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With the rise of superhero programming on network television, there was bound to be one night where Marvel and D.C. offerings would compete. That night finally came on Tuesday, when ABC aired an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The CW aired the very first episode of its new drama The Flash. Despite the fact that ABC is the bigger network and has more resources, The CW managed to actually bring home a ratings win—at least when it came to its superhero programming. Let’s take a look at the numbers.
The Flash’s big premiere pulled in a 1.8 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic and 4.5 million total viewers. Over at ABC, the latest episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. brought in a 1.6 rating and 4.39 million total viewers. It’s worth noting that The Flash hit the schedule at 8 p.m. ET while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aired at 9 p.m. ET, so they weren't in direct competition. Still, both had to compete with NBC’s The Voice and one of the NCIS properties on CBS, shows that pull in well over a 2.0 in the ratings each week.
It’s also worth noting that this week’s episode of The Flash was the show’s first season premiere. It is typical to see a series drop in the ratings during its second week at bat. Indeed, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has dropped in the ratings in the two weeks since the show’s Season 2 premiere on September 23. However, this week was actually a series low for S.H.I.E.L.D., which isn't looking good for the drama.
Over at the CW, fans of The Flash should be extraordinarily pleased with last night’s numbers. According to TV By The Numbers, The Flash premiere was the highest rated debut since The Vampire Diaries began airing way back in 2009. This means the show debuted higher than both the Originals and Arrow.
I wouldn’t be surprised if The Flash continued to do well. The new series is a fresh, fun drama that follows the antics of a young crime scene investigator who has an accident and wakes up with the ability to run extremely quickly. Other members of his community were affected by the same accident, but are using their newfound powers for evil purposes. While the network's other superhero, Arrow, pops up in the first episode to give the new superhero a little advice, the two shows aren’t totally alike, offering a different tone and a different approach to saving their respective communities. The Flash keeps things light, and that will hopefully be enough to keep up the numbers in the coming weeks.
You can catch new episodes of The CW’s The Flash on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET. ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. follows on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.