8:12am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'The Voice' Tops Monday With Most-Watched Episode Since 2012
The first Monday without the Olympics was still a good one for NBC. The Voice returned for its midseason cycle, slightly earlier than last year, topping broadcast TV for the night in the key demo.
With an average 4.7 rating among adults 18-49, according to Fast National returns from Nielsen, The Voice was virtually even with its comparable Monday opener on March 25, 2013. That brought in a 4.8 rating.
The two-hour episode averaged 15.7 million viewers, up from both last March (13.6 million) and the fall (14.98 million). That marks The Voice's most-watched episode ever, outside of the post-Super Bowl special in 2012.
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For those keeping track, The Voice is dead even with American Idol's January premiere in the key demo -- and outperformed it in total viewers by 500,000.
The spring cycle again brings in judges Shakira and Usher, sitting in for Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green -- though the latter announced last week he would not be returning to the show at all. Compared to the fall season, which has given the show a stronger ratings run, The Voice was off just four-tenths of a point in the key demo.
NBC's other crown jewel, The Blacklist, rose with its lifted lead-in, averaging a 3.1 rating among adults 18-49. That's up six-tenths of a point from its last original outing in January. NBC took an average 4.2 rating with adults 18-49 and 14.2 million viewers for the night.
ABC, which stayed the course with The Bachelor throughout NBC's Olympic coverage, saw the series lifted on Monday night. With a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49, the show was improved by two-tenths of a point. Castle (1.7 adults) was event, giving ABC a 2.2 rating with adults 18-49 and 8.3 million viewers for the night.
Competition resumed on the rest of the Big Four, with CBS bringing back its comedy block after nearly a month off. How I Met Your Mother (3.6 adults) led the way, off two-tenths of a point as it enters the final stretch to its March 31 series finale. 2 Broke Girls (2.5 adults), Mike & Molly (2.1 adults) and Mom (1.9 adults) all fell more. The trio was off by a half of a point from their respective last showings, with Mike & Molly actually off by six-tenths. Intelligence (1.2 adults) held its most recent score, giving CBS a 2.1 rating with adults 18-49 and 7.2 million viewers for the night.
Almost Human and The Following, both of which averaged a 1.6 rating with adults 18-49 on Fox, saw no lift without the Olympics. The duo were both down a tenth of a point from last week. Fox averaged 5.1 million viewers for the night.