February 8, 2012

The Sked: SMASH PREMIERE Minute by Minute Ratings

More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Salem
Tags: , , ,

>The chart below displays the minute by minute Nielsen ratings for the series debut of Smash Monday at 10 pm on NBC.  The news is awful for the first 20 minutes or so, but then the premiere episode stabilized in the ratings for the last 40 minutes.

NBC started the show at 10:00, running seamlessly out of The Voice (no commercial break between the two shows).  Next, the first commercial break in Smash did not hit until about 10:18 pm, another common technique for a new show to get the audience engaged in the program.  However, the Adult 18-49 rating for Smash dropped continuously with each passing minute during this extended first act.  The first minute of the program was almost a 7 rating with Adults 18-49, but by the second minute it was well under a 6 and by minute five it fell below a 5 rating.  The rate of decline began to ease, but the audience continued to drift down to a 4 rating by minute 18.

Then the show began to stabilize.  The second act (minutes 23-31) was a relatively flat line around a 3.7 rating, the third act (minutes 37-44) was a flat line around a 3.5, and the final act (minutes 48-55) was another flat line also around a 3.5.  The commercial breaks generally dipped to a 3 rating or just below.  

Putting aside the first 18 minutes when almost half of the initial audience stampeded to the exits, the rest of the show was a fairly stable 3.4 rating (including both program and commercial content).  A reasonable target would be a 3.0 rating for week two of Smash.  Shows almost always go down in the second week (particularly after a massive marketing campaign).  A 3.0 would represent a moderate (approximately 10%) decline from the “true” or core rating for the premiere, as opposed to a 20% decline from the inflated 3.8 rating for the entire first hour.     



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."