The third-season finale of Fox’s The X Factor drew a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 last night. That was up 42% from last Thursday and the series’ best showing in two months, and helped Fox win the night in 18-49. But the closer was down sharply — by 45% from last season’s finale — mirroring the performance finale’s 48% year-to-year drop. In most current ratings, Season 3 of The X Factor averaged a 2.1 in 18-49, down 42% from Season 2. (In total viewers, its average was 6.7 million, down 32%). Yet, Fox is in negotiations for a fourth season and X Factor honcho Simon Cowell already is plotting changes for next fall.
RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Sing-Off’ Slides, ‘Arrow’ Dips, ‘X Factor’ Steady, ‘Modern Family’ Up, CBS Wins Night
Back for its second show of the week amid its current abbreviated run, The Sing-Off (1.8/5) had a standoff with The X Factor (1.4/4) last night. The NBC series hit the higher note, but the two-hour a cappella show still slid 25% from Monday’s airing to hit a winter telecast low. Heading toward next week’s Season 3 finale, last night’s live X Factor on Fox remained even with its December 4 episode as the final four acts showed their wares with three songs each in anticipation of an elimination tonight.
Last week CBS was all encores except for Survivor (2.5/8), but last night it was a full slate of originals. The 13th and penultimate episode of the Mark Burnett-produced reality show’s 27th season slipped 4% from its December 4 episode. The rest of the night was not so kind to CBS: The return of Criminal Minds (2.4/7) and CSI (1.8/5) saw both series down 14% from their last originals three weeks ago. Still, with 11.02 million viewers, Criminal Minds was the most watched show Wednesday, helping CBS finish first for the night in adults 18-49 (2.2/6) and viewers (10.260 million).
UPDATE, 2:14 PM: Looks like it was that NFL game out of the Windy City pumping up the energy on The Great Christmas Light Fight last night. With final numbers in, the new short-term ABC holiday series shorted out from the 1.8/4 of fast nationals to a 1.4/4. That fall makes Light Fight the network’s lowest-rated Monday midseason debut ever as it now “beats” the 1.8 of the November 21, 2011, debut of You Deserve It. On the other hand, as the Light went out, The Voice and Sleepy Hollow both bopped up. The NBC competition show went up to a 3.5/10 from this morning’s 3.4/9. That leaves The Voice now up 3% from the Monday lows it has hit recently. In its last show of 2013, the Fox freshman went up to a tenth to 2.2/6 to now be even with its last original of November 25.
PREVIOUSLY, 9:12 AM: With just over two weeks before the big day, the Christmas shows and specials are piling up under the TV tree.
Four-time Grammy Award nominee Jewel has signed on as a new judge for the reality competition series for a cappella groups, joining Shawn Stockman, Ben Folds and returning host Nick Lachey. NBC recently greenlighted a fourth cycle …
More than a year after the third cycle of The Sing-Off ended its run on NBC, the network has greenlighted a fourth cycle of the reality competition series for acapella groups hosted by Nick Lachey. Auditions …
Against mostly atypical competition, CBS’ regular Monday lineup dominated every half-hour in its return to originals last night after a week of repeats. ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, a huge draw among total viewers, sucks out (mostly older) audiences from the competition. As they didn’t face Dancing with originals for the first time this season, CBS’ comedies boosted their viewership. How I Met Your Mother (4.5/12 in adults 18-49, 11.7 million total viewers) was up a tenth in the demo vs. two weeks ago and drew its largest audience with a regularly scheduled episode in almost three years. (since January 12, 2009). Rookie 2 Broke Girls (4.6/11, 12.8 million) was flat in 18-49 and logged its largest audience since the premiere, which followed the Ashton Kutcher debut on Two And A Half Men. Speaking of Men (5.0/12, 15 million), it was down two tenths in 18-49 from its last original, while Mike & Molly (4.2/10, 12.8 million) was even. Men ranked as the top program of the night in 18-49 and total viewers, as did CBS as a network. The net’s wins were solidified by Hawaii Five-0‘s 3.0/8 in 18-49, up 7%, and 10.8 million total viewers. In the 10 PM hour, the CBS procedural easily topped ABC’s Castle (2.0/5, 8 million), which was down 13% from its last original two weeks ago to hit a season low. Castle was hurt by its underwhelming lead-in, new game show You Deserve It (1.0/2), which continued its rapid ratings descent, down 29% from last week. ABC’s best ratings came from the holiday specials in the 8 PM hour: A Charlie Brown Christmas (2.8/8, 9.1 million) was up 8% from last year’s telecast in 18-49, while Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice (2.2/6, 7 million) was even with its premiere last year.
