It’s a Nielsen fact of life that virtually every show, new and old, will drop in the ratings from its premiere to its second episode. So what becomes interesting is seeing how big or small that drop is.
Last week, FOX won Wednesday night thanks to “The X Factor,” even though the singing competition got what seemed to be disappointing overall ratings given the hype, expense, presence of Simon Cowell, etc. But it was still FOX’s best Wednesday in years, and a number that would be acceptable if the show could stay close to it the following week. And as it turns out, “X Factor” dropped only 8 percent in the 18-49 demographic from week-to-week, again winning the night for the network. That’s a number that should be more than livable provided the show steadies off within the next few weeks.
In other notable ratings news, ABC got a very successful launch for “Suburgatory” and a less successful (but unsurprising) return for “Happy Endings,” NBC’s Wednesday remains a mess – and we could see the cancellation of “Free Agents” as early as today – and “H8R” ticked up just enough to survive another week or two, possibly as the result of Mario Lopez showing up on the doorstep of various Nielsen families to tell them how disappointed he is in their haterade.
FOX won the night with a 3.9 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, and was neck and neck with CBS for the overall viewer crown, with 11.5 million viewers to CBS’ 11.6. In the demo, CBS got a 3.3, tying it with ABC, which pulled 9.3 million viewers overall. NBC was a distant fourth (1.6, 6.3 million) and the CW irrelevant (0.7, 1.6 million).
8 p.m. — “X Factor” won the hour in both demos (3.6) and total viewers (10.7 million), followed by CBS’ “Survivor” (3.1, 10.5 million). ABC’s “The Middle” was down slightly from last week, with a 2.6 demo and 8.6 million viewers overall, but the story was “Suburgatory” (3.3, 9.8 million) building on its lead-in audience by more than 25 percent in the demo. “Up All Night” (2.1, 5.3 million) continues to slip, and while it’s still doing better than a lot of other NBC shows, we may be nearing the point where the network tries to move the show to Thursdays to protect it. “Free Agents” (1.0, 3.1 million) is now maintaining less than half of its demo lead-in; if it airs next week, it’ll only be because NBC has so many problems that Bob Greenblatt won’t know where to begin. “H8R” (0.6, 1.4 million) got a slight bump from an episode about Kim Kardashian (or possibly from Mario Lopez’s attempt to make everyone love Joe Francis).
9 p.m. — ABC’s “Modern Family” (5.6, 13.2 million) remained the night’s highest-rated show by every measure, and was down only 5 percent from its premiere. But where ABC got nearly identical numbers from back-to-back “MF” episodes last week, “Happy Endings” (3.2, 7.4 million) lost more than 40 percent of its demo lead-in. (On the other hand, it was the series’ best-ever ratings, and ABC’s best performance in the timeslot with regularly-scheduled programming since early February.) Thanks to that, FOX was a close second in the hour with more “X Factor” (4.3, 12.3 million), followed by CBS’ “Criminal Minds” (3.6, 12.6 million), NBC’s old-skewing “Harry’s Law” (1.2, 7.4 million, nearly identical to last week’s numbers, but still a mess) and the CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (0.8, 1.7 million).
10 p.m. –– Week two of the Ted Danson era for “CSI” (3.0, 11.6 million) lost about a million viewers but was roughly on par with the demo numbers for the premiere. It also won the hour, as “Revenge” 2.7, 8.6 million) dipped 21 percent without “Modern Family” as a lead-in. “Law & Order: SVU” (2.0, 7.1 million) was down 13 percent from its low-rated season premiere.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.