'Intelligence' EP on Steep Ratings Drop: 'That Sucked'

Chris Helcermanas-Benge/CBS

Premieres: Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 9 p.m. (CBS)
Stars: Josh Holloway, Marg Helgenberger, Meghan Ory, Michael Rady, John Billingsley, P.J. Byrne

Intelligence follows Gabriel Vaughn, a high-tech intelligence operative enhanced with a super-computer microchip in his brain.

Should Intelligence be worried?

The rookie spy drama, starring Josh Holloway and Marg Helgenberger, premiered to a big 16.5 million viewers and a 2.4 rating on Jan. 7 following NCIS. But days later, when Intelligence launched in its regular Monday time slot Jan. 13, the series nabbed just 6.2 million viewers and sank 50 percent to a 1.2 rating.

Executive producer Michael Seitzman was candid about the steep ratings drop-off Wednesday morning during CBS' Television Critics Association. "That sucked -- there's no other way to put it," Seitzman admitted, though he did cite happiness with CBS touting -- if briefly -- Intelligence's top freshman scripted debut.

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From Seitzman's perspective, he doesn't see airing opposite NBC's The Blacklist and ABC's Castle in the Monday 10 p.m. period as competition. Instead, he diplomatically stated that they're "friends."

During the session, Seitzman was asked whether filming in a bubble (production on the 13-episode order has finished) was a detriment or a saving grace. "It's good news," he said. "You don't have to show up and face 200 members of the crew when the ratings go down," Seitzman added.

From CBS' perspective, Intelligence's future is still a question mark.

"We're going to watch very closely. We think the show -- looking ahead creatively -- is great. Certainly, that time period is a tougher time period right now, but we want to see what the lift is," CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said after the executive panel. "We want to see what the delayed viewing numbers are. We want to see what the L7 numbers are. We're waiting a moment to see how many other people watch the show. We're going to wait and see."

Lesley Goldberg contributed to this report.

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Twitter: @insidethetube