It was a two-network race last night between NBC and CBS, both of them powered by football. NBC’s Sunday Night Football earned a 15.2 overnight rating to give NBC a 15th straight Sunday night victory. The Packers-Patriots game was up 27% from last year’s Week 15 game between the Vikings and the Panthers. CBS’ primetime was boosted by an NFL lead-in which pushed the start of 60 Minutes to 7:18 PM. From 7-8 PM, football overrun and 60 Minutes drew a 5.5/16 in 18-49 and 21.7 million viewers. Numbers will be refined tomorrow, but from approx. 8:30-10:30 PM, the Survivor: Nicaragua finale (4.1/10 in 18-49, 13.4 million) was down 7% from last December’s Survivor: Samoa closer to rank as the lowest-rated season finale of the veteran reality franchise in adults 18-49. If the result is adjusted up in the finals to a 4.2 demo rating, that would tie Survivor‘s lowest-rated finale to date. From 10:30-11 PM, the Survivor reunion special averaged a 3.5/9 (the special bled into the local news on the East Coast.) In primetime, CBS averaged a 4.4/12 and 15.7 million viewers to rank No.2 to NBC in both measures. Fox aired all-comedy repeats led by Family Guy (2.3/6) and The Simpsons (2.2/6). ABC ran back-to-back rebroadcasts of The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3.
Reality dominated the broadcast landscape last night with four hours of original unscripted fare vs. 3 of first-run scripted programming. The penultimate episode of CBS’ Survivor: Nicaragua (3.5/11 in 18-49, 12.4 million viewers) was the top program in the adult demo for the night. It was down a tenth from last week while hitting a season high in total viewers. Criminal Minds (3.2/9) was down 9%, while The Defenders (2.0/6) was flat. CBS (2.9/8, 12.2 million) won the night in 18-49 and total viewers, with all of its series winning their time slots. But Defenders was tied in the demo with NBC’s rerun of Law & Order: SVU (2.0/6, 6.9 million), which is not a good sign as The Defenders would soon have to face SVU originals as the veteran NBC cop drama is shifting to 10 PM in midseason. There has been a lot of talk that CBS would move Defenders out of the Wednesday 10 PM time slot, possibly to Fridays, and last night’s performance would certainly further fuel that speculation.
NBC’s limited reality series The Sing-Off (2.9/8, 8.4 million) continues to do very well, up 7% from last Wednesday in 18-49 to post a season high for NBC in the 8-10 PM slot. (It was down 12% from Monday’s telecast.) The second hour of The Sing-Off edged the season finale of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen (3/8 vs. 2.6/7). Fox’s Human Target (1.5/5) was down a tenth, while the Hell’s Kitchen‘s finale (2.6/7) was up 13% from last week but …
After taking a break on Tuesday where it would’ve clashed with Glee, the scripted series that helped it get on the air, NBC’s reality series The Sing-Off returned last night for its second airing. It averaged a 2.6/7 in adults 18-49 and 7.6 million viewers overall from 8-10 PM, down 7% from the Monday premiere but a season high for the network in the slot. The a cappella singing competition was up 24% from the same Wednesday night last year and flat with its second episode, which aired on Tuesday last December. A rerun of Law & Order: Special Victim Unit (1.8/5, 6.2 million) ran at 10 PM, the series’ new permanent home as of Jan. 5.
ABC’s comedy block was down across the board: The Middle (2.5/7) was down 11% to tie its season low, Better With You (2.2/6) was down 4%, Modern Family (4.1/11) was down 15% for a season low and Cougar Town (2.6/7) was down 13%, also a season low. Modern Family still ranked as the highest-rated program of the night in the 18-49 demo. Like NBC, ABC’s lineup in the 10 PM hour was a dry run for midseason when it will feature comedies. Repeats of Modern Family (1.9/5) and Cougar Town (1.3/4) last night outperformed significantly the original Whole Truth (0.9/3) in the hour last week.
With CBS assured of its first top November sweep win among 18-49 in 5 years (tied with Fox), the network put on repeats and a Survivor clip show on the final night of the sweep. That allowed ABC to completely dominate the night in the demo with its comedy block and a Primetime special on celebrity plastic surgery. All series posted double-digit declines from last week but that is to be expected on a night when a large portion of the audience were en route to their holiday destination. Versus the same night last year, ABC was up by 35% in 18-49 and 42% in total viewers. ABC’s Modern Family (3.7/12, 10.5 million) was the top program of the night in 18-49 and total viewers. Topping their slots in 18-49 were ABC’s The Middle (2.1/7), Cougar Town (2.5/8) and Primetime: Celebrity Plastic Surgery Gone Too Far? (1.8/6). CBS’ Survivor: Nicaragua recap (2.0, 8 million) took the 8:30 PM hour. In its second airing, Fox’s Human Target drew a 1.4/5 vs. 1.8/5 for its season premiere last week, in line with the week-to-week declines for the ABC comedies. Hell’s Kitchen finished second in the demo in the 9 PM hour with a 2.1/7. For the night, ABC averaged a 2.3/7 in 18-49 and 7.4 million. Fox (1.8/6, 5.3 million) was second in the demo, while CBS (1.7/6, 8.2 million) was third and tops in total viewers. NBC (1.6/5, 5.2 million) …
Fox’s Human Target (1.8/5) had a quiet second season premiere last night in the Wednesday 8 PM slot it was upgraded to after Lie to Me was summoned to Mondays. It is unfair to compare the premiere to the show’s series debut after a big football game last season (it was down 38% from that), but the season opener was down from what Hell’s Kitchen has been doing in the hour this fall and down a tenth from its first season finale. Hell’s Kitchen (2.6/7), now abbreviated to one hour, was flat with its two-hour edition last week.
