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Fall TV Winners & Losers

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Trae Patton/NBC

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The smoke is clearing on the fall TV battlefield. Of the couple dozen new broadcast shows that have launched in the past two months, only a handful stand victorious, and for every medal winner like NBC’s The Blacklist, there’s a wounded case like CBS’ Hostages or a fallen soldier like NBC’s Ironside. Here’s our report from the front lines.

WINNERS
THE VOICE AND WHATEVER AIRS AFTER IT
NBC’s The Voice remains triumphant (averaging 14.8 million viewers, including seven days of DVR playback). Now Xtina & Co. are helping make James Spader’s Monday drama The Blacklist fall’s most watched new show (15.1 million) and fueling Chicago Fire‘s surprising sophomore-season heat on Tuesdays (10.9 million).

THE BIG BANG THEORY AND WHATEVER AIRS AFTER IT
Still breaking viewership records (20.5 million viewers in season 7!), CBS’ The Big Bang Theory fired into ratings orbit two new Thursday shows that critics didn’t even like that much: The Millers (12.5 million) and The Crazy Ones (12.6 million), which rank as fall’s most watched new comedies.

THAT HOT BRITISH GUY WITH THE LONG HAIR AND THE BOOTS
Fox’s Sleepy Hollow (11.5 million) has spawned this fall’s most passionate fandom flash mob (”Sleepyheads”!), thanks to the dorkiest-named hero on TV, Ichabod Crane. Star Tom Mison casually tosses around enough charisma for the whole cast.

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The smoke is clearing on the fall TV battlefield. Of the couple dozen new broadcast shows that have launched in the past two months, only a handful stand victorious, and for every medal winner like NBC’s The Blacklist, there’s a wounded case like CBS’ Hostages or a fallen soldier like NBC’s Ironside. Here’s our report from the front lines.

Winners
The Voice and whatever airs after it
The smoke is clearing on the fall TV battlefield. Of the couple dozen new broadcast shows that have launched in the past two months, only a handful stand victorious, and for every medal winner like NBC’s The Blacklist, there’s a wounded case like CBS’ Hostages or a fallen soldier like NBC’s Ironside. Here’s our report from the front lines.

The Big Bang Theory and whatever airs after it
Still breaking viewership records (20.5 million viewers in season 7!), CBS’ The Big Bang Theory fired into ratings orbit two new Thursday shows that critics didn’t even like that much: The Millers (12.5 million) and The Crazy Ones (12.6 million), which rank as fall’s most watched new comedies.

That hot British guy With the long hair and the boots
Fox’s Sleepy Hollow (11.5 million) has spawned this fall’s most passionate fandom flash mob (”Sleepyheads”!), thanks to the dorkiest-named hero on TV, Ichabod Crane. Star Tom Mison casually tosses around enough charisma for the whole cast.

The Good Wife‘s postmenopausal greatness
With so much to choose from on Sunday nights — The Walking Dead, Homeland, Once Upon a Time — it’s not surprising that CBS’ workaday legal drama The Good Wife has relatively humble viewership (10.9 million). What is surprising: The fifth-season show is stunning loyal fans by delivering its best episodes ever.

The horror, the horror
The Vampire Diaries‘ spin-off, The Originals, is the only new CW show with a pulse (2.7 million, keeping in mind that The CW grades on a steep curve), and FX’s American Horror Story: Coven (7.7 million) is off to the franchise’s strongest start ever — and AHS hasn’t even done vampires. Yet.

Lucky Andy Samberg
The SNL vet’s new police comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, has disappointing ratings (5.6 million) — which makes Samberg a winner! Because Fox not only gave Brooklyn a full-season pickup, it’s also putting the sitcom in the coveted post-Super Bowl slot on Feb. 2. If ratings sink any lower, maybe the network will let Samberg sing at the big game’s halftime show and judge American Idol, too.

Every drama on AMC…
Breaking Bad fans are still obsessing over September’s series finale (and won’t ingest Stevia), while season 3 of The Walking Dead is having a record-shatteringly ginormous season, averaging 19.9 million viewers; in fact, when it comes to the all-important young-adult demo, zombies even sack NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Losers
…Except Low Winter Sun and Hell On Wheels
The buzzless AMC duo also known as Low Winter Done and Hell on Who Cares.

NBC’S thursday pit of sitcom despair
Luring back NBC royalty Sean Hayes for Sean Saves the World (4.3 million) and Michael J. Fox for that show named after him (6.5 million) hasn’t made Thursdays must-see again. Viewers have so thoroughly fled the network’s comedy block it’s practically haunted.

Bored-Walk Empire
Remember when a Sunday-night Mob drama on HBO was everything that TV fans talked about the next day? Yeah, that was a long time ago.

Spunky heroines in corsets
They’re beautiful and feisty, and they talk in cute accents. Alas, the heroines of ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (6 million) and The CW’s Reign (2.1 million) haven’t charmed a big audience.

Guy-coms
Yet another year when networks can’t figure out how to make a group of men funny without being kinda gross and creepy. CBS’ divorced-dudes sitcom We Are Men (6.7 million) was canceled, while Fox’s lecherous Dads (4.7 million) continues drawing breath by the network’s good graces. Now even CBS’ archetype Two and a Half Men is getting ever more long in the tooth. (Could ex-Men Angus T. Jones have been the glue holding that crazy together?)

The Avengers‘ assistants
How can ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (10.9 million) be the top-rated new broadcast show in the valuable 18-49 demo and still be a loser? Because the drama about beautiful jet-setting quipsters solving sci-fi mysteries is shedding viewers (losing 40 percent of its audience since the premiere), many of whom then go online to debate how to fix it. Here’s an idea: Hire Cobie Smulders, a.k.a. Agent Maria Hill!

Simon Cowell and his pop-star harem
One upside: We don’t think Fox’s The X Factor (7.9 million, down 19 percent from last season) will be on this list again next year.

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