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The Voice: Season Off to Smashing Start—but What About Smash?

Smash Will Hart/NBC

The Voice was the safe bet to rule Monday-night TV. 

Smash was the wild card.

In the end, both shows paid off.  

VOTE NOW: Your verdict on Smash

Boosted by its Super Bowl exposure, The Voice went all American Idol in its regular time-slot premiere, scoring 17.7 million viewers and a 6.6 rating among 18- to 49-year-olds.

The show's demo rating was so high it's possible that even Idol may have trouble matching the number on either Wednesday or Thursday, if not on both. (Fox's spin on the burgeoning Idol rival? The Voice was "down 60 percent from Sunday's airing," it noted this morning.)

The best news for Smash, meanwhile, is that it did something in the 10 p.m. hour that NBC shows haven't done since the Jay Leno experiment: It generated ratings.

Smash's 11.5 million viewers were the most for the network in the time slot in more than three years; its 3.8 demo rating would have put the backstage musical on top of all broadcast-network dramas in the latest Nielsen rankings. 

But while The Voice, which finished strong last spring, seems likely to keep hitting the high notes, Smash remains the wild card.

The heavily, heavily, heavily promoted wild card.   

Elsewhere, here's a quick look at some of the ratings highlights from the just-released broadcast and cable weekly rankings:

Glee: Michael Jackson can still draw a crowd. McKinley High's King of Pop tribute scored the biggest audience (9.1 million) since premiere week.

• Jimmy Fallon: The Super Bowl effect extended to late night, where a post-game version of Late Night scored 256 percent more viewers than usual (6.2 million). And, yes, that is correct: 256 percent. 

The Firm: Another week of barely there numbers (3 million viewers, 0.8 18-49 rating), and off to Saturday the Josh Lucas series goes. Repeats of Grimm replace it on Thursday.

Modern Family: The comedy claimed a belated victory over American Idol in the two shows' head-to-head matchup on Jan. 18, Idol's Wednesday premiere night. DVR playback swung the vote, ABC said.

The Big Bang Theory: No recount needed. The comedy beat Idol outright in the 8-8:30 p.m. Thursday time slot with 16.5 million viewers and a 5.5 demo rating. Idol emerged, per usual, as the night's most-watched show, on average, but its premiere plunge wasn't a blip—it's officially mortal.   

• Boston: The New England Patriots might have gone down to defeat, but the team's hometown distinguished itself as the No. 1 Super Bowl market, routing New York Giants' Big Apple base (18th place). 

Here's a complete look at the TV week's top 10 most-watched broadcast shows:

  1. Super Bowl XLVI, 111.3 million viewers
  2. Super Bowl post-game, 76.8 million viewers
  3. The Voice (Sunday), 37.6 million viewers
  4. American Idol (Wednesday), 18.5 million viewers
  5. American Idol (Thursday), 17.4 million viewers
  6. The Big Bang Theory, 16.5 million viewers
  7. Person of Interest, 15.1 million viewers
  8. The Mentalist, 13.8 million viewers
  9. NCIS (rerun), 13 million viewers
  10. Blue Bloods, 11.4 million viewers

(Originally published at 9:27 a.m. PT on Feb. 7, 2012.)

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