October 3, 2011

The Sked: SUNDAY RATINGS October 2

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Aside from NFL Sunday Night Football, there is nothing close to a dominant show on the night.  A lot of mid-2 and low-3 rated shows.  Even with the football competition, the night is filled with opportunity to build off the moderate successes. 

ABC saw declines week to week in their 9 and 10 pm dramas, with Desperate Housewives falling 0.3 from last week’s premiere to a 2.9 and Pan Am declining 0.6 to a 2.5 (the exact level projected in our ShowBuzzDaily fall ratings forecast).  The within-show decline for Pan Am was much lower this week (from a 2.6 at 10:00-10:30 to a 2.4 at 10:30-11:00), suggesting the show might be finding its level in the mid-2 rating area.  Not a bad number, but not anything to celebrate.  For the night, ABC averaged a 2.3 rating (#4 ranking), down significantly year-to-year.  On this night last season (10.3.2010), ABC was #4 with a 3.0 rating: America’s Funniest Home Videos (1.9), Extreme Makeover Home Edition (2.6), Desperate Housewives (4.4) and Brothers & Sisters (3.0).      

CBS had the late afternoon NFL game, which spilled into primetime and gave 60 Minutes a boost (from a 2.3 last week to a 3.5 rating this week (although that 3.5 will probably be adjusted down to a 3.3 or so in the final nationals).  The rest of the schedule performed similarly to last week, with the award-winning Good Wife the lowest-rated Sunday scripted show on all networks.  Including the NFL runover CBS averaged a 3.1 from 7-11 pm.  On this night last year, CBS was #3 with a 3.1 rating: 60 Minutes (2.0), Amazing Race (3.4), Undercover Boss (4.0) and CSI: Miami (3.2).

The FOX animated comedies were down significantly week to week.  Last week FOX had a huge NFL rating in the 7 pm hour, but this week repeat comedies filled 7-8 pm (a 2.4 rated Cleveland Show at 7 and a 2.0 for The Simpsons at 7:30).  From 7-10 pm FOX averaged a 2.7 last night.  Such is the fall for FOX on Sundays as the ratings go up and down depending on which network (CBS or FOX) is carrying the national 4 pm NFL contest.  On this night last year, FOX was #2 with a football-inflated 4.7 rating: NFL 4 pm Runover (9.8 rating from 7:00-7:30), The OT (4.6 from 7:30-8:00), The Simpsons (4.2), Cleveland Show (3.1), Family Guy (4.0) and American Dad (3.0).

NBC’s preliminary rating for the New York Jets-Baltimore Ravens game is a 7.3, which should go up to around an 8 rating in the final nationals (when all the time zones are accurately tabulated).  On this night last year, NBC was #1 with a 6.6 rating in primetime: the Sunday Night Football game averaged an 8.0 rating, while Football Night in America brought down the nightly number.

Exactly two weeks into the season, the battle for first remains fierce.  CBS and FOX each have around a 3.1 rating for the first 14 nights, while ABC is around a 2.6 and NBC is around a 2.5.  All numbers are pending final national ratings for Friday-Sunday.  The CW is averaging a 0.76 rating

SUNDAY FALL 2011    Estimates         Episode Rating     
                    May   Sep   #1   #2   #3   #4   #5   #6   Avg
 700 AF Home Videos 1.5   1.5   1.5

 800 Once Upon Time 2.0   2.0   10/23
 900 Desp Housewves 3.7   3.5   3.2  2.9
1000 Pan Am         2.4   2.5   3.1  2.5 
 700 60 Minutes     2.4   2.4   2.3  3.5
 800 Amazing Race   2.9   2.8   3.0  3.0

 900 Good Wife      2.6   2.4   2.2  2.1
1000 CSI Miami      2.7   2.6   2.3  2.3
 815 NFL SNF        7.5   8.1   10.7 10.0 8.3  7.3
 700 Various    
 730 Various        
 800 Simpsons       3.1   3.0   3.9  3.0   

 830 Cleveland Show 2.4   2.3   3.1  2.6
 900 Family Guy     3.4   3.3   4.1  3.5
 930 American Dad   2.3   2.3   3.0  2.7

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.   

Special Sunday Note: CBS programs will be a few tenths higher on nights CBS has the 4 pm national NFL game (and the entire schedule is shifted about a half hour later) and a few tenths lower when CBS does not have the late game. When FOX has the 4 pm game, football will go to about 7:30 and The OT will fill until 8 pm, lifting The Simpsons a few tenths.  When FOX does not have the 4 pm game, the 8-10 comedies will be slightly lower and comedy repeats will fill the 7 pm hour.  New animated comedy Allen Gregory is scheduled to run at 8:30 on October 30, although it could very well be pushed to mid-season.

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.