Fall’s buzziest new drama had a super-powered premiere Tuesday night: ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — a show so big it takes two company names to officially describe it — delivered 11.9 million viewers and a 4.6 adults 18-49 rating. That makes S.H.I.E.L.D. TV’s highest-rated drama debut in nearly four years (since ABC’s V premiere in November, 2009).
That adult demo number is particular impressive given the show’s time slot. S.H.I.E.L.D. had to self-start at 8 p.m. — no lead-in — and ran against huge competition: NBC’s The Voice and CBS’ NCIS are two of the most popular shows on television. And how did it stand up? S.H.I.E.L.D. (recap here) actually managed to tie the two-hour The Voice overall in the demo (4.6) — and beat it head-to-head during the 8 p.m. hour — while trouncing the return of NCIS in the demo (3.4), though obviously losing among total viewers (19.4 million).
S.H.I.E.L.D. may be a new show, but it dove into the scrum with with a familiar brand. The Marvel universe has been bombarding theaters for years with Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and The Avengers. S.H.I.E.L.D. is basically a TV-sized spin-off. And tapping pre-existing fantasy universes was already proven to work with two recent primetime shows — ABC’s fairy tale-stuffed Once Upon a Time and The CW’s DC Comics lynchpin Arrow. Now Fox is getting into the game by developing a Batman-verse series. READ FULL STORY