ABC's Spring "Wipeout" draws its 2nd-largest audience


ABC Marks its Strongest Thursday Since the Beginning of February.

Posting its Top Numbers in 7 Weeks, “Wipeout” Produces Big Year-to-Year Time Period Improvement for ABC Opposite “Idol” in Thursday’s 8pm Hour.

Up Over its Most-Recent Original 4 Weeks Ago, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” Returns as Thursday’s No. 1 Scripted TV Show in Viewers and Adults 18-49.

Generating Substantial Week-to-Week Gains, ABC’s “Private Practice” Scores a 19-Week High in Viewers and a 17-Week High in Adults 18-49.

Thursday Night (8:00-11:00 p.m.)
ABC took second to an “Idol”-led Fox on Thursday among Total Viewers (8.5 million) and Adults 18-49 (2.8/8), turning in its strongest performance on the night since the beginning of February – since 2/3/11 and 2/10/11, respectively.

“Wipeout” (8:00-9:00 p.m.)
From 8:00-9:00 p.m. against “American Idol,” ABC’s Spring “Wipeout” (7.5 million) drew the second-largest audience in the hour, topping CBS’ NCAA Basketball (6.8 million) and NBC’s original comedies (“Community”/”Perfect Couples = 3.9 million).  In addition, “Wipeout” beat NBC’s comedy block by 29% among Adults 18-49 (2.2/7 vs. 1/7/5). 

Building week to week in viewers (+4%) and young adults (+5%), “Wipeout” generated the series’ strongest performance in 7 weeks – since 2/3/11. 

Despite facing “Idol” in the time period this year, the ABC unscripted series generated double-digit year-to-year gains in the hour with Total Viewers (+21%) and Adults 18-49 (+22% – ), over an original episode of “FlashForward” on the year-ago evening (6.2 million and 1.8/6 on 3/25/10).

“Grey’s Anatomy” (9:00-10:00 p.m.)
Returning to original for the first time in 4 weeks (since 2/24/11) to stand as Thursday’s #1 scripted series, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” led Thursday’s 9 o’clock hour by 1.3 million viewers (10.1 million vs. 8.8 million – Fox’s “Bones”) and by 24% in Adults 18-49 (3.6/10 vs. 2.9/8 – NBC’s “The Office”/”Parks and Recreation”) over its nearest competition.  Grey’s registered as the No. 1 scripted series in the slot among Adults 18-49 for its 17th straight original broadcast this season. 

Grey’s was up by 10% in Total Viewers and by 6% in Adults 18-49 over its last original telecast (9.1 million and 3.4/9), posting its best numbers since mid-February – since 2/17/11.

“Private Practice” (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
ABC’s “Private Practice” qualified as the most-watched TV show in the 10 o’clock hour.  Against its regular time-period competition, “Private Practice” posted strong advantages over NBC’s original comedies (“30 Rock”/”Outsourced”), leading by 4.0 million viewers (8.0 million vs. 4.0 million) and by 59% in Adults 18-49 (2.7/7 vs. 1.7/5).  In addition, for its 16th consecutive first run telecast, the ABC drama registered as the No.1 scripted TV show in the 10 o’clock hour with key Women (W18-34/W18-49).

Surging week to week by 2.0 million viewers (8.0 million vs. 6.0 million) and by 42% in Adults 18-49 (2.7/7 vs. 1.9/6), “Private Practice” drew its biggest audience since mid-November (a 19-week high) and its highest Adult 18-49 rating since the beginning of December (a 17-week high) – since 11/18/10 and 12/2/10, respectively.

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 40% currently, from 36% at the same point in 2010. 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 – The Nielsen Company (Fast Affiliate, Live + Same Day Ratings), 3/24/11)