Nellie Andreeva

And we’re off. In the first major premiere of the season, NBC’s The Voice last night opened its third season with a 4.1 rating/11 share in adults 18-49. In today’s broadcast universe that is a respectable number; for ratings-challenged NBC, it could be a cause for celebration. But by major talent competition standards, especially for a young series like The Voice, it is just OK. Of course that was way down from last season’s Super Bowl-inflated Voice opener. But it was also down from the series’ series debut in April 2011 (5.1/13). Additionally, The Voice was down 7% from last season’s finale. (And keep in mind, the show is usually front-loaded, with its blind auditions garnering the highest ratings.) Facing Monday Night Football for the first time in its run, it was a tenth behind the series debut of Fox’s The X Factor (4.2/12) last fall. The two music competition shows are set to clash head-to-head on Wednesday.

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Following The Voice premiere, a preview of new comedy The New Normal (2.5/6) got some decent sampling but was more in line with the 2010 preview of the short-lived drama Outlaw (2.4/7) than that of comedy Up All Night (3.7/10) last year. Both had smaller lead-ins from the America’s Got Talent finale. Given the fact that The Voice premiere is probably the best lead-in NBC can offer a show this season, it will be interesting to see whether the comedy can at least hold on to its preview number in its time-slot premiere tonight following Matthew Perry’s new comedy Go On, which has the post-Voice slot. A repeat of the Go On pilot (1.8/5) closed out last night, which NBC won in adults 18-49 and total viewers.

Elsewhere last night, networks were wrapping summer business. Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen (2.5/7) and MasterChef (2.6/6) finales were both down a tenth from last Tuesday’s episodes and from last year’s finales. ABC’s Bachelor Pad finale (1.3/3) was down 7% from last week and 35% from last year’s closer to log its lowest-rated finale against increased competition. CBS aired mostly repeats.

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