Robin Williams crushes Michael J. Fox in sitcom showdown

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Thursday night’s battle of returning ’80s sitcom icons was no contest: The premiere of Robin Williams’ new CBS comedy The Crazy Ones hugely out-performed the return of Michael J. Fox to NBC.

Benefiting from a massive Big Bang Theory lead-in, ad-agency comedy The Crazy Ones had 15.6 million viewers and a 4.0 rating among adults 18-49 at 9 p.m. In the same time slot, family sitcom The Michael J. Fox Show had only 7.2 million viewers and a 2.1 demo rating, on par with last fall’s final season premiere of The Office.

And that Big Bang Theory opener? It’s the largest in the show’s history. The 8 p.m. debut had 18.3 million viewers and a 5.3 rating, while the 8:30 p.m. second episode had a stunning 19.5 million viewers and a 5.8 rating.

The Mork vs. Alex P. Keaton face-off brought back the stars of TV comedy classics Mork & Mindy and Family Ties to prime-time. Both shows received mixed reviews from critics, but Michael J. Fox enjoyed marginally more positive reactions based Metacritic scores (our Michael J. Fox Show review here; our take on Crazy Ones here). CBS notes Crazy Ones is now the most-watched new show of the fall, but ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which blew the doors off Tuesday night, stands as the highest-rated new title in the demo at this point.

The good news for NBC: The back-to-back second episode of The Michael J. Fox Show at 9:30 received the same rating as the premiere — so there wasn’t any attrition — though its also worth pointing out the competition was weaker in that half-hour. The second episode was against the return of CBS’ Two and a Half Men (chart below), which introduced new co-star Amber Tamblyn as Charlie’s long-lost lesbian daughter. Men was down 17 percent from last year.

Also in the 9 p.m. hour: Fox’s Glee was down 17 percent from last year, and a two-hour Grey’s Anatomy on ABC was down 23 percent.

At 8 p.m., CBS ruled with Big Bang, obviously. Fox’s The X Factor managed to actually do a tad better this week in the demo compared to last week’s all-time low despite bigger competition. NBC’s one-hour Parks and Recreation premiere was down 24 percent. ABC picked up some additional sampling for its S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot.

At 10 p.m., CBS’ dominance was overthrown by the second hour of Grey’s, with Elementary taking a 32 percent cut. NBC’s Parenthood, now in its new time slot, was down 16 percent from its Tuesday premiere last year.

See EW’s Fall TV Ads Graded gallery, where we snarkily critique the posters for The Crazy Ones, Dracula, Michael J. Fox Show and more.

 SHOW  18-49 RATING TOTAL VIEWERS
FOX 8-9P X-FACTOR 2.0 6,381
9-10P GLEE P 2.0 5,166
ABC 8-9P SHIELD RS 1.4 5,166
9-11P GREY ANATOMY P 3.4 9,256
CBS 8:00P BIG BANG P 5.3 18,303
8:30P BIG BANG S 5.8 19,515
9:00P CRAZY ONES P 4.0 15,606
9:30P TWO&HALF MEN P 2.9 11,543
10-11P ELEMENTARY P 2.1 10,138
NBC 8-9P PARK & REC P 1.3 3,327
9-10P MJ FOX SHOW P 2.1 7,282
10-11P PARENTHOOD P 1.6 5,166
CW 8-9P VAMPIRE DIARIES R 0.3 924
9-10P AM-MD-14-EN-CW R 0.2 789

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