Week No. 35; ABC wins final full week ‘09-10 Season


ABC Wins the Final Full Week of the ‘09-10 TV Season in Adults 18-49, Claiming 6 of the Week’s Top 15 TV Shows and Placing 2 of the Top 5. Building its Overall Audience for the 4th Week in a Row, ABC Generates One of its Strongest Performances in 6 Months. ABC Ranks No. 2 for the 2010 May Sweep Among Young Adults.

“DWTS” is the Most-Watched TV Show Overall for the 4th Time in 5 Weeks. ABC’s “DWTS” Wins its Time Slot in Viewers and Adults 18-49 and Stands as Monday’s Most-Watched TV Series for the 9th Straight Week.

“Castle” Tops its Year-Ago Finale in Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and All Key Men.

 “V” Finishes its Freshman Season at No. 1 Across Key Men, Improving the 10pm Hour for ABC During its Run by 10% in Viewers and 47% in Adults 18-49.

ABC Hits 3-Month Highs on Wednesday in Total Viewers and Adults 18-49.

Winning its Slot for the 4th Time in the Final 5 Telecasts of its Freshman Season,ABC’s “The Middle” Generates its Top Numbers Since the Beginning of February.

Nearly Matching the Prior Week’s Series High, “Modern Family” Finishes Out its First Season as Wednesday’s No. 1 Scripted TV Show on Each of its Last 12 Originals.

Up for the 2nd Consecutive Week in Adults 18-49, “Cougar Town” Season Finale Hits the Series’ Best Adult 18-49 Number in Well Over 3 Months.

Dominating the Final Thursday of the Season and Sweep in Adults 18-49, ABC Marks its Strongest Thursday with Regular Programming in Well Over 7 Months.

On its Sixth-Season Closer, “Grey’s” Generates the Series’ Biggest Audience in 7 Months and Highest Adult 18-49 Number in 6 Months.

ABC’s “What Would You Do?” Tops in Adults 18-49 on Friday for 3rd Straight Week.

ABC Wins the Final Sunday of the Season, Leading the Night in Adults 18-49 For the 4th Time in 5 Weeks and for its 6th Consecutive May Sweep Period.
“Lost” Marks its Best Finale in 3 Years, with the Series’ Top Telecast Since Feb ‘08 
“Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to Lost” Generates Broad Exposure for the Show, with its 3rd-Highest Ever Adult 18-49 Number, Behind only its 2 Post-“Super Bowl” Airings.

WEEK No. 35:
ABC won the final complete Nielsen week of the 2009-10 TV Season (w/o 5/17/10) among Adults 18-49 (2.9/9), beating Fox by 7% (2.7/9), CBS by 32% (2.2/7) and NBC by 53% (1.9/6).  Excluding only “Academy Award” and “Super Bowl” weeks, it represented the first-ever victory for ABC over Fox during a week with “American Idol.”  The Net also ranked No. 1 for the week with Adults 18-34 (2.4/8) and Adults 25-54 (3.6/10).

2010 May Sweep Update (25 of 28 Nights):  ABC is on track to finish No. 2 to Fox for the 2nd consecutive May Sweep among Adults 18-49:  Fox (2.7/8), ABC (2.5/8), CBS (2.4/7) and NBC (1.9/6).  ABC will also take a strong second place among Adults 18-34 to Fox, holding a 33% advantage over both CBS and NBC:  Fox (2.3/8), ABC (2.0/7), CBS (1.5/5) and NBC (1.5/5). 

ABC grew its overall primetime audience for the 4th consecutive week.  In fact excluding the weeks of the “Oscars” and “BCS National Championship Game” (w/o 3/1/10 and 1/4/10, respectively), ABC posted its strongest weekly results in 6 months among Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 – since w/o 11/23/09 and 11/16/09, respectively.

ABC was up from the same week last year (w/o 5/18/09) by 1.6 million viewers (8.9 million vs. 7.3 million) and by 38% in Adults 18-49 (2.9/7 vs. 2.1/7), a week that included the final 3 nights of the 2008-09 TV Season.

