Marvel's Agents of SHIELD returned to television on Tuesday with the Season 4 premiere episode, "The Ghost." The episode was the first for the series in its new 10 p.m. time slot and introduced Gabriel Luna as Ghost Rider.
Despite the hype over Ghost Rider's debut, and pretty favorable reviews, the ratings for "The Ghost" weren't terribly impressive. Agents of SHIELD managed just 1.1 in its key demographic, down from the 1.7 of the Season 3 premiere episode, "Laws of Nature."
Now the Live+3 ratings for "The Ghost" are in, and boy what a difference three days can make. "The Ghost" saw a huge 82% rise in its ratings, bringing that 1.1 up to a 2. That's the largest L+3 gain for any single episode of Agents of SHIELD ever.
"The Ghost" also saw a 61% rise in total viewers, which is also a new record for Agents of SHIELD. That brings the Agents of SHIELD Season 4 premiere's total viewership up from 3.44 million to 5.549 million, which nearly matches the Agents of SHIELD Season 3 average viewership.
What these ratings seem to tell us is that the Agents of SHIELD faithful are willing to stick with the show, they're just not willing to stay up past their bedtime. It will be interesting to see how the Live+7 ratings stack up to last season's, and whether good word of mouth following Ghost Rider's debut will draw even more viewers into Agents of SHIELD Season 4.
In Agents of SHIELD Season 4, in light of the Sokovia Accords, and with Hydra obliterated, SHIELD has been legitimatized again and no longer needs to operate in the shadows. Since the world presumes that Coulson is dead, the organization needed a new Director to be the face of the organization. Coulson finds himself back in the role as an agent and teamed with Mack, and together they are tasked with tracking down and confirming the presence of Enhanced people, aka Inhumans. Agent May is tasked with training specialist strike teams, and Fitz and Simmons have taken a big step forward in their relationship.
Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.