Among Returning Series So Far This Season, 'Grey's Anatomy' Stands Alone in Demo
By John Consoli -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/12/2012 2:48:52 PM
CBS' hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory (4.9), Fox's long-running animated series The Simpsons (3.4) and CBS second-year drama Person of Interest (2.9) each have the same 18-49 rating through two weeks compared to last season's first two weeks. Every other returning primetime series has seen its 18-49 audience decline compared to last season.
Grey's and Big Bang are the only two series that have averaged more viewers over the first two episodes than last season. Grey's has averaged 11.2 million viewers, up 8%, while Big Bang has averaged 15.4 million viewers, up 6%.
ABC sitcom Modern Family has the highest 18-49 rating among returning fall series with a 5.1, but that is down 13% from last season.
Rounding out the Top 20 after Modern Family, Big Bang and Grey's in the 18-49 demo, with the percentage of decrease over the first two weeks of last season, are: NCIS (CBS), 3.9, down 9%; 2 Broke Girls (CBS), 3.6, down 38%; Two and a Half Men (CBS), 3.5, down 61%; The Simpsons (Fox), 3.4, flat; The X Factor Wednesday (Fox), 3.4, down 19%; How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 3.4, down 26%; Family Guy (Fox), 3.4, down 10%; NCIS: LA (CBS), 3.2, down 11%; The X Factor Thursday (Fox), 3.2, down 24%; Criminal Minds (CBS), 3.1, down 24%; Survivor (CBS), 3.0, down 6%; Person of Interest (CBS), 2.9, flat; Revenge (ABC), 2.9, down 3%; New Girl (Fox), 2.8, down 40%; The Middle (ABC), 2.7, down 10%; 60 Minutes (CBS), 2.6, down 10%; Amazing Race (CBS), 2.6, down 16%; and CSI (CBS) 2.5, down 19%.
There are some reasons that a few of the returning series showed such sizable declines. The premiere episode of Two and a Half Men last season marked the debut for Ashton Kutcher and drew over 27 million viewers. The series has also moved to Thursday night from Monday, although it now leads out of Big Bang, which offers a larger lead-in audience. 2 Broke Girls last season led out of the premiere of Two and a Half Men which accounts for its big decline over the first two weeks of this season.
Other returning series showing sizable 18-49 ratings declines include Glee (Fox), down 34% to a 2.5; Dancing With the Stars Monday (ABC), down 38% to a 2.3; Dancing With the Stars Tuesday results show, down 28% to a 2.1; Castle (ABC), down 33% to a 2.0; Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), down 42% to a 1.9; The Mentalist (CBS), down 33% to a 1.8; and The Good Wife (CBS), down 18% to a 1.8.
Dancing With the Stars is way down because it is going head to head this fall with the NBC singing competition hit The Voice, which did not air last fall. Glee, which led off Tuesday nights for Fox last fall, is now airing on Thursday nights at 9 and has a strong lead-in with The X Factor and should be doing better. Both Castle and Hawaii Five-0 are facing new and stronger competition on Monday nights at 10 from NBC's freshman sci-fi drama Revolution.
Freshman series 18-49 ratings through the first two weeks of the season are: Revolution (NBC), 3.4; Elementary (CBS), 2.8; Go On (NBC), 2.4; Vegas (CBS), 2.3; Partners (CBS), 2.3; The Mindy Project (Fox), 2.2; Last Resort (ABC), 2.1; The New Normal (NBC), 1.9; 666 Park Avenue (ABC), 1.9; Ben & Kate (Fox), 1.8; Guys With Kids (NBC), 1.6; Animal Practice (NBC), 1.4; Mob Doctor (Fox), 1.2; and the recently canceled Made in Jersey (CBS), 0.9.
ABC's freshman sitcom Neighbors premiered in a special time period leading out of Modern Family and drew a 3.2 rating, but moved to its regular time slot the following week and got a 1.9.
