‘Voice’ and ‘Smash’ Score as NBC Gamble Pays Off in First Week

Musical shows fare well against CBS sitcoms that once looked bulletproof

Last Updated: February 7, 2012 @ 9:59 AM

NBC's "The Voice" earned big numbers in its Monday night debut, providing a powerful lead-in for new musical drama "Smash," which scored strong but less-impressive premiere ratings. "The Voice" was the top-rated and most-watched show of the night, bumping the typical top dog, CBS's "Two and a Half Men," and guiding NBC to an overall ratings win.

Fourth-place NBC took a calculated risk by putting "The Voice" against a CBS comedy block that has dominated Mondays all season. In its first week, the strategy paid off: Three out of five CBS primetime shows hit or tied season lows.

Also read: With Bold 'Voice' and 'Smash' Scheduling, NBC Saves a Big Play for After the Super Bowl

Monday's episode of "The Voice," which came after huge ratings for its post-Super Bowl season- two premiere, scored a 6.6 rating/16 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and 17.7 million viewers overall during its airing from 8 to 10 p.m. "Smash" the next hour premiered to a 3.8/10 in the demo and 11.5 million total viewers. It was fifth in ratings and third in viewers Monday.

The season-two premiere of "The Voice" Sunday made the best of the plum timeslot after the Super Bowl, earning a 16.3 rating and 36.7 million total viewers. It was the highest-rated entertainment broadcast in six years.

Also read: 'Voice' Scores Highest Entertainment Show Ratings in 6 Years

The Monday night "Voice" episode, as expected, held less than half of those viewers — but still scored NBC its highest ratings in the timeslot in nearly eight years, not including during the Olympics. NBC averaged a 5.7/14 and 15.6 million total viewers Monday night.

CBS, television's most-watched network overall, was a distant second Monday in ratings and total viewers. It averaged a 3.5/9 in the demo and 10.8 million total viewers. At 8, "How I Met Your Mother" scored a 4/11 and 10 million total viewers. At 8:30, "Two Broke Girls," the biggest new hit of the fall, had a 4.3/11 and 11.4 million total viewers. It was the second highest-rated show of the night and the fourth most-watched. At 9, "Two and a Half Men" had a 4.2/10 and 12.9 million total viewers, making it the third highest-rated show and second most-watched. "Mike & Molly" at 9:30 had a 3.4/8 and 11 million total viewers. Facing "Smash" at 10, "Hawaii 5-0" had a 2.7/7 and 9.8 million. 

"Two and a Half Men" and "Mike & Molly" hit season lows — though their ratings were still enviable for most shows. "Hawaii 5-0" tied its season low.

ABC was third in ratings and viewers, averaging a 2.4/6 and 8.4 million. From 8-10, "The Bachelor" had a 2.6/6 and 8.2 million total viewers. In the following hour, "Castle" had a 2/5 and 8.7 million.

Fox, fourth in ratings and viewers, averaged a 2.3/6 and 7 million. "House" at 8 had a 2.4/6 and 7.2 million; "Alcatraz" at 9 had a 2.0/5 and 6.8 million.