Ratings: Mighty S.H.I.E.L.D. Is TV's Best Drama Debut in 4 Years, Chicago Fire Sizzles in New Slot

Ratings Marvel's Agents of SHIELDOne of this fall TV season’s most burning questions — “How will Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere?” — has been answered.

POLL | Is S.H.I.E.L.D. the Hero Series That TV Deserves, Or the One It Needs Right Now?

ABC’s follow-up to the Marvel movies by way of Joss Whedon on Tuesday night opened to (updated) 12.1 million total viewers while scoring a 4.7 rating in the coveted 18-49 demo, per finals — aka this fall’s highest-rated drama debut to date, if not the most watched. It also stands as all of TV’s best drama launch in four years (since ABC’s own V).

In the demo, S.H.I.E.L.D. trounced NBC’s The Blacklist (12.6 mil/3.8), Fox’s Sleepy Hollow (10.1 mil/3.5) and CBS’ Hostages (7.4 mil/1.8).

For comparison’s sake, the first half of Dancing With the Stars‘ results show a year ago did 10.1 mil/1.7 for ABC in the 8 o’clock hour, while the Alphabet net’s last Tuesdays-at-8 drama debut (No Ordinary Family) drew 10.7 mil and a 3.2.

ABC’s strongest previous drama launch was Once Upon a Time‘s 13 mil/4.0 circa 2011.

Facing off against SHIELD, CBS’ NCIS returned to 20 mil (its third-most watched opener ever) and a 3.6 (updated per finals), down 2 and 12 percent from its previous premiere but up from its Season 10 finale (18.8 ml/3.4).

RELATED | NCIS Premiere Recap: The Long, Ziva-Less Goodbye

ABC | Continuing ABC’s all-new Tuesday, The Goldbergs (9.1 mil/3.2) showed 76 and 70 percent retention out of SHIELD. Trophy Wife then debuted to 6.6 mil/2.3, and (un)Lucky 7 brought up the rear with 4.6 mil/1.3 (versus the last premieres of Private Practice [6.5 mil/1.9] and Body of Proof [6.8 mil/1.2]).

POLLS | Did The Goldbergs Make You Kvell? Is Trophy Wife a Prize?

FOX | Fox’s comedies took the biggest hit with SHIELD et al now in play. Dads (3.7 mil/1.5) dropped 28 percent in the demo, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (4 mil/1.8) plunged 30 percent, New Girl (4.1 mil/2.1) fell 28 percent and The Mindy Project (3 mil/1.5) was down “just” 21 percent.

CBS | NCIS: LA‘s season opener led out of the aforementioned NCIS with 16.2 mil/3.0, dipping 3 and 12 percent from its previous premiere. Person of Interest then christened its new time slot with 12.3 mil/2.3, down 14 and 11 percent from its last Thursday premiere and falling shy of Vegas‘ year-ago debut (14.7 mil/2.5). Hmmm….

RELATED | The Voice Recap: Finally Got a Piece of the Pie

NBC | The Voice drew 14.4 mil and a 4.7, down from Monday’s 15 mil/5.1 but up sharply from last fall’s Tuesday premiere (11.4 mil/4.0). Chicago Fire‘s season opener led out of that with 8.9 mil and a time slot-winning 2.7 (per finals), surging 35 and 42 percent from its year-ago launch (on a Wednesday) and improving greatly on Parenthood‘s last Tuesday premiere.

RELATED | Chicago Fire Premiere Recap: A House in Danger

Want scoop on any of the above shows? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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  1. Steve says:

    Wish theyd move THE GOLDBERGS to Wednesday between THE MIDDLE & MODERN FAMILY. It was a funny show – THe 2013 version of The Wonder Years. So many new shows up against one another. Im not watching any LIVE…Im DVRing them and if the first episode bombs, the odds are the second episode will be even lower and then the show will get cancelled before it gets off the ground so why bother? Especially with 1 hour dramas. I was really looking forward to HOSTAGES as I think Toni Collette is a brilliant actress and Dylan McDermott has done some great work…Sad to see the ratings were low and now worry that its not even going to last its limited run. Blacklist got tons of promo but I kept reading it was a ‘procedural’ Unless Im mistaken, to me that means 1 case per week a la CSI, Law&Order, NCIS and I have no desire for that. CBS sitcoms are always stupid. The only other sitcom Im interested in sampling is Michael J Fox.
    So when does the poll start on which show will be the first cancelled or moved to Saturday night. Critics play a big role…shows like Marvel and Blacklist got tons of press; something like Lucky 7 did not and youd expect it to be can celled soon. XF is dead in the water at this point

  2. Dave says:

    Not all but I honestly think a lot of people are hating on the Shield series premier because either 1. They had unrealistic expectations of it i.e expecting Avengers level of effects, etc. or 2. They are only hating on it because most people seem to love it and it’s always the “cool thing” to try and not follow what everyone else thinks.

  3. greysfan says:

    Amazing numbers for S.H.I.E.L.D. It was a great pilot, slow at times but its a pilot and the show has room for growth.

  4. I was disappointed none of the main characters have super powers.

  5. John Moshier says:

    it was all right kinda remined me of alphas not perfect heros ncis has no worrys

    • prish says:

      Exactly! I thought I was watching Alphas. The only thing that got my eye away from my computer work was the end, when Coulson talked him down. I wasn’t expecting the tormented talented, but thought the enthusiastic fledgling super-hero was going to be the focus. It only made me miss my Alphas crew. We’ll see what the husband says when he comes home and watches the recording.

  6. Ms.Georgia says:

    The final numbers look great for Shield. I am looking forward to following it.

  7. DavidSask says:

    The Shield will go down in ratings starting next week! The comedies after it aren’t that great, esp the Goldbergs, no one wants the 80’s back ripping off the Wonder Years format. Lucky7 was horrid and deserves cancellation from pilot alone, it never should have been green-lit!

  8. prish says:

    The NCIS episode was a fun watch. The show should do fine.

  9. Mellie says:

    Sad to hear about Lucky 7. It was a solid show with an amazingly diverse and talented cast. Fingers crossed for a miracle.

  10. prish says:

    The husband finally watched Shield. At first he was excited that he might see Thor. I said no you won’t. Towards the end he said, “When it first got on it was ok, Then it kind of fizzled out.” At the end collage of face shots, he asked me, “Do you understand this? I’ll give it another chance, but I don’t know where it’s going. Is the black guy going to be on there? He’s about the only one I want to see on it.”

  11. Karly says:

    NCIS and SHIELD fan … thank goodness for DVR. Enjoyed debut of Blacklist. Great fall TV season so far.

  12. pam says:

    Love, Love, Love Sheilds. Gets better every week!!!!