June 10, 2011

TV RATINGS: Summer Reality

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Written by: Mitch Salem


At ShowBuzzDaily we won’t cover television ratings every day, but we will check in on the Nielsen ratings from time to time at key points: when new shows premiere, when the schedule changes, or during big events.  If you want to get a ratings fix on a daily basis, we recommend TVByTheNumbers, a great site that provides ratings for each prime time program and time period.  Numbers are generally available after 8 am PT (the early-look “fast nationals”) and after 1 pm PT (the cleaned-up data “official nationals”).
But a few observations from this week.  NBC is having a remarkable run with its summer reality schedule.  Tuesday has turned into a juggernaut.  On June 7, America’s Got Talent posted a 3.7 rating with Adults 18-49 from 8-9 pm, while the hit show The Voice built to a 4.6 rating from 9-11 pm.  On Wednesday, America’s Got Talent earned another 3.7 rating from 9-11 pm.  These numbers would be good at any time of the year, but are especially noteworthy in the summer when TV viewing levels are at their lowest.

Over at Fox, MasterChef, yet another cooking show, is struggling with a 1.8 rating on Monday and a 1.9 on Tuesday (both from 8-9 pm).  On Wednesday, So You Think You Can Dance earned a solid 2.8 but well behind America’s Got Talent, a show with which it used to be neck and neck in the ratings.  On Thursday, Dance dropped to a 2.5 rating against Game 5 of the NBA Finals.  (The Voice, however, also faced the Finals, Game 4, and was able to do a much higher rating).  So Fox, is doing just okay so far this summer.
CBS traditionally doesn’t get into the summer game until after July 4, while ABC has been inflated by the NBA Finals (a 6.7 rating Tuesday and 7.4 on Thursday, thanks to a competitive series of close games).  ABC will have more reality on the way when the NBA season ends – for now they have The Bachelorette (a 2.6 rating on Monday) and the Biggest Loser 2, I mean, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition (a light 2.2 rating Monday).  

With sports out of the equation, NBC will see even more steady growth in Talent and Voice as both build toward their finales.  Give the Peacock the advantage in terms of a great promotional platform for their new fall shows.  (Of course, not every new show on NBC is working this summer.  Love Bites, an hour-long comedic drama about love and relationships, turned in a 1.0 rating Thursday at 10 pm, proving once again that scripted summer burn-offs rarely work.) 

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."