CBS’ all-rerun lineup dominated every hour last night against mostly original competition. A repeat of rookie 2 Broke Girls (3.3/8, 9.2 million) was the top program of the night in adults 18-49, while an encore Two And A Half Men …
With Thanksgiving trips and meals on viewers’ minds, watching TV is taking a back seat as most programs last night were down week-to-week. Additionally, ABC’s lineup is headed to a downward adjustment in the finals as its fast nationals …
CBS’ Monday lineup posted across-the-board gains for a second straight week. How I Met Your Mother (4.5/12 in adults 18-49, 10.4 million total viewers) was up a tenth in 18-49 from last Monday, 2 Broke Girls (4.8/12, 11.7 million) was up 7% from its fast national last week to post its best 18-49 rating in the 8:30 PM slot, Two And A Half Men (5.3/12, 14.6 million) was up 4% to once again rank as the top program of the night in 18-49, and Mike & Molly (4.4/10, 12.2 million) was up 5%. Hawaii Five-0 (3.3/8, 11.5 million) flourished without scripted broadcast competition in the 10 PM hour, up 10% in the demo from its fast national last week to post its best demo and total viewer number since the season premiere. Hawaii will likely tie its season-high opener in the finals if it’s adjusted up a tenth as it normally is. CBS (4.2/10, 12 million) easily won the night in 18-49.
NBC’s Rock Center With Brian Williams (1.3/3, 4.5 million) last night boasted the biggest news “get” of the moment, an exclusive interview with former Penn State football coach and accused child molester Jerry Sandusky. The one-on-one with Bob Costas boosted the struggling newsmagazine to its highest rating to date, up 30% from the 1.0 Rock Center posted in its first two weeks. Still, the show was dwarfed in the 10 PM hour by another newsmagazine, ABC’s special edition of 20/20 (2.8/7, 13.4 million) featuring Diane Sawyer’s interview with recovering shooting victim U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, as well as CBS’ Hawaii Five-0. Rock Center also ranked as the lowest-rated program on the Big 4 networks, and its fast national numbers may have been inflated by a local NFL pre-emption in Minneapolis, so an adjustment down is likely.
After Halloween festivities pushed TV usage and ratings down last Monday, most series rebounded last night. Fox’s family-friendly Terra Nova (2.6/6 in adults 18-49), which was hit hardest by trick-or-treating, posted the biggest week-to-week gain, 24%. House (2.7/6) was up 8%. (The two dramas also led all series in Live+3 increases for their Halloween episodes, up 48%.) Fox finished third for the night in 18-49.
Topping the night in that demo was CBS (4.0/10 in 18-49, 11.4 million viewers). How I Met Your Mother (4.4/12) and 2 Broke Girls (4.5/11) were both up 7% from their fast nationals last week, Two And A Half Men (5.1/12) was up 9% to rank as the top program of the night in the demo, and Mike & Molly was up 11%. Hawaii Five-0 (3.0/8) was up a tenth from its fast national, flat with the final.
