August 3, 2011

THE SKED: Cable Ratings July 26-August 1

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>Over the past seven days (last Tuesday through Monday night), the cable landscape again was led by the vampires of TRUE BLOOD on HBO’s signature Sunday night.  ENTOURAGE fell off our list (down to a 1.2 rating with Adults 18-49 this week), while CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM posted its usual 1.0 rating with young adults.  Shark Week launched Sunday on Discovery and two telecasts (JAWS COMES HOME and GREAT WHITE INVASION) made our hit list.

Cable reality, especially that concentrating on junk — I mean, collecting — continues to dominate top of the chart, specifically Pawn Stars, American Pickers and Storage Wars.  More scripted drama just made our 1.4 rating threshold (Suits, Falling Skies, Rizzoli & Isles, Burn Notice and Royal Pains).  Interestingly, one program (Family Guy repeat) made our hit list on both broadcast and cable. 

RATINGS REFRESHER: For those needing, each program has an associated Adult 18-49 Rating and Viewers 2+ Impressions number.  The rating is a percentage of that demographic (about 45% of the total population) watching a program in an average minute.  Yes, we are talking about less than 2% of the young adult population watching these shows.  It says less about the shows themselves and more about the incredible fractionalization of the audience by the high number of channels available to viewers.  The 2+ Impressions is the number of viewers of any age watching a program in an average minute.  Both ratings and impressions include DVR viewing on the same day as the telecast.  Ratings are collected by the Nielsen company each day using meters in over 10,000 homes, representing the approximately 100 million U.S. homes with television.

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT A 1.4 RATING?  Some have asked how we came up with our 1.4 rating cut-off for our Top Show list.  Quite frankly, there is nothing scientific about it.  Rather, a rating above a 1.4 usually is a player in most time periods — even including the broadcast shows.  Also, there tends to be three to five cable programs a night above a 1.4 (except on Fridays and Saturdays) — so a weekly list is a nice round number, 20-25 highly-rated shows. 

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.