NBC's 'Idol' rival 'The Voice' debuts huge; highest rated premiere of the season


Image Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

NBC’s high-profile attempt to cash in on the singing craze was a success on Tuesday. Airing against stiff competition (a two-hour Dancing With the Stars! A special 90-minute episode of Glee!), The Voice was the No. 1 show of the night in the all-important 18-49 demographic.

The two-hour show pulled a 5.1 rating/13 share in the demo and 11.8 million viewers, according to early estimates. NBC says that it was the top-rated series premiere on a major network since Undercover Boss debuted following the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, 2010. Each 18-49 ratings point equals 1.3 million.

Head to head, The Voice beat Glee (4.6 versus 3.4 from 9-9:30) and Dancing With the Stars (4.9 versus 3.5 from 9-10). It improved the time period versus NBC’s season average in the demo by 89 percent (5.1 versus 2.7) and in viewers by 60 percent (11.7 million versus 7.3 million). Excluding sports, the 5.1 rating achieved by The Voice was NBC’s highest in the time period since May 12, 2009.

Other notable highs/lows: Glee was down 11 percent from last week; it was also a season low for the dramedy. The last time it posted such a low rating was on Nov. 25, 2009 (a measly 2.5). The DWTS results show, however, was up 17 percent in the demo.

CBS shrewdly bowed out of the heavy competition and ran repeats of NCIS, NCIS: LA and The Mentalist. Other shows suffered from the intense interest in The Voice: an original of Raising Hope on Fox earned a 1.9/5 — down 10 percent from last week — while Body of Proof posted its lowest 18-49 rating to date on ABC (2.3/6).

ABC won the night in total viewers (14.3 million), followed by NBC (10.3 million). The DWTS results show was the most-watched show of the night with 17.9 million eyeballs.

One final (and fun!) ratings tidbit: The last time an NBC show opened big was on Jan. 6, 2008. The show? American Gladiators. It earned a whopping 5.9/14 in the demo. Too bad it didn’t last long. Maybe Christina Aguilera will have a better chance.

The Voice series premiere recap: Vocal news
The Voice premiere review
The Voice ratings prediction: Can Christina Aguilera save NBC?

Comments (153 total) Add your comment
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  • Gigi

    Loved “The Voice”. It truly is everything American Idol should be.The Judges, so far focus on the positive, give constructive critique without berating. None of that nonsense awful singing during auditions, that waste of our time. I also love the different levels this show will go through.

    • Flip

      Glad to see it do well. I liked it too.

    • Cygnus

      FOr those who missed or DVR’d Glee last night, you missed one of the better ones of the past 2 seasons. FINALLY!

      • s

        Glee has changed. It has turned into a stubborn selfish show. I am so glad that The Voice got more viewers than the lame fake self-indulgent shows dancing with the stars and glee.

      • em

        I can understand why people are leaving Glee – Last night might’ve been one of the best episodes in a while, but I don’t want to wait almost an entire season for it.
        The Voice was actually pretty good imho, but we’ll see how it holds up though next week
        That said, I think the Voice can be just as self-indulgent and fake as Glee if given the chance

      • Jo

        Why would those reading about The Voice care about that?

      • PN

        Glee needs to get more original and stop doing popular songs so much and focus on their stories with the young people on there.

      • Maybelle

        Loved The Voice! Love Adam LeVine! I love how they pick the contestant based on singing talent not looks! Yeah Christina sure proved that what they are doing is right when she didn’t slap her buzzer for one contestant but once she turned around and saw how he looked she was upset she didn’t ding that buzzered. Glad she didn’t. This show is refreshing and just might work!

      • Judas Juda Flop-ah!

        Glee and Gaga FLOPPED. The Voice and Christina WON.

      • just saying

        Ryan Murphy…. sigh.. He is self-indulgent. He comes up with wonderful ideas for television shows and then RUINS them. Popular, Nip/Tuck (my gosh, how downhill that went after the whole serial killer thing….). I want to like his projects, I DO like his projects… at first and then… sigh.

    • Amy

      Loved The Voice. Unique concept, terrific judges & liked the competition for the contestants and the judges. Think the good buzz will increase the ratings next week too!

  • Cool

    I love this show. American idol should have rebooted into something like this.

    • usualsupect

      American Idol should just go away. I never understood why is was popular. 90 seconds of singing, Ford commercials that were not just offensive but hoaky. Randy, repeating “YO YO” as commentary week after week. I truly hope the Voice trounces AI

      • brandy

        Because Idol. is. awesome. Shut your mouth (fingers?).