UPDATE 2:45 PM: As expected, most CBS series were adjusted down in the finals after a bump in the fast nationals from a NFL pre-emption in Baltimore. But even with the adjustment, all CBS comedies posted gains vs. last week. The news is especially important for Two And A Half Men, which had been sliding every week since its hugely rated season premiere. Last night, Men logged a 5.5/13 in 18-49, up 4% from last week, and 15.3 million viewers, up 1%. The comedy starring Ashton Kutcher is still comfortably ahead of the performance the same week last fall with leading man Charlie Sheen, up 25% in 18-49. Mike & Molly (4.2/10 in 18-49) was up 8% week-to-week, 2 Broke Girls (4.5/11) was up 2% and How I Met Your Mother (4.3/12) also was up 2%. Hawaii Five-0 (3,1/8) was flat. For the night, CBS (4.1/10) edged Fox (3.9/10) in 18-49. Fox’s coverage of Game 4 of the World Series stretched beyond primetime, averaging a 4.2/11 from 8-11:40 PM.
NBC has scheduled the reboot of Fear Factor, which will serve as a bridge between The Sing-Off and The Voice in the Monday 8-10 PM slot. The revamped gross-out competition will premiere on December 12. “We have taken the groundbreaking …
Broadcasters largely rebounded last night after being hit by a double whammy last Monday with a big NFL game on ESPN and baseball playoffs bleeding into primetime on Fox. The only series to buck the upward trend was CBS’ Two And A Half Men (5.2/13, 14.9 million), which is still finding the bottom after a blockbuster fall relaunch with new star Ashton Kutcher. The comedy was down 10% from its fast national last week when all CBS series hit season lows (down 12% from the final) but was still the highest-rated program of the night in 18-49. Veteran How I Met Your Mother (4.1/12) continues its rocking seventh season, up two tenths from its fast national last week (a tenth from the final). 2 Broke Girls was up a tenth from the fast national (flat with the final), and Mike & Molly (3.9/9) was also flat with its final last Monday but down a tenth from its fast national. Male-centric 10 PM drama Hawaii Five-0 (3.1/8), which was the hardest hit last Monday with a 19% decline, posted the biggest rebound this week, up 15%. Its time-slot rival, ABC’s Castle (2.6/7), was also up — 8% from its fast national and 24% from the final (the series’ fast nationals are often inflated by Dancing With The Stars overruns, so fast national-to-final comparisons are always skewed).
This was supposed to be Fox’s strong baseball postseason year as it’s the network’s turn to carry the American League Championship Series, a big audience draw with marquee teams the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. But both the Yankees and Red Sox were eliminated early, and now the ALCS has been hit with bad weather. Game 2 was rained out Sunday, leaving Fox scrambling to fill primetime with repeats at the last minute. And then a 52-minute overrun from the rescheduled Game 2 wreaked havoc on the network’s Monday primetime lineup, with both rookie Terra Nova and veteran House significantly impacted. The currently available non-time-zone-adjusted fast nationals for 9-10 PM (2.6/6), where most of Terra Nova aired, and 10-11 PM (2.3/6), where the bulk of House ran, are both expected to rise in the finals.
It was a rough night all around as the broadcast networks had to deal with baseball overrun as well as a strong Monday Night Football game on ESPN, where the Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions posted a 11.3 metered market average, the second-best rating so far this season. ABC’s Dancing With The Stars (3.1/8, 17 million total viewers) was flat with last week but may end up being down in the finals. ABC’s fast nationals were possibly inflated as the network’s Detroit station carried the football game. That doesn’t bode well for Castle (2.4/6, 10.2 million), which currently runs 8% below its fast national from last Monday. ABC (2.9/7, 15.1 million) seems on track to top the night in total viewers, while CBS (3.9/9, 11.1 million) is projected to win in 18-49.
