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Monday was a big one on the broadcast networks, so before a full dissection of all the new and returning series to trot out on the Big Four — who was the biggest winner?
Of course, it’s The Big Bang Theory. TV’s pricey crown jewel opened its seventh season in the temporary Monday time slot with an average 5.4 rating among adults 18-49 and more than 18 million viewers over the course of two episodes. It proved a predictably huge boon to CBS’ Monday night, which lost an anchor in How I Met Your Mother at the end of last season, and certainly helped out Scorpion.
CBS’ thriller dramedy averaged a 3.2 rating in the key demo and 13.8 million viewers. That makes it the biggest series opener of the night — and while it’s just behind Sunday CBS premiere Madam Secretary in total viewers, its demo showing is considerable. A big test for the Scorpion, however, will be how it fares in delayed views and if it can stand on its own once Big Bang migrates back to Thursdays when football ends. CBS’ projections for time-shifting have Scorpion rising 47 percent in the key demo, while Big Bang will likely improve 54 percent.
Another network that’s bound to be pleased is NBC. Like last year, it won opening night in the key demo. The Voice, while a sizable hit (1.2 ratings points) from last fall’s premiere, still averaged a 3.9 rating among adults 18-49 and 12.9 million viewers against the increased competition. That said, it still marks the smallest fall premiere the show has ever posted, another sign of TV viewers’ mounting fatigue with singing shows.
The other half of last year’s dynamic duo, The Blacklist, was the strongest drama of the night with a 3.4 rating in the key demo in live-plus-same-day returns and 12.5 million viewers. The Blacklist, which debuted a year ago with a 3.8 demo rating, set time-shifting records during its first season — so like all other scripted fare for the night, expect significant recoups once three- and seven-day DVR stats roll in.
The buzziest newcomer of the night — and, perhaps, the season — was Fox’s Batman prequel Gotham. Against some of the biggest time slot competition a series could face, Gotham averaged a very strong 3.2 rating with adults 18-49, tying Scorpion, and 8.2 million viewers. (Fox foresees growth of 59 percent once DVR is tallied.) It led into Sleepy Hollow, Fox’s MVP from last season, which returned to a 2.0 rating in the key demo. That’s a big drop from the 2013 opener, but Sleepy is also big on time-shifting and has a track record of recouping a lot once live-plus-seven data comes in — and Fox predicts north of 90 percent.
Dancing With the Stars lost little steam thanks to all of the new entries. It pulled a 2.2 rating with adults under 50, barely off from last week when it saw record DVR plays, though offering modest lead-in to the night’s smallest performer: Forever. One of the least-promoted new shows of the fall, it nabbed a 1.7 demo rating.
CBS also aired the finale of Under the Dome. The drama pulled a 1.8 rating in the key demo, besting ABC’s Forever (if falling shy in total viewers, 7.5 to 8.6 million) but clearly falling short of The Blacklist. Based on performance this season, it should see a 67 percent lift with adults 18-49.
Sept. 23, 2 p.m. This article has been updated to reflect all final ratings for Monday night, per Nielsen.
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