With the actual TV season still two weeks away, two big TV franchises started up on the second Monday of September: NBC's "The Voice" and ESPN's "Monday Night Football."
The two-hour big NBC singing competition show "The Voice" delivered strong ratings, with a Nielsen 4.2 rating/11 share and 12.3 million viewers -- around its last season average.
Specifically, "The Voice" is down from its Season Two start-up -- at a 6.7/17 and 17.8 million viewers. But that debut came after the always super-high-rated Super Bowl. In looking back to Season Two, "The Voice" Season Three debut is up a bit, 3%, versus the show’s Season Two finale in total average viewers -- 12.3 million versus 11.9 million. It is also up 4% versus the show’s Season One premiere in April 2011, which came in at 11.8 million.
"Monday Night Football" earned ESPN's double header of "MNF," first a 4.7 rating and 10.9 million viewers for the Baltimore Ravens-Cincinnati Bengals, and a 4.9 rating and 10.5 million viewers in the second game, the San Diego Chargers-Oakland Raiders. Both games are down around 25% from a year ago's first "MNF" game of the season -- Miami Dolphins-New England Patriots -- which rang up 14.6 million viewers.
There was a bit of stronger competition on this Monday night. In addition to "Voice" and "MNF," there were season finales at Fox for "Hell's Kitchen" and "MasterChef" -- which delivered a decent 2.5/7 and a 2.6/6 respectively, ratings which were about the same as their previous original broadcasts.
Later that night, NBC -- looking to get the jump on the new season -- started up another sitcom early, "The New Normal," hitting a 2.5/6 during the 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. time period. Since the Olympics, NBC has already kicked off other new shows with special premieres.
Overall for the night, in the key 18-49 viewer race, NBC earned a 3.4/9, followed by Fox at 2.5/7, CBS and Univision each at a 1.4/4, ABC with 1.1/3, and CW at 0.3/1.