NBC's new "Up All Night," starring Will Arnett and Christina Applegate as harried new parents, scored big for the network Wednesday, earning the top rating in the crucial 18-49 demo, according to preliminary numbers. Ratings fell off significantly, however, for NBC's other debut, "Free Agents."
CBS's returning "Survivor," meanwhile, was down 15 percent from its last fall premiere.
"Up All Night," which also stars Maya Rudolph as Applegate's boss, outscored its lead-in, the series finale of "America's Got Talent." NBC scheduled its two new comedies, the first shows it debuted this season, after "Talent" to try to piggyback on the finale's tune-in. But it couldn't have expected "Night" to do better than the finale.
"Talent," at 8 p.m., scored a 3.5/10 in the demo, making it the second best-rated show of the night. It had 14 million total viewers. "Night," at 10, scored a 3.7/10, up 54 percent over the 2.4 NBC got in the same half-hour on the same night last year for a preview of the now-canceled "Outlaw." "Night" had 10.9 million total viewers.
"Free Agents" at 10:30 had a 2.1, the same as the "Outlaw" rating in the half hour, and 6.3 million total viewers.
The two new NBC comedies will regularly air on Wednesday nights from 8-9 p.m. NBC now gets to hope "Night" can maintain its ratings, and ponder what drove tune-in: Rudolph's starring role in the summer hit "Bridesmaids"? Arnett and Applegate's long sitcom resumes? Or the show's funny premise?
It will also have to examine the drop-off for "Agents," a much harder sell than "Night" because of its potentially depressing subject matter: It follows a relationship between a man recovering from divorce (Hank Azaria) and a woman who's fiance has recently died (Kathryn Hahn).
NBC won the night overall, followed by CBS. A 90-minute "Survivor: South Pacific," at 8 had a 3.4/10 and 10.6 million total viewers, making it the third highest-rated show of the night. But it was down from the show's premiere last fall. The 90-minute finale of "Big Brother at 9:30 had a 2.9/8 and 7.8 million.
ABC ran repeats except for an episode of "Primetime Nightline" at 10, which had a 1.2/3 and 4.1 million total viewers.
Fox's "Buried Treasure" at 8 had a .8/2 and 2.8 million total viewers. It ran a "Buried Treasure" repeat at 9.
The premiere of CW's "H8R" at 8 had a .6/2 and 1.3 million total viewers. The return of "America's Next Top Model" had a .9/2 and 1.9 million.