Ratings Analysis: ‘The Flash’ premiere grows, ‘Manhattan Love Story’ sinks

10.08.14 4 years ago

As you probably already saw, “The Flash” gave TV reporters a workout when it came to speed-related headline puns after a start that was unquestionably fast on Tuesday (October 7) night. [I went with a “Flashdance” pun, because I'm old.]

Well, the news just keeps getting better for the DC Comics series starring Grant Gustin. 

Final Live+Same Day ratings ticked up for “The Flash,” which drew 4.79 million total viewers and did a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49. 

“The Flash” stands as The CW's second most-watched series premiere ever, behind “The Vampire Diaries,” and the third highest-rated series premiere ever, behind “The Vampire Diaries” and “90210.” In fact, “The Flash” became The CW's most watched program of any kind since the “Vampire Diaries” premiere in 2009.

Want even more nostalgia? This was The CW's biggest audience in the Tuesday 8 p.m. slot since the series finale of “Gilmore Girls” back in May 2007 and the best 18-49 performance in the hour since that September 2008 premiere for “90210.”

Among adults 18-34, “The Flash” did a 1.6 rating, behind only “The Voice” in that demo. 

“The Flash” had somewhat atypical-for-the-CW demo splits, doing a 1.5 rating among women 18-49 and a 2.3 rating among men 18-49. Similarly, “The Flash” had a 1.3 rating among women 18-34 and a 1.9 rating among men 18-34. “The Flash” was Tuesday's top show in the male 18-34 demo by a comfortable margin, topping the 1.5 rating for “NCIS: New Orleans.” That male 18-34 figure was the best ever for The CW in the time period.

The half-hour splits for “The Flash” are also exactly what The CW would hope for. “Flash” drew 4.49 million viewers and a 1.8 key demo rating at 8 p.m. and 4.99 million viewers and a 1.9 key demo rating for the 8:30 half-hour. 

“Supernatural” didn't retain quite as well as Fast Nationals indicated, with the Season 10 premiere slipping to 2.48 million viewers and a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49. “Supernatural” did a 1.1 rating among adults 18-34, which ended up tied with “Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” in that demo. And that 1.1 rating in the 18-34 demo represents the best “Supernatural” premiere since 2010.

The demo splits for “Supernatural” were less skewed than for “The Flash,” with “Supernatural” doing a 1.0 rating among women 18-49 and a 1.1 rating among men 18-49 (It was 0.9 to 1.2 among viewers 18-34).

Tuesday was The CW's best overall (3.67 million) primetime performance on any night since May of 2010 and its best performance among adults 18-49 (1.5 rating) on any night since September 2010.

There's really no additional analysis to be done here. I don't wanna say these numbers exceeded the wildest possible expectations for The CW. *Somebody* had to fantasize 5 million viewers and a 2 in the key demo, right? Else what's a heaven for? But even assuming that inevitable drops are coming for “The Flash,” that's a spectacular start, up there with “How To Get Away With Murder” among the fall's biggest winners.

As for some less robust results…

*** Last week's Final Live+SD ratings boosted both “Selfie” (5.3 mill and a 1.6 key demo) and “Manhattan Love Story” (4.7 million and a 1.5 key demo) making their ratings look more respectable. That did not happen this week. “Selfie” rose a hair to 3.99 million viewers and a 1.2 key demo rating, but “Manhattan Love Story” stayed stagnant with 3.27 million viewers and a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49, the wrong side of The Mulaney Line. Those are ugly numbers and even uglier drops, especially for “Manhattan Love Story.” There's a chance that “The Flash” stole some male viewers from the ABC comedies, but they were also down in female demos. The gap between the shows grew in all demos, “Manhattan Love Story” can take some solace in beating “Forever” among adults 18-34, where “Forever” was the night's lowest rated show. There are no good signs for “Manhattan Love Story,” but “Selfie” achieved semi-respectability in several young female demos, or at least it achieved “Mindy Project”-esque numbers.

*** Not to put too fine a point on it, but ABC has given “Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” literally the least compatible lead-in possible. I don't care if you're one of those people who pretends that lead-ins are irrelevant. You're wrong, but even you can probably tell that if you have a series that's fairly strong among young men — “S.H.I.E.L.D.” had a 1.9 rating among men 18-49 this week — giving it a lead-in that has already proven to be legitimately toxic to young men is a bad idea. “Manhattan Love Story” did a 0.6 rating among men 18-49, lowest for any show on any network for the night. ABC has crafted a lineup with a strongly female-skewing comedy block leading into a male-skewing superhero drama leading into a strongly female-skewing procedural. That's bad flow and it's no wonder “Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is struggling, though at least it ticked up somewhat in Finals to 4.73 million viewers and a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49, still down from last week. If this is a show that has any value at all to ABC/Marvel/Disney, I can't believe that ABC can afford to wait to make a move. How much would ABC love to have “Suburgatory” already in production and ready to take that 8:30 slot by November?

*** Toward the end of the spring, “Mindy Project” was closing the gap with “New Girl,” which was more a product of ratings drops for “New Girl” than ratings elevation for “Mindy,” but it was still a thing that was happening. On Tuesday, “New Girl” improved on its toxic “Family Guy” encore lead-in to average 2.615 million viewers and a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49 and then “The Mindy Project” dropped to 2.19 million viewers and a 1.0 key demo rating. “Family Guy” did 1.96 million viewers and a 0.9 key demo rating which wasn't all that different from what “Utopia” had been doing. In a few weeks FOX will push “MasterChef Junior” into that time period and it will almost unavoidably do better. Will that boost “New Girl” and “Mindy Project” at all? Dunno.

*** “Person of Interest” averaged 9.63 million viewers and a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49 coming out of a lead-in with 15.39 million viewers and a 2.3 key demo rating. “NCIS: Los Angeles” was down to 8.68 million viewers and a 1.6 key demo rating on Monday. I continue to feel like swapping these two dramas would, at the very least, improve fortunes for “NCIS: Los Angeles” and for Tuesday night. Personally, I'd time the switch for when NBC pulls “Blacklist” and replaces it with “State of Affairs,” probably making that Monday 10 p.m. slot much less competitive. I'm sure “NCIS: Los Angeles” would get its own Monday bump after that happens, but “Person of Interest” may not make it over that 10 million hump again and you can't tell me “NCIS: LA” wouldn't do better.

Anything jump out?

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