Rankings: ABC aired 6 of the week’s Top 15 TV programs in Adults 18-49, including 2 of the Top 5 with “Lost: The End” and “Grey’s Anatomy”:  “Lost: The End” – No. 3 (No. 1 scripted), “Grey’s Anatomy” – No. 5, “Lost (Tue)” – No. 8, “Modern Family” – No. 10, with “Dancing with the Stars” and “Lost: The Final Journey” tied at No. 11.  ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” finished as the most-watched TV show overall for the 4th time in 5 weeks, registering as the No. 1 television series on 6 of the final 8 complete weeks of the 2009-10 TV Season.  In fact, “DWTS” stands as the first show in 5 years to regularly outdraw both editions of Fox’s “American Idol” – since the 2004-05 TV Season.  ABC News delivered TV’s Top 2 newsmagazines for the 3rd week in a row among Adults 18-49 with “Primetime: What Would You Do?” on Wednesday and Friday.  The ABC newsmagazines also claimed the Top 2 spots for the week in Adults 25-54.

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.

ABC was the most-watched TV network for the 9th consecutive week and 3rd straight Monday of the May Sweep (14.3 million).  ABC built its overall Monday audience from the year-ago night for the 8th time in 9 weeks. 

“Dancing with the Stars” (8:00-9:32 p.m.)
For the 9th week running, ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” ranked No. 1 in its time period among both Total Viewers (19.0 million) and Adults 18-49 (4.1/11), beating out all-original competition on the other nets, including second-place Fox’s season finale of “House” leading into the series’ penultimate episode of “24” (10.4 million and 3.9/11) .  The ABC dancing performance show qualified as Monday’s most-watched television series for the 9th consecutive week.  Opposite stiff sweep competition in its time period on CBS (“How I Met Your Mother”/”Rules of Engagement”/”Two and a Half Men”/”Big Bang Theory”) and Fox (“House”/”24”), the ABC unscripted series grew in each half-hour, gaining 3.0 million viewers and 25% in Adults 18-49 from start to finish. 

“DWTS” was up in its time period week to week in Total Viewers (19.0 million vs. 18.8 million) and Adults 18-49 (4.1/11 vs. 3.9/11).

“Castle” (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
Building on its lead-in (“Romantically Challenged”) by 2.4 million viewers and by 26% in Adults 18-49, ABC’s second-season finale of “Castle” finished a strong No. 2 to CBS’ veteran “CSI: Miami” in the 10 o’clock hour in Total Viewers (10.1 million) and Adults 18-49 (2.4/7).  Despite having the advantage of a direct “Dancing with the Stars” lead-in for its year-ago finale (5/11/09), “Castle” was up over last year’s season ender in Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and across all key Men (M18-34/M18-49/M25-54), while retaining 100% of its Adult 18-49 audience year to year. 

With its Tuesday lineup of “DWTS the Results Show,” “Lost” and “V,” ABC finished No. 2 on the night to Fox among Adults 18-49 (3.0/8-tie). 

Growing its overall audience for the 3rd consecutive week (9.8 million), ABC generated its most-watched Tuesday in 7 weeks – since 3/30/10. 

“DWTS the Results Show” (8:00-9:00 p.m.)
Continuing to deliver huge improvement for ABC in its new earlier 8 o’clock time period against Fox’s “American Idol” (+5.5 million viewers and +39% in AD18-49 over the same night last year on 5/19/09), ABC’s “DWTS the Results Show” outdrew NBC’s time period veteran, “The Biggest Loser,” by 6.0 million viewers (13.2 million vs. 7.2 million).  NFL star Chad Ochocinco was the 8th celebrity to leave the dance competition this season.  Among Total Viewers and Adults 18-49, “DWTS the Results Show” continues to deliver ABC’s highest numbers in the time period against American Idol in 7 years – since 2003. 

