Does 'Agents of SHIELD' need a superhero? Ratings keep slipping

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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the biggest drama premiere in four years last month. But ABC’s ambitious action drama series is increasingly starting to look a bit more like its time-slot rival, The Biggest Loser.

On Tuesday night, S.H.I.E.L.D. had 7.1 million viewers and a 2.6 rating among adults 18-49 at 8 p.m. This is still a good rating in this slot, especially when ABC has also recently launched freshman dramas that are much weaker, like Lucky 7, Betrayal and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Yet here’s how the Marvel series has tracked so far in the adult demo: A 4.7 rating for the show’s premiere, then 3.3, 2.9, 2.8 and now a 2.6.

It’s common for even successful and long-running new shows to drop the first two weeks after their launch, or even for three weeks. But now we’re on Week 5. We’re seeing some new shows stabilize or even improve in the ratings — last night, under-achievers like Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine and ABC’s The Goldbergs finally crept up a bit. On Monday night, CBS’ Mom went up for the first time and Hostages held steady. Yet S.H.I.E.L.D is still trending down. Can Melinda May pull the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet out of its dive? Comic veteran Jim Steranko says the show has found its groove creatively. So why are fans still ditching? ABC has ordered a full season of S.H.I.E.L.D., so it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. But those numbers must stop dropping at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Also last night: ABC’s Trophy Wife was down 8 percent and is on death watch. CBS’ dramas were steady. NBC’s Biggest Loser slipped 13 percent, The Voice was flat and Chicago Fire was down 9 percent. The CW’s Originals lost some of last week’s gains, but Supernatural was steady. Full chart:

NET/TIME/SHOW  18-49 RATING  TOTAL VIEWERS
FOX 8:00P DADS- 1.4 3,608
8:30P BRKLYN 9-9- 1.6 3,777
9:00P NEW GIRL- 1.8 3,759
9:30P MINDY PRJCT- 1.4 2,858
ABC 8-9P MARVL-SHIELD- 2.6 7,126
9:00P GOLDBERGS- 1.7 5,264
9:30P TROPHY WIFE- 1.2 4,030
10-11P SHARK TNK RS 1.1 3,450
CBS 8-9P NCIS- 3.0 18,580
9-10P NCIS:LA- 2.6 14,870
10-11P PERSON-INT- 2.2 12,937
NBC 8-9P BIGST LR15- 2.0 6,636
9-10P VOICE– 4.0 12,847
10-11P CHICAGO FIRE- 2.1 7,586
CW 8-9P ORIGINALS- 0.9 2,152
9-10P SUPRNATURAL- 1.0 2,298

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