What exactly constitutes good news for NBC these days? That one of its new shows doesn’t die a dramatic, immediate death?
If so, then today’s Hannibal premiere ratings are good news. The stylish, violent new drama — a Silence of the Lambs prequel, based on Thomas Harris’ book, Red Dragon, in which the refined cannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) “helps” the brilliant but shaky FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) — got weak ratings by most measurements: a 1.6 rating among 18- to 49-year-olds and 4.3 million total viewers.
But considering NBC’s recent shockingly weak ratings, most particularly manifested by Do No Harm’s record-breaking low debut earlier this year, also in the Thursday at 10 p.m. spot, Hannibal is at least safe for now. The show faced a hard road against two hits in the same spot — Elementary on CBS and Scandal on ABC — both of which had new episodes Thursday night. And it had no lead-in support whatsoever: the Matthew Perry comedy, Go On, moved from Tuesdays to Thursdays to finish out its first season drew a 1.1 in 18 to 49 and 2.4 million viewers. Just horrible.
In the bigger picture on Thursday night, CBS dominated, as usual, led by The Big Bang Theory (4.9 in 18 to 49, 16.8 million viewers). On Fox, American Idol stopped hitting series lows (2.8/9 in 18 to 49, 11.3 million viewers). And on ABC, the two Shonda Rhimes–created dramas — Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal — got the same relatively strong 18 to 49 rating, a 2.7.
As for the rest of NBC’s prime time, Community continued to do terribly (a 1 .0 in 18 to 49, 2.4 million viewers), Parks and Recreation (1.5 in 18 to 49, 2.9 million viewers) should just get renewed now as an act of goodwill since it is one of the only shows on NBC people clearly watch on purpose, and The Office continued to limp to its end with a series low of 1.7 in 18 to 49 and 3.4 million viewers.
Given all of that, you can see why Hannibal not facing complete audience rejection is a cause for happiness.