By James Hibberd
Updated September 21, 2012 at 03:44 PM EDT

NBC may be creatively reviving The Office for its final season, but it looks like many fans aren’t yet willing to give the comedy another shot. The veteran series — NBC’s highest-rated scripted show last season — returned Thursday night to not only its lowest premiere rating ever, but the show matched its lowest-rated episode ever.

The Office had 4.3 million viewers and a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49, down a whopping 46 percent in the demo from last fall. I figured the show would be down from its last premiere given how much its ratings dropped midseason. But this big of a drop is surprising considering how little competition was on the air and how much pre-season momentum NBC has had lately. Thursday also marked the return of NBC’s Up All Night (3.1 million, 1.3), down 46 percent, and Parks and Recreation (3.5 million, 1.7), down 19 percent for its lowest-rated premiere yet. The network’s SNL Election Special (5.2 million, 1.6) was modest and Rock Center with Brian Williams (4.1 million, 1.1) was down 21 percent.

As I posted earlier this week, one of the biggest surprises in the fall schedule was that NBC didn’t change this lineup considering how much it was struggling last season. NBC was in third place last night — and CBS and ABC haven’t even launched their fall lineups yet. The Peacock has had a great few weeks launching freshman series like apocalyptic drama Revolution and Matthew Perry’s comedy Go On, as well as maintaining The Voice (See: Can NBC’s fall ratings winning streak continue?), but last night suggests the network is going to have a rough time on Thursdays this fall.

Over on Fox, more good news for The X Factor (9.9 million, 3.4). The reality competition jumped 10 percent from last Thursday. The second week of Glee (7.4 million, 2.9), however, took a slight dip, down 6 percent in the demo.

Episode Recaps

The Office

The mockumentary-style sitcom chronicles a group of typical office employees working 9-5 at the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

  • TV Show
  • 9
  • NBC
stream service