Marvel's 'Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Ratings Dropped; Why Disney Doesn't Care

Disney Marvel's Agents of SHIELD competes each week with CBS, NBC

Agent Coulson on Disney Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Image source: Marvel

Don't believe the naysayers, Marvel fans. Your favorite new television show is doing just fine. And parent company Disney is just fine with the results.

To be sure, if you've read the recent headlines, you probably wouldn't think so. A quick web search for last Tuesday's ratings bears mostly gloomy tidings along the lines of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Continue to Fall," and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Dip to New Lows."

And on the surface that's true.

Though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to secure the second-place spot during last Tuesday's 8 p.m. hour by a wide margin, it did drop to "just" 7.03 million live viewers and a 2.5 rating in the overall 18 to 49 year-old demographic. Meanwhile, CBS' NCIS grabbed the top spot with a 2.9 rating and an incredible 18.98 million viewers, while NBC's The Biggest Loser trailed a distant third with a 2.1 as 6.82 million people tuned in.

Kinda makes you wonder why Disney's ABC made the decision last month to pick up Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for its full first season, right? After all, why lock in a show that's performing successively worse with each passing week?

Here's why Disney couldn't be happier
To be sure, it's hard to criticize CBS and NCIS for pulling off the monumental task of drawing the eyes of nearly 19 million people each week.

However, its sheer numbers can only go so far, and that's why "overall" ratings can be a tad deceiving. When you dig deeper, there are several reasons Disney is happy to have Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on its side.

First, consider the fact that last week's episode marked the the sixth consecutive time Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has ranked as Tuesday's number-one show in the key men's 18 to 49 year-old demographic. In fact, season-to-date, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is also currently ranked the number two overall broadcast entertainment series in men 18-49, behind only CBS' long-standing favorite, The Big Bang Theory.

What's more, ABC says, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also boasts incredible staying power as this season's second-biggest adult 18-49 broadcast gainer in TV playback -- once again trailing only The Big Bang Theory -- while adding 2.1 ratings points, or 62%, from its "live plus same day" and "live plus seven day" viewership.

Finally, to put everything into perspective relative to Disney's previous television standings, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so far has singlehandedly improved its time period for ABC by 105%, and in the process secured its spot as the network's top-rated series for that hour dating all the way back to 2009.

Not too shabby for a supposedly faltering show whose ratings "continue to fall."

But just for good measure, Disney and Marvel also recently decided it'd be a good idea to orchestrate a significant big screen movie tie-in with this weekend's Thor: The Dark World for the Nov. 19 episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If that doesn't serve to run up the score even further, I don't know what will.

In any case, I've said it before and I'll say it again: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing everything for which it was intended (and more) for Disney, so don't worry about whether it'll live to play another day. Instead, just sit back and enjoy the show.

Here's where television is headed now
But the landscape for shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is also changing rapidly, thanks to an all-out $2.2 trillion media war that pits cable companies like Cox, Comcast, and Time Warner against technology giants like Apple, Google, and Netflix. The Motley Fool's shocking video presentation reveals the secret Steve Jobs took to his grave, and explains why the only real winners are these three lesser-known power players that film your favorite shows. Click here to watch today!

The article Marvel's 'Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Ratings Dropped; Why Disney Doesn't Care originally appeared on

Fool contributor Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Tom Wolf

A little help on how to fix this show: Make the ENTIRE SEASON just Coulson in a virtual world... HEALING. (Like a Healing Matrix)... and at the end let him come out of the coma... and start everything over from scratch. Make the facility where Coulson is "under" in Tahiti... which is why he keeps referencing it. That will be your perfect excuse to Reboot the entire show... because seriously? I'm a huge Marvel fan... and I couldn't tell you ONE plot from this season or any of the character's names other than Coulson right now.

As far as where to take the series AFTER waking Coulson up... Put them in the MIDDLE of a Global Catastrophe. Have Coulson wake up in the middle of dire times. Make the show more action packed... with a Single Goal at the end of every season (much like Wheedon's Buffy Series... or in the same way "Supernatural" plays out each season). Still have side missions that tie together in the end... but each season have a "Big Baddy" (as Joss called them). The fans need to feel like SHIELD is Needed. So far every episode seems like it could be handled by Brooklyn Nine Nine. We need to feel like this is Mission Impossible... not Mork and Mindy.

November 13 2013 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply