Voiceless Blacklist Drops, Intelligence Plummets

Despite weaker lead-in, NBC still has CBS on the ropes in the Monday 10 p.m. slot

The return of NBC’s The Blacklist on Monday was undermined somewhat by a softer lead-in, but the season’s No. 1 new series still managed to dominate the 10 p.m. time slot.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the James Spader procedural delivered 9.35 million viewers and a series-low 2.5 in the adults 18-49 demo, marking a 22 percent drop from its most recent original broadcast (3.2). The Blacklist had been on a six-week hiatus before it returned last night with its 11th episode.

Until Monday’s return engagement, The Blacklist had only dipped below a 3.0 in the demo once before, notching a 2.9 rating on Nov. 4.

Although NBC heavily promoted the thriller’s return, the ratings decline was not wholly unexpected, given that The Voice is no longer buttressing The Blacklist’s numbers from 8-10 p.m. Broadcast’s No. 3 show returns for its sixth cycle on Tuesday, Feb. 24, the day after NBC wraps its coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

If The Blacklist’s deliveries were watered down by a weak lead-in—a special installment of America Ninja Warriors drew a 1.9 in the demo, whereas The Voice’s Monday Night show averaged a 4.0—CBS seems to have lost its footing entirely in the hour. After bowing to 16.5 million viewers and a 2.4 rating in a special Tuesday night post-NCIS premiere, the new sci-fi drama Intelligence took it on the chin in its regular time slot. Per Nielsen, the Josh Holloway vehicle averaged just 6.20 million viewers and a 1.2 18-49 rating, down 50 percent from its opener.

Intelligence’s time slot premiere was down 33 percent when compared to the Sept. 23 season debut of its predecessor, Hostages (1.8). The limited series ended its run last week with a two-part finale; all told, Hostages averaged 5.16 million viewers and a 1.2 rating over the course of its 15 episodes.

The disappointing results came on the heels of a weekend in which CBS repeatedly characterized Intelligence as “America’s No. 1 New Drama.” Promos for the show ran in heavy rotation during the network’s coverage of the AFC Divisional Playoffs. 

(For what it’s worth, while CBS may have jumped the gun with its hyperbolic promos, the special Intelligence premiere remains the most-watched series opener of 2013-14.)

If the last hour of Monday prime continues to give CBS fits, its comedy block is no slouch. How I Met Your Mother (3.0, up 11 percent) and 2 Broke Girls (2.7, up 17 percent) put up the night’s most robust demo numbers, while Mike & Molly grew 9 percent to a 2.4 and freshman entry Mom was up 16 percent with a 2.1.

Elsewhere, Fox’s new hit Sleepy Hollow returned from a four-week nap with a 2.2 in the dollar demo, flat versus its most recent original installment, while lead-in Almost Human improved 11 percent to a 2.0.

At ABC, The Bachelor fell 15 percent to a 2.3 rating, while Castle was up 12 percent with a 1.9.