      • C Men

        ….said the 12 year old. Thanks brandy but Daddy needs to use the computer now.

      • TheRock

        Your wrong Usualsupect about American Idol you have no facts or proof to backup those claims which are lies. I like The Voice I hope that it doesn’t go up againist AI.

    • Big Walt

      They should put it up against AI and hopefully kill it for good.

      • TankieGirlie


      • PN

        Or put their performance shows against each other! Now that’s going to be a TV showdown, people switching channels to see the rival show’s performances! Not performance shows against results show the way the networks do now. Idol’s been on 10 seasons, it’s showing its age a bit and it’s never been challenged like this with the Voice!

      • Mike B

        What a joke. Just another way to saturate the over saturated music biz. I hope it tanks. Cee Lo Green? Who is he anyway?

      • TheRock

        Your wrong Big Walt AI is still pretty after 10 years being on the air. I would watch AI and watch The Voice ondemand. Your claims which are lies Mike B. Music biz isn’t over saturated that is another lie.

      • just saying

        Really, Mike? Who is Cee Lo Green? Were you born yesterday or did you crawl from under a rock? Perhaps you don’t follow popular music of recent years, but if that’s the case, don’t criticize what you don’t know anything about. It’s like criticizing quantum physics and not even knowing what an atom is.

    • PN

      Idol should have tried this approach this season with what The Voice is doing and not the bloated 2-hour audition shows and sometimes arrogant people that are desperate to get to Hollywood.

    • ILoveZacLevi

      I find it weird that everyone claims to hate American Idol, yet it remains the number one show in America and has over 20 million viewers every time it’s on. I’m not saying I love it, but the general opinion of it doesn’t correspond with the stats.

      • jj

        The stats don’t correspond with the stats. Do you have a Nielsen box in your house? Cause i know i don’t and never have. Not to mention, not everyone can afford a DVR and unfortunately, bc networks think that reality is cheaper and that everyone loves it (bc that’s what the STATS say- *cough, BS, cough*), sometimes there is nothing else on but crap like AI. Trust me, when I used to have better things to do/watch in past seasons, I did NOT watch AI. I watch now for lack of anything better to watch/do.

    • Tina

      Posted on Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of polpee that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thank you

  • Sherrie


  • Heidi


    • Arisya

      I’ll be honest…when Disney nnuoanced this attraction, I already felt the franchise was coming down from it’s peak. Then I thought Maybe they’ll just do a quick and cheap theatre experience, something to open up that old Superstar TV space. But they sank all sorts of money into the stage, and infrastructure, and I just felt the park was lassoing itself to a dying franchise to try and gin up tween interest.Just gut the AI and Sounds Dangerous theatres and put SOMETHING WORTHWHILE there, already. Disney backed the wrong horse, but it’s salvageable. They’ve got some prime park real estate there, just use it. Warbling park-goers doesn’t do it for many people…get something GOOD.

  • Murrdawg

    Glee tanked because it was 90 minutes, and they did another crappy Gaga song……

    • Big Walt

      You’re forgetting the fact that it’s also just, generally, not a good show.

      • Amber

        Glee was all hype. I tuned in numerous times trying to get the “big deal” and ending up turning it out of boredom every time. Now I don’t bother.

      • Jen

        Yeah I have to agree, I tried to like Glee, I wanted to like Glee…but in the end I just couldn’t get behind it.

      • Jessica

        I didn’t want to like Glee and didn’t watch the 1st season till over the Summer when I had nothing else to watch. I love the show. I tune in every week and I’ve seen the negative comments and don’t understand it. The story lines with Kurt are so great and are the kind of thing people should be tuning into nowadays. I don’t like certain parts like if the Glee death is Quinn I won’t be sad but for the most part the show is really good. Now any show that hires a girl who’s out drinking and getting arrested while her baby is at home with the husband she’s cheating on now why would I want to hear what she thinks of music? I mean come on she got famous taking her clothes off and shrieks live. Sure she has a few hits but the personality degrades the talent.

  • Rach

    Loved the Voice!

  • Loved Adam

    Adam Levine was awesome! He was my favorite judge! I love his personality!!!!!

    • AdamRocksSoMuch

      I loved how Adam was being sarcastic with Christina. I was clapping and laughing when he talked. When she interrupted him(like how Randy and Jennifer interrupt Steven), Adam actually said I’m not done. LOL

      • C Men

        Xtina’s just upset that he hasn’t tried to hit that.

