Heroes Remains NBC's Hero

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The ratings are in for this fall’s First Monday and from my POV, NBC’s Heroes was the night’s winner.

Why? It’s because of this number: 7.8 rating/20 share among men 18-34, according to Nielsen’s live plus same day fast national ratings. That’s huge. It’s hard to get men that age to sit still long enough to even watch anything but sports. A show that brings one in five of them to the set (that’s what the 20 share means) is gold to advertisers.

So ABC’s Dancing with the Stars averaged a 5.7/15 among adults 18-49. That’s a great number as well – for the sake of comparison, Heroes averaged a 6.5/15 in the key adult demo – and ABC went on to win the night with hour-and-a-half premieres of both Dancing and The Bachelor.

Still, here’s the difference: Dancing with the Stars averaged about 21 million viewers, by far the most of any show on Monday. Heroes averaged about 14 million viewers. Among women 25-54 – Dancing’s strongest demo – Dancing averaged a 10.3/23. In this demo, Heroes averaged a 6.7/13. Finally, among men 18-34, Dancing averaged a 2.5/6. Compare that to Heroes’ 7.8/20.

See the difference? Dancing’s bringing in the viewers and the older women, TV’s easiest-to-reach demo. Heroes is bringing in a very concentrated audience of hard-to-reach younger viewers, especially men. And I haven’t seen this statistic, I’m sure Heroes does very well among the higher-income demos. So while ABC gets bragging rights for the night, NBC gets a surefire hit with ad buyers.

As a sidenote, the rest of NBC’s premieres didn’t fare so well, with Chuck averaging a 3.6/10 among adults 18-49 and about 9.3 million viewers – that’s pretty  mediocre. The good news for Chuck is that it built significantly from its first half-hour to its second, showing that viewers didn’t get bored and go watch something else. That’s not the case for Journeyman at 10 p.m., which started at a 4.0/10 in adults 18-49 – a huge drop-off from Heroes’ lead-in – and then fell to a 3.4/9.

So, while Chuck shows some potential, Journeyman got off to a very slow start.

Last night’s other big loser was Fox’s K-Ville, which averaged  2.3/5 in 18-49, a big drop from last week when it opened at a 3.3/8 against very little competition.

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