August 20, 2012

Broadcast Network Weekly and Summer Averages

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Broadcast television quickly returned to normal the week ending Sunday night, the first full week after the Summer Olympics.

FOX won the quiet week of August 13-19 with a preliminary 1.65 Adult 18-49 rating. Once again, the Gordon Ramsay reality shows paced FOX’s win, but the network was down 9% from the same week last year, mainly because of the Thursday NFL preseason game.  Last year, Eagles at Steelers on Thursday scored a 3.1 compared to only a 1.7 this past Thursday for Cincinnati at Atlanta.  The Friday preseason game was a relative bust both years: Detroit at Baltimore (1.5 this year) versus Atlanta at Jacksonville (1.4 last year).

FOX programs at a 2.0 rating or higher

This week: Hell’s Kitchen Mon 9-10 (2.7), Hotel Hell Tue 8-9 (2.1), MasterChef Tue 9-10 (2.4)

Same week last year: Hell’s Kitchen Mon 8-9 (2.9), MasterChef Mon 9-10 (2.4), MasterChef Tue 8-10 (2.6), NFL Preseason Phil at Pitt Thu 8-11 (3.1)

Adult 18-49 Rating by Network
This Week vs Last Year ABC CBS FOX NBC 4-Net
August 15-21, 2011 1.28 1.41 1.81 1.64 6.13
August 13-19, 2012 1.07 1.21 1.65 1.60 5.54
 % change -16% -14% -9% -3% -10%
Summer to Date
May 30-Aug 19, 2011 1.64 1.24 1.55 1.53 5.95
May 28-Aug 19 2012 1.39 1.06 1.37 3.06 6.88
 % change -15% -15% -11% +101% +16%

NBC finished a very close second for the week with a 1.60 rating, down only 3% from last year.  Like last year, the first Sunday preseason NFL game provides a solid foundation for the schedule and a taste of the ratings to come on Sunday night until January.

NBC programs at a 2.0 Adult 18-49 or higher

This week: Grimm Mon 10-11 (2.0), America’s Got Talent Tue 8-10 (2.8), America’s Got Talent Wed 9-10 (2.3), Sunday Night Football Preseason Sun 8-11 (3.0)

Same week last year: America’s Got Talent Tue 9-11 (2.9), America’s Got Talent Wed 9-10 (2.5), Sunday Night Football Preseason Sun 8-11 (3.5)

 CBS turned in a third place 1.21 rating for the week, down 14% from the same week last year.  Big Brother remains the main force on the CBS summer schedule, but it is down an alarming full rating point each night it airs.

CBS programs at a 2.0 Adult 18-49 rating or higher

This week: Big Brother Wed 8-9 (2.1), Big Brother Thu 9-10 (2.2), Big Bang Theory Thu 8-8:30 (2.1), Big Brother Sunday 8-9 (2.3)

Same week last year: Big Brother Wed 8-9 (3.1), Big Brother Thu 9-10 (2.9), Big Brother Sunday 8-9 (3.3)

ABC finished in fourth place as it did this time last year, but even more disturbing is that it was down 16% from the comparable week (the largest weekly decline of any broadcaster).  The main culprit is Bachelor Pad, which was the star of the ABC summer schedule last year but has declined all the way down to a 1.2 rating this past Monday night.  Despite declining three tenths of a rating point from the same week last year, Wipeout is now the biggest asset on the ABC summer schedule at a 1.6 rating.

ABC programs at a 2.0 Adult 18-49 rating or higher

This week:  none

Same week last year: Bachelor Pad Mon 8-10 (2.1)


For the week, the broadcast networks combined for a 10% loss in audience among Adults 18-49 in prime time, resuming the audience erosion that started in the spring and continued through the summer except for the two and half weeks of the Olympics.

Adult 18-49 Rating (4 Nets)
2011-12 2010-11 % Change This Year’s Dates Week #
This Week 5.54 6.13 -10% (Aug 13-19) 48
Summer to date 6.88 5.95 +16% (May 28-Aug 19) 37-48
Season to date 8.65 8.80 -2% (Sep 19-Aug 19) 1-48

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.