ABC’s comedy block returned after a preemption for the American Music Awards a tiny bit lower. The Middle (2.8/9) was down a tenth, Better with You (2.3/7) was down 8%, Modern Family (4.7/13) was down a tenth and Cougar Town (3.0/8) was flat. The Kim Kardashian-hosted special People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive did a 1.5/5.
CBS’ Wednesday lineup rebounded after taking a hit against the AMAs last week when all series posted season lows. Survivor: Nicaragua (3.5/10) was up 9%, Criminal Minds (3.7/10) up 19% and The Defenders (1.9/6) up 6%. CBS locked another Wednesday win in adults 18-49 (3.0/9) and total viewers (11.9 million)
It was a tough night all around. ABC did the best with the 44th Annual Country Music Association Awards (4.7/13 in adults 18-49, 16.5 million viewers overall), winning the night in total viewers and all key demographics by a wide margin and posting its strongest Wednesday numbers in a year. Still, it was down 11% in adults 18-49 vs. last year for an all-time low. In total viewers, it was down 4%, logging its second most watched telecast since 2005. Things were much worse for NBC and CBS. At NBC, the recently canceled Undercovers (1.2/4) was down 8% to log its lowest rated telecast ever. It was followed by Law & Order: SVU (2.0/5, down 9%), and Law & Order:LA (1.7/5, down 11%), which also posted all-time series lows. (Last week, SVU hit a season low, while LOLA tied its previous all-time low.) The same happened to the CBS Wednesday series with even steeper week-to-week declines. Survivor: Nicaragua (3.2/9, down 14%) posted its lowest-rated regular telecast ever. Criminal Minds (3.0/8, down 23%) and freshman The Defenders (1.8/5, down 22%) tied their lowest-rated telecasts.
After a three-week hiatus for baseball preemptions, Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen (2.7/7) returned 13% lower than its last original on Oct. 13 for a season low. At CW, without ABC’s 9-10 PM comedies to compete against, Hellcats (1.9 million, 1.2/4 in 18-34) shot up 20% from last week in adults 18-34, its best delivery in the demo in six …
Fox’s coverage of Game 1 of the World Series between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants (4.7 rating in 18-49) was down 25% from last year’s Phillies/Yankees matchup, but that was to be expected with the most popular baseball team, the Yankees, out this year. The game was on par with ith the opening game of the most recent non-Yankees World Series in 2008 (4.8). Fox won the night in 18-49 and total viewers.
Just like its family-friendly Monday lineup posted week-to-week gains against the monster Monday NFL game on ESPN, the network’s Wednesday comedy block last night logged ratings rises. The Halloween-themed quartet was led by Modern Family (5.1/13 in 18-49, up 9% from last week’s fast national; 13.1 million viewers), which hit a series high in total viewers and matched its series high in 18-49 from earlier this fall. At 8 PM, The Middle (2.8/9, up 8%; 9.4 million) logged its most-watched telecast and its second highest 18-49 delivery ever. Freshman Better with You (2.5/7) had a nice 19% post-full season-pickup bounce to match a series demo high.
There are four freshman series on Wednesday that are still awaiting decision on full-season orders: ABC’s Better with You and The Whole Truth, NBC’s Undercovers and CBS’ The Defenders. None of them made a case for itself one way or another last night, with the first 3 staying flat and The Defenders giving away last week’s solid ratings gains.
Much needed good ratings news for NBC which recently handed back orders – episodic or script – to all of its freshman series still on the air. One of them, Law & Order: Los Angeles (2.4/7 in adults 18-49), was up 26% after 2 consecutive weeks of 20%+ declines. It won the 10 PM hour and improved its retention of Law & Order: SVU to 92% from 83% last week. In fact, the entire NBC Wednesday lineup was up. SVU (2.6/7) was climbed 13%. Undercovers (1.5/5), the only new NBC series to only get script order this week, was flat with the show’s fast national number last week and up 7% vs. the final.
