Blue Monday for CBS as Comedies, Hostages Struggle

We Are Men underwhelms; NBC and Fox newbies hold steady

Two weeks into the 2013-14 broadcast season and CBS’ Monday night lineup is looking decidedly unsteady, as struggling new and returning comedies are doing little to bolster the 10 p.m. hour.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the core of CBS’ two-hour comedy block is beginning to show signs of deterioration. While How I Met Your Mother put up solid numbers at 8 p.m. (7.87 million viewers and a 3.1 in the adults 18-49 demo), the rest of the lineup dropped sharply from there. In losing 36 percent of its lead-in, the series premiere of We Are Men now stands as the lowest-rated (2.0) in-season comedy debut in CBS’ history.

By way of comparison, CBS last season premiered Partners in the We Are Men slot, drawing a 2.4 rating. The show was canceled after six episodes.

At 9 p.m., 2 Broke Girls tied a series low with a 2.4 rating, down 14 percent from last week’s Season 3 premiere. Chuck Lorre’s new comedy, Mom, dropped 12 percent from a week ago, and while that’s well within the expected range for a second episode, it’s also down 24 percent versus the year-ago 2.9 delivered by former time slot occupant Mike & Molly.

After premiering last week to an unspectacular 7.41 million viewers and a 1.8 in the demo, CBS’ episodic thriller Hostages returned to just 5.96 million viewers and a 1.5 rating. While the pilot jumped 50 percent to a 2.7 upon application of three days of DVR playback, Hostages does not look long for this world.

All told, CBS averaged a 2.2 rating on the night, down 21 percent versus the year-ago 2.8.

NBC continues to dominate Mondays with The Voice and newcomer The Blacklist, beating all comers with an average draw of 12.7 million viewers and a 4.0 in the dollar demo. The Voice averaged 14.1 million viewers and a 4.7 rating from 8-10 p.m. down 8 percent from last week, while The Blacklist held up nicely at 10 p.m., averaging 11.4 million viewers and a 3.3 in the demo—a retention rate of 87 percent week to week.

If there are any weaknesses in The Blacklist’s performance, it’s that it doesn’t do a fantastic job of holding on to its audience from one half hour to the next. (The show’s 18-49 rating dropped 16 percent as the night progressed.)

One show that has no trouble keeping viewers tuned in is Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. Not only did the third episode retain 97 percent of its prior-week demo (3.0, down a tick from a 3.1), but the audience actually grew as the night progressed. After drawing a 2.9 in the demo during the first half hour, Sleepy inched up a notch to a 3.0 rating.

Sleepy also improved upon its Bones lead-in by 36 percent.

While a renewal may be a few weeks off—Fox last winter waited for six weeks of ratings data before committing to a second season of its midseason hit The Following—with an overall retention of 86 percent versus the series premiere, Sleepy Hollow is all but certain to find a spot on the 2014-15 roster.

Fox closed out the night with an average 2.6 rating, marking a 63 percent improvement versus the year-ago 1.6. 

With a median age of 61.9 years, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars is one of the oldest-skewing shows on TV. At the same time, it’s also a reliable reach vehicle, drawing 13.1 million viewers in the 8-10 p.m. slot. DWTS earned a predictably huge rating with viewers 50+ (9.3, down two-tenths from last week’s 9.5), but in the advertiser-friendly 18-49 demo, last night’s installment drew just a 2.0.

Lead-out Castle was flat, delivering 10.9 million viewers and a 2.2 rating. ABC averaged a 2.1 rating on the night, up one-tenth of a point from a year ago.