NBC smashed its way to victory in the ratings Monday night — a huge turnaround for the network on a night where it suffered mightily all season.
The reason: A one-two punch of series that were highly promoted during the Super Bowl — “The Voice” and “Smash.” It was a promotion ploy that paid off — promoting both shows during the big game that was watched by 111 million people, and also premiering the new season of “The Voice” directly following the game on Sunday night.
By the time Monday rolled around, America was apparently ready to check in with “The Voice” for a second consecutive night, and also primed to sample “Smash,” the widely promoted Broadway drama that NBC hopes will ignite a comeback for the entire network in the ratings.
Well, the jury’s still out on whether “Smash” will revive NBC’s entire lineup, and it also won’t be known ’til next Monday if this week’s “Smash” viewers will return next week. But for now, NBC execs are likely popping champagne corks over the 11.498 million viewers the “Smash” premiere drew at 10/9c Monday night. While they had probably hoped for an even bigger audience on opening night, that number is far, far better than anything NBC had aired previously in any time slot on Mondays this season, including shows such as “Chuck,” the ill-fated “Playboy Club” and the Brian Williams news magazine “Rock Center.”
And the news for “The Voice” was even better. The talent-competition series found itself in “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars” territory Monday night with a two-hour average from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. (7-9c) of 17.686 million viewers, according to the Nielsen overnights — the kind of audience tally for a regular series that NBC hasn’t seen in years. It also bears mentioning that the “Voice” numbers far outpaced Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” on Fox earlier this season. In fact, the second hour of “The Voice” Monday night drew a monster-sized audience Simon can only dream about: 19.295 million.
That figure was more than enough to clobber the usually dominant sitcoms on CBS — “Two and a Half Men” at 9/8c (which drew 12.898 million Monday night) and “Mike & Molly” at 9:30/8:30c (11.015 million).
NBC won every prime-time hour Monday night. Among the other shows on the other networks, “The Bachelor” on ABC averaged only 8.243 million viewers over its two hours (8-10/7-9c).
Meanwhile, in case you missed them, or would like to see ’em again, here are Monday night’s episodes of “The Voice” and “Smash.”