They may be two very distinct new shows fighting over the same patch of ground on Tuesday nights, but the preliminary numbers suggest that both "iZombie" and "One Big Happy" could find themselves crawling and scratching their way to a berth in the fall prime-time lineup.
According to Nielsen fast national data, the premiere of the CW's "iZombie" scared up 2.34 million viewers in the 9 p.m. time slot, making it the network's second most-watched series debut of the season. (Lead-in "The Flash" bowed on Oct. 7 to a network-record 4.83 million viewers.) With an average 0.9 in the adults 18-49 demo, "iZombie" not only tied the season average of time-slot precursor "Supernatural," but it also beat Fox's "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" outright.
Given that a single ratings point represents 1% of 18-to-49-year-olds with TVs, "iZombie" drew on the order of 1.14 million members of the advertiser-coveted demo.
While the CW worked to give Rob Thomas' new show the biggest possible lead-in on its schedule, "The Flash" actually dropped 20% from its most recent first-run episode, which drew a 1.5 demo rating. The "iZombie" premiere retained 75% of its lead-in demo.
The CW has been feverishly promoting "iZombie," conducting an intensive marketing campaign that included a 30-second buy on Sunday night's "The Walking Dead." As befits a youth-friendly network that counts "The Flash" and "Arrow" as its highest-rated series, "iZombie" is, like "Flash" and "Arrow," an adaptation of a DC Comics title.
The audience in general was smaller on Tuesday: The number of 18-to-49-year-olds who watched TV last night was down 9% from the year-ago period, while younger enthusiasts in the 18-34 range were off 14%.
New NBC comedy
NBC in the 9 p.m. countered with the season premiere of its sophomore comedy "Undateable" and the opening salvo from the new Ellen DeGeneres-produced sitcom "One Big Happy." Per Nielsen, "Undateable" drew 6.45 million viewers and a 1.9 in the so-called dollar demo, which marked a 46% increase versus the 1.3 rating it delivered in its May 2014 debut. "One Big Happy" retained 84% of its lead-in, drawing a 1.6 rating among adults 18 to 49.
After debuting out-of-season last spring, "Undateable" was furnished with a much stronger lead-in this time around. "The Voice" got NBC's night started with 12.5 million viewers and a 3.1 in the demo, providing a significantly more robust launch pad than did "Hollywood Game Night" (4.25 million viewers, 1.2 demo) a year ago. All told, "Undateable" held onto 61% of its lead-in.
With "Marry Me" and "About a Boy" on indefinite hiatus (both shows were pushed off the schedule to make room for last night's battery), "Undateable" is not only NBC's longest-running extant comedy, but it's now also the network's second highest-rated scripted show.
If competing against one another weren't enough of a challenge, the CW and NBC also had to contend with the seasonal disappearing act that colors the evenings immediately after Daylight Savings Time goes into effect.