September 3, 2012

Broadcast Weekly & Summer Averages through September 2

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The week heading into Labor Day is usually forgettable.  Television viewing is always very light the Thursday-Sunday before the holiday, and this past week the broadcast networks suffered through low ratings for the Republican National Convention (NBC ranged between a 0.9 and a 1.1 rating with Adults 18-49 at 10 pm Tuesday-Thursday, while ABC averaged a 0.6 each night and CBS a 0.5 rating).  FOX, which has the advantage of not having to air the conventions, will average a 1.3 rating, enough to win the week.  It’s a triple win for NewsCorp: the local FOX stations get to keep their local 10 pm newscasts on the air, FOX does not have to risk putting low-rated news coverage in its weekly average, and FOX News channel gets ratings that are very good for a cable network (often beating the network news coverage).  ABC and CBS will tie for second with a 1.1 rating, while NBC (with no Sunday Night Football this week) will finish fourth with a 1.0 rating.

Adult 18-49 Rating by Network
This Week vs Last Year ABC CBS FOX NBC 4-Net
Aug 29-Sep 4, 2011 1.41 1.30 1.07 1.24 5.01
Aug 27-Sep 2, 2012 1.12 1.07 1.31 1.03 4.52
 % change -21% -18% +22% -21% -10%
Summer to Date
May 30-Aug 28, 2011 1.61 1.28 1.49 1.52 5.96
May 28-Aug 26, 2012 1.34 1.08 1.37 2.80 6.76
 % change -16% -15% -8% +84% +13%

Like last week, FOX is up significantly from the same week last year (up 22% to a 1.31 rating) because of the sheer volume of successful Gordon Ramsey programming (three well-rated original hours this year compared to one hour by this point in the summer last year).  FOX’s recent renewal of Hotel Hell will put the network in good position next summer and provide additional back-up options earlier in the year if a night is in trouble.

FOX programs at a 2.0 rating or higher

This week: Hotel Hell Mon 8-9 (2.4), Hell’s Kitchen Mon 9-10 (2.9), MasterChef Tue 9-10 (2.8)

Same week last year: Hell’s Kitchen Mon 9-10 (2.9)

ABC, like the other original three broadcast networks, was down over 20% from the same week last year (down 21% to a 1.12 rating for the week).  It’s quite a statement about the condition of ABC’s underlying schedule that the network could only muster a 1.12 for the week despite scoring a preliminary 3.0 rating on Saturday night for a college football game featuring two nationally ranked teams (trouncing FOX’s college football game — less than a 1 rating for #1 USC destroying unranked Hawaii).  The next highest-rated night for ABC this week was Monday, all the way down to a 1.1 rating.

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

This week:  College Football Sat 8-11 pm Michigan at Alabama (3.0)

Same week last year: Bachelor Pad Mon 8-10 (2.0), Wipeout Tue 8-9 (2.0), College Football Sat 8-11 pm LSU at Oregon (2.6)

CBS is looking like a 1.07 rating for the week.  It could have been worse: the two Big Brother installments later in the week sank below a 2.0 rating (1.9 on Thursday and 1.7 on Sunday) as many viewers concentrated more on vacation than television viewing.  However, scheduling a repeat Big Bang Theory back on Monday this week rejuvenated 2 Broke Girls and the night as a whole, pushing both shows to a 2 rating.

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

This week: Big Bang Theory Monday 8:30 (2.0), 2 Broke Girls Monday 9:00 (2.1), Big Brother Wed 8-9 (2.3)

Same week last year: Big Brother Wed 8-9 (3.3), Big Brother Thu 9-10 (2.5), Big Brother Sun 8-9 (2.4)

With no NFL preseason game on Sunday, NBC hit a 1.03 for the week as America’s Got Talent continues to erode.

NBC programs at a 2.0 Adult 18-49 or higher

This week: America’s Got Talent Tue 8-10 (2.5), America’s Got Talent Wed 9-10 (2.2)

Same week last year: America’s Got Talent Tue 9-11 (3.1), America’s Got Talent Wed 9-10 (2.6)

For the week, the broadcast networks combined for a 10% loss in audience among Adults 18-49 in prime time, similar to the decline we saw two weeks ago and and back above the 8% drop last week.  Since January 1, the broadcasters are down 8% collectively if the Olympic weeks are excluded.

Adult 18-49 Rating (4 Nets)
2011-12 2010-11 % Change This Year’s Dates Week #
This Week 4.52 5.01 -10% (Aug 27-Sep 2) 50
Summer to date 6.59 5.89 +12% (May 28-Sep 2) 37-50
Season to date 8.50 8.67 -2% (Sep 19-Sep 2) 1-50

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.