Ratings: Fox Stops the Bleeding, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Softens

In a night of contrasts, Ziva fans ding NCIS deliveries

In the absence of a new episode of NBC’s The Voice, the Tuesday night broadcast lineup enjoyed a bit of a reprieve. But while a number of new series appeared to have reached a sort of equilibrium, one high-profile drama keeps losing steam.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, ABC’s freshman anchor Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. averaged 7.87 million viewers and a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49, down 12 percent versus a week ago and a whopping 38 percent off its premiere pace. While ABC projects that S.H.I.E.L.D. will improve to a 4.2 or 4.3 rating upon application of three days of DVR data, the decline is particularly sharp considering that the 8-9 p.m. competition was diluted by a hybrid NBC fall preview/Voice clip show.

Even after airing what was essentially an encore performance, The Voice retained its top banana status, averaging a 3.0 in the demo from 8-10 p.m. (Hosted by Carson Daly, the 8-9 p.m. Voice recap/preview mashup tied S.H.I.E.L.D. in the demo.)

S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to draw young men to the traditionally female-skewing ABC. Last night’s installment swept all the testosterone demos, averaging a 3.7 among men 18-49, a 3.1 with men 18-34 and a 4.1 in the male 25-54 set. Along with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, S.H.I.E.L.D also was the only Tuesday night show that drew more men than women.

Speaking of men, S.H.I.E.L.D. had to contend with the deciding game in the American Division Series (Red Sox-Rays, TBS). Boston’s neverending (three hours, 49 minutes) 3-1 victory over its AL East rivals averaged 5.16 million viewers and a 1.5 in the 18-49 demo.

It’s worth noting that S.H.I.E.L.D. won’t have to tangle with The Voice again any time soon. Beginning Oct. 15, The Biggest Loser will move into the 8-9 p.m. slot, reducing The Voice results show to an hour.

At 9 p.m., the new ABC comedy The Goldbergs slipped another 14 percent to a 1.9, while lead-out Trophy Wife was flat with a 1.4 rating. Subbing for the canceled Lucky 7, a repeat of ABC’s hit drama Scandal closed out the night with a 0.9 rating—an improvement of 29 percent versus the last episode of its doomed predecessor.

On the whole, the networks in the final hour of prime time couldn’t hold a candle to basic cable. Along with the aforementioned MLB playoff game, FX’s outlaw drama Sons of Anarchy out-delivered ABC, CBS and NBC, averaging a 2.5 in the demo. NBC’s Chicago Fire was an also-ran with a 2.1, down 19 percent versus last week’s 2.6. 

The Fox comedy block appears to have found its level, as Dads was flat with a 1.3, while Brooklyn Nine-Nine improved to a 1.5. New Girl bounced back two-tenths of a ratings point to a 2.1, and The Mindy Project dipped 7 percent to a 1.4.

Even with a projected 31 percent live-three-day lift, Dads is still looking down the barrel of a 1.7 in the dollar demo. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is in better shape, with time-shifting expected to lift last night’s episode to a 2.2 rating, while New Girl could grow as much as 52 percent (3.2). Like fellow bookend Dads, The Mindy Project isn’t likely to add enough DVR viewers to break the 2.0 barrier.

The departure of NCIS actress Cote de Pablo (Ziva) may have contributed to a big drop among younger viewers, as ratings for members of the 18-49 set were down 20 percent to a 2.8. Other metrics were relatively more stable; overall deliveries slipped 9 percent to 18.3 million viewers, while adults 25-54 were down 11 percent to a 4.0. Lead-outs NCIS: Los Angeles and Person of Interest were more stable, as the former actually improved by one-tenth of a point in the target demo (3.6), while PoI was flat among adults 25-54 with a 3.0.

When three days of playback are blended into the data, CBS projects that NCIS will jump to a 5.0 in the demo, while the spinoff will go on to notch a 4.4. Person of Interest could improve as much as 30 percent to a 3.9.

Over at the CW, the time-slot premiere of The Originals scared up 1.92 million viewers and a 1.1 in the women 18-34 demo, an improvement of 57 percent in the time slot versus the 2012-13 season average. In its new night, Supernatural returned to 2.53 million viewers and a 1.2 among adults 18-49, marking its most-watched and highest-rated season premiere since 2010.

Once the L3 numbers were baked in, the Oct. 3 series premiere of The Originals showed dramatic increases in total viewers and the relevant demos—and that was before on-demand/streaming data could be brought to bear. This is particularly relevant to the CW, as its online impressions arguably may be as significant as its linear deliveries. As such, live-same-day data only conveys a part of the network’s overall ratings story.