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Primetime Ratings: 'Smash' Hits Best 10 p.m. Premiere This Season

NBC's heavily-promoted musical drama Smash premiered Monday to a 3.8 rating in the adults 18-49 demo and 11.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen overnight numbers, making it NBC's highest-rated premiere this season and the best 10 p.m. debut on all networks.

Smash was about on par with what the premiere of fellow musically-themed Glee did back in May 2009, when that show debuted out of American Idol on Fox to a 3.9.  Smash also fell just short of being the season's top drama launch, which belongs to ABC's Once Upon a Time, which notched a 3.9 rating last October.

However, Smash lost 42% of its lead-in audience from The Voice, which rated a 6.6 in its time-period premiere. The Voice, for its part, was up 29% from its premiere last April, no doubt buoyed by its post-Super Bowl episode the night before.

Smash's premiere rating is more than triple the 1.0 NBC has been averaging in the time period this season, but audience retention will be key in weeks to come. NBC's previous top premiere this season, the comedy Up All Night, debuted to a 3.7 out of the America's Got Talent finale in September; now that series averages a 1.7 rating.

Both helped NBC win the night with an overall 5.7 rating/14 share.

CBS returned its lineup after a few weeks, but placed second with a 3.5/9, as all of its shows were down. How I Met Your Mother was down 9% to a 4.0 and 2 Broke Girls drew a 4.3. Two and a Half Men hit a season-low 4.2, down 11% and Mike & Molly fell 11% to a 3.4. At 10 p.m., Hawaii Five-0 was down 4% to a 2.7.

ABC edged out Fox for third with a 2.4/6. The Bachelor was flat with another 2.6 while Castle was down 5% from two weeks ago for a season-low 2.0.

Fox finished with a 2.3/6. Rookie drama Alcatraz fell 21% to a 2.2, while its lead-in House was down 17% to a 2.4.

The CW rounded out the evening with an overall 0.6/1. Gossip Girl was flat in A18-34 at 0.8 and down a tenth in A18-49 with a 0.6. Hart of Dixie was flat in both demos with a 0.7 and 0.6, respectively.