Ratings: 'Chuck,' 'Life' premieres take a nosedive

Damienzachary_l_2 Absence didn’t make the heart grow fonder for fans of NBC’s Chuck (pictured near left: Zachary Levy) and Life (pictured: Damian Lewis). The two series, which had been off the air since January 2008 and December 2007, respectively, returned Monday night to disappointing numbers for their second season premieres. According to overnight ratings, Chuck nabbed 6.6 million viewers, down 28 percent from last fall’s debut and off 17 percent from its season 1 average. Life‘s bow was seen by 6.9 million viewers, down 30 percent from its ’07 debut and a 7 percent decline from its freshman average. The true test for Life, however, which aired Wednesdays last fall, will be when it debuts in its new time slot this Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

Heroes lost viewers as well — about 750,000 of them from last week’s two-hour season 3 premiere. This week’s episode was viewed by 9.3 million, though that number will, of course, rise when DVR viewings from the next few days are factored in.

To no one’s surprise, ABC dominated the night, with the start of Dancing With the Stars Week 2. Two hours of paso dobles and rumbas were witnessed by 19.3 million viewers, down 10 percent from the season opener. While Boston Legal only retained roughly half of that audience, it’s 9.8 million viewers actually improved on its season premiere by 11 percent (though it did lose 874,000 viewers in its second half hour).

The CBS lineup also showed the to-be-expected post-premiere-week drops: 8.7 million viewers tuned in for the second episode of The Big Bang Theory (down 7 percent from the premiere); 8.8 million for How I Met Your Mother (down 10 percent); 13.8 million for Two and a Half Men (down 8 percent); 9.3 million for the freshman sitcom Worst Week (down 14 percent); and 14.3 million for CSI: Miami (down 17 percent). On the plus side, CSI: Miami won the 10 p.m. hour, as usual, and all of the returning shows are up from their last-season average.

It’s difficult to find a positive spin for Fox’s Monday offerings. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Prison Break, both of which premiered early in September, each nabbed an identical 5.3 million viewers last night. That number is well below the shows’ ’07-’08 averages, 9.8 million and 7.5 million, respectively. What’s more, each episode of Prison Break this season has been rated lower than the one that came before it.

The CW, meanwhile, does have reason to celebrate: One Tree Hill‘s fifth episode of season 6 was also its highest-rated, with 3.4 million viewers. And Gossip Girl, which hit a series high on Sept. 15 (3.7 million) before sliding back on Sept. 22 (3.3 million), was once again moving in the right direction this week with 3.5 million viewers.

addCredit(“Michael Caulfield/WireImage”)

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SPOILER: About that thing that happened on One Tree Hill last night

The CBS lineup also showed the to-be-expected post-premiere-week drops: 8.7 million viewers tuned in for the second episode of The Big Bang Theory (down 7 percent from the premiere); 8.8 million for How I Met Your Mother (down 10 percent); 13.8 million for Two and a Half Men (down 8 percent); 9.3 million for the freshman sitcom Worst Week (down 14 percent); and 14.3 million for CSI: Miami (down 17 percent). On the plus side, CSI: Miami won the 10 p.m. hour, as usual, and all of the returning shows are up from their last-season average.

It’s difficult to find a positive spin for Fox’s Monday offerings. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Prison Break, both of which premiered early in September, each nabbed an identical 5.3 million viewers last night. That number is well below the shows’ ’07-’08 averages, 9.8 million and 7.5 million, respectively. What’s more, each episode of Prison Break this season has been rated lower than the one that came before it.

The CW, meanwhile, does have reason to celebrate: One Tree Hill‘s fifth episode of season 6 was also its highest-rated, with 3.4 million viewers. And Gossip Girl, which hit a series high on Sept. 15 (3.7 million) before sliding back on Sept. 22 (3.3 million), was once again moving in the right direction this week with 3.5 million viewers.

addCredit(“Michael Caulfield/WireImage”)

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

EW’s Dancing With the Stars recap

EW’s Heroes recap

EW’s Gossip Girl recap

PopWatch Interview: Ali Larter on her Heroes transformation

Ausiello Exclusive: Another Boston Legal Vet Returns

The Spying Game: 30 Elite TV/Movie Operatives

SPOILER: About that thing that happened on One Tree Hill last night


Comments (121 total) Add your comment
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  • allthewine

    I absolutely love Life, however I can’t start a show at 10pm on a Monday night. And I will religiously watch on Friday nights, but I can’t single-handledly keep this show on the air.
    NBC has it’s head up it’s … if it can’t figure out why their best shows (Life, FNL) do so poorly.

  • Laura

    Damnit! Chuck needs more viewers, and deserves more viewers! It’s a seriously awesome show.

  • FreeAgent

    I often wonder who does these schedules. I don’t understand the whole Monday-Friday episodes of Life. why not just show it at its normal time. ugh I love Life but I know stupid NBC is going to cancel it.

  • Anonymous

    I agree; Chuck is a really great show and doesn’t deserve these low ratings. I am irritated with ABC’s placement of DwtS during Chuck/Heroes whichever. I would be watching DwtS if it were on another night.

  • atlantagirl

    I watched Dancing with the Stars live and Tivo’d Chuck, Life and Boston Legal — all of which I absolutely adore and never miss. Hopefully the DVR numbers will improve the share for the other shows. They’re all great shows and it would be heart-breaking if they didn’t make it.

  • Maria

    They always squeal about decreased ratings, but always seem to overlook how many people watch these programs on demand or on their computers. Also, I think the election is having an effect on viewership. I’ve become addicted to Olbermann and now Maddow too.

  • Marty

    the strike had a profound effect on TV habits!! All these lower ratings can be attributed to that. Plus, more and more people have a DVR… a show shouldn’t be based on ratings but on quality.

  • jaime

    Spotted 3.5 million people watching Gossip Girl!
    xoxo
    Gossip Girl!
    WOOHOO LETS KEEP IT UP FANS!

  • AMO

    There are too many decent shows on Monday’s, it drives me insane. I DVR about 5-6 shows! And still miss 1 and have to watch it over the network website! Seriously, I do NOT understand why so many people watch dancing but not well written original shows. Don’t mean to offend, but …??

  • dfrandsen

    Of course Chuck was “down” NBC posted the premier online LAST WEEK so I watched it then! Hopefully they look at how many people watch online and add that to the ratings…love this show, don’t want it cancelled.

  • Kate

    One of my TVs is broken and I am restricted to online watching, but I watched NBC’s whole lineup and worried about FOX. I am disappointed because Chuck was really good and lived up to last year. Life wasn’t as great as it was last year, basically because it played like everyone watching knew a lot about Charlie and everyone, and well, um, it has been awhile a refresher would have been nice, that felt like the sixth episode of the season.

  • Anthony

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Fox has to move T:SCC for it to find an audience. Monday night will kill it. It is up agains Dancing with the Stars and Monday Night Football. Fox, if you are reading these boards, please try another time slot before outright cancellation.

  • Joy

    iTunes offered this season’s first ep of “Chuck” as a free download last week. I wonder if any of those numbers were counted in the ratings! Because that’s how I watched it!

  • T

    Both of the season premieres for Chuck and Life were available for free on Comcast OnDemand and apparently online as well. Does anyone take that into account? That plus Monday is really difficult with Monday Night Football, that damn dancing show and those weirdos that actually enjoy Two and a Half Men. I really hope NBC gives these two shows a chance. They are both worth it.

  • Josh

    I too watched Chuck online last week. I love the show, but didn’t need to watch it again last night on tv. How do they add the DVR audience in? Also, why don’t they count the online audience?

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