February 06, 2013 8:35am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'Smash' Flops in Return, Outperformed by 'Betty White Birthday'
The substantial hiatus and costly reboot did not seem to work for NBC's Smash.
The musical drama returned with a two-hour sophomore premiere Tuesday night, averaging just a 1.1 rating with adults 18-49 and 4.47 million viewers. Although it obviously benefited from Super Bowl buzz and a strong lead-in from The Voice during its original launch, Tuesday night still marked a 71 percent drop from its premiere's 3.8 adults rating. Notably, the last half-hour of the Smash premiere, starting at 10:30 p.m., fell to a 1.0 rating in the demo.
ANALYSIS: Why Even DVR Won't Save 'Smash' Ratings
Smash, also down 39 percent from last year's May finale, targeted a creative revival in its second outing. The series tapped Gossip Girl vet Josh Safran to replace Theresa Rebeck as showrunner and added a slew of on-camera talent, including Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson.
Ahead of Smash, NBC aired Betty White's Second Annual 90th Birthday Special. And with a 1.5 rating in the key demo and 6 million viewers, it outperformed Smash by more than 25 percent. NBC averaged a 1.2 rating with adults 18-49 and 4.97 million viewers for the night.
On the opposite side of the Big Four, CBS won the night in total viewers (16.1 million) and adults 18-49 (2.8 adults rating). NCIS (3.7 adults), off one-tenth from last week, and an even NCIS: LA (3.1 adults) were the night's top performers. Vegas (1.6 adults) was off three-tenths from last week.
On ABC, The Taste (1.8 adults) grew two-tenths of a point from last week's outing. A special Tuesday edition of The Bachelor (2.6 adults) improved on Monday's showing by two-tenths as well, giving ABC an average 2.3 adults rating and 6.95 million viewers.
Both episodes of Raising Hope (1.6, 1.5 adults) were off a tenth of a point from last week's back-to-back showings on Fox. New Girl (2.5 adults) also was off a tenth of a point, while The Mindy Project (1.8 adults) grew by two-tenths. Fox averaged a 1.9 rating in the key demo and 3.99 million viewers.
Emily Owens M.D. (0.4 adults) made a quiet exit from The CW, even with last week's performance. At 8 p.m., Hart of Dixie (0.6 adults) was up a tenth of a point. The network averaged a 0.5 adults rating and 1.5 million viewers.
Univision averaged a 1.7 rating with adults 18-49 and 4 million viewers.