      • sassiness 4 sure

        I hope Adam and Christina will someday date each other. Even though they were being crazily sarcastic to each other, I thought the sassiness was a little hot!

      • whatevs

        Adam would never date someone as dumpy as Xtina.

      • C Men

        I’m astounded that she didn’t take that weight off before this show started. She used to be hot.

      • steve

        C Men, not everyone likes stick figures. Grow up.

      • JoeC

        Hey, lay off Christina and the weight! I’m not her biggest fan, but she’s an amazing talent who gives the show cred that AI does not have

      • teekay

        I was surprised at how much I enjoyed him too; he’s always seemed kind of douchey to me before now. I never expected he would turn out to be so likeable.

  • Woody7

    I really like it. I just can’t decide who I like better Adam or Blake. Soooo good.

    • KL

      I love all the judges. They are all different in personalities, genre, talent, which is great since there are many different type of singers. I can’t wait till they start coaching and competing!!

  • kj

    I have to say I was pretty skeptical about this show, but it was great. I guess that headline questioning whether or not Christina Aguilera could save NBC got an answer, huh? Looks so far like a resounding “YES.”

    • Stacey

      It’s only been one episode. We’ll see how people respond next week and when it gets onward once the gimmick wears off and everyone is competiting warts and all… I am still skeptical people will respond long term. It was always going to get a big audience because of the celebrity power of the judges… We’ll see when it gets to the competiting.

      • Liam

        True, but I think the very positive initial reaction will give the show some traction for a while. More important, IMHO every singer on the show last night, even the rejects, is as good as if not better than anyone on AI right now (and last season as well). YMMV

      • Jill

        What gives me hope is the half hour breakdowns. The Voice picked up viewers as it went on (the 9:30 and 10:00/10:30 ratings are higher than the 9:00 ratings were), probably some after Glee was over and others when DWTS ended. People who were watching it must not have turned it off, and people who came late seemed to stay, so that all seems promising for NBC.

      • Lindsay

        bruktv on August 16, 2008 Really Good Info ahntks,I’m in the credit repair business myself and even I learned a bit from this video.

  • yes

    i am very happy with “the voice” all the judges were funny and engaging. even the rejected singers were good. no stupid outfits, no ridiculousness. just great singing and great judging. the competition between the judges is awesome. christina is great. she makes sense and she is cute and funny. very happy with the show. will watch to the end for sure.

  • Stephen

    Great show! Adam is hot!

  • leah

    Loved the Voice!! The Coaches seem genuinely interested in the artists. Love the fact that Xtina, Blake, CeeLo, and Adam are currently on the charts, touring, etc. and they aren’t on the show to restart their careers. Just a fun show for everyone to watch.

    • TV Mom

      Totally agree. I thought the coaches all seemed genuinely interested and wowed by the singers and really seem to want to help them jumpstart a career. Each of the judges are very talented in their own genre and seemed to really respect each other too – even with all the bantering. It all seemed in fun.

  • Agustin

    GLEE is losing its steam…

  • Jerome

    The Voice was awful. Let’s see what the ratings will be next week before we call Snooki Aguilera’s show a hit.

    • Amy

      lol! i enjoyed the show. but i also thought many times that christina looked like a blonde snooki!

    • TheRock

      Your wrong Jerome the show is great so your claim which is a lie without facts or proof. And it is Christina not Snooki.

      • ruby


      • jj

        Your mom wants you off the computer. You need to clean up your room and do your homework before lights out!

  • Susie Mendonça

    The Voice will definitely give Idol a run for it’s money. I’m so glad the voice had pre-auditons and call backs and only featured real singers as apposed to exploiting and embarassing the obvious no talents just for a laugh (ie. American Idol) ~ Some may find entertainment in that I find it to be a big waste of time for the viewer as well as the poor sucker who is being made fun of.

    • Mr Reasom

      Liked the voice. I am from the UK and sick of Simon Cowell exploiting idiots for a laugh and then dumping those he picks.

      The fact you had to pick the person on the voice stops the shallowness and hopeless people getting through for entertainment value.

    • LOL

      America loves crap.

    • TheRock

      Your wrong Susie about American Idol I think it is very funny and entertaining to see the bad singers. And I don’t see as a waste of time either and the bad singers know full well that there going to get laugh at so I don’t see it as making fun of either just entertainment. So all your claims are lies about American Idol.

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