Broadcast TV's Fall Premieres Draw Promising Audiences in Early Going

The New Season's Early Ratings Winners and Losers

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The big four broadcast networks may have some new hits on their hands. After losing about 8% of their audience last season in aggregate and renewing only 10 out of 37 last season's new series, the first week of the 2013-14 fall TV season looks at least promising.

It isn't all rosy, of course, with at least a handful of new shows already on death watch.

Here's a breakdown of how the Big Four have fared so far:

'The Crazy Ones'
'The Crazy Ones' Credit: CBS

The eye network enters the fall looking to hold on its title as the most-watched network, both among total viewers and in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic, but that lead among younger viewers is looking a little slippery.

CBS had the biggest new show of the season so far with the Robin Williams comedy "The Crazy Ones," which pulled in 15.6 million total viewers in its Thursday premiere. The comedy was helped mightily by a lead-in from "The Big Bang Theory," which returned to 18.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched premiere of the sitcom yet.

But the network had less success on Monday night. While "How I Met Your Mother" returned steady for its final season, "2 Broke Girls" was down 12% in total viewers and down 24% among 18-to-49-year-olds. The new sitcom "Moms," from "Big Bang" and "Two and a Half Men" creator Chuck Lorre, also lagged the season premiere of "Mike & Molly" in the time slot last year by 15% for total viewers and 17% in the 18-to-49 demo.

"Hostages" was CBS's biggest disappointment. The heavily promoted limited-run drama brought in 7.4 million viewers, nearly half that of NBC's "The Blacklist" and about 8% less than the season premiere of the former time-period occupant, "Hawaii 5-0."

"NCIS" continues to be a powerhouse, returning to 19.5 million viewers, but it was down 17% in the 18-to-49 demo from last season's debut. Spinoff "NCIS: Los Angeles" was also down 11% in the demo.

"The Voice" remains NBC's biggest success outside of "Sunday Night Football." It, and original judges Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, returned on Monday to 14.7 million viewers, stronger than its debuts for both of last season's cycles, one night after the singing competition's Emmy win for outstanding reality competition.

NBC may have a new hit though with the James Spader drama "The Blacklist," which delivered 12.6 million viewers on Monday night. That's nearly 8% more viewers than the premiere of "Revolution" in the same time slot last year. "Revolution" returned in its new night at 10 p.m. Wednesday to just 6.8 million viewers, a 56% plunge from its freshman premiere.

Up against CBS's comedy block, NBC's Thursday night paled in comparison. "Parks and Recreation" attracted just 3.3 million viewers, while "The Michael J. Fox Show," brought in 7.2 million.

'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'
'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Credit: ABC

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." became ABC's top drama premiere since 2009, attracting 11.9 million viewers in its 8 p.m. time slot on Tuesday and delivering more than double the 18-to-49 audience pulled in last year by the "Dancing With The Stars" results show (which has been cut).

But at the other end of the spectrum, the alphabet network also bowed "Lucky 7," which attracted fewer than 5 million viewers.

"The Goldbergs" was watched by 9.1 million viewers, while "Trophy Wife" brought in 6.6 million. Both premiered better than "Happy Endings" and "Don't Trust the B--- In Apartment 23" last year.

"Dancing With The Stars," which had a decent start last week up against little competition, remained steady in total viewership, but lost 24% of its younger viewers from the year prior. "Modern Family" also lost 25% of the 18-to-49 demo in its premiere.

Fox premiered most of its new series a week ahead of its peers. "Sleepy Hollow" premiered to more than 10 million viewers, but lost 15% of that audience in its second outing as competition increased significantly. "Sleepy Hollow" was nonetheless Fox's best fall series launch since 2006, and in its first week brought in double the audience "The Mob Doctor" pulled a year ago.

The network's new male-skewing comedies "Dads" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" got sampled in its first week, but against "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" both got killed, losing more than 30% of their audience.

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