NBC’s Heroes has returned, but its premiere is not enough to save broadcast’s increasingly bummer premiere week.
The two-hour debut of Heroes Reborn got off to a soft start Thursday night, delivering 6 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 18–49 — that’s only 19 percent higher than last year’s edition of the ebbing Biggest Loser franchise in the slot (put another way, this is about the same as the series premiere of The Mysteries of Laura). Still, this is better than how NBC has performed on Thursday night in recent years, so there is that.
The return of ABC’s TGIT lineup was the night’s big winner among entertainment programming. But even Shondaland ebbed, with all three dramas declining from last year: Grey’s Anatomy (9.5 million, 2.8) slipped 10 percent, Scandal (10.2 million, 3.2) was down 16 percent and How to Get Away with Murder (8.4 million, 2.6) was off 32 percent (despite star Viola Davis’ historic Emmy win Sunday).
All were pressured by CBS’ NFL coverage, which had the night’s largest numbers (roughly 12.9 million and a 4.3).
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Also new Thursday was NBC’s The Player (4.9 million, 1.2), which brought Wesley Snipes to TV as a Las Vegas gambling broker who puts crimes on a roulette wheel (or something). Fox’s Minority Report stands as the lowest-rated new show of the fall so far, but The Player was only a tenth of a point higher.
Already there is at least one report suggesting this fall’s TV season is in trouble, and the first week hasn’t even finished yet. As much as we all love tweet-fast conclusions (and prognostications of doom), it’s still too early to reach a verdict. All it takes is a few successful shows to turn around the impression of a season, and many titles haven’t yet debuted — including the new show that’s tracking the best in industry polls, CBS’ Supergirl.