The ABC dancing results show was up for the 2nd week in a row, drawing its biggest audience in 4 weeks and equaling its best Adult 18-49 number in 5 weeks – since 4/20 and 4/13/10, respectively.

“Lost” (9:00-10:02 p.m.)
Opposite stiff all-original demographic competition at 9:00 p.m. on Fox (Idol-fueled “Glee”), NBC (second hour of a 2-hour “The Biggest Loser”) and CBS (“NCIS: LA”), ABC’s “Lost” jumped from its lead-in by 72% in Adults 18-49 (4.3/11).  Running a strong No 2 in the hour among Adults 18-49 to “Glee” coming out of “Idol,” “Lost” beat out “The Biggest Loser” by 23% (3.5/9) and “NCIS: LA” by 39% (3.1/8).  “Lost”  registered as Tuesday’s top scripted show for the 3rd straight week across all key Men (M18-34/M18-49/M25-54), and topped “Idol” by 6% as the No. 1 TV series overall on the night with Men 18-34 (3.8/11 vs. 3.6/12). 

Growing its overall audience for its 4th consecutive original airing, the penultimate telecast of “Lost” generated the series’ strongest performance in 3 months with Total Viewers (10.5 million = 3rd largest audience this season) and Adults 18-49 (4.3/11) – since 2/9 and 2/23/10, respectively. 
“V-TUE” (10:02-11:00 p.m.)
On its first-season finale, ABC’s “V” stood as the No. 1 TV series in the 10 o’clock hour across all key Men demographics (M18-34/M18-49/M25-54).  In fact “V” ranked No. 1 against its CBS and NBC drama competition in the hour with Men 18-49 for the 8th week in a row.  

On average during its 8-week run in the time period, “V” improved Tuesday’s 10:00 p.m. hour for ABC over the same nights last year by 10% in Total Viewers (6.8 million vs. 6.2 million) and by 47% in Adults 18-49 (2.8/7 vs. 1.9/5).

Growing its numbers on the night for the 2nd consecutive week, despite going up against the highly-rated NBA Western Conference Finals Game 2 (Lakers-Suns), ABC marked its strongest Wednesday in more than 3 months with Total Viewers (6.6 million) and Adults 18-49 (2.5/7) – since 2/10/10.

“The Middle” (8:30-9:00 p.m.)
Surging over its lead-in by 2.3 million viewers and by 79% with young adults at 8:30pm, “The Middle” took first place in its half-hour in Total Viewers (7.6 million) and Adults 18-49 (2.5/8), winning its slot for the 4th time in its final 5 original telecasts of its freshman season.    Outdelivering its nearest competitor in the half-hour among Adults 18-49 by 14% (CBS’ special “I Get That A Lot” = 2.2/7) and Fox’s series debut of “The Good Guys” by 67% (1.5/5), “The Middle” stood as the highest-rated scripted TV show in its slot for the 7th time in its past 8 first-run telecasts.   

Building its numbers for the 2nd week running, the freshman-season finale of “The Middle” achieved 3-month highs among Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 (tie) – since 2/10/10.

“Modern Family” (9:00-9:30 p.m.)
Against “Idol” and the start of the NBA Conference Finals Game at 9:00 p.m., ABC’s “Modern Family” first-season finale built sharply on its lead-in (+2.5 million viewers/+68% in AD18-49) to once again finish as the definitive No. 1 scripted show in its time slot in Adults 18-49, pacing 27% ahead of CBS’ “Criminal Minds” (4.2/12 vs. 3.3/9).  In fact, the hit ABC comedy qualified as Wednesday’s No. 1 scripted TV program for its 12th consecutive original telecast in the key young adult sales demo.   Also worth noting, for the 2nd week in a row against “Idol,” “Modern Family” registered as the No. 1 show in its time period with Men 18-34 (2.9/10-tie). 

Essentially matching its record-setting young adult number from the prior week, “Modern Family” generated the series’ second-largest audience (10.1 million) since January (slightly behind only last week, best since 1/6/10) and posted its second-highest-ever rating among Adults 18-49 (pacing within one-tenth of a rating point of the prior week’s series-best).  

