NBC's Thursday lineup returned Thursday night, adding the familiar faces of "Community" to its roll call for two back-to-back episodes, but it looks like some viewers skipped class.
The off-beat comedy debuted its fifth season, boasting creator Dan Harmon back at the helm, and drew an average of 3.4 million viewers and a rating of 1.3 among key 18-to-49-year-olds, according to early numbers from Nielsen. The episode was down 32% in the young adult demographic from last year's winter premiere, which was in February, but it matched last May's season finale.
It's fair to point out that Thursday night's premiere arrived during a holiday week and a down night for broadcast TV in general. The network is expecting the show to make up some ground through delayed viewing.
The network's freshman comedies got off to a rough start after the mid-season break, with "Sean Saves the World" down 20% to a 0.8 in the advertiser-desired demo from its last original episode in December, and "Michael J. Fox Show" down 11% to a 0.8. "Parenthood" was a bright spot for NBC, back with a 1.3 in the key demo, up 8% from last month.
CBS was the clear winner as all its shows grew from their last original episodes. "The Big Bang Theory" was the highest-rated program of the night with 18.93 million viewers and a rating of 5.3, up from its last original episode. "The Millers," "The Crazy Ones," "Two and a Half Men" and "Elementary" were also up after the break. However, CBS was down overall from the same night last year.
ABC's two-hour second-season premiere of "The Taste" shrank 43% from last year's series premiere to a 1.2 and drew an average of 4.4 million viewers against the comedies on NBC and CBS. Keep in mind that the last premiere was in late January, when more people are watching TV in general, and had little competition. Thursday's premiere was even with the first season finale.
The first installment of the new ABC Cold War thriller "The Assets," an eight-part miniseries, attracted 3.8 million people and a demo rating of 0.7. In the 18-49 demographic, that's half the rating the network's "Zero Hour" debut received last February.
Fox played only reruns.
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