Most of our ratings coverage works from the overnight ratings, because that’s what is immediate, and our tendency is to want to know how a show is doing as soon as possible. But obviously, with heavy use of DVRs now, it doesn’t tell the whole story. A show’s final ratings do not officially count until seven days of DVR viewership are accounted for, and in the case of many shows, the swings can be significant. Take, for instance, CBS’s Elementary, whose overnight ratings (1.9) are positively mediocre (it is, after all, facing the surging Scandal), but after seven days of DVR viewership are accounted for, it has a solid 3.5, placing it 16th among all shows in the 18-49 demo. Likewise, CBS’s The Millers is kicking New Girl in the ass in the overnight ratings (3.0 to 2.1) but once DVR viewers are accounted for, they are about even (3.7 to 3.6).
The swings can mean a lot. Scandal, for instance, is the 5th highest rated show in the demo before DVR viewership, but it falls to eighth after DVR viewership is accounted for, behind The Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow and Agents of SHIELD.
The huge bumps also explain some of the full season orders, and why some shows haven’t been cancelled yet. Betrayal on ABC, for instance, has a terrible .8 rating, but once DVRs are accounted for, it jumps to a 1.3, while Welcome to the Family — which had a .8 overnight rating — jumped only to a 1.0 with seven days’ DVR viewing. That said, I still don’t understand the renewal of Fox’s Dads, which jumps from only a 1.3 to a 1.8 with DVR viewership.
At any rate, here are the 15 scripted shows with the highest DVR percentage bump (reality shows and sports coverage get very small DVR bumps).
1. Elementary — 84 percent bump
2. Nashville — 81 percent
3. Parenthood — 75 percent
4. Hostages — 75 percent
5. Revenge — 75 percent bump
6. New Girl — 71 percent
7. The Mentalist — 69 percent
8. Castle — 68 percent
9. Sleepy Hollow — 68 percent
10. Revolution — 67 percent
11. Marvel Agents of SHIELD — 66 percent
12. Grey’s Anatomy — 64 percent
13. Law and Order: SVU — 63 percent
14. Blacklist — 61 percent bump
15. Brooklyn Nine-Nine — 60 percent
Want to know which scripted programs are the least recorded? Here are the 5 worst in that category:
1. Back in the Game — 11 percent
2. The Millers — 23 percent
3. The Middle — 23 percent
4. NCIS: Los Angeles — 27 percent
5. Super Fun Night — 28 percent