After its lackluster debut last Monday, there has been a series of encouraging news for Fox’s Terra Nova in the past 24 hours. First, the prehistoric drama yesterday rose to the top spot in 18-49 among all new drama series premieres in Live+3 ratings. Then the data from the international markets came in, showing a strong launch for Terra Nova in almost every territory. In Canada, the two-hour opener drew 1.4 million viewers on CityTV to become the most-watched drama in the network’s history. And then the first ratings for last night were released this morning with more good news for the rookie drama: In its second outing on Fox, Terra Nova (3.0/8) matched the fast national for its two-hour premiere despite airing from 8-9 PM vs. 8-10 PM last week. (Last week, the premiere was adjusted up in the finals, which will probably happen again today, so the 100% hold will likely carry on in the final ratings.) UPDATE 9:25 AM: Fox just released final numbers for Terra Nova, and it indeed rose to a 3.1 rating. This is the best Week 1-to-Week 2 retention for a new series this fall. At 9 PM, veteran House (3.9/9) was down a modest 7% from last fall when it aired in the more challenging 8 PM hour.
PREMIERE WEEK: Comedies In Comeback, Dramas Mixed While NBC & CW Struggle
CBS’ comedies stayed red-hot in Week 2 of the season. Two and a Half Men (7.2/17 in adults 18-49, 20 million viewers) was down 30% from its gigantic season premiere for a demo number that is still way higher than any scripted series can score in Live+Same Day these days. It boosted the second-season premiere of Mike & Molly (4.9/11, 14 million) to series highs in 18-49 and total viewers, up 26% from its series premiere last fall. At 8 PM, How I Met Your Mother (4.4/12, 10.6 million) continues to excel in its seventh season, down only 6% from its biggest season premiere ever last week. 2 Broke Girls (4.5/11, 11.6 million) settled nicely in its new 8:30 PM slot. It was down 37% from its big debut behind Men last week but did something that CBS hammock shows have rarely done — build on its HIMYM lead-in. At 10 PM, Hawaii Five-0 (3.3/8) was down only a tenth from its season premiere last week. CBS (4.6/11, 13 million) won every half-hour in primetime in both 18-49 and total viewers.
The two-hour premiere of Fox’s dinosaur drama Terra Nova drew a 3.0/7 and 9 million viewers, which was OK but slightly below expectations. In its defense, the male-skewing drama had to face the Washington-Dallas Monday Night Football game on ESPN. And it stayed consistent throughout the night, logging a 3.0 rating at 8 PM, 8:30 PM and 9 PM and climbing to a 3.1 at 9:30 PM. Speaking of the MNF game, it drew a 11.9 metered market household average. UPDATE: In the finals, Terra Nova was adjusted up to a 3.1 rating in 18-49.
NBC’s Monday lineup already started very low last week. It dropped even further last night. The Sing-Off (1.7/4) was down a relatively modest 11%, but The Playboy Club (1.3/3) plunged 19% to reach Lone Star ratings levels and join fellow new NBC series Free Agents on the cancellation block.
UPDATED: The debut of Two and a Half Men with new star Ashton Kutcher lived up to the hype ratings-wise, while NBC hit a major bump on the opening night of the season. The ninth-season premiere of Two and a Half Men last night drew 27.7 million viewers and posted a 10.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic in the fast-nationals, numbers rarely seen for show not named American Idol these days and a series record for Men by a large margin. (UPDATE: In the final ratings, which include same-night DVR viewing, Men‘s premiere climbed to 28.7 million viewers and 10.7/5 in 18-49). In 18-49, Men more than doubled its season-premiere number last fall, up 110%. This was the highest-rated season premiere on any network in six years, since Desperate Housewives‘ second-season opener in September 2005.
Two and a Half Men provided a great lead-in for CBS’ new comedy 2 Broke Girls, which drew a 7.0/13 in 18-49 and 19.5 million viewers in its premiere behind Men before it moves to the 8:30 PM slot next week. (In the finals, the numbers were adjusted to a 7.1/16, 19.4 million). The comedy starring Kat Dennings posted the largest audience for a fall comedy debut in 10 years, since NBC’s Inside Schwartz, which launched behind mega-hit Friends.
