For the first time in nine years, longtime ratings joke NBC won premiere week in the coveted 18-49 demographic with a 2.9 average rating. Thanks in large part to new series "Revolution" (the #1 new series) and "Go On" (the #1 new comedy) and returning favorites "Sunday Night Football" (the #1 show of premiere week) and "The Voice" (the #1 non-scripted show), the Peacock was up 12% from last year in 18-49. It was also up 9% in total viewers, where it averaged 8.2 million. That placed it in third behind CBS and ABC, but that's still reason to celebrate, namely because...
Losers: Every Other Major Broadcast Network
In total viewers, CBS, ABC and Fox were each down between 15-18%, compared to NBC's jump. Even worse were those networks' 18-49 numbers. CBS was down a staggering 27% in that demo, while ABC (down 21%) and Fox (down 24%) were in big trouble as well (note that the CW has yet to premiere its new season).
Winner: "Modern Family"
Coming off its third consecutive win for best comedy series, ABC's "Modern Family" was the #1 scripted series on television in the 18-49 demo with a 5.5 rating (topping CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," which was next in line). The show had its second biggest audience ever for a regular telecast and was up sharply (43% in total viewers; 34% in 18-49) from last season's finale. It was actually the highest rated comedy show of any kind in seven months.
Winner: "The Big Bang Theory"
While "Modern Family" topped it in 18-49 (though not by much), CBS had the highest rated comedy series in total viewers thanks to the premiere of "The Big Bang Theory." With 15.7 million viewers and a 5.0 18-49 rating (a notch from last year's 4.9 rated premiere), the series continues to be a force to be reckoned with.
Loser: "Two and a Half Men"
Sure, a 3.5 rating in 18-49 (and 12.3 million viewers) isn't too shabby (and enough for a top 15 placement in both demos), but for the former king of scripted television, these numbers are a sign that "Two and a Half Men" has begun its descent into ratings irrelevance. In 18-49 ratings, the series was beat out by five other comedies it once routinely topped ("Modern Family," "Big Bang Theory," "The Simpsons," "2 Broke Girls" and "How I Met Your Mother"). It was also down sharply from last year's admittedly Ashton Kutcher-debut inflated 10.7 18-49 rating. Though to be fair: That's still a far cry from the sorry state of CBS newbies "Made in Jersey" (which managed just a 1.1 rating) and "Partners" (just 2.1 despite a "How I Met Your Mother" lead in). Both series could be cancelled by the time you read this sentence.
Winner: "The Simpsons"
It's definitely pretty mind blowing that 24 years into its run, "The Simpsons" still managed to be Fox's top rated show in the 18-49 demo. With a 3.8 rating, it was the third highest rated comedy series of premiere week in 18-49. Down just 0.1 points from last year's premiere, the longest running primetime series in American history seems like it's still here to stay.
Loser: "The Mob Doctor"
The only new Fox series to debut so far that seems destined for cancellation any minute now (both "The Mindy Project" and "Ben and Kate" fared well enough to suggest survival)? "The Mob Doctor." Since you suggestively haven't heard of it, "Doctor" follows a surgical resident (Jordana Spiro) who juggles her hospital duties with protecting her brother from, yes, the mob. And with a pathetic CW-level 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic, it's unlikely she'll have to protect them much longer.
Let's leave things off on a high note by delving into cable ratings, where Showtime had some serious reason to celebrate thanks to the premieres of "Dexter" and recent Emmy winner "Homeland." Giving the network its largest Sunday audience ever, "Dexter" managed 3.04 million viewers, its best premiere rating ever in its seven seasons (up 10% from last year), while "Homeland" was up a staggering 50% over last year with 2.07 million viewers.