[As I said yesterday, I’m going to start doing some additional ratings analysis a bit after the morning Fast National numbers come in each morning/afternoon. It’s a way to get away from merely the regurgitation of data as quickly as possible at 8:30 a.m., though I’ll still be doing that. I’ll also be doing some Live+3 and Live+7 analysis this season as those numbers become available.]
There were winners and losers on Tuesday (September 24) night. “Lucky 7” is already on Deathwatch. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is already a hit (for at least one week). FOX’s comedy block probably isn’t in overall jeopardy, but it can’t go on this low forever. And “NCIS” and “The Voice” remain the cocks of the ratings walk.
Fast Nationals for Wednesday, September 25 told a very different story. There are minor disappointments here and there, but mostly everybody came away from the Fast National numbers relatively happy. That’s better for the industry, even if it isn’t as sexy when it comes to analysis.
Click through for my bulletpoints…
*** What the heck happened with “The X Factor”? Why did FOX’s beleaguered singing competition rise by 15 percent week-to-week and actually top “Survivor” in the key demo last night? I… don’t know. Sometimes there are easy answers for these things and sometimes things are just weird. It’s a big enough bump, though, that I wouldn’t attribute it entirely to a statistic blip. I would have predicted a decline with ABC and NBC adding new programming to the mix. Nope! FOX can’t really throw a party for 7.6 million viewers and a 2.5 in the key demo when last year’s comparable telecast drew 9.4 million and a 3.3 key demo, but that’s the smallest year-to-year gap of the fall for Simon Cowell’s baby. Oh and FOX would want me to note that “X Factor” beat its closest competition by 58 percent among teens. So… there you go.
*** Those are fine numbers for “Revolution.” Nearly 6.8 million viewers and a 1.8 in the key demo seems hilariously weak when you compare it to the 11.6+ million viewers and 4.1 key demo rating for its premiere last summer, but who the heck would compare a show’s second season premiere kicking off a night to the numbers it did its its heavily hyped series premiere airing after one of TV’s most popular shows? By the end of last season, “Revolution” was drawing in the low 6 millions and between a 1.8 and a 2.0 in the demo despite a still-solid “Voice” lead-in. Basically, NBC wanted to see if “Revolution” was capable of standing alone and these numbers say, “Yes, by NBC standards.” It gave NBC a big time period boost. A better comparison would be to February’s Season 2 premiere of the previously “Voice”-boosted “Smash,” which averaged under 4.4 million viewers and a 1.1 key demo rating. It could not stand alone.
*** That’s a surprising amount of juice for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” You would not have predicted that “SVU,” in its 15th season, would beat “CSI.” Guess what? If NBC would just air “SVU” at 10 p.m., it would probably beat “CSI” among young viewers every week and almost guarantee that this will be the last “CSI” season. Instead, “SVU” will air at 9 last week and “Ironside” will go at 10 and by mid-October, I’d bet “CSI” is winning that slot again.
*** “Modern Family” is still a big deal, but it’s not as big a deal. Last year’s half-hour premiere drew over 14 million viewers and a 5.5 rating among adults 18-49, compared to 11.4 million and a 4.1 for a full hour this year. On the other hand, “Modern Family” was doing under 9 million and a 3.1 key demo rating at its spring low point. For one night, “Modern Family” was able to look like TV’s biggest comedy. And tonight, “The Big Bang Theory” will come back and it’ll make “Modern Family” look like “Dads.” The Season 7 premiere for “Big Bang Theory” will also probably be in line with last year’s numbers, if not higher, which will take some of the luster off of “Modern Family” showing this level of relative retention in its fifth season.
*** “The Middle” remains one of TV’s unsung heroes. Although the rarely ballyhooed comedy came in a bit below last year in the key demo, it delivered basically the identical overall audience. And, at least for one week, ABC has to like the compatibility of “Back in the Game,” with its nearly 7.9 million viewers and 2.2 key demo rating. Of course, rivals want to note that “Back in the Game” was ABC’s lowest rated fall comedy premiere since 2009. This isn’t untrue. “Neighbors” debuted with a 9.3 million viewers and a 3.3 in the demo last year, but that was airing after the aforementioned “Modern Family” premiere. The following week, in its post-“Middle” slot, it was down to 6.6 million viewers and a 2.0 key demo. In fact, most of ABC’s new comedy premieres in recent years have come in protected time slots, often after “Modern Family.” You already know that “Trophy Wife” beat “Back in the Game” by a hair, but the comedy that you’re forgetting that tied or equalled “Back in the Game” is “Malibu Country,” which drew nearly 8.9 million viewers and did a 2.2 in the demo last November. Thanks to “Modern Family,” “Super Fun Night” will also probably come in above “Back in the Game” next week, but the drop for that one could be impressive.
Those are my takeaways from Wednesday. I suspect that tonight will be much more interesting and that we will, again, have winners and losers as opposed to just varying shades of winners.