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CBS Wins Opening Tuesday; NBC to Net to Beat in Adults 18-49

Solid Starts for New Dramas 'Bull' on CBS and 'This is Us' on NBC

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What follows are the metered market (overnight) results in households by network and by half-hour for Tuesday, September 20:

Household Rating/Share
CBS: 8.8/15, NBC: 7.3/12, ABC: 4.9/ 8, Fox: 1.6/ 3, CW: 0.5/ 1

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening:
NBC: + 9, CBS: + 5,ABC: -18, CW: -44, Fox: -45


“NCIS” (CBS), “The Voice” (NBC), “Bull” (CBS), “This Is Us” (NBC)

-Honorable Mention:
“Dancing With the Stars” (ABC)

-Losers (excluding repeats):

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine: (Fox), “New Girl” (Fox), “Scream Queens” (Fox), “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (ABC)


Ratings Analysis:
Two nights into the new television season and the immediate observation is the state of network television, which…based on the Big 3…is alive and well.

CBS led the Tuesday overnight households, with a clean sweep in the six half-hours care of the season-premiere of “NCIS” (9.8 rating/16 share), the series-premiere of drama “Bull” (9.7/15) and the season-premiere of “NCIS: New Orleans” (7.1/13). But NBC is a lock for victory in adults 18-49 thanks to two-hours of “The Voice” (#2: 7.7/13 from 8-10 p.m.) and the series-premiere of “This Is Us” (#2: 6.5/11), which will remain in the Tuesday 10 p.m. hour until Oct. 4th. Effective Oct. 11, it moves to 9 p.m. into the season-premiere of “Chicago Fire.”

More specifically, the 9.8 overnight household rating for “NCIS” was nine percent below the 10.8/18 season-opener on the year-ago evening, and that translated into 18.19 million viewers and a 2.5 rating/9 share in adults 18-49, based on the Live + Same Day data. The 9.7 overnight rating for “Bull” was 26 percent above the 7.7/12 for the season-premiere of former time period occupant “NCIS: New Orleans” one year earlier, with full overnight retention out of “NCIS.” I’ll call this a spectacular start for “Bull.” And the 7.1 overnight rating for “NCIS: New Orleans,” now at 10 p.m., was 15 percent above the year-ago series premiere of short-lived drama “Limitless” (6.7/12 on 9/22/15).

“This is Us” on NBC, already a critical favorite, opened 68 percent above the 3.8/ 7 for year-ago Tuesday 10 p.m. occupant “The Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris.” And the overnight retention for “This Is Us” out of the 9:30 p.m. portion of “The Voice” (8.1/13) was acceptable at 79 percent.

Over at ABC, the live two-hour “Dancing With the Stars” was certainly respectable at a 6.1/10 in the household overnights from 8-10 p.m. But the season-premiere of “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” like all shows in this genre, was just not an overnight draw at a very distant third-place 2.4/ 4 at 10 p.m. Comparably, the household retention out of the 9:30 p.m. portion of “Dancing With the Stars” (6.2/10) was only 39 percent. As always, it will have to be about social media for “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.”

Fox, meanwhile, was basically off the overnight charts, as expected, with its season-opening combination of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (#4: 1.8/ 6), “New Girl” (#4: 1.8/ 3) and season two of “Scream Queens” (#4: 1.5/ 2), which owes its renewal to social media. Those diehard fans had better be tweeting!

The CW ducked the competition care of a repeat of “The Flash” (#5: 0.6/ 1) and “MADtv” (#5: 0.5/ 1).

What follows are the half-hour results:

8:00 p.m.
ABC – “Dancing With the Stars”: 6.2/10 (#3)
CBS – “NCIS” (season premiere): 9.7/16 (#1)
NBC – “The Voice”: 7.0/12 (#2)
Fox – “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (season premiere): 1.8/ 3 (#4)
CW – “The Flash” (R): 0.6/ 1 (#5)

8:30 p.m.
ABC – “Dancing With the Stars”: 6.0/10 (#3)
CBS – “NCIS” (season premiere): 9.8/16 (#1)
NBC – “The Voice”: 7.7/13 (#2)
Fox – “New Girl” (season premiere): 1.8/ 3 (#4)
CW – “The Flash” (R): 0.6/ 1 (#5)

9:00 p.m.
ABC – “Dancing With the Stars”: 6.1/10 (#3)
CBS – “Bull” (series premiere): 9.7/15 (#1)
NBC – “The Voice”: 8.1/13 (#2)
Fox – “Scream Queens” (season premiere): 1.5/ 2 (#4)
CW – “MADtv”: 0.5/ 1 (#5)

9:30 p.m.
ABC – “Dancing With the Stars”: 6.2/10 (#3)
CBS – “Bull” (series premiere): 9.7/15 (#1)
NBC – “The Voice”: 8.1/13 (#2)
Fox – “Scream Queens” (season premiere): 1.4/ 2 (#4)
CW – “MADtv”: 0.4/ 1 (#5)

10:00 p.m.
ABC – “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (season premiere): 2.7/ 4 (#3)
CBS – “NCIS: New Orleans” (season premiere): 7.2/12 (#1)
NBC – “This is Us” (series premiere): 6.7/11 (#2)

10:30 p.m.
ABC – “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (season premiere): 2.1/ 4 (#3)
CBS – “NCIS: New Orleans” (season premiere): 6.9/13 (#1)
NBC – “This is Us” (series premiere): 6.2/11 (#2)

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US ( Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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  1. Terrific start for Bull and This is Us. I think we all expected the latter to do well based on the Voice lead-in, and the social media response to the trailer… but CBS appears to have hit it out of the park with Bull – which is right up their wheelhouse. This will be a solid line-up for them.

    ABC should have canceled SHIELD – not sure why they kept it around again.

    FOX is heading into CW territory with these numbers. Horrid.

    • I DVRed This is Us so am looking forward to watching it. Shield was one of the renewals that surprised me, along with Scream Queens.

    • All of Us’ trailer was extra-pretentious. Hard to believe that the “social media response” was anything other than a PR stunt.

      On Bull, I’d wait to judge. It’s a great idea for a movie, not so much for a TV show.

      Totally agree with you on Shield and FOX’s Trilogy of Horrific Flops.

    • Corporate synergy has a lot to do with why “Agents of SHIELD” is still around, with its tie-ins to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

      • Agreed. I’ve commented many times that it’s obvious that after having over-spent to buy Marvel, Disney executives can’t be seen to admit their costly acquisition isn’t delivering the goods.




    Improves Upon Year Ago Time Period Ratings

    Live Plus 3-Day Lift for Tuesday, September 20, 2016:

    BULL (P) posted the night’s top live plus three day lift from live plus same day ratings in viewers (+3.85m, 19.42m from 15.57m,
    +25%) and added +0.9 rtg pt in adults 25-54 (4.3 from 3.4, +32%) and +0.7 in adults 18-49 (2.9 from 2.2,
    +26%) live plus three day lift from live plus same day ratings.
    BULL improved upon last season’s 3-day ratings in the time period by
    +26% in viewers, +21% in adults 18-49 and +26% in adults 25-54.

    (P) added +3.22m viewers (19.22m from 16.00m), +0.9 rtg pt in adults
    25-54 (4.3 from 3.4) and +0.7 in adults 18-49 (2.9 from 2.2).

    NEW ORLEANS (P) added +3.05m viewers (14.17m from 11.12m), +0.8 rtg pt
    in adults 25-54 (3.0 from 2.2) and +0.6 in adults 18-49 (2.0 from 1.4).