We already crowned CBS as the winner of this season’s premiere week. (The network won soundly in both viewers and adults 18-49). But, with some bold scheduling moves and solid premieres, the network also posted ratings gains vs. last year. It was a polarized field overall, with CBS and NBC in positive territory, along with the CW, and ABC and Fox in the other corner, posting double-digit declines. Good news for NBC brass and their new bosses from Comcast: the network showed the biggest improvement year-to-year during premiere week and managed to finish tied for No.2 among 18-49. Despite big launches for ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and Modern Family and Fox’s Glee, both networks were plagued by disappointing starts for most of their new and returning series, leading to the declines. Meanwhile, Spanish broadcaster Univision also boasted year-to-year gains, 9% in total viewers and 11% in adults 18-49. Here are the stats on premiere week:
Broadcast networks’ premiere week wrapped last night. It was the most competitive start of the season in recent memory, with the vast majority of new and returning series – some 60 shows – launching over the past seven days. After the initial shock waves from the disastrous premiere ratings for Fox’s new drama Lone Star on Monday, there were no huge surprises – the shows stayed mostly on target, and no network tanked completely, with each having at least one bright spot to brag about. Of course, some did better than others (See the network-by-network analysis below.) But first, some overall thoughts on premiere week.
- The changing of the guard on broadcast television seems completed, with last season’s hot rookies Glee and Modern Family becoming the new top dogs. The second-season premieres of Glee (5.6/16 in 18-49) and Modern Family (5.1/14) were the No.1 and No.3 scripted series last week, beating the season openers of such established veterans as House and Desperate Housewives. They were also both up significantly from their series debuts last year, a rare feat during a premiere week in which returning series were mostly down or flat with the exception of CBS’ Two and a Half Men and NBC’s The Office, which might have benefitted from the publicity surrounding star Steve Carell’s final season on the show. Still, most returning shows did return at their levels from the end of last season, and their numbers are expected to
UPDATE 2PM: The Final Live+Same Day ratings just came in. Veterans Dancing with the Stars (5.1/13 among adults 18-49 in the finals), Two and a Half Men (4.9/12) and House (4.2/11) as well as rookie Hawaii Five-0 (3.9/11) all gained .1 from this morning’s fast nationals, while The Event (3.6/9), Castle (2.7/7) and Chuck (2.0/5) dropped .1, and Chase (2.3/6) was down .2. (NBC’s early numbers were boosted by an NFL game in New Orleans.)
9:30AM: And they’re off! The broadcast networks last night began what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons in years. The opening night featured the premieres of 5 new series airing against Monday Night Football on ESPN. No blockbuster out-of-the-gate hits despite heavy promotion for Hawaii Five-O and The Event. But three of the rookies did solid business: the new Chuck Lorre comedy for CBS Mike & Molly (3.9 rating/10 share in adults 18-49, 12.2 million viewers overall), the Hawaii Five-0 reboot on CBS (3.8/10, 13.8 million viewers), and NBC’s The Event (3.7/9, 11.2 million). One did just OK: NBC’s Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama Chase (2.5/7, 7.9 million). And one flat-out bombed: Fox’s much-lauded Lone Star (1.3/3, 4.1 million).
Here is a rundown network-by-network:
Overnights aren’t supposed to matter, as any broadcast executive will tell you these days because a larger and larger chunk of the TV audience time-shift their primetime viewing. And yet, we know that every morning next week the TV brass will be poring over the early numbers, knots in their stomach, as the broadcast networks unleash 16 new series from Monday to Friday (5 on Monday alone) during the nerve-wracking annual mad dash known as Premiere Week.
A few thoughts before I run down expectations network-by-network:
- While everyone is focusing on series, it probably will be sports, not scripted fare, that will determine the ratings winner for Premiere Week and possibly the entire fourth quarter. “No one will break out,” a network insider tells me, projecting that the 4 networks will finish Premiere Week in a tight race, with .4 rating point in 18-49 separating No.1 from No. 4. With the race so close, one hour of football overrun on CBS, which has a doubleheader on Sunday, may be the deciding factor that would push the network to the top.
- I found it refreshing that three new series starring mature actors — Dana Delany (54) in ABC’s Body of Proof, Jimmy Smits (55) in NBC’s Outlaw, and Tom Selleck (65) in CBS’ Blue Bloods – made the cut in May. But I also find it a bit cynical that all 3 were put on the lower-rated and
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Morning Report, Monday July 21
'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' took the top spot at the box office again holding off a trio of newcomers, Netflix's second-quarter earnings come after the market closes today, JJ Abrams' latest 'Star Wars' video hits the web just in time for Comic-Con.
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