There were big swings at 10 PM on a otherwise pretty uneventful Wednesday night. After declining for 2 consecutive weeks and last Wednesday logging CBS’ lowest-rated original telecast in the hour in 7 years last week, the network’s new light legal drama The Defenders (2.5/7, 9.9 million viewers overall) bounced back, up 14% from last week among adults 18-49 and winning its time slot in the demo for the first time. CBS’ series may have benefitted from having less legal drama competition in the 10 PM hour last night. ABC preempted its new court drama The Whole Truth to air a 20/20 special on the Chilean miners rescue (1.8/5, 6.2 million). The newsmagazine improved on The Whole Truth‘s last week ratings performance in the time slot by 29% in 18-49, logging ABC’s largest audience in the hour in 10 months. Meanwhile, things look grim for NBC’s new crime drama Law & Order: Los Angeles (1.9/6), which was down 21% from last week, following last week’s 25% drop from the series’ premiere. LOLA has not been helped by the fact that its lead-in, veteran Law & Order: SVU (2.2/6), has also been dropping fast, down another 15% last night. Meanwhile, the network’s new spy drama Undercovers (1.5/4) seems to have stopped the bleeding, flat with last week but only .1 ahead of CW’s America’s Next Top Model in the 8PM hour. Other highlights from last night:
Fox’s reality series Hell’s Kitchen (3.1/9) marked its …
God is proving to be a ratings god this week. After a religion-themed Glee dominated Tuesday with a 4.6/13 demo rating, an episode of Modern Family tackling the same subject ruled the demo roost last night with a 4.5/12. It was mostly an uplifting night with all networks able to brag about something except for NBC whose entire lineup was down.
New NBC drama Undercovers continues to fade at 8 PM. It managed a 1.5/4 in 18-49 last night, down a notch from last week. On the same night last year, the now-defunct medical drama Mercy drew a 1.9 in the hour, and NBC averaged a 1.7 in the time slot last season. At 9 PM, Law & Order: SVU (2.5/7) was down 11%. Even worse, new spinoff Law & Order: Los Angeles (2.4/7) was down a steep 25% from its premiere last week. On the positive side, it still won what is shaping up to be a very weak Wednesday 10 PM hour this season and held 96% onto of its SVU lead-in.
The new Law & Order spinoff Law & Order: Los Angeles did OK in its debut on what was a down night all around, with all other series except Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen posting double-digit declines from last week. Topping the list was NBC’s freshman spy drama Undercovers, which was down an alarming 24% from its soft premiere last week. (the rest of the drops were between 10-19%) Also hitting dangerously low levels is ABC’s new 10 PM legal drama The Whole Truth.
Law & Order: LA (3.1/9 in adults 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall), won the 10 PM by a wide margin but was down 11% in the demo from what Law & Order: SVU did in the slot last week, while matching its total viewer delivery. Still, LOLA was up 19% from SVU‘s premiere in the slot in March and up 63% vs. what Jay Leno did in the hour last fall. As for SVU (2.7/7, 9.2 million), it was down 16% at 9 PM from last week despite featuring a publicized guest appearance by Jennifer Love Hewitt. The J.J. Abrams-produced Undercovers opened the night with a 1.6/5 and 7.1 million viewers, finishing distant fourth in the hour in 18-49.
After a string of returning series on the CW and NBC premiered lower this fall, CBS veteran Survivor bucked the trend in its new Wednesday 8 PM slot. (Actually, that was Survivor’s original slot when it launched in the summer of 2000 before moving to Thursdays in Season 2.) Survivor: Nicaragua (3.9/12 in adults 18-49, 12 million viewers) was up 8% in the 18-49 demo and 3% in total viewers from the premiere of Survivor: Samoa cycle last fall, an encouraging sign as scheduling moves late in a series’ lifespan most often lead to audience erosion. Against the February debut of the all-star Heroes vs. Villains, the new Nicaragua was down 13%. Survivor boosted the two-hour season finale of Big Brother (2.9/8), which was renewed for another cycle yesterday. The summer reality series was up 7%
After separating contestants by race and gender in recent editions of Survivor, it was probably inevitable for the CBS reality series to also play the age card. Indeed, the network this morning announced that the 20 new castaways on Survivor: Nicaragua will be divided into “two tribes of 10: Young vs. Old.” What was surprising for me was the criteria: The “old” tribe features “individuals over the age of 40,” while the “young” tribe is comprised by “individuals 30 years of age and younger.” Given CBS’ demo makeup, 40-year-olds are actually on the young end of the spectrum. Looking for a way to alienate your younger viewers? Just call them “old.”
SUBSCRIBE TO DEADLINE NEWS
- Senior Director, Communications
CBS Interactive, San Francisco, California
Honolulu Community College, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Marketing Director
CBS Interactive, Los Angeles, California
- Manager of Industry Relations
NATO, North Hollywood, California
Scott Rudin Productions, New York, New York
- See More Jobs >>>
- Senior Director, Communications
By The Numbers - FILMS/TV/CABLE
News PollLoading ...
Lego ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’