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This story first appeared in the Oct. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Michelle Ashford Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Matching Homeland‘s promising 2011 launch with 1 million viewers, Showtime’s period drama about real-life sex researchers Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson earned the rare distinction of improving in its second outing — by 9 percent — and grossed a premiere audience of 5.6 million viewers.
Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath The Blacklist (NBC)
Breaking time-shifting records and proving to be much more stable than last year’s Voice neighbor, Revolution, the James Spader-starring thriller debuted to a 3.8 rating among adults 18-to-49, scored near 100 percent retention in its second week of live-plus-3 returns and received one of the season’s first full-season orders.
Will Gluck and Sam Laybourne The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)
Must See TV may have found its savior in an old friend. Though The Michael J. Fox Show had a softer start than NBC may have hoped for, it’s topping all other Thursday comedies on the network after its 2.2 adults rating and 7.5 million premiere.
Adam F. Goldberg The Goldbergs (ABC)
The Goldbergs came strong out of the gate with a 3.1 rating among adults 18-to-49 — and though it has dipped alongside lead-in Agents of SHIELD, it’s still outperforming last year’s play for Tuesday comedy, the dearly departed Happy Endings.
David E. Kelley, Tracy Poust and Jon Kinnally The Crazy Ones (CBS)
CBS had the bragging rights of the biggest premiere of the fall season, raking in a massive 15.5 million viewers (and a 3.9 demo rating) with The Big Bang Theory as its lead-in. Numbers have settled, but the Robin Williams vehicle remains one of the strongest new entries on the schedule.
Graeme Mason and John Fawcett Orphan Black (BBC America )
This is a series that’s all about buzz. The cloning-themed drama premiered to only 684,000 total viewers and 375,000 in adults 25-to-54 but grew a cult following due largely to star Tatiana Maslany‘s crafty acting (she plays numerous characters). That earned the Canadian actress a Critics’ Choice Award in June.
Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Rick Eid Hostages (CBS)
This serialized drama started soft on CBS’ Monday but saw early lifts of 50 percent with three days of DVR playback — which could prove make-or-break during TV’s most time-shifted season to date.
Blowing all 2012-13 launches out of the water, Sleepy Hollow opened to record highs on Fox — and its pilot has thus far grossed 25 million viewers across platforms. It wasn’t just the first new offering of the season to get an additional order of episodes for this season, it also earned an early renewal for a second season of 13 episodes.
Meredith Steihm and Elwood Reid The Bridge (FX)
An adaptation of Danish hit Bron, The Bridge proved to be FX’s surprise hit of the summer. Steadily growing throughout its run, its latest average put it at 3.65 million viewers and 1.68 million adults 18-to-49. The series also benefits from a serious DVR boost, doubling its demo score in live-plus-7.
Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen Agents of SHIELD (ABC)
The distinction of launching as the highest-rated drama in four years with a 4.7 demo rating and being ABC’s first pricey partnership with corporate sibling Marvel does not come without big expectations. SHIELD‘s ratings have not sustained their premiere level, but a speedy full-season pickup from the network and a surplus of media attention make it one of the higher-profile gambles of the season.
J.H. Wyman Almost Human (Fox)
One of fall’s latest debuts, with a Nov. 4 premiere, Fox’s sci-fi procedural has the power of J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot in its corner and a choice time slot on the network’s Monday lineup. It subs in for veteran Bones at 8 p.m., leading into the network’s poster-child success story, Sleepy Hollow.
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