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Bryan Singer's new ABC drama is no 'Scandal'

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Black Box

ABC’s newest medical soap got off to a fairly modest start in the ratings Thursday night. Black Box, the somewhat bizarrely conceptualized and unfortunately titled drama from executive producer Bryan Singer, opened far below the 10 p.m. bar set by ABC’s mega-hit Scandal.

The first episode delivered 6.6 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49, roughly half of Scandal‘s demo average in the hour. The premiere was also edged out by the latest episode of Elementary, despite the CBS drama having a weaker lead-in. ABC noted, however, that among total viewers, it was the most-watched 10 p.m. drama launch on the network since Nashville two years ago. (Of course, ABC’s other 10 p.m. drama launches since then have almost all been canceled, and this is the network’s best-supported slot given its Grey’s Anatomy lead-in.) While Singer is a producer on Black Box, Deadline reported his name was taken off ABC’s ads in the wake of the headline-making lawsuit against the director.

The show was also saddled with poor reviews, with EW calling Black Box an “utterly conventional, thoroughly dull entry in the over-saturated ‘Insufferable Genius’ genre.” The story follows Catherine Black (Kelly Reilly), a brilliant neurologist who’s secretly bipolar and less secretly sex-crazed. (Also, she’s nicknamed “the Marco Polo of the brain.”)

Another premiere got off to a better start. CBS’s Bad Teacher had pretty decent ratings at 9:30 — 7.9 million viewers and a 2.1 rating in the demo. Still, that was with some slippage from its Two and a Half Men lead-in.

On NBC, executives have already reassured that Parks and Recreation is coming back. Good thing, because its one-hour season finale rating was pretty low — 2.7 million viewers and a 1.0 rating in the demo, though that’s actually up 11 percent from last week. Be sure to check out Dan Snierson’s extensive Q&A with Parks EP Michael Schur. Full chart:

NET/TIME/SHOWS  18-49 demo  total viewers (+000)
FOX 8-9P HELL KTCHN- 1.7 4,823
9:00P AM IDOL-TH- 1.8 7,600
9:30P SURVIVING- 1.0 3,928
ABC 8-9P J KIMMEL- RS 0.6 2,753
9-10P GREY ANTMY- 2.3 7,644
10-11P BLACK BOX- P 1.5 6,588
CBS 8:00P BIG BANG- 4.3 15,963
8:30P MILLERS- 2.5 10,148
9:00P TWO&HLF MN- 2.5 9,461
9:30P BAD TEACHR- P 2.1 7,867
10-11P ELEMENTARY- 1.6 8,115
NBC 8-9P PARK & REC- 1.0 2,713
9-11P SNL SHORTS- S 1.0 2,458
CW 8-9P VAMPIRE DRS-CW 0.7 1,791
9-10P REIGN-CW 0.5 1,383