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NBC wins Monday ratings with 'The Voice' and 'Smash'

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Here's something you don't see often: NBC had a very good Monday in the ratings.

Coming off a record-breaking Super Bowl on Sunday, the network roared back Monday night with the second episode of its singing contest "The Voice," which led directly to the premiere of its new Broadway drama, "Smash," starring Katharine McPhee. NBC easily won the night in key ratings categories.

The two-hour "Voice," continuing the blind-audition process, scored big, averaging 17.7 million total viewers overall and a big 6.6 rating/16 share among viewers ages 18 to 49, according to Nielsen. The numbers were so good they appeared to pressure the ratings for CBS' popular sitcom block, including "Two and a Half Men." "The Voice" grew throughout the evening, winding up with 19.4 million total viewers in its last half-hour.

That provided a powerful lead-in for the 10 p.m. "Smash," which averaged 11.5 million viewers and scored a 3.8 rating/10 share in 18-49. "Smash" drew the highest rating this season so far for any regular episode of a 10 p.m. drama on any network -- which shows, if nothing else, how depressed that time slot has become.

However, there may be some trouble ahead for "Smash," which didn't quite live up to its title. The show lost nearly one-fifth of its total audience from the first half-hour to the second, usually a fairly reliable sign of cool viewer reaction. And it retained just 54% of the 18-49 lead-in from "The Voice"; typically, network executives are looking for a show to keep at least 70% to 80% of the audience, even from a big hit. So it will take another few weeks of ratings to get a clear sense of how "Smash" will do.

What did you think of "Smash"?

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-- Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Katharine McPhee costars in NBC's new drama "Smash." Credit: Will Hart / NBC

 
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