Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Delivers Superhuman Ratings

Strong start for ABC’s Tuesday night lineup, although Lucky 7 falters

The much-anticipated premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. delivered powerhouse ratings for ABC Tuesday night, marking the third successful drama launch of the new fall season.

Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. scared up 12.1 million viewers and an otherworldly 4.7 rating in the all-important 18-49 demo, making it the biggest series premiere in four years. (ABC’s short-lived resurrection of the 1983 alien invasion miniseries V drew 14.3 million viewers and a 5.2 in the demo on Nov. 3, 2009.)

Breaking into ABC’s female-friendly lineup, S.H.I.E.L.D. absolutely dominated the male demos, averaging a 5.6 among men 18-49, a 4.3 among the males 18-34 set and a 5.9 with gents age 25-54.

S.H.I.E.L.D. also demonstrated remarkable retention, as 99.3 percent of all viewers stuck around for the credits. At the same time, the demo inched up a notch from a 4.6 in the first half hour to a 4.7 in the homestretch.

While the two-hour installment of NBC’s The Voice would go on to average a 4.7 in the dollar demo, the musical competition didn’t prevail in head-to-head competition with S.H.I.E.L.D. From 8-9 p.m., The Voice averaged a 4.0 rating.

Although S.H.I.E.L.D.’s female demos weren’t too shabby (3.9 in 18-49, 3.1 in 18-34, 4.6 in 25-54), The Voice ran the table with women. The second episode of NBC’s flagship enterprise averaged a 5.9 women 18-49 rating, a 4.8 women 18-34 and a towering 7.1 among women 25-54.

As expected, CBS’ unflappable NCIS continues to be the most-watched show on TV, bowing for its 11th season in front of an audience of 20 million viewers. With an average 3.6 rating in the 18-49 demo, NCIS’ audience composition is roughly 77 percent viewers 50+. (Last night’s episode drew a 13.9 among that particular segment.)

S.H.I.E.L.D. provided a sturdy launch pad for the freshman comedy The Goldbergs, which at 9 p.m. averaged 8.94 million viewers and a 3.1 in the dollar demo. That marks a 72 percent improvement from previous time slot occupant Happy Endings, which drew a 1.8 rating on Oct. 23, 2012.

Leading out of The Goldbergs, the family/ensemble comedy Trophy Wife drew 6.69 million viewers and a 2.3 in the demo, up a healthy 35 percent versus the year-ago premiere of the late, lamented Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 (1.7).

If it can be said that ABC struck a bum note last night, it resounded at the end of the night. The new drama Lucky 7 at 10 p.m. bowed to 4.43 million viewers and a 1.3 in the demo, down 32 percent versus the year-ago premiere of Private Practice (1.9).

Lucky 7 bears the unfortunate distinction of being the lowest-rated fall drama premiere in ABC history and the lowest-rated drama opener since CBS’ Made in Jersey bowed to a 1.1 last September. And that’s not really an apples-to-hand grenades comparison, as Jersey premiered on a low-HUT level Friday night. Perhaps a more apt contrast would be with Fox’s The Mob Doctor, which on Sept. 17, 2012, arrived to 5.11 million viewers and a 1.5 in the demo.

In any event, Lucky was anything but, and is now on the short list of new series that are likely to be canceled first.

NBC had better news at 10 p.m., as Chicago Fire returned up 42 percent with a series-high 2.7 in the demo. CBS’ Person of Interest took a tumble, averaging a 2.3 in the 18-49 demo, down 21 percent versus the Season 2 premiere’s 2.9.

If Lucky 7 took its lumps at the end of the night, Week 2 of Fox’s two-hour comedy block was shaken up by a much more competitive field. At 8 p.m., newbie Dads fell 29 percent to a 1.5 in the demo, while lead-out Brooklyn Nine-Nine dropped 28 percent to a 1.8. Facing heat from Jeff Garlin & Co., veteran sitcom New Girl fell 28 percent to a 2.1 rating, while the high income-skewing Mindy Project dropped 21 percent to a 1.5.

New Girl suffered its biggest losses among younger women, losing 36 percent of females 18-34 (2.8, down from last week’s 4.4). Men were more faithful to Jess and the gang, as men 18-34 were flat at a 2.0 while men 18-49 dipped three-tenths of a point to a 1.9.