ABC is going the distance with Agents of SHIELD.
The Disney-owned network has given a full-season order to Marvel’s first primetime scripted drama, ABC announced Thursday.
The Joss Whedon co-created drama is based on the Marvel Comics’ secret intelligence organization that has appeared in countless titles, including Iron Man, Captain America and The Ultimates, since being introduced in the 1960s. The military law-enforcement agency’s moniker stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistic Directorate, which also has evolved over time in the comics.
The series, starring Clark Gregg reprising his role from The Avengers, debuted Sept. 24 against stiff competition from The Voice and NCIS premiere to a 4.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.9 million viewers, ranking as the top network drama premiere since ABC’s V in 2009. Opening the night at 8 p.m., it topped both Voice and NCIS episode in the demo. The series ranks as the No. 1 series of the 2013-14 season among adults 18-49 (4.0 Live+Same Day, 5.7 Live+3). On average, Agents of SHIELD is No. 1 in its Tuesdays at 8 p.m. slot and has more than doubled the young adult demo in the hour year-over-year.
Week two was not the same story though. Going head-to-head with Cote de Pablo‘s final NCIS episode, the comic-themed drama from EPs Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen lost a third of its massive demo haul — notching a 3.1 and 8.4 million viewers. In the demo, that’s off a massive 33 percent and the biggest drop-off of any freshman series. By week three, the spiral continued, when the drama shed another half a point to a 2.8 in the demo.
In three episodes, the series has featured two cameos from Marvel’s big-screen features: Cobie Smulders appeared in the pilot as Agent Maria Hill from The Avengers and Samuel L. Jackson reprised his role as Nick Fury at the end of episode two.
The Whedon brothers and Tancharoen (Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible) co-created the drama and exec produce alongside Jeph Loeb (Smallville, Lost, Heroes) and Jeffrey Bell. The drama hails from ABC Studios and Marvel Television.
SHIELD marks ABC’s first full-season order of the season. It joins NBC’s The Blacklist and Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, the latter of which received an early season two renewal for another limited run next year.