ABC hits 11 wk high; ‘Modern Family’ No. 1 scripted TV show


ABC Hits 11-Week Highs on Wednesday in Total Viewers and Adults 18-49. ABC’s “The Middle” Wins its Time Period with its Best Numbers in 5 Weeks. Hitting a Series-High Opposite “Idol,’ ABC’s “Modern Family” is Wednesday’s No. 1 Scripted TV Show for its 9th Straight Original Telecast in Adults 18-49. Drawing its Biggest-Ever Audience Against “Idol,” “Cougar Town” is the No. 1 Scripted TV Show at 9:30pm in Adults 18-49 for its 3rd Time in its Last 4 Originals. The Series Debut of “Happy Town” Improves its Hour for ABC Year to Year And Season to Date, Ranking No. 2 Against its Veteran Drama. Competition.

Wednesday Night (8:00-11:00 p.m.)
ABC earned second place to an “Idol”-led Fox on Wednesday night among Adults 18-49 (2.4/7), beating third-place NBC by 26% (1.9/6) and fourth-place CBS by 33% (1.8/5). 

Among Total Viewers (6.5 million) and Adults 18-49 (2.4/7), ABC marked its strongest Wednesday in 11 weeks – since 2/10/10.

“The Middle” (8:30-9:00 p.m.)
Jumping over its lead-in, ABC’s “The Middle” won its half-hour for its 2nd straight original telecast among Total Viewers (7.1 million) and Adults 18-49 (2.4/7).  In fact among Adults 18-49, the ABC freshman comedy has finished as the No. 1 scripted show in its half-hour on 4 of its last 5 first-run broadcasts. 

Building its viewer and young adult numbers for its 2nd straight original airing, “The Middle” posted its best results in 5 weeks – since 3/24/10.

“Modern Family” (9:00-9:30 p.m.)
Opposite “Idol” at 9:00 p.m., ABC’s “Modern Family” built sharply on its lead-in to stand as the No. 1 scripted show in its time slot among Total Viewers (10.0 million) and Adults 18-49 (4.2/12).  In addition, “Modern Family” ran in a virtual tie with “American Idol” as the No. 1 program in the half-hour with Men 18-34 for its 3rd straight original, as the two shows once again tied in audience share (3.5/11 vs. 3.6/11). 

“Modern Family” drew its largest audience in nearly 4 months (since 1/6/10) and matched a series-high rating in Adults 18-49 (4.2/12), representing the series’ best-ever performance against “American Idol” on both counts.   “Modern Family” also achieved series highs across all key Men (M18-34/M18-49/M25-54).

“Cougar Town” (9:30-10:01 p.m.)
Opposite the second half-hour of a surging “Idol,” ABC freshman “Cougar Town” qualified as the No. 1 scripted program at 9:30pm in Adults 18-49 (2.8/7) for the 3rd time in its last 4 original telecasts.  In addition, the ABC freshman series marked its 4th consecutive original airing as the top-rated scripted show in its slot with Men 18-34.   

“Cougar Town” was up over its most recent original in Total Viewers (+12% – 6.5 million vs. 5.8 million) and in Adults 18-49 (+12% – 2.8/7 vs. 2.5/7), drawing its largest audience since January and top young adult number since the beginning of February – since 1/20/10 and 2/3/10, respectively.   In fact “Cougar Town” generated its largest-ever audience against “Idol.”

“Happy Town” (10:01-11:00 p.m.)
The series debut of “Happy Town” ranked No. 2 against its veteran NBC (“L&O: SVU”) and CBS (“CSI: NY”) drama competition in the 10:00 p.m. hour with Adults 18-49 (1.7/5) and Adults 18-34 (1.3/4).   

“Happy Town” improved its hour for ABC both year to year and over the Net’s averages this season with regular programming.  ABC was up year to year in the hour by 8% in Total Viewers (5.3 million vs. 4.9 million) and by 13% in Adults 18-49 (1.7/5 vs. 1.5/4), over the year-ago night with original drama programming (“The Unusuals”).   The new series also improved its time period over the Net’s averages with regular programming this season by 13% in Total Viewers and by 6% in Adults 18-49 (“Eastwick”/Ugly Betty” = 4.7 million and 1.6/5). 

A note about increasing DVR penetration and year-to-year rating comparisons: Year-to-year rating comparisons based on the Live + Same Day data stream are distorted by the level of DVR penetration in the Nielsen sample, which has jumped up to 36% currently, from 31% at the same point in 2009. More viewers are watching shows on their own timetables, which may not be reflected in the overnight next day numbers. The only truly valid year-to-year comparison would be one based on the Live + 7 Day metric, once those stats are released by Nielsen.

(Source: ABC – Nielsen Media Research (Fast Affiliate, Live + Same Day Ratings), 4/28/10)