“Cougar Town” (9:30-10:01 p.m.)
Opposite the second half-hour of a surging “Idol” at 9:30 p.m., ABC’s “Cougar Town” continued to qualify as the No. 1 scripted show with Adults 18-34 (2.3/7), against its network rivals in the half-hour, for its 7th consecutive original airing. 

Gaining young adults for the 2nd week in a row, the freshman-season closer of “Cougar Town” equaled the series’ highest Adult 18-49 number (2.8/8) in well over 3 months – since 2/3/10.

“Primetime: What Would You Do?” (10:01-11:00 p.m.)
In the 10 o’clock hour, ABC News’ “Primetime: What Would You Do?” pulled in the Network’s highest Adult 18-49 number (2.0/6) in the time period in more than 5 months – since 12/9/09.
ABC finished a dominant No. 1 on the final Thursday of the 2010 May Sweep and 2009-10 TV Season among Adults 18-49 (4.2/13), beating CBS by 62% (2.6/8), NBC by 75% (2.4/7) and Fox by 75% (2.4/7).  In fact it was ABC’s 4th consecutive year to win the final Thursday of the TV Season/May Sweep.  The Net also took top honors on the evening with Adults 18-34, Adults 25-54 and across all key Women demos (W18-34/W18-49/W25-54).

ABC built its overall audience on the night for the 5th consecutive week, marking its strongest Thursday with regular programming in more than 7 months among Total Viewers (11.9 million) and Adults 18-49 (4.2/13) – since 10/1/09. 

“Grey’s Anatomy” (9:00-11:00 p.m.)
Jumping over its lead-in by 238% at 9:00 p.m., ABC’s season closer of “Grey’s Anatomy” towered over its 2-hour time period and registered as Thursday’s definitive No. 1 TV show in Adults 18-49.  From 9:00-11:00 p.m., “Grey’s” overshadowed season-finale programming on the other nets among Adults 18-49 (5.4/15), outdelivering CBS by 69% (3.2/9 – “CSI”/”The Mentalist”), NBC by 108% (2.6/7 – “The Office”/”30 Rock”/”Marriage Ref”) and Fox by 170% (2.0/6 – “Fringe” from 9:00-10:00 p.m.).  The ABC medical drama also ranked as Thursday’s most-watched TV show overall and won its 2-hour time slot, outdrawing CBS’ drama finales (15.2 million vs. 14.8 million – “CSI”/”The Mentalist”).

Building sharply throughout its 6th-season finale (+3.6 million viewers and +37% in AD18-49 from start to finish), “Grey’s Anatomy” turned in the series’ most-watched telecast in more than 7 months and highest-rated among Adults 18-49 in 6 months – since 10/1/09 and 11/12/09, respectively. 

Thursday’s No. 1 show for the 2009-10 TV Season in Adults 18-49 (5.1/13), ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” qualified as the evening’s highest-rated series for its 4th straight season.  

“Grey’s” was once again TV’s biggest actual gainer for the season via DVR playback, with originals of the series surging by 2.8 million viewers (13.3 million to 16.1 million) and by 1.4 Adult 18-49 rating points (+29% – 4.9 rating to 6.3 rating) from the next-day (Live + Same Day) to the finalized playback numbers (Live + 7 Day).

ABC placed a strong second against its network rivals on Friday in Adults 18-49 (1.4/5 – pacing within one-tenth of a tie for first), outdelivering NBC by 8% (1.3/5) and Fox by 27% (1.1/4).  Leading with Adults 18-34, ABC defeated NBC and Fox by 22% each (tied) and CBS by 38%. 

