ABC’s Strongest 8-10pm Delivery Against a Wednesday Idol Premiere in 4 Years: Up against Fox’s Wednesday season premiere of American Idol, ABC’s 8-10pm comedies (repeat Modern Family and originals of The Middle, Modern Family and Cougar Town) delivered sharp year-to-year improvement for the Network. Versus the year-ago night, the Net’s delivery in the 2-hour time period jumped by +2.3 million viewers (6.7 million vs. 4.4 million) and by +56% in Adults 18-49 (2.5/7 vs. 1.6/4).
In fact it represented ABC’s best performance in the time period on the night of a Wednesday Idol premiere in 4 years – since 2006, when Lost was in the time period.
Outpacing Season Averages: Despite the heightened competition, all 3 ABC comedies held up phenomenally with each show performing at or above its season average in the Live + Same Day numbers. The Middle retained 100% (2.1/6 vs. 2.1/6) of its Adult 18-49 overnight season norm, while Modern Family (+3% – 3.2/8 vs. 3.1/8) and Cougar Town (+11% – 3.1/8 vs. 2.8/7) were up. Also worth noting, Cougar Town retained an impressive 97% of its Adult 18-49 lead-in from Modern Family.
The Middle Beats Veteran Gary Unmarried: Building sharply on its lead-in for ABC at 8:30pm opposite Idol, ABC freshman The Middle finished as the #1 scripted show in its slot and defeated CBS’ veteran comedy Gary Unmarried in the half-hour in both Total Viewers (+5% – 6.1 million vs. 5.8 million) and Adults 18-49 (+11% – 2.1/6 vs. 1.9/5).
Ugly Betty Holds Even with Week-Ago Premiere: In the 10 o’clock hour, ABC’s Ugly Betty held 100% of Adult 18-49 audience from its week-earlier premiere in the time period (1.6/5), continuing to deliver ABC’s strongest performance with series programming in the slot since October – since 10/28/09.
DVR Playback Note: Please keep in mind that each of ABC’s Wednesday night programs see solid gains this season through DVR playback, from the first-reported Live + Same Day numbers to the Live + 7 Day DVR finals. With the addition of American Idol to the competitive mix, it’s anticipated that the DVR gains will be even bigger against the Fox juggernaut.
Season to date DVR Playback Growth (actual change from L+SD to L+7):
The Middle: +600k viewers and +2-tenths in Adults 18-49
Modern Family: +1.4 million viewers and +7-tenths in Adults 18-49
Cougar Town: +1.1 million viewers and +5-tenths in Adults 18-49
Ugly Betty: +800k viewers and +3-tenths in Adults 18-49
(source: data and information provided by ABC)