Robin Williams, CBS Win the Retro Battle

The Crazy Ones Trumps the Michael J. Fox Show

They may not go head-to-head in Week 2, but if Thursday night’s numbers are anything to go by, Robin Williams is beating Michael J. Fox in the Comeback Kid ratings battle.

According to Nielsen live-same-day data, the series premiere of Williams’ new CBS comedy The Crazy Ones drew a staggering 15.5 million viewers and a 3.9 in the adults 18-49 demo, making it the biggest sitcom debut since the Tiffany Network introduced 2 Broke Girls in 2011.

The beneficiary of a comprehensive marketing campaign and a huge Big Bang Theory lead-in, The Crazy Ones made short work of the first of two episodes of NBC’s The Michael J. Fox Show. The 9 p.m. installment of MJFS drew half the audience of The Crazy Ones, averaging 7.52 million viewers and a 2.2 in the demo.

While the preliminary data may seem a bit of a disappointment for Fox fans, there are a few positive elements in play. For one, MJFS more than doubled lead-in Park and Recreation’s deliveries (3.27 million viewers), while improving on the demo by 69 percent.

The show also held up in its second half hour, retaining 99.3 percent of its deliveries while losing just one-tenth of a ratings point.

From a marketplace perspective, NBC appears to have anticipated that Michael J. Fox’s new outing would appeal to older viewers. Not only did the show earn its highest ratings among adults 50+ (4.0) and women 25-54 (3.2), but the second half hour was sponsored in part by Oxytrol, an incontinence drug for women.

While it’s too early to assess how NBC’s new-look Thursday comedy block will perform until Welcome to the Family and Sean Saves the World come online, the Parks and Rec numbers are particularly discouraging. Not only did the Amy Poehler comedy finish last in overall deliveries and the demo (1.3), but it was outflanked by a repeat of ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (4.68 million viewers).

Parks and Rec did manage to beat the S.H.I.E.L.D. encore by one-tenth of a ratings point.

Next week, The Millers will reap the rewards of the Big Bang lead-in—last night’s two-parter averaged a massive 19.7 million viewers and a 5.8 in the demo—and The Crazy Ones will take up residence in the 9 p.m. slot, where it’ll take on Sean Saves the World. MJFS will move to the 9:30 p.m. slot, across from another refurbished season of CBS’ Two and a Half Men. (In their first tilt, Men out-drew MJFS by eight tenths of a ratings point, averaging a 2.9—down 17 percent from the year-ago 3.5 rating. This marked the lowest-rated premiere in the show’s history.)

While TBBT put up its usual monstrous numbers (Thursday’s premiere was up 4 million viewers versus the Sept. 27, 2012, opener), the 6.1 rating in the second half-hour isn’t even a series high. Last season, the show broke the 6.0 barrier three times, a run that included a mind-boggling 6.4 rating on Jan. 10.

TBBT predictably delivered the night’s biggest ratings among the 25-54 set, averaging a 7.3 for the 8-9 p.m. hour. The second half hour nearly ran the table on the demos—younger, older, male, female—but Grey’s Anatomy played the spoiler, drawing a 4.6 among women 18-34.

If the CBS comedies ran roughshod over the prime-time landscape, its 10 p.m. drama came up a little short. The Season 2 premiere of Elementary drew 10.1 million viewers and a 2.1 A18-49 rating, down a full point, or 32 percent from its series opener.

A two-hour Grey’s Anatomy drew 9.27 million viewers and a 3.4 in the demo, down from the year-ago 4.4 rating, while NBC’s Parenthood slumped to 5.06 million viewers and a series-low 1.6.

Elsewhere, Fox’s one-hour X Factor delivered 6.47 million viewers and a 2.1 in the demo, up 5 percent versus last Thursday but still down 34 percent from the 3.2 it delivered in the comparable week a year ago. Finally, Glee continues to show its age, plummeting 36 percent to a 2.0 rating.

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