Freshman series' average viewership figures through the first two weeks include: Vegas, 13.4 million; Elementary, 12.2 million; Revolution, 9.2 million; Last Resort, 8.6 million; Made in Jersey, 7.2 million; Go On, 6.3 million; Partners, 6.1 million; 666 Park Avenue, 5.9 million; Guys With Kids, 4.8 million; Animal Practice, 4.8 million; The New Normal, 4.7 million; Ben & Kate, 3.7 million; and Mob Doctor, 3.6 million.
ABC's Neighbors drew 9.2 million leading out of the premiere episode of Modern Family, which drew 15.5 million. But in its second week in its regular time period, Neighbors drew 6.3 million viewers.
Overall, the broadcast ratings through two weeks are disappointing for all networks but NBC. Based on Nielsen ratings data, ABC, CBS and Fox are all down in 18-49 demo ratings by more than 20% and are also down double-digits in viewers over the same period last season. NBC is the only one of the Big Four to garner increases during the first two weeks with its 18-49 demo rating up 11% to a 3.0 and its viewership up 9% to an average 8.2 million per night.
While some media outlets are already lauding NBC for its ratings turnaround, a closer look at the Nielsen numbers show the backslap may be a bit premature. According to Nielsen numbers, NBC's ratings gains are primarily the result of its airing two nights of The Voice this fall, which was not on the schedule last fall.
Through the first two weeks of the season, NBC's hit singing competition series has averaged 12.3 million viewers and a 4.5 18-49 rating on Monday, and 10 million viewers on Tuesday with a 3.6 18-49 rating. Last season, during the first two weeks, NBC aired The Sing-Off on Monday nights which averaged only about 4.6 million viewers and a 1.5 18-49 rating and The Biggest Loser on Tuesday nights which drew about 5.7 million viewers and a 2.2 18-49 rating.
Taking the network's top-rated series from midseason last year and giving it a double airing this fall certainly counts in the ratings battle, but it's not the same as NBC coming up with a bunch of new hits-at least not yet.
NBC's freshman sci-fi series Revolution has been winning its Monday time period against two veteran dramas but sci-fi series have a history of starting strong on the broadcast networks and tailing off as the season goes on. Of course, Revolution could be one of the exceptions. Among NBC's freshman sitcoms, only one of the four, Go On, is averaging more than a 2.0 18-49 rating through the first two weeks of the official season. A special telecast of Animal Practice during NBC's Olympic coverage hasn't jump-started that series. It is averaging 4.8 million viewers and a 1.4 18-49 rating.
NBC's returning shows and other freshman series have not jumped out to any kind of exceptional starts. Ratings for drama series such as Law & Order: SVU and Parenthood are down compared to early last season, as are ratings for returning sitcoms The Office, Up All Night and Parks and Recreation.
So NBC, while getting some positive press at this early juncture, still has a long way to go-unless several new shows catch on.
NBC also faces the situation of having to fill four Sunday primetime hours once Sunday Night Football ends its run at the end of December. Just to show how important SNF is to NBC's overall ratings, if you eliminate the SNF ratings this season, NBC's average viewership in primetime falls from 8.2 million to 6.2 million and it's 18-49 rating drops from 3.0 to 2.1. That's a lot of viewership and ratings the network has to replace come January.
Here's how the networks themselves stack up for the first two weeks of viewership, and the percentage of increase or decrease: CBS, 10.3 million, down 13%; NBC, 8.2 million, up 9%; ABC, 7.9 million, down 13%; Fox, 5.4 million, down 28%; Univision, 3.5 million, down 5%; and The CW, 850,000, down 53%.
Among 18-49 ratings, NBC, at a 3.0, is up 11%; CBS, 2.3, is down 25%; ABC, 2.1, down 20%; Fox, 2.1, down 28%; Univision, 1.4, down 12%; and The CW stands at a 0.3, down 62%.
Why do these networks end up putting the best drama against each other- no one wins on your scoring system.
But get with the program everyone I know records 2 or 3 show at a time. That is to make up for the nights you give us nothing worth watching. Your polling is so fall in the past. You would think by now you would have figured out, how you are rating shows is so in inaccurate- get with the times.
Elisa Micheals - 10/15/2012 5:07:53 PM EDT
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