Fox did not catch a break with the World series this year. First, none of the big TV audience draws, The Yankees or the Red Sox, made it to the final, sending ratings down double-digits for the opening games. Then the Giants swept the series in four games. The NLCS championship series at least went to seven games, but Fox could’ve used three more nights of World Series ratings instead of reruns in a fall season it’s been struggling, down double-digits from last year. To make things worse, the deciding Game 4 went against football on NBC, which won the face-off. In the time-adjusted metered market households, Sunday Night Football drew a 11.4 rating/17 share vs. 10.6/16 for the World Series. The Broncos-Saints SNF game was virtually even with last week’s 11.7 rating against Game 6 of the NLCS series. Fox still won the night in 18-49 with help from an NFL overrun. READ MORE »
ABC’s lineup last night featured two series anxiously awaiting word on a back order: dramas Last Resort and Scandal. One of them got good news. Scandal (2.0/5 in adults 18-49), which had been all but assured a back-nine order, sealed the deal with a ratings uptick of 5% from last week. (It was up across all key demographics, including 18-34, where it spiked 15%). And Scandal did it with its lead-in, Grey’s Anatomy (2.9/8), down 15% from last week to a season low. Airing against Game 2 of the World Series, ABC’s male-skewing Last Resort (1.3/4) tumbled 24% from last week to a series low despite ABC putting extra promotional muscle behind the episode. Baseball was a mitigating factor, and Last Resort is a major DVR gainer but the Live+Same Day delivery was nevertheless disappointing.
CBS’ male-skewing The Big Bang Theory and Person Of Interest did not get dinged by baseball. Big Bang (4.8/14) was up a tenth from its fast national last Thursday, even with the final, to again lead the night. Person Of Interest (3.0/8) was up 7% to match its season high and top Grey’s for the first time this season. The hammock show between the two, veteran Two And A Half Men (3.7/11), slipped 7% from last week’s highly rated Miley Cyrus episode but was still 6% above the episode from two weeks ago, indicating some of the Cyrus ratings gains have stuck. At 10 PM, Elementary (2.2/6) shed another tenth for a new low but still topped the 10 PM hour.
There was encouraging news for freshman dramas Chicago Fire (1.8/5 in adults 18-49, up 20% from last week) and Nashville (2.0/6, flat) last night after those alarming 21% and 29% second-week drops last Wednesday. Both shows are still a ways off from challenging 12-year-old CSI (2.4/6 in 18-49, up 4%) for the top spot in the 10 PM hour. But finding the bottom or, in the case of Chicago Fire, bouncing back in Week 3 is a good sign, especially against the World Series. Chicago Fire was helped by its lead-in, the 300th episode of Law & Order: SVU (1.8/5), which was up 13% from last week.
Fox is expected to win Wednesday with Game 1 of the World Series. Time zone-adjusted ratings won’t be available until later today, but in the fast nationals the game between the Giants and the Tigers (3.2/9 in 18-49) is down 18% from last year’s opening game and is expected to stay in negative territory. Last fall’s Game 1 of the World Series also was down year-to-year, by 11% in 18-49, as neither series has featured a big audience draw like the Yankees or Red Sox.
How bad is the current economic recession? Viewers are flocking to fairy tales, one of the most popular entertainment genres during the Great Depression. After the surprisingly strong launch on Sunday of ABC’s Once Upon A Time — which became the top-rated new drama series with a 4.0 Live+Same Day 18-49 rating — the other fairytale-themed new series, NBC’s Grimm, also exceeded expectations, premiering on Friday and against Game 7 of the World Series no less. The drama drew a 2.1/6 fast national rating among adults 18-49 last night (6.5 million total viewers), which is certain to go up in the finals. It was by far the highest-rated NBC drama premiere this season and the highest-rated Friday non-sports telecast on any network since Dec. 31, 2010 (ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve). For NBC, it was the highest 18-49 rating in the Friday 9 PM slot in almost two years. And Grimm accomplished that with no help from its lead-in, the final season premiere of Chuck, which managed only a 1.0/3 in 18-49 and 3.4 million viewers, a series low.
After a lousy ALCS championship series and a slow start to the World Series, Fox got cooking last night with a thrilling 11-inning Game 6, which forced a rare World Series Game 7 (we hadn’t had one in nine years). It’s a dream come true for Fox executives and a nightmare for NBC ones whose Friday premieres of Grimm and Chuck tonight will have to face that game. (CBS has opted to sub its originals with repeats at the last minute.) The big game last night, which will propel Fox to an easy nightly win in 18-49 and total viewers when time-adjusted ratings are released, impacted the competition in a typical pattern, pushing down male-skewing shows like CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and Person Of Interest and NBC’s Community and The Office, while boosting female-oriented series such as ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, NBC’s Whitney and the CW’s The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle.