And while Men is bound to steal all ratings headlines today, another veteran CBS comedy, How I Met Your Mother, also was off to a very hot start. It opened the night at 8 PM with a 4.7/13 in 18-49. That was the comedy’s highest-rated season premiere ever, up a whopping 31% from last fall, a surge rarely seen for a series in its seventh season. A second HIMYM episode at 8:30 PM rose even further to a 5.1/13 (5.2/13 in the finals). And if it starts to seem like the Two and a Half Men tide was lifting all the CBS boats last night, that wasn’t quite the case. Somewhat surprisingly, the second-season premiere of Hawaii Five-0 at 10 PM (3.4/8) was down 13% from its series debut last year despite having a lead-in twice as big as last fall’s. Two and a Half Men and CBS easily dominated the opening night of the 2011-12 season. But, because of the big curiosity factor associated with the public firing of former Men star Charlie Sheen and his replacement Kutcher, the show was expected to open well. The question is where it will settle when the novelty wears off. As for Sheen himself, we’re awaiting to see the ratings for his roast on Comedy Central, which also aired last night. (UPDATE: Comedy Central’s Roast Of Charlie Sheen Highest-Rated In Franchise History)
On the other broadcast networks last night, NBC’s The Playboy Club got off to a disappointing start with a 1.6/4 in 18-49 and 5 million viewers at 10 PM. It was down 30% from the premiere of NBC’s short-lived drama Chase in the same slot last year and did only a little better than last fall’s big flop, Fox’s Lone Star, which opened with a 1.3/3 and 4.1 million. The Playboy Club tied another short-lived show, Crusoe, as NBC’s lowest-rated fall drama premiere ever. The Playboy Club didn’t get much help from its lead-in, a two-hour The Sing-Off, which managed a 1.9/5 in the demo and 5.2 million viewers. (Chase had a stronger lead-in last year from The Event.) Sing-Off, whose only previous run was as a limited holiday series, was down 32% from its December debut to log the show’s lowest-rated telecast. Overall, NBC’s Monday lineup was down 30% from last fall, a troublesome sign for the network, which is looking to mount a ratings turnaround.
With The Voice turning the lights on for fourth-place NBC this past season and considered a cornerstone in the network’s quest for a ratings turnaround, the man who developed it at NBC, Paul Telegdy, is getting a promotion: a president …
The broadcast season unofficially kicks off tonight. And just like in a kids board game, the youngest of the networks, the CW, got to start first, unspooling its new series Ringer starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Also launching tonight are the new seasons of the CW’s 90210 and NBC’s Parenthood, marking the unofficial start of the new season, which kicks in on Monday. Here are the networks’ standings going into the fall season:
With Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies on tap for baseball’s postseason this year, along with the heavily promoted The X Factor and new big-budget dinosaur drama Terra Nova, Fox is in a position to significantly outperform last fall when the network carried the National League Championship Series and had two DOA shows, drama Lone Star and comedy Running Wilde. The question marks at the network this fall are the new comedies, New Girl and I Hate My Teenage Daughter, though both are propped up by solid lead-ins, Glee and X Factor, respectively, and whether Glee and House can rebound after a disappointing 2010-11 season. If the stars align and X Factor lives up to its ratings expectations, Fox may win the fourth quarter as it did two years ago when it also had the American League Championship Series and the highly rated freshman season of Glee.
Fox’s main rival for the top spot in the fall will be the epitome of stability, CBS, which will get a ratings boost from the re-launch of Two and a Half Men. The consensus is that CBS has potential breakout hits on its hands with new Monday comedy Two Broke Girls, which is launching behind the much-hyped return of Two and a Half Men, and possibly Thursday drama Person of Interest. The network is getting high marks for taking its aging series such as the CSI franchise and Survivor and relocating them to troubled spots on the schedule that they shore up. The network is expected to accomplish that again this season with the mothership CSI series, which is moving to Wednesday 10 PM, with its replacement on Thursday, Person of Interest, looking to do at least as well as CSI if not better. The only question marks at CBS are new Thursday 8:30 comedy How To Be a Gentleman and where Men will settle after the initial ratings spike.