Maybe it doesn’t matter who sits in the Tonight Show chair after all. NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno posted a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49 during premiere week, matching the performance of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien the same week last year. (In total viewers, the older-skewing Leno was up 58%). It was a close race among Leno, CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman and Nightline last week. Leno won in both total viewers (3.79 million vs. 3.78 million for Letterman) and adults 18-49, where he was tied with Nightline at a 1.0 rating, followed by Letterman with a 0.9. In actual 18-49 viewers, Letterman was virtually tied with Nightline (1.24 million vs. 1.25 million), while Leno drew 1.33 million. Letterman was down year-to-year in both total viewers (24%) and 18-49 (25%). Last year, Letterman’s average was boosted by an appearance by President Barack Obama, while this year his premiere week guest lineup featured former president Bill Clinton and actor Joaquin Phoenix.
The 36th season premiere of Saturday Night Live last night averaged a 5.6 household rating/13 share in the metered markets, up 15% from last year’s season opener. The debut was also higher than the opening episode in September 2007 but couldn’t match the fall 2008 premiere (7.4/18) boosted by the interest in the presidential campaign and a skit featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. Then-SNL regular Amy Poehler, who played Hillary Clinton in that famous skit, hosted the show last night with Katy Perry as musical guest. Here are videos of Poehler’s cameo-filled monologue featuring Fey, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch as well as her Really?!? Weekend Update segment with Seth Meyers.
It was mostly carnage on the first Friday of the season, with NBC’s freshman Outlaw barely surviving the transition to Fridays and CBS’ veteran CSI: NY and Fox’s summer entry The Good Guys also hard-hit in their move to TV’s equivalent of a grave yard. But if there is one man impervious to time slots, it’s Tom Selleck as loyalists tuned in for the premiere of his new CBS cop drama Blue Bloods, the highest-rated program on TV last night with an audience number rarely seen on Friday night: 13 million. Also logging a strong debut was the reunited CW duo of Smallville and Supernatural. Here is a quick network-by-network round-up:
Where is Ghost Whisperer when you need it? The cancelled drama starring Jennifer Love Hewitt was one of very few series that could open Friday night with a decent number. Still, CBS showed some nice rating build-up hour-to-hour and easily won the night in 18-49 and total viewers. It was successful in bringing in the (mostly older) available audience on Friday night, with two series crossing the 10 million viewer mark, CSI: NY and Blue Bloods. New 8 PM anchor Medium (1.4/5, 6.1 million) was the night’s weakest link, down 39% from the season premiere of Ghost Whisperer last fall and down 33% from its own season premiere in the 9 PM last year. (Even at those mediocre rating levels, the …
UPDATE 1:30 PM: With final Live+Same Day numbers in, several series got a .1 demo rating boost from DVR viewing: CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (now 4.9/16 among 18-49) and The Mentalist (3.4/10), and NBC’s The Office (4.4/12) and Outsourced (3.6/10). Meanwhile, ABC’s Private Practice went down .1 to a 3.2/9, so now The Mentalist is winning the 10 PM hour by a comfortable margin after being tied with Practice in the fast nationals.
9:30 AM: The biggest scheduling gamble this fall has paid off: The Big Bang Theory kicked-off its Thursday run, well, with a big bang. Of the newbies, CBS’ $#*! My Dad Says and NBC’s Outsourced did solid business, while ABC’s new documentary-style drama My Generation was pretty much D.O.A. Besides The Office, all returning series were down year-to-year led by veteran Thursday anchors CSI and Grey’s Anatomy, which continued their ratings erosion with second consecutive year-to-year double-digit ratings drop in premiere week. The Apprentice continued to flatline, while NBC’s comedy block wasn’t bang-ed up too much (get it?) by the new comedy competition. Here is a network-by-network rundown:
The fourth season premiere of The Big Bang Theory scored a 4.8/15 among adults 18-49 and 14 million viewers. That was up 4% in the demo from the series’ premiere behind Two and a Half Men on Monday last fall and a whooping 37% in the demo from the season …
Ahead of next week’s second airing of new Fox drama series Lone Star, which got a temporary reprieve after its disastrous premiere ratings on Monday, the show’s young creator Kyle Killen this morning wrote this emotional plea for support on his blog.
You’re Invited To Our Stunning Upset
Do you like to root for the underdog? Because I’ve got an underdog of epic proportions for you. We’re talking long, long shot. Like a legless horse in the Kentucky Derby. A blind basketball team facing the 95 Bulls. If somehow Rudy and Rocky had a baby it still wouldn’t be as big an underdog as our little show… Lone Star.
You may have heard about last Monday night when several heavily sequined, dancing celebrity, conspiracy laden, bowling shirted nuclear bombs landed directly on our heads. When everyone who watched your show is a paid critic or someone you went to high school with, that’s less of a premiere than a slideshow.
But here we are. Still alive. A little groundhog peeking out of a bomb crater to see if there’s six more weeks of nuclear winter or if, perhaps, something can grow in this hole. And that’s where you come in.
For us to survive we’re going to have to pull off a minor miracle. Statistically, new shows tend to lose viewers in their second week. We’re aiming to gain them. In fact, screw it, let’s just double our audience. The
On the heels of its best series Emmy win, ABC’s comedy Modern Family hit all-time highs in its return for a second season. But also in the ABC column was the most disappointing premiere last night, that of new legal drama The Whole Truth (1.5/4 in adults 8-49, 4.9 million viewers). Another night of no breakout freshman shows ala Modern Family last year, with CBS’ 10 PM dramedy The Defenders (2.9/8, 12.1 million) and ABC’s 8:30 PM comedy Better with You (2.5/7, 8 million) showing some promise, while the debut of NBC’s Undercovers (2.0/6, 8.6 million) at 8 PM was pretty underwhelming.
But while the pecking order at 8 PM and 9 PM on Wednesdays seems to have been established, with CBS’ Survivor dominating the 8 PM hour and Modern Family shining at 9 PM with CBS’ Criminal Minds running solid second, the 10 PM period is still up for grabs. So the solid showing of Law & Order: SVU, which dominated the hour last night, is encouraging news for NBC that the new Law & Order: Los Angeles would also do well when it premieres there next week. Here is a network-by-network rundown:
Need more proof that no scripted series can launch successfully at 8 PM on the Big 4 these days? How about J.J. Abrams’ spy romp Undercovers opening to a 2.0 rating last night. That was down 13% from what …
Despite its disastrous premiere this week, the new Fox drama series Lone Star will air its second episode next Monday at 9 PM as planned. So don’t believe that Internet chatter to the contrary. That said, I hear the network is going to be looking very closely at whether the dismal numbers improve for the series that night. Otherwise, the show could have a short future. But Fox execs are shattered. They thought they got this one right.
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
With fall primetime premieres coming fast and furious, here is a handy list of what’s coming up by date (including the few series that just debuted). With the broadcast networks one by one announcing traditional rollout over the past 2 months, we knew premiere week would be bloody. But the number of series debuting each day of the week of September 20th is pretty staggering. On Monday alone, 12 series will premiere, 5 of them new. Here’s the full list with italics indicating new series:
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‘The Originals’ Season 2 Trailer