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

Musical shows fare well against CBS sitcoms that once looked bulletproof

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.