shows lined up for the fall, but there’s a lot of content lined up to replace the shows that don’t work.”