September 16, 2011

THE SKED: SUNDAY Ratings This Fall

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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SUNDAYS this Fall officially start September 25, although the real ratings action on Sunday Nights, Sunday Night Football on NBC, has already kicked off to monster ratings.  The entire CBS schedule premieres in September 25, as well as the 8-10 animated comedy block on FOX and the female soaps from 9-11 on ABC.  The rest of ABC’s schedule start a few weeks later.  Click “read more” to see the latest RATINGS PROJECTIONS for Sunday nights.

On NBC, we have raised the Sunday Night Football average for the Fall to around an 8 Adult 18-49 rating.  The 10.7 rating for the season premiere featured a great come-from-behind victory for the New York Jets over the Dallas Cowboys.  Not every game is going to feature such a great match-up and such a competitive game so the ratings will bounce around a bit, but the NFL will be the dominant force on the night for the entire Fall.  On CBS, we have taken the dramas down a bit — and remember that the CBS numbers will bounce each week depending on whether CBS has the late afternoon national NFL game (more on that in the note below).  We also shaved the ratings projections for FOX’s male-skewing animated comedies and ABC’s female soaps in the wake of the strong NBC NFL season.

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.   

SUNDAY FALL 2011    Estimates         Episode Rating     
                    May   Sep   #1   #2   #3   #4   #5   #6   Avg
 700 AF Home Videos 1.5   1.5   10/2

 800 Once Upon Time 2.0   2.0   10/23
 900 Desp Housewves 3.7   3.5   9/25
1000 Pan Am         2.4   2.5   9/25 
 700 60 Minutes     2.4   2.4   9/25
 800 Amazing Race   2.9   2.8   9/25

 900 Good Wife      2.6   2.4   9/25
1000 CSI Miami      2.7   2.6   9/25
 700 FNIA           1.7   1.9   2.6
 815 NFL SNF        7.5   8.1   10.7
 700 Various       
 730 Various        
 800 Simpsons       3.1   3.0   9/25   

 830 Cleveland Show 2.4   2.3   9/25
 900 Family Guy     3.4   3.3   9/25
 930 American Dad   2.3   2.3   9/25

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.

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

                      MON      TUE      WED      THU      FRI      SAT      SUN     

Click below to read the ORIGINAL RATINGS PROJECTIONS for the other nights of the week (from May):  

                      MON      TUE      WED      THU      FRI      SAT      SUN      FULL WEEK

Click below to find out what to watch this fall:

                      MON      TUE      WED      THU       FRI      WEEKEND

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."