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NBC has had a hard time getting anything to stick on Thursday night at 10:00 p.m, which is why we were concerned about their choice to premiere Hannibal in that spot. Once upon a time, their "Must See TV" comedy line-up was a powerful lead-in for that ten o'clock spot. Not that E.R. really needed a rock solid lead-in, but even so, the competition from other networks, added to less than stellar ratings for its comedy block have likely contributed to the steady stream of failed dramas in that later time slot. With that in mind, Hannibal's premiere ratings don't look that bad. Of course, they do make us wonder how the show might have done if it had debuted after The Voice.
EW raised that very same point when they shared the ratings news for the series premiere of Bryan Fuller's new drama, which has Mads Mikkelsen playing the role of the infamous cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The premiere episode drew in an audience of 4.3 million viewers and a 1.6 rating in the adult demo, which isn't stellar by comparison to other shows, but isn't absolutely terrible, especially when you consider that the popular CBS detective procedural Elementary and Shonda Rhimes' addictive, soapy drama Scandal were both airing new episodes against it.
For a bit more perspective, NBC's new drama Do No Harm delivered a .9 rating among adults and just 3.12 million viewers in its premiere in that time slot. when its numbers slipped to almost a million lower the following week, NBC cancelled it. So at the very least, Hannibal came out above that series for its first episode, and hopefully it won't see the same drop in numbers next week. On quality though, the shows are barely comparable. Hannibal deserves much bigger ratings than its premiere received, regardless of where it aired. Still, its late premiere and challenging time slot are working against the show's favor, and that's unfortunate. As EW points out, on content, The Voice might not have been a fitting lead-in for such a violent drama. But it certainly wouldn't have hurt Hannibal any to put the show on Tuesday nights in the post-Voice spot.
At this point, we can cross our fingers that the Hannibal's ratings will at least hold steady, or at best, improve next week. Scandal will be a repeat next Thursday, which can only help Hannibal.
Those who missed the premiere can watch the full episode below. Or if you saw it, check out our review and let us know if you liked it as much as we did!