It’s not a red-letter day for Fox’s Red Band Society: The pediatric ward drama, the first big series premiere of the new fall season, drew just 4 million viewers with its first airing and averaged a modest 1.3 rating among Fox’s target demographic of viewers under 50. Red Band came in sharply lower than Fox’s fall 2013 Wednesday lineup: Last year, the season-three premiere of The X Factor delivered 6.8 million viewers and a 2.3 rating among viewers under 50. On a positive note, Red Band pretty much matched its lead-in (Hell’s Kitchen, which averaged 3.9 million viewers and a 1.4 rating).Today’s numbers also don’t measure how well Red Band will do once time-shifted viewers are tallied; the fact that the show skews young suggests it might (underline might) get a notable bump from DVR viewing. Those numbers will be in by early next week.
Meanwhile, NBC has to be happy with viewer reaction to its special sneak-preview of the critically exorcised The Mysteries of Laura. Debra Messing’s latest attempt at a TV comeback, airing at 10 p.m. behind the season finale of America’s Got Talent, was sampled by just over 10 million viewers and averaged a 2.1 among viewers under 50. (AGT averaged 12 million viewers and did a 2.3 in the demo.) The Laura pilot will be repeated tonight before the show moves into its regular, and much less protected, 8 p.m. Wednesday time slot next week. Last night’s big crowd could very easily disappear once the AGT lead-in is gone, but for now, NBC schedulers did their job by at least putting the show on viewers’ radars.