There was much rejoicing by NBC suits Tuesday morning. Their long "When is Comcast gonna toss these NBC bums out?" ratings nightmare was over.
"The Voice" and "Revolution" - two of the three franchises that stunningly pulled NBC out of the cellar it had settled into many seasons ago and into first place in the fall - were back.
Armed with the two programs - two hours of the singing show and one hour of J.J. Abrams's serialized kudzu-covered saga - NBC finished Monday night as the runaway fave among 18- to 49-year-old viewers (who are the unicorns of Madison Avenue), attracting nearly 5 percent of the population in that age bracket.
Among all viewers, NBC (11.3 million) finished behind only ABC (13 million).
The previous Monday night, NBC managed to attract just 6 million viewers with the aspirational "fat farm" show "The Biggest Loser" and rich folks murder mystery "Deception." Just 2.2 percent of the nation's 18- to 49-year-olds bothered to watch NBC's prime time that Monday; in both metrics, NBC finished fourth.
That had been NBC's story line for years, until last fall, when the network finally figured out what programming worked best for the two nights after its strong Sunday football franchise:
Armed with two nights of "The Voice," and with a healthy assist from the Eric Kripke-created "Revolution," NBC suddenly found itself in first place for the first time in, like, forever.
Sadly, football last aired on NBC in January, and "The Voice" and "Revolution" have been dark since the end of the November "sweep," so NBC returned to the ratings underworld - like Persephone, only without the toga.
On Monday, NBC re-emerged from its ratings inferno: From 8 to 10:01 p.m., the spring-season debut of "The Voice" opened bigger in both ratings metrics compared with its fall kickoff - despite the swap-out of two of the show's more charismatic coach-judges, Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, for competish newbies Usher and Shakira.