By James Hibberd
February 08, 2013 at 04:17 PM EST
  • TV Show
  • Yahoo Screen

NBC has been getting hammered in the press for its spiraling ratings the past several weeks. New shows Deception, Do No Harm and 1600 Penn have collapsed out of the gate, while the heavily hyped return of Smash bombed earlier this week.

Now here comes little Community, finally back on the air for its fourth season. And guess what? The comedy returned higher — just slightly, mind you, but still: In a season where most shows returned lower, Community bucked that trend. Oh, and the comedy was facing Fox’s American Idol — unlike its fourth season opener — and TV’s top-rated comedy The Big Bang Theory.

Community delivered 4 million viewers and a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49 at 8 p.m., up 6 percent from its previous debut in September, 2011. The show improved on NBC’s average in this slot this season by 38 percent and boosted 8:30 p.m.’s Parks and Recreation to a season high. Meaningless comparison: Community was 50 percent higher than Tuesday’s Smash premiere.

This is sure to be joyous news for the Community team, which has watched NBC heavily promote Smash while pushing their show from its original fall premiere date. And it will also help those renewal odds. As NBC chief Robert Greenblatt said last month, the show could “absolutely” get a fifth season. (Buzzkill disclaimer: Community‘s adult demo rating could be adjusted down to tie its previous premiere rating when Nielsen releases its more accurate numbers this afternoon, but one network analyst said the 1.8 should be sustained — at worst, the comedy managed to remain steady despite increased competition, a protracted hiatus and a showrunner shakeup). UPDATE: In the afternoon nationals, Community went UP to a 1.9.

Community wasn’t the only show with news last night. ABC’s Scandal, that wild political soap on Adderall, rose to match its series high. Check out Mark Harris’ spot-on essay where he calls it TV’s “most ridiculous, chaotic bat#@!*-crazy show.” Grey’s Anatomy was up 11 percent too.

The rest: The Office was flat. 1600 Penn dropped 15 percent. Do No Harm slid 22 percent from last week’s historic (in a bad way) debut. On CBS, Big Bang Theory was up 13 percent (that number may look like a season high, but it’s not, which speaks to how insanely well this comedy is performing this season). Men was up 5 percent, POI was steady and Elementary was up 5 percent. Fox’s American Idol was down 9 percent while Glee was up 5 percent. The CW’s Vampire Diaries fell 15 percent and Beauty was down 14 percent.

Full Chart:

FOX 8-9P AMERICAN IDOL #2t 4.1 13,153
9-10P GLEE #8 2.2 6,064
ABC 8-9P SHARK TANK RS #12 1.3 4,779
9-10P GREY ANATOMY #5 3.1 8,822
10-11P SCANDAL #6 2.8 7,996
CBS 8:00P BIG BANG #1 6.1 18,849
8:30P TWO&HLF MEN #2t 4.1 14,145
9-10P PERSON INTEREST #4 3.2 15,162
10-11P ELEMENTARY #7 2.3 11,019
NBC 8:00P COMMUNITY P #11 1.8 3,978
8:30P PARK & REC #10 2.0 3,832
9:00P OFFICE #9 2.1 4,250
9:30P 1600 PENN #13t 1.1 2,814
10-11P DO NO HARM #15 0.7 2,180
CW 8-9P VAMPIRE DIARIES #13t 1.1 2,499
9-10P BEAUTY&BEAST #16 0.6 1,518

Joel McHale and Alison Brie star in this comedy about a college study group—which has received second life on Yahoo.
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  • 6
  • 09/17/09
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