Ratings Analysis: ‘Big Bang’ is unstoppable, ‘Gotham’ strong, ‘Blacklist’ steady

09.23.14 5 years ago

We're one day into the 2014-2015 season and thus far there are no losers!

Yes, FOX might have wanted better numbers from “Sleepy Hollow,” but in a competitive time period, after a nine-month absence with a huge DVR bump probably coming? Yeah, a 2.0 rating in the key demo will suffice for now.

Yes, NBC may not have wanted such a big drop from last fall for “The Voice,” but when will “The Voice” ever have to face a full hour of “The Big Bang Theory” ever again?

And yes, ABC might have wanted more viewers to check out “Forever,” but it was just a chance to get some eyeballs and 8.6 million viewers (17.1-ish million eyeballs) counts. Remember that expectations are very low for ABC's Tuesday 10 p.m. slot after last season.

And there are plenty of early winners.

“Gotham” did a big demo number despite going against a full hour of “Big Bang Theory.”

“The Blacklist” was up from last year's finale.

“Scorpion” drew nearly 14 million viewers.

“The Big Bang Theory” remains “The Big Bang Theory.”

I started my morning with Fast National ratings for Monday, September 22.

Now it's time to end my afternoon with a deep dig into the Final Live+SD numbers.

*** “The Big Bang Theory” is just absurd. The two premiere episodes ticked up to a 5.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 18.13 million viewers. It crushed “The Voice” in basically every demographic that the networks have ways to monetize. [Among viewers 12-17, “The Voice” averaged a 2.6 rating to the 2.35 rating for “Big Bang,” though “Big Bang” narrowly won their head-to-head hour.] That's a juggernaut and “Mom” will benefit next week. Expect series high numbers for the Anna Faris comedy.

*** “Scorpion” benefitted not-insignficantly (which is to say “massively”) from its “Big Bang Theory.” With “Big Bang” running a minute into the 9 p.m. hour, “Scorpion” slipped a tiny bit in Final Live+Same Day, ending up with a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49 and 13.83 million viewers. That's a great sampling, but what will “Scorpion” do next week with “Mom” as its lead-in? Ummm… Worse. Interestingly, the half-hour splits aren't so bad when you break out the minute for “Big Bang,” because a lot of people just switched the channel or turned off the TV. From 9:01 to 9:30, “Scorpion” did a 3.3 key demo rating and 14.26 million and then the 9:30 half-hour slipped to a 3.1 key demo rating and 13.42 million viewers, which isn't so dramatic. “Scorpion” had its biggest percentage drops from “Big Bang” among the youngest viewers, as one might expect and the gender splits were fairly small. When it comes to anointing this sucker as a breakout hit, however, I'll remind you of what “Intelligence” did last winter after “NCIS” and then what it did in the Monday 10 p.m. dead spot subsequently. When people say dumb things like “Lead-ins don't matter in 2014 TV,” I say, “You're dumb, of course they do.” So that's a great start for “Scorpion,” but if it falls to 7 million viewers and a 2.2 key demo rating next week and to 6.5 million viewers and a 1.7 key demo rating the week after that? We'll look back at this halcyon premiere and smile. One week is too early to make any calls. But for today? Yay, “Katharine McPhee: Nerd Wrangler.”

*** In Final Live+SD numbers, “Gotham” ticked up to 8.21 million viewers and remained steady with a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49. “Gotham” did a 2.7 rating among adult 18-34, better than “Scorpion” or “Blacklist.” One odd thing about that 18-34 rating — It broke down as a 2.7 rating with women and a 2.6 rating among men, the only age range in which “Gotham” skewed female. Among adults 18-49, it was a 3.0 rating among women and a 2.5 rating among men. Among adults 25 to 54, it was a 3.2 rating for women and a 4.0 rating for men. One could theorize that “comic book things” are considered more gendered the older viewers get? Or… Not. “Gotham” rose at the half-hour in almost all measures, which is pretty common for 8 p.m. hour shows, but it could theoretically show that viewers weren't turning it off. 

