By James Hibberd
Updated September 18, 2013 at 03:21 PM EDT
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Fox’s new comedies didn’t exactly blow up the Nielsens on Tuesday night, yet Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine improved their slots compared to last fall and helped prop up the return of New Girl.

Dads premiered to 5.6 million viewers and a 2.1 adult demo rating, up 24 percent from the debut of Raising Hope at 8 p.m. last year. Brooklyn Nine-Nine opened to 6 million viewers and a 2.5 rating at 8:30 p.m., up 19 percent from the first episode of the short-lived Ben and Kate.

That helped New Girl (5.6 million, 2.9) rise up a tenth a point for its third season premiere. Yet returning companion series The Mindy Project (4.0 million, 1.9) fell 21 percent from last fall’s series opener.

Let’s be clear: Nobody is jumping up and down at Fox over the Dads or Brooklyn numbers. I suspect the network had higher hopes for Andy Samberg’s well-reviewed Brooklyn in particular, a show that some critics felt was the best new comedy this year. And Dads, well, critics at the network’s summer TV press tour reacted to that pilot like Fox was rolling out “Springtime for Hitler” — so any non-bomb rating is a relief for the brass. Point is: Neither performance is great, yet both are workable. And coming off Monday’s clear-win with the premiere of Sleepy Hollow, Fox is off to a not-too-shabby start.

For more on that, here’s EW’s take on the Dads pilot and Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, ABC did something interesting last night: Ran Iron Man 2. Can you guess why? ….

That’s right: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is coming to Tuesday nights. Smart-smart. Warming up the slot with a film from the Marvel universe that can be loaded with ads for S.H.I.E.L.D.

Hey, how about a nice chart?

ADULT DEMO RANK

ADULTS 18-49 RATING

TOTAL VIEWERS

FOX

8:00P

DADS

P

#4

2.1

5,566

8:30P

BROOKLYN 9-9

P

#2

2.5

5,997

9:00P

NEW GIRL

P

#1

2.9

5,562

9:30P

MINDY PRJCT

P

#5

1.9

3,953

ABC

8-11P

IRON MAN 2

S

#9

1.2

3,775

CBS

8-9P

NCIS

R

#8

1.3

10,365

9-10P

NCIS:LA

R

#10t

1.1

7,885

10-11P

PERSON-TUE

R

#13

1.0

6,189

NBC

8-9P

MILLN-QUIZ

S

#10t

1.1

5,188

9-11P

AGT

#3

2.4

10,941

CW

8:00P

WHSE-ANYWAY

#14t

0.8

2,431

8:30P

WHOSE-ENC

R

#14t

0.8

2,329

9-10P

CAPTURE

#16t

0.5

1,066

Doing its voodoo math DVR projections, Fox predicts Dads rating will eventually rise after seven days of playback to a 2.8, Brooklyn to a 3.5, New Girl to a 4.6 and Mindy to a 2.6.

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