New Series Take a Beating on Tuesday Night

Big declines for Fox, ABC

For all the sampling of new broadcast series people did last week, it’s starting to look as if viewers are more interested in the established shows. This is good news for NBC and CBS and perhaps not so good for everyone else.

Deliveries for Tuesday night’s half-dozen freshmen series dropped significantly—and, in some cases, to unsustainable levels. Fox’s comedy block appears to have Bambi legs, as newbies Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are faltering in the 8-9 p.m. time slot, while ABC’s entire lineup of new shows is falling fast.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Episode 3 of Dads dropped another 13 percent to a 1.3 in the adults 18-49 demo, while Brooklyn Nine-Nine fell 22 percent to a 1.4. When compared to their premieres, the numbers look even worse: Since bowing on Sept. 17, Dads has lost 41 percent of its target audience, while Brooklyn Nine-Nine is down 46 percent.

While the efficacy of the old lead-in/flow model may be questionable in the DVR era, it would appear that the first hour is starting to sap the 9-10 p.m. players. New Girl dropped 10 percent to a 1.9 in the demo, tying a series low (Jan. 15, 2013), while The Mindy Project was flat (1.5). The relative affluence of both fan bases should go a long way toward allaying any outright panic, but these are clearly not the results for which Fox was hoping.

Fox projects that New Girl will pull a 2.8 or 2.9 rating upon application of three days of playback, while Mindy will land in a slightly more respectable neighborhood (1.9-2.0).

Despite a promising start, ABC’s Tuesday night is also under fire. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. dove 30 percent to a 3.3 in the dollar demo, and while it remains the highest-rated new drama series, the loss was well beyond the standard 15-20 percent erosion.

The usual disclaimers about lead-ins aside, it was all downhill from there. After bowing to a 3.2 rating, the Goldbergs dropped 31 percent to a 2.2. At 9:30 p.m., Trophy Wife lost 39 percent of its premiere demo, losing out to The Mindy Project with a 1.4 rating. (If  there’s a silver lining, The Goldbergs did improve 22 percent versus last year’s Happy Endings premiere … but then again, Trophy Wife was down when compared to Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23’s 1.7 rating.)

Capping the night, the already imperiled Lucky 7 has all but assured its place on the do-not-resuscitate list, falling 46 percent to a miserly 2.62 million viewers and a 0.7 in the demo. 

To put Lucky’s prospects in context, last year’s time slot occupant, Private Practice, more than doubled its demo with a 1.6. Moreover, of the four new dramas ABC canceled last season, only one (Red Widow) was allowed to fall below a 1.0 rating before the network pulled the plug. In that particular case, the show lasted seven episodes.

On the other side of the ledger, NBC keeps racking up hit points with The Voice (14.5 million viewers and a 4.5 in the demo, down just 4 percent), while Chicago Fire dipped 4 percent to 8.74 million viewers and a 2.6.

NBC effectively ran the tables in the key demos, winning the night with a 3.6 rating while putting up big numbers with women 18-49 (4.8) and adults 25-54 (4.8).

Thanks to the unsinkable NCIS, CBS once again drew the most viewers, averaging 15.4 million on the night. The Mark Harmon procedural drew a garish 20 million viewers at 8 p.m., posting a 3.5 with adults 18-49 and a 4.6 rating in its target demo (25-54). 

NCIS: Los Angeles dropped 15 percent to a 3.5 rating among adults 25-54, while Person of Interest slipped 6 percent to a 3.0.

Joining the fray next Tuesday (Oct. 8) are the new CW series The Originals and the returning drama Supernatural. A spinoff of The Vampire Diaries, The Originals will roll out in a special preview tomorrow night.

Tuesday also finds NBC reducing The Voice result show to an hour, clearing the 8 p.m. slot for the Season 15 premiere of The Biggest Loser. The less intense competition could help Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. regain some of the viewers it lost; whereas the 8-9 p.m. segment of the Tuesday installment of The Voice is averaging a 3.9 in the demo, Loser last season delivered a 2.3 in the same time slot.

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