[The overall number could have been higher, but my own opinion is that these are really good numbers for “Gotham,” at least as a sampling. If you'd asked me to predict, I'd have probably gone with somewhere around a 2.7 or 2.8 key demo rating. This was a tough show and FOX had to sell it entirely on potential. People are saying that “Batman” has a strong brand, but FOX couldn't sell Batman and FOX could only sell the words “Riddler,” “Penguin,” “Catwoman,” “Poison Ivy,” matched up against images of people who look NOTHING like those characters. At its heart, “Gotham” is a heightened police procedural starring Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie and if I offered you *that* and didn't mention “Batman” at all, you'd never imagine it could possibly get a 3.2 key demo rating. You'd probably look at something like NBC's “Chicago Fire Cops,” which will do roughly half-that when they premiere. I'd expect “Gotham” to get a potentially massive DVR bump, especially given the competition, which will make it a success for FOX. At least for one week. It could go off a cliff next week.]

*** FOX isn't panicking about the 5.51 million viewers and 2.0 rating among adults 18-49 for “Sleepy Hollow,” but it's got to be a little disappointing. There's no point in comparing the 10+ million and 3.4 key demo rating that “Sleepy Hollow” did in its pre-season premiere last September, but last season's two-hour finale drew 6.94 million viewers and did a 2.3 key demo rating (the second episode, the one in the show's normal time period, did a hair above that). That was January 20, which was a long time ago. So that's not great, but there are decent signs. “Sleepy Hollow” has a nicely balanced audience, with a 2.0 rating among both women 18-49 and men 18-49. The 25-54 demo skews a hair more male, while the 18-34 demo skews a hair more female. Last January, the “Sleepy Hollow” finale was a bit female-weighted, with a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49 and a 2.2 rating among men in that age range. The drops from “Big Bang” to “Scorpion” were evenly balanced by gender, but it stands to reason that with “Scorpion” heading for some degree of drop next week, some of those viewers could head back to “Sleepy Hollow.” Maybe. And, given the competition in the hour, the L+3 bump will be large. FOX is faced with a potentially incompatible Monday mix, though, if the “Gotham” numbers settle in as even more strongly male-centric.

*** Last September's “The Voice” premiere averaged 14.98 million viewers and a 5.1 rating among adults 18-49. February's spring premiere averaged 15.86 million viewers and a 4.7 rating among adults 18-49. Monday night's “The Voice” premiere averaged 12.95 million viewers and a 3.9 rating among adults 18-49. Let the speculating begin. Too many judging changes? Predictable attrition for an unscripted series that has aired a whopping 147 episodes and six-plus seasons since 2011? One-off struggle on a night with heavily hyped premieres against CBS competition it will never face again on Mondays? Still pretty darned good for any show not called “Big Bang Theory”? All of the above? “The Voice” made mince-meat out of “Dancing with the Stars” and also topped “Scorpion” in every demo aged 54 and under. With a single-dose of “Big Bang Theory” next week, “The Voice” will probably tick up and even if it doesn't return to last fall's numbers, NBC isn't worried.

*** So you saw the numbers “The Voice” did last September. That led into “Blacklist” premiering with 12.58 million viewers and a 3.8 rating among adults 18-49. In its May finale, with a MUCH weaker “Voice” lead-in, “The Blacklist” did a 2.6 key demo rating and 10.44 million viewers. On Monday, “Blacklist” did 12.34 million viewers and a 3.4 key demo rating. That's a successful show. That's also why NBC is playing with fire by moving “Blacklist” to Thursdays in February after giving this time slot to “State of Affairs.” “The Blacklist” still took a big drop in the 10 p.m. hour. “The Voice” was at 14.06 million viewers and a 4.4 key demo rating in the 9:30 half-hour. “Blacklist” had a 3.7 key demo rating and 13.33 million viewers in the 10 p.m. half-hour and 11.355 million viewers and a 3.0 key demo rating in the 10:30 half-hour. “Smash” couldn't live without “The Voice.” “Revolution” couldn't live without “The Voice.” “The Blacklist” has better retention than either of those dramas, but…

*** ABC's “Forever” ticked up to 8.59 million viewers and a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49 for its Monday audition and beat CBS' “Under the Dome” finale in all young female demos. There was a massive gender split — 2.4 among women 18-49, but 1.0 among men 18-49 — but “Dancing with the Stars” actually has an even bigger demo split at this point. Men ignore “Dancing” with impunity, but forever held male viewers much better than female, which isn't saying much. Since “Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” skews fairly male, it's going to be intriguing to look at Tuesday's time period premiere and see if the women who sampled forever on Monday return and if some additional men stick around from the lead-in? We'll see.

*** The Fast Nationals for “America's Next Top Model” obviously included preemptions, because the long-running reality series slipped hard to 781,000 viewers and a 0.3 key demo rating in Live+Same Day.

OK. That's all I've got time for today. Anything interesting stand out for you?

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