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Stats Spotlight - Premiere Wednesday & Thursday - The Big Bang Theory, Law & Order Set Records / Revolution, Nashville, Grey's Anatomy Down On Last Year

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

With the premiere week now at the midpoint, lets run through a few of the ratings highlights for Wednesday and Thursday nights.

On Wednesday at 8pm, ABC's The Middle kicked things off for its fifth season, earning a 2.5 adults 18-49 rating and 8.94 million viewers. This is down on last season's premiere which saw the ratings hit 2.9, with 9.16 million viewers tuning in for the one hour special. However this season's premiere numbers are much better than last season's finale numbers, which earned a 2.0 rating and 7.70 million viewers. ABC's freshman comedy Back in the Game aired after The Middle, to a respectable 2.2 rating and 8.01 million viewers on its opening night.

In the same 8pm timeslot, except for the full hour, NBC's Revolution began its sophomore season with a premiere which is setting the series up to head in an interesting new direction. However it wasn't popular with the viewers, as it was the lowest rated series of the night (excluding CW). Just 6.81 million viewers tuned in to the premiere, earning a 1.8 rating - a rating which equals the current series low. One wonders if the series may have received higher ratings at a later timeslot or different night altogether, bearing in mind it was positioned behind The Voice at 10pm Mondays last season. Revolution's season 1 statistics are available here.

Fresh off its Emmy award for Outstanding Comedy, ABC's Modern Family returned for season 5, with a 1 hour special earning a 4.2 rating and 11.68 million viewers, making it by far the highest rated show on Wednesday night, and the most watched show by a margin of 400,000 viewers. Still, it's a drop on last season's premiere which earned a 5.5 rating and 14.44 million viewers, but this season's premiere rated much better than last season's finale which saw an audience of 10.01 million viewers and a 3.7 rating. You can see Modern Family's season 4 statistics here.

The second best rated and viewed premiere of the evening, also at 9pm, was CBS's Criminal Minds, which returns for its ninth season. A total of 11.27 million viewers tuned into the premiere, marginally up on last season's finale which saw 11.01 million viewers tune in over the two hours. Wednesday's premiere earned a 2.8 rating, in line with last season's finale, but behind last season's premiere which saw a 3.1 rating and 11.73 million viewers tune in. See those numbers here.

The final show on Wednesday night at 9pm was NBC's Law and Order: SVU. Back for its fifteenth season, the two hour premiere did tremendously well, earning a 2.7 rating and 9.58 million viewers. This makes the premiere the highest rated episode since the season finale of season 12, which aired back on 18 May 2011 to a 2.9 rating, and the most watched episode since the two parter midway through season 12, which saw 10.60 million viewers tune in back on 5 January 2011. Pretty good stuff for an old timer!

At 10pm on Wednesday, the second season of ABC's Nashville got underway, earning a 2.0 rating and 6.50 million viewers. The series premiere which aired on 10 October last year, was watched by the unbroken series record of 8.93 million viewers, earning the also unbroken series record 2.8 rating. The following week, Nashville's second episode earned a 2.0 rating and 6.74 million viewers, much the same as this season's premiere. The ratings for Wednesday's premiere aren't all bad news though - it was the first time the series had broken the 2.0 rating mark in 11 episodes, and was the most watched episode in 11 episodes also. Fans will be hoping things hold relatively steady, otherwise something new will fill Wednesday nights on ABC.

Rounding out the night on CBS was the premiere of the second oldest show of the evening, CSI: Las Vegas, back for season 14. The premiere earned a 2.0 rating and 9.10 million viewers, which is a reasonable decline on last season's premiere which saw 10.76 million viewers tune in, earning a 2.5 rating. Wednesday's premiere equaled the 2.0 rating earned by last season's finale, but fell around 400,000 viewers short of that finale, which was watched by 9.53 million viewers.

