Moonves said knock ‘em out, and that’s just what "NCIS Los Angeles" did, while the much-hype "The Good Wife" premiered to good but not great numbers and ABC’s "The Forgotten" had a credible start.
On the Jay Leno/Future of TV Watch, Tuesday’s edition — headline by Pee Wee Herman — averaged a 2.4/7, bouncing back from Monday’s low and suggesting it might be a player even against strong competition.
Let’s go to the bullet points:
–CBS genetically engineerd the LL Cool J-led "NCIS Los Angeles" to be a success — and so far, so good. Tuesday’s launch averaged a 4.3/11 in adults 18-49, a 5.9/14 in adults 18-49 and 18.32 million viewers. No shows were superior as the spinoff dominated its 9 p.m. slot and, more importantly, held on to most of its "NCIS: Old School" lead-in (4.6/13, 6.3/16, 20 million viewers).
Both shows were up big-time over last year’s CBS performance in the 8-10 p.m. block.
–"The Good Wife" (3.1/9 adults 18-49, 13.7 million) broke CBS’s curse of 10 p.m. Tuesday turkeys by winning its timeslot and improving the Eye’s performance in the hour by double digits ("Without a Trace" aired there in the fall). In viewers, it was the best CBS has done since 2002 ("Judging Amy").
However, it lost a massive chunk of its lead – in (perhaps the men who love LL and "NCIS: LA" were turned off by a show called "The Good Wife") and came in below industry expectations among adults 18-49, which were sky-high following a great marketing campaign and great reviews.
Still, if "Good Wife" can maintain or grow, CBS will be happy. The jury’s still out on Julianna.
–ABC also had some OK news at 10 p.m.: New Jerry Bruckheimer drama "The Forgotten" (2.5/7, 9.5 million) opened in second place and was up by double digits vs. last year’s "Eli Stone." It lost a sizable amount of its "Dancing with the Stars" lead-in.
–Fox did fine with "Hell’s Kitchen" (3.3/9), and finished third in the 8-10 p.m. block (but second for the night; see below).
–NBC’s "The Biggest Loser" (3.1/8) lost 18 percent of its premiere audience and fell behind Fox to finish fourth from 8-10 p.m.
The uptick for Leno was good news for NBC. Perhaps all the older men who watched "NCIS Los Angeles" bailed on "The Good Wife" and sought comfort in the familiar arms of Leno?
–The CW’s "Melrose Place" dropped two-tenths of a ratings point in adults 18-34 opposite its toughest competition to date. Two months til Hurricane Heather arrives… and counting.
–Overall, CBS won Tuesday night (4.0/11), followed by Fox (3.3/9), ABC (3.2/9) and NBC (2.9/8). In total viewers, it was CBS in a landslide (17.34 million), with ABC second (13.3 million), NBC (7.24 million) third and Fox fourth (6.8 million).
An earlier draft of this story incorrectly had Fox ranking third for the night in demos.