“Primetime: What Would You Do?” (9:00-10:00 p.m.) 
Continuing to build sharply on its lead-in (+1.4 mil/+50% in AD18-49), ABC News’ Primetime: What Would You Do? topped its network rivals in the 9 o’clock hour for the 3rd consecutive week among Adults 18-49.   From 9-10pm, “What Would You Do?” (1.8/6) defeated established original time-slot competition, including CBS’ season finale of “Medium” (+13% – 1.6/6)), NBC News’ “Dateline” (+38% – 1.3/5)) and Fox’s season finale of “Kitchen Nightmares” (+29% – 1.4/5)). 

“Primetime: What Would You Do” finished as Friday’s highest-rated program across the major nets for the 3rd week running in Adults 18-49.  The ABC newsmagazine also qualified as Friday’s No. 1 TV show with Women 18-49.

“20/20” (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
ABC’s “20/20” ranked No. 2 in the 10 o’clock hour among Adults 18-49 (1.3/4) and Women 18-49 (1.7/6).  20/20 featured Chris Cuomo’s report on a man who was applauded by neighbors for committing a murder. 

With the series finale of “Lost,” ABC posted a definitive victory on the final Sunday night of the 2010 May Sweep and 2009-10 TV Season, leading its nearest competition by 2.4 million viewers (11.5 million vs. 9.1 million – CBS) and by 104% in Adults 18-49 (4.9/14 vs. 2.4/7 – NBC).   Winning the evening for 4th time in 5 weeks among Adults 18-49, ABC registered its 6th straight May Sweep as Sunday’s No. 1 TV network in the key young adult sales demo. 

Excluding the nights of its “Academy Awards” broadcasts, ABC marked its strongest Sunday in nearly 2-1/2 years among Adults 18-49 – since 12/2/07.

“Lost: The Final Journey” (7:00-9:00 p.m.)
From 7:00-9:00 p.m., “Lost: The Final Journey” (a retrospective covering the series’ 6 seasons) drew an average audience of 9.9 million viewers and a 4.1/13 in Adults 18-49 to win its time period on both counts. 

The “Lost” recap special generated ABC’s best non-“Oscar” Adult 18-49 number in the 2-hour time slot since November 2007 – since 11/25/07.

“Lost” (9:00-11:30 p.m.)
Surging from its lead-in at 9:00 p.m., the 2-1/2 hour series finale of “Lost” pulled in an average audience of 13.6 million viewers and a 5.8/15 in Adults 18-49 to stand as the No. 1 TV show on Sunday night on both counts.  “Lost” soared to the top of its primetime period, beating out its nearest network competition (NBC’s season finale of “Celebrity Apprentice” from 9:00-11:00 p.m.) by 3.6 million viewers by 68% in Adults 18-49.  In addition, Lost registered as TV’s highest-rated drama finale this season in Adults 18-49.

In Total Viewers and Adults 18-49, “Lost” generated its biggest finale in 3 years – since 5/23/07.  It was the series’ strongest telecast overall since February 2008 in viewers and young adults– since 2/21/08 and 2/14/08, respectively.

ABC estimates 20.5 million unique viewers watched the series finale of “Lost” during its 2-1/2 hour broadcast – unduplicated viewers watching 6-minutes or more of the program.
“Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to Lost” (12:05-1:05 a.m.)
From 12:05-1:05 a.m., ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to Lost” generated a big boost and broad exposure to the show, up by 3.22 million viewers (4.88 million vs. 1.66 million) and by 2.04 million in Adults 18-49 (2.73 million vs. 690,000) over its average this season. 

In fact it was “JKL’s” 3rd-largest ever Adult 18-49 audience (any telecast), behind only its 2 post-“Super Bowl” airings.

             No.1 ABC 2.9    No.1 CBS   9,860,000
             No.2 FOX 2.7    No.2 ABC   8,870,000
             No.3 CBS 2.2    No.3 FOX   7,750,000
             No.4 NBC 1.9    No.4 NBC   5,930,000
             No.5 CW  0.6    No.5 CW    1,400,000

Source: ABC – The Nielsen Company (National Live+Same Day Program Ratings), week of 5/17/10, unless stated otherwise.