Maybe ABC should’ve tried a Charlie’s Angels series with Charlie Brown as the boss. Last night, a rerun of the 45-year-old cartoon It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at 8 PM drew a 2.3/6 among 18-49, which was higher than any episode of the canceled Charlie’s Angels in the slot. Vs. last year, the Charlie Brown animated special was up 5%. Grey’s Anatomy (3.7/9) was up 3% from last week, and Private Practice up 4%.
NBC has already had its share of bad luck (and bad ratings) this fall. Now there may be more on the way. MLB’s decision to postpone tonight’s Game 6 of the World Series to tomorrow night because of bad weather …
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.
Fox used its World Series platform last night to debut the first promo for Season 11 of American Idol, which features the judges walking around town collecting potential contestants for auditions (The network’s ratings juggernaut returns to the air January 22). So what’s with singing-competition judges and walking? Remember The …
UPDATED: Launching in the Sunday 8 PM slot once occupied by The Wonderful World Of Disney, ABC’s fairytale drama Once Upon A Time got off to a great start last night, pulling in a 3.9 rating/10 share among adults 18-49 and 12.8 million viewers against NFL football on NBC and the World Series on Fox. This is ABC’s highest-rated new series premiere this fall and the season’s No. 1 drama debut in 18-49 on any network. Once Upon A Time more than doubled last week’s delivery of its predecessor in the time slot, reality veteran Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (1.9/5). It also more than doubled its lead-in last night, America’s Funniest Home Videos (1.5/4), which was flat with last week. The big opening for Once Upon A Time helped veteran Desperate Housewives (3.0/7) post a 11% week-to-week increase for its best demo number this season since the premiere. The halo effect didn’t stretch to 10 PM, where freshman Pan Am (1.8/5) was even with last week. The period drama is yet to get word on a back order as ABC wanted to see how the show performs with Once Upon A Time in the lineup. The result is inconclusive, but more on the disappointing side. Still, I hear ABC brass continues to support the 1960s series and did another promo photo shoot for it this past weekend.
This is a nice vindication for a series that never had a permanent time slot or launch date, shuffled around the schedule and bounced between fall and midseason. Getting a last-minute upgrade to Thursdays from its original Saturday(!) time slot this fall, veteran CBS utility player Rules Of Engagement (3.7/12, 11.5 million) posted its best fall premiere in four years last night. Compared with last fall, when Rules aired Mondays at 8:30 PM, the veteran comedy was up 19%. Rules delivered far stronger numbers than the comedy it replaced, rookie How To Be A Gentleman, which posted a 2.5/7 in its last Thursday airing, and matched the demo performance in the Thursday 8:30 PM slot last week of a Big Bang Theory repeat. The Big Bang Theory (4.9/15, 14.7 million) had a great night, up 11% from its demo fast national last week to match its best Thursday demo rating with a regularly scheduled telecast and post its second-biggest audience on the night. Big Bang is expected to break the tie and post its best Thursday number when the finals are announced this afternoon as the hit comedy always gets adjusted up. UPDATE PM: It’s official – a new Thursday high for Big Bang, which rose to a 5.1 rating in 18-49 in Live+Same Day. Big Bang once again ranked as the top program on Thursday in 18-49 and total viewers. At 9 PM, Person Of Interest (2.7/7) matched its fast national from last week, as did The Mentalist (2.5/7) at 10 PM. CBS (3.2/9, 12.6 million) is expected to finish second for the night behind Fox’s coverage of Game 2 of the World Series. There is no time-adjusted data for the game, but, just like Game 1 on Wednesday, it appears to be down from the corresponding telecast last year.
The lackluster baseball postseason on Fox continued last night with Game 1 of the World Series. Time-adjusted ratings for the game won’t be available until later today, but in the fast nationals the face-off between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals is tracking lower than the comparable numbers for last year’s Game 1 between the Rangers and the San Francisco Giants. Still, Fox is projected to win Wednesday night in both adults 18-49 and total viewers.
It was a case of ratings gods giveth and taketh away for ABC’s Happy Endings (3.0/7, 6.9 million) and Revenge (2.5/7, 7.9 million). After posting demo-rating increases of 14% and 8%, respectively, last week, both series gave back most of the gains, down 9% and 7%, respectively, from their fast nationals last Wednesday. (Happy Endings was adjusted down last week.) The rest of the ABC lineup was mostly status quo: The Middle (2.9/9, 9 million) and Suburgatory (3.1/8) were each up a tenth from their fast nationals last week, and Modern Family (5.6/14, 12.9 million) was down a tenth but still ranked as the top program of the night in 18-49.
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