"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." becomes TV's most-watched drama debut since 2009

Clark Gregg stars as Agent Phil Coulson in ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." ABC

The series premiere of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." proved to be a Hulk in the ratings.

Tuesday night's debut episode brought in impressive audience numbers for ABC, with nearly 11.9 million viewers tuning in to watch the new series co-created by "The Avengers" writer and director Joss Whedon.

The show brought in a 4.6 audience rating among the 18-49 age demographic, according to TV By The Numbers. It has now become the highest-rated debut drama series in nearly four years, since the premiere of "V" on ABC back in 2009.

Based on characters from the Marvel Comics universe, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." stars Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, who seemingly died in Whedon's "Avengers" film, only to be brought back for the TV series.

Whedon's latest small-screen hit (he also created "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and "Angel") faced stiff competition in its time slot, going up against ratings powerhouses like NBC's "The Voice" and "NCIS" on CBS.

"NCIS" brought in 19.47 million viewers while 14.4 million viewers watched "The Voice."

CBS was the most-watched network among total viewers for the night, while NBC came in first place with the 18-49 demographic.

Fox came in last place in the ratings among the Big Four networks. Viewership was down for the comedies "Dads," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" compared with last week.

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    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.

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