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Stats Spotlight - Premiere Monday - Castle / The Blacklist Start Well, Hostages / Bones / Sleepy Hollow Struggle

(Check out my TV ratings website, www.seriesmonitor.com

The first night of the new television season was a cracker, with some fantastic television and fascinating ratings. Let's break the night down to see what happened.

NBC's The Voice returned last night to an impressive 5.1 adults 18-49 rating, and 14.98 million viewers. This rating is much stronger than the previous 2 seasons, which have seen ratings of 4.2 this time last year, and 4.8 this spring. Dancing With The Stars on ABC got a week's head start, premiering to a 3.1 rating and 16.04 million viewers last week, but these numbers were well down this week thanks to the increased competition, with the episode earning a 2.3 rating and 13.57 million viewers. In past seasons, The Voice has almost always won the ratings battle, with DWTS edging hahead with total viewers. This clearly wasn't the case last night, with The Voice taking both wins in the 8-10pm timeslot.

FOX also premiered their lineup a week early, with mixed results when compared to this week. At 8pm, Bones scored a 1.9 rating and 6.74 million viewers, which is well down on last week's 2.3 rating and 7.76 million viewers, and also makes it the least watched show of the night excluding CW shows. Last season's second episode matched the premiere's 2.3 rating, and dropped a mere 300,000 viewers, whereas this time round, the second episode dropped 0.4 of a ratings point, and just shy of 1 million viewers in the hour. Freshman horror drama Sleepy Hollow fared slightly worse in comparison, with last night's 3.1 rating and 8.59 million viewers well down on the premiere's 3.5 rating and 10.10 million viewers. Both Bones and Sleepy Hollow will appear to have suffered a more significant loss, but that can be put down to the normal post-premiere decline, and the lack of competition from other networks last week. You can see Bones' season 8 statistics here and this season's statistics here.

CBS had a solid night in the face of fierce competition from ABC and NBC, with the one hour special of the final season of How I Met Your Mother opening the night with a 3.7 rating and 9.40 million viewers. That result eclipses last season's 3.6 premiere rating, and adds around 600,000 extra viewers this time around. The 9-10pm timeslot was split between 2 Broke Girls and freshman comedy, Mom. The former earned a 2.8 rating and 8.88 million viewers, which is well down on what last season's premiere earned - a 3.7 rating and 10.14 million viewers - and slightly down on last season's finale which earned a 3.0 rating and 8.94 million viewers. Mom, meanwhile, premiered to a 2.5 rating and 7.99 million viewers - the third least watched episode of the night excluding CW shows. Moving back to 8pm, freshman comedy We Are Men slots into the 8:30pm timeslot thanks to the 1 hour special premiere of How I Met Your Mother

The 10pm timeslot was where it was all happening for me. The fantastic sixth season premiere of ABC's second-longest running drama, Castle opened its account with a 2.2 rating and 11.46 million viewers. This edges past last season's premiere's 2.1 rating, but puts a touch more than 1 million viewers on last season's premiere which earned 10.45 million viewers. Last season's ratings data is available. Castle was definitely the focus of the older demographic last night, because over on NBC, the freshman James Spader starring The Blacklist took the stage to an impressive 3.8 rating and 12.58 million viewers, making it the second best rated show, and third most watched show, of the night. This smashes the mark set by the second episode of Revolution, which earned a 3.4 rating and 9.21 million viewers. Why the second episode, I hear you say?? Because the series premiere of Revolution aired the week before - as did the season premiere of The Voice, back then. Anyway, The Blacklist was very very good, and it's set the bar very high for itself in the coming weeks. I'll definitely be watching, and keeping an eye on the ratings here.

With Castle and The Blacklist sorted, that leaves CBS's fantastic, but poorly promoted freshman drama Hostages. It saw a mere 1.8 rating and 7.41 million viewers - not far shy of half the numbers The Blacklist saw. I don't think this is entirely bad news though, because those numbers were only marginally down on Hawaii Five-0's third season premiere which occupied the same timeslot last season with a 1.8 rating and 8.06 million viewers, against similar competition in the form of NBC's Revolution and ABC's Castle. Hostages will have also been DVR'd by many, with the reaction I've seen so far suggesting viewers have opted to watch Castle or The Blacklist live and DVR Hostages. In three weeks, when Live+7 DVR numbers are released, we will know the answer to that. 

In any case, the Hostages series premiere didn't get things off to a good start statistics-wise, Filling the shoes of the summer's number one show, Under The Dome, and being the lowest rating and second least viewed show of the night (excluding CW) doesn't help things, but Hostages looks to be an excellent series so I'll be tuning in.

So that's a wrap of the opening night of the 2013 - 2014 television season's ratings. What were your ratings highlights? Make yourself heard in the comments below.

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