The 2011-2012 television season officially kicked off Monday night with all three major networks debuting some of their most talked about shows. As the ratings trickle in, it is becoming clear that CBS came away as the big winner for the night. ABC put forth some respectable numbers, while NBC saw some disappointing figures.
After all the hype surrounding the departure of Charlie Sheen and the casting of Ashton Kutcher, Two and a Half Men put up massive numbers in its time-slot (8:00 mountain time). According to entertainment news website Deadline, the ninth season situation comedy drew 27.7 million viewers which, according to the article, “Is rarely seen for a show not named American Idol.” The stellar ratings for Two and a Half Men beat the eighth season premiere (Charlie Sheen’s final season) by a whopping 110%. Reuters quotes the Los Angeles Times saying, “(The premiere is) a promising beginning….Kutcher brings a softness to a series that could be brittle and sour, misanthropic and misogynistic, and temperamentally middle-aged.”
CBS opened the night with the premiere of How I Met Your Mother which opened its seventh season. The ensemble comedy posted the highest rating of its previous six seasons. While freshman comedy, Two Broke Girls was bolstered by its Two and a Half Men lead-in. Deadline reports, “(It) posted the largest audience for a fall comedy debut in 10 years, since NBC’s Inside Schwartz, which launched behind mega-hit Friends.” The reviews for Two Broke Girls are decidedly mixed, and premiere ratings are no guarantee of success, Breckin Meyer’s Inside Schartz was canceled after just thirteen episodes. The one surprise for CBS was the notable decline of sophomore drama Hawaii Five-0 which, according to Deadline, saw a decline of 13% from its debut season.
Competing with CBS’s comedy juggernaut, ABC presented the much talked about season premiere of Dancing with the Stars and the fourth season premiere of Castle. It seems all the hype surrounding the inclusion of Chaz Bono did not help the ballroom dancing reality show, which posted its lowest rated season premiere ever. While, the Nathan Fillion led dramedy Castle was not hurt by the poor performance of its lead-in. The show was coming off a record setting third season finale, and the episode clobbered its third season premiere by 22%.
Finally, NBC, which has been seriously promoting its freshman drama The Playboy Club, will be disappointed by their opening night performance. The show drew 5 million viewers in its time-slot (opposite Castle and Hawaii Five-0 at 9:00 Denver time). The series drew even fewer viewers than the short-lived Chase which had the same Monday night time-slot last season. Even worse, Deadline reports that the new show tied Crusoe (remember that one?) as the lowest rated NBC premiere ever. The fall debut of The Sing-Off also presented disappointing ratings, down roughly 30% from its previous December premiere. This is not a good start for the struggling Peacock network which has yet to recover from its glory days in the 1990s.
Which of these shows will you watch next week? Denver Comcast subscribers can catch the ABC line-up (Dancing with the Stars, Castle) on channel 7 and 652 on HD, the CBS line-up (How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, Two Broke Girls, and Hawaii Five-0) on channel 4 and 654 HD and finally NBC (The Sing-Off and The Playboy Club) on channel 9 and 653.