For all the hype afforded it, the Super Bowl does a pretty lousy job at series promotion.
According to Nielsen fast national data, the two shows that aired immediately after Super Bowl XLVIII failed to capitalize on their time in the national spotlight. Two nights after delivering a dizzying 26.3 million viewers and an 11.4 rating among adults 18-49, Fox’s New Girl sobered up, drawing just 3.48 million viewers and a 1.6 in the demo. The latter number ties a series low for New Girl, now in its third season on Fox.
Lead-out Brooklyn Nine-Nine faced a similar letdown in the 9:30 p.m. slot, averaging 3.22 million viewers and a 1.4 in the dollar demo. The antic workplace comedy scared up 15.1 million viewers and a 6.9 rating in its post-Super Bowl slot.
That network series fail to catch fire after landing the plumiest of assignments is nothing new. In fact, the last show to really get a lift from a post-Super Bowl position was ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. After drawing 37.9 million viewers and a 13.5 in the demo following Super Bowl XL (2006), the hospital drama returned the following Sunday to a sturdy 25.4 million viewers and a 9.1 in the demo, up a whopping 38 percent from its most recent regularly-scheduled episode (6.6).
Last year, CBS’ Elementary improved by just one-tenths of a ratings point after its post-Super Bowl episode, which was bumped out of prime time by a lengthy blackout delay. The 2012 example was a bit of an outlier; Season 2 of NBC’s The Voice debuted directly out of the Big Game. The previous year, Fox’s Glee inched up just two-tenths of a ratings point versus its most recent pre-Super Bowl airdate.
Elsewhere, it was business as usual Tuesday night, as CBS put up its usual huge numbers with NCIS (19.5 million viewers and a 3.1 adults 18-49 rating) and each show in ABC’s all-new lineup was more or less flat versus their respective previous first-run airings.
NBC wrapped the 15th cycle of The Biggest Loser with a season-high 7.45 million viewers; all told, the 15-episode slate averaged 6.52 million viewers and a 1.9 in the demo, down 17 percent from last winter’s 2.3 rating.
Tonight marks the last time you’ll see much in the way of original content on the broadcast networks for the next two-and-a-half weeks, as ABC and CBS effectively are sitting out the period that coincides with NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics. (In other words, both nets will practically air wall-to-wall repeats until Feb. 24.)
Fox is taking a more aggressive counterprogramming tack, airing new installments of American Idol in its regular Wednesday and Thursday night slots, while prepping first-run episodes of Almost Human, The Following, Dads, New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.