Crime-stopper-stuffed Tuesday night had no less than six procedural dramas debuting. Some were familiar, some were brand new. Here’s who came out on top in the ratings in the key adult demo:
— CBS’ NCIS (18 million viewers, 2.9 rating among adults 18-49): This show has been on 12 years now, yet once again NCIS returned in the lead in its usual 8 p.m. slot. Still, NCIS is starting to show its age as this performance marks the show’s lowest-rated premiere since its series debut.
— NBC’s Chicago Fire (9.4 million, 2.7): Yes, Chicago Fire! Granted, the soapy drama series has a huge lead-in from The Voice (13 million, 4.0) but as I always point out: Nobody is forced to watch a TV show, a series still needs to earn the bulk of its audience. Last night Chicago Fire manage to tie last year’s strong premiere at 10 p.m. — which is really impressive and isn’t common nowadays. The show’s debut could have been boosted by NBC teasing fans that a character was going to get killed off in the premiere.
— CBS’ NCIS: New Orleans (17.1 million, 2.5): This is a respectable premiere in the demo for the latest NCIS spin-off at 9 p.m., yet the performance is down 17 percent from the return of NCIS: LA last fall. Among total viewers, however, NCIS: NO now takes the crown from CBS’ Madam Secretary as the most-watched new fall debut.
— ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (5.6 million, 1.9): Given how much erosion the SHIELD team endured its first season, nobody expected the Marvel super-powered drama to return anywhere close to its series debut. Still, its 60 percent drop is so steep, especially since its now at 9 p.m. with somewhat of a lead-in (instead of 8). NCIS: NO easily beat SHIELD head to head, though CBS drama had a stronger lead-in with the NCIS mothership vs. Agent Coulson’s Dancing with the Stars results show opener.
— CBS’ Person of Interest (10.7 million, 1.8): Right behind SHIELD in the demo was the fourth season return of POI, slipping 22 percent from last year.
— ABC’s Forever (6.5 million, 1.7): Once again trailing behind is ABC’s new immortality drama, here having its time-slot premiere after previewing Monday night. The good news: Forever maintained its preview rating rather than slipping, so at least it managed to hold onto its sampling audience, which is unusual.
And then there was Fox. No crime dramas here, just reality effort Utopia (1.9 million, 0.8) and the second week of comedies New Girl (2.3 million, 1.3) and Mindy Project (2.1 million, 1.0). None of these are good numbers, and New Girl was hit pretty hard — down 24 percent from last week’s premiere.