Carat Programming’s Broadcast and Video Beat took a look at network performance for the first week of the 2008/09 primetime season based on analysis of data from Nielsen Media Research. They have provided weekly network averages on both a live and live + same day basis and will be reporting on same day ratings from now on.
DVRs are in 27% of U.S. TV Households (last year at this time DVR penetration was about 20% U.S.) and Carat wants want to realistically reflect today’s viewing environment. Note that “C3” ratings for the first week of the season will not be available until the week of October 13.
Week One Highlights:
• Regardless of whether one looks at live or live + SD ratings. ABC won the week in Households, total viewers, Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54.
• Five of the top ten shows for the week belonged to ABC including all three editions of Dancing with the Stars
• The debut episode of CBS’s freshman drama Mentalist, was the tenth-ranked show for the week.
• Fox and CW are the only two networks to register increases versus YAG.
• Eleven new shows have launched to date. Six of them debuted in advance of the season’s start.
• Fox’s rookie comedy, Do Not Disturb is the first freshman series to be cancelled.
ABC is off by less than 3% vs. YAG in Adults 18-49. Program highlights for the week included extended versions of the networks popular programming.
Wednesday’s special edition of Dancing W/Stars Results show finished ninth for the week. When it came to staying tuned to the David Blain special that followed, viewers chose to disappear, vanishing by 55%. The two-hour season opener of Grey’s Anatomy, was off by nearly 12% versus YAG in total viewers.
The fifth season opener of Desperate Housewives, slipped by 3% versus last year’s premiere. The creators of the series took a huge risk by aging the characters by five years. It will be interesting to see how this change will impact viewership to the Sunday night staple. The season premier of Ugly Betty, finished in twenty third place for the week.
While the two-hour season opener of Survivor: Gabon finished in fourteenth place for the week, it was down by 8% versus YAG. Gabon, which is in its seventeenth cycle is the first edition of the series that is broadcast in HD.
NBC is down by double digits in key demos versus YAG, The third season opener of Heroes was off by nearly 41% versus last year’s season opener. In case you don’t recall, last year’s premiere rating for the action series was based on a combined number comprised of the Monday telecast and a Saturday encore. The debut of remake, Knight Rider finished third in its time period, 42% lower than the two-hour movie which also served as a back door pilot.
Fox has picked up nine more episodes of Fringe giving it a full season commitment. The fourth episode of the series posted nearly 10 million total viewers and a 4.2 rating in Adults 18-49, representing gains for both demos over the previous week.
Based on premiere to date averages sophomore series Gossip Girl is performing 30% better in total viewers versus its season to date performance YAG.
According to Nielsen, 52.4 million viewers watched the first of three presidential debates. ABC led with 11 million total viewers.