Airing without its usual lead-in from "The Voice," NBC's Broadway drama "Smash" premiered down 71 percent Tuesday from last season's premiere and had its lowest-rated episode ever.
"Smash" had a 1.1 rating/3 share in the key 18-49 demo. That was also down 39 percent from its May 14 finale, when it aired after "America's Got Talent," had a 1.8/5 -- all this despite a new showrunner and new cast members, including Jennifer Hudson, "Law and Order's" Jesse L. Martin and Broadway star Jeremy Jordan.
The dropoff was a sign of just how much the hit "Voice" boosted "Smash," a favorite of NBC entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt.
Last year's premiere, on Feb. 6, 2012, came the day after the Super Bowl and following an episode of "The Voice." "The Voice" had huge momentum because of an episode that aired after the game.
Tuesday night's episode of "Smash" drew 4.5 million total viewers.
The disappointing performance for "Smash," along with "Betty White's 2nd Annual 90th Birthday Special" at 8 p.m. -- which was down 44 percent from last year's birthday special with a 1.5/4 and drew 6 million total viewers -- placed NBC in fifth place for ratings with a 1.2/3 and third in total viewers with 5 million.
CBS won the night overall with a 2.8/7 and 16 million. "NCIS" at 8 drew the night's top numbers with a 3.7/10 -- a marginal dip from last week -- and 21.5 million total viewers. "NCIS: L.A." the following hour posted a 3.1/8 with 16.6 million total viewers, while "Vegas" at 10 dropped off 16 percent for a 1.6/4 and drew 10.2 million total viewers.
ABC grabbed second place in ratings and total viewers with a 2.3/6 and 7 million. The new reality offering "The Taste" at 8 climbed 13 percent from last week for a 1.8/5 and had 5.3 million total viewers, while "The Bachelor" the following hour inched up 8 percent from Monday's airing for a 2.6/7 and took 7.8 million total viewers
Fox drew third place in ratings and tied Univision for fourth in total viewers with a 1.9/5 and 4 million. "Raising Hope" at 8 inched down in ratings with a 1.6/5 but enjoyed a minor bump in total viewers with 4 million.
A second episode at 8:30, filling in for the recently shelved "Ben and Kate," posted a 1.5/4 with 3.6 million total viewers. "New Girl" at 9 drew even compared to last week with a 2.5/7 and had 4.8 million total viewers, while "The Mindy Project" at 9:30 was up 12 percent in ratings and 13 percent in total viewers with a 1.9/5 and 3.6 million.
Univision came in fourth in ratings with a 1.7/5.