'The Following' debut ratings: Violence didn't scare off viewers

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The premiere episode of Fox’s The Following delivered some solid numbers Monday night.

The serial killer thriller starring Kevin Bacon had 10.4 million viewers and a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49. That’s slightly under what the short-lived Alcatraz delivered in this slot last year, but the problem with Alcatraz wasn’t where the show’s ratings started, but rather where they ended up.

Much of the media conversation surrounding The Following has been hand-wringing over the show’s graphic violence — is it too much? Is the show ill-timed in the wake of Sandy Hook? These numbers don’t lend a whole lot of clarity to that conversation. The aren’t low, but aren’t really high either. You could fairly say that the violence didn’t scare viewers into rejecting the show’s premiere (Fox’s audience was waaaay more terrified of watching The Mob Doctor last fall; the med drama opened to a 1.5 rating in this slot with the same Bones lead-in). The Following, however, received a lot more promotion and has marketable stars like Bacon and James Purefoy. In fact — and this says more about this season’s drama crop than anything else — The Following tied CBS’ Elementary as the second-highest rated new drama premiere of the season in the adult demo.

Meanwhile, though Bones aired before The Following at 8 p.m., the long-running procedural drama still went up 10 percent to have its most-watched episode of the season just from being in the same proximity of another Fox drama that people wanted to watch.

NBC’s Biggest Loser was steady and new low-buzz midseason drama Deception drain-circled, down 19 percent. Biggest Loser‘s situation is sort of good news/bad news. On one hand, this is a season low. But on the other, Loser has maintained this new cycle’s premiere rating for three weeks without dropping — which is pretty unusual for any show and suggests the current format tweaks (bringing back shouty trainer Jillian Michaels and adding kid contestants) is holding the interest of fans.

ABC’s The Bachelor and Castle were both up a tick, with Bachelor hitting a season high. CBS’ comedy block was down slightly across the board, along with Hawaii Five-0. On The CW, oh Carrie Diaries. The low-rated ’80s-set Sex and the City prequel went down a notch in the demo for its second episode.

UPDATE: In Fox’s time-zone adjusted numbers, The Following increased a tenth from a 3.1 to a 3.2 rating.

Full Chart:

 ADULT DEMO RATING ADULTS 18-49 RATING  TOTAL VIEWERS (+000)
FOX 8-9P BONES #8 2.3 8,473
9-10P FOLLOWING P #5 3.1 10,378
ABC 8-10P BACHELOR #6 2.5 7,483
10-11P CASTLE #10 2.0 8,723
CBS 8:00P HIMYM #1t 3.7 10,094
8:30P BIG BANG RS #4 3.2 10,445
9:00P 2BROKE GIRLS #1t 3.7 11,472
9:30P MIKE&MOLLY #3 3.3 10,849
10-11P HAWAII 5-0 #9 2.2 9,582
NBC 8-10P BIGGEST LOSER #7 2.4 6,074
10-11P DECEPTION #11 1.3 3,614
CW 8-9P CARRIE DIARIES #12 0.5 1,282
9-10P 90210 P #13 0.4 788
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