September 24, 2011

THE SKED: FRIDAY September 23 Results

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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CBS won the first Friday night of the season with a low 1.7 Adult 18-49 rating.  It really was a costly victory as they threw three scripted dramas on the air, a very expensive proposition for a rating well below a 2.  The night started with the series debut of A Gifted Man at a mediocre 1.4 rating (not surprising given the lack of promotion for the drama) and a second place finish to FOX’s Kitchen Nightmares.  At 9 pm, CSI: New York put CBS in first place with an okay 1.8 rating.  Then the night built to its height (a 2.0 rating) with Tom Selleck in Blue Bloods at 10 pm.  However, note that CBS fell back to second place at 10 pm, edged out by the second hour of Dateline.  All in all, an acceptable performance for CBS, although not the makings of high profit margins in those time periods.

FOX and NBC tied for second place on the night with a 1.6 demo rating.  NBC took the most cost effective route to that rating, repeating comedies at 8 pmUp All Night scored a 0.8 and Whitney showed a little strength, building to a 0.9.  Although NBC finished fourth in the hour, Dateline just took control from 9-11 pm with a story about a kidnapping and ransom.  The first hour scored a 1.7 (one-tenth away from first place) and the second-hour at 10 pm won the time period with a 2.2.  (The 2.0 rating in the chart below reflects the full program average for the news magazine.)  

FOX won the first hour at 8 pm with the season premiere of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares at a 1.6 rating.  Then they went to more expensive scripted fare at 9 pm, cult favorite Fringe, which dropped a touch to a 1.5 rating.  The often hard-to-follow and definitely -hard-to-join Fringe finished third in the 9 pm hour as CBS and NBC were experiencing audience increases in the second hour of primetime. 

ABC’s strategy of repeats (Modern Family from 8-9 pm and Revenge from 9-10 pm) and only one hour of 20/20 did not work.  The night flatlined at a sad 1.0 rating in every half hour.  Letting Dateline get a head start at 9 pm was a critical mistake.  Look for two-hour 20/20 episodes to take on Dateline directly in coming weeks.

The CW was well below a 1 rating. 

Five days into Premiere Week, CBS leads with a 3.6 rating, followed by FOX at a 3.4.  ABC is in third with a 3.0, and NBC sits at a 2.0.  The CW averages a 0.7 from Monday-Friday. 

FRIDAY FALL 2011    Estimates         Episode Rating     
                    May   Sep   #1   #2   #3   #4   #5   #6   Avg
 800 Extreme Makeov 1.4   1.4   

 900 Shark Tank     1.4   1.3   
1000 20/20          1.5   1.3   1.0
 800 A Gifted Man   1.1   1.2   1.4
 900 CSI New York   1.5   1.5   1.8
1000 Blue Bloods    1.6   1.6   2.0
 800 Chuck          1.2   1.2   10/21
 900 Grimm          1.2   1.2   10/21
1000 Dateline NBC   1.2   1.3   2.0
 800 Kitchen Nightm 1.5   1.5   1.6   
 900 Fringe         1.3   1.3   1.5
 800 Nikita         n/a   n/a   0.6
 900 Supernatural   n/a   n/a   0.8

An important note:  the ratings estimates are for original episodes across the entire Fall (from mid-September through mid-December).  Generally, a series will premiere at a high level and then settle into a more normal number by week four-six.  The important number to look at as the season unfolds is the average-to-date column at the far right.  By the time episode four rolls around, look at the average of episodes one-four and you should have a pretty good idea how the fall — and the entire season — will sort out.  CW shows are not currently estimated because we have incomplete historical data for the network’s time periods.  CW estimates should be available later this season or early next season. 

Click below to read the LATEST RESULTS and UPDATED RATINGS PROJECTIONS for the other nights of the week:

                      MON      TUE      WED      THU      FRI      SAT      SUN     

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.