NEW YORK (AP) — Robin Williams has early bragging rights over Michael J. Fox in the competition between two sitcom veterans returning to network TV — with an asterisk.
The Nielsen company said Friday that Williams' new CBS comedy, "The Crazy Ones," debuted before 15.6 million people on Thursday night. It competed directly at 9 p.m. Eastern with "The Michael J. Fox" on NBC, which was seen by 7.2 million people.
Williams, who plays an advertising executive working in a firm with his daughter, had a huge advantage. His new sitcom directly followed a new episode of television's most popular comedy, "The Big Bang Theory," which was seen by 19.5 million people in the second of a two-part season premiere.
By contrast, the second half hour of "Parks & Recreation" on NBC, which preceded Fox's new show, had less than 3 million viewers.
CBS succeeded in getting people to sample Williams' new show by scheduling the extra "Big Bang" episode. Moving forward, however, "The Crazy Ones" will be preceded by another new show, "The Millers," on the schedule.
"I really think you have to sit and wait to see what happens," said Brad Adgate, researcher for Horizon Media.