Moving on to Thursday night, where the highlight of the night was CBS's Emmy nominated comedy The Big Bang Theory breaking its audience record which was set just last season. The seventh season premiere aired at 8pm to a 5.5 rating and 18.99 million viewers, but this was drastically improved on by the following episode at 8:30pm, which earned a 6.1 rating and 20.44 million viewers - exactly 440,000 viewers more than the previous series audience high of 20.00 million viewers. That puts both episodes in the number one and two spots for the night in both ratings and audience. Contrast the numbers of the second episode with the season premiere of NCIS which aired on Tuesday night at 8pm. The NCIS premiere earned a 3.6 rating and 20.02 million viewers. Should The Big Bang Theory continue to hold these massive audiences, it could become US television's number one show. Bear in mind that The Big Bang Theory's audience fluctuated by more than 5.5 million viewers last season, while NCIS had a fluctuation of only 4 million viewers, so The Big Bang Theory does have its work cut out for it.

Also at 8pm Thursday, the sixth season premiere of the forever low rating Parks & Recreation. The premiere certainly lived up to that title, earning a 1.3 rating and 3.27 million viewers - a tie for the lowest rated episode in the series' history. The Big Bang Theory is clearly the comedy of choice on Thursday night, especially in the early timeslot.

The good fortunes continued at 9pm for CBS, with the premiere of freshman comedy The Crazy Ones earning a solid 3.9 rating and 15.62 million viewers. This makes it the number three show of the evening behind both episodes of The Big Bang Theory.

The tenth season two hour premiere of ABC's longest running drama, Grey's Anatomy, also aired at 9pm, to a 3.4 rating and 9.27 million viewers. This is well down on last season's premiere which was watched by 11.73 million people, earning a 4.4 rating - a full ratings point more than Thursday's premiere. Thursday's premiere was also the most viewed episode since episode 10 of last season, and the highest rated since episode three of last season. The series hasn't seen an episode with an audience in the double figures since episode 2 of last season, so one wonders whether the series will ever be able to manage that feat again. The statistics for last season are here.

The penultimate season of Glee also aired at 9pm, on FOX. It earned a 2.0 rating and 5.06 million viewers, which, though comparatively low to most other series, still means Glee is somewhat lucrative for FOX's advertisers. According to Nielsen, a single ratings point is worth 1.265 million viewers aged 18-49, which means 50% of the audience who watched Thursday's episode were part of the prime advertising demographic. However, the premiere's 5.06 million viewers makes it the least viewed episode in Glee's history, but rating have slipped lower than 2.0. See last season's data here.

At 9:30pm, the fifth best rated show of the night (beaten by ABC's Grey's Anatomy) was the eleventh season premiere of Two and a Half Men. Over the course of the half hour, an average of 11.59 million viewers tuned in, earning the premiere a 2.9 rating. Compared to last season's premiere, those numbers are down a bit, with the season 10 premiere earning a 3.5 rating and 12.54 million viewers, with ratings as high as 4.5, and audiences breaking the 15 million viewer mark throughout last season. Last season's finale equaled its premiere's ratings and actually bettered its premiere's audience, with a 3.5 rating and 12.83 million viewers.

The final show in the 9pm hour on Thursday was the series premiere of The Michael J. Fox Show on NBC. It earned a 2.2 rating and 7.50 million viewers. I'd say NBC and the show's early fans won't be too keen to see those numbers drop too much post-premiere.

Lastly, the 10pm hour on Thursday night saw Elementary on CBS go up against Parenthood on NBC, while Grey's Anatomy aired the second half of its 2 hour premiere on ABC. Elementary was terrific as always, with an interesting trip to London for Holmes and Watson earning the premiere a 2.1 rating and 10.18 million viewers, breaking the 4 episode stretch of audiences under double figure millions. The fantastic 2 hour finale of the first season earned a 2.0 rating, but a series low 8.98 million viewers. You can see the statistics for last season here.

Parenthood was never going to match Elementary, and the 1.6 rating and 5.06 million viewers the fifth season premiere earned equals the series low ratings record.

So that's a wrap of the ratings for premiere Wednesday and Thursday. Share your thoughts on the ratings of your favorite shows in the comments below, and follow me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

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