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Broadcast TV Ratings for Thursday, February 5, 2009


With CBS out of the loop (the network aired a full lineup of repeats), ABC easily won the night across all three main categories, with growth from two of the network’s three shows (Ugly Betty was down). Grey’s Anatomy led the network (as the night’s most watched program among households, viewers and adults 18-49) with more than 15 million viewers, leading into a crossover-themed episode of Private Practice, which held onto a strong 85% of its total lead-in audience and an even more impressive 91% of its A18-49 audience.

In second place for the evening was Fox, which was led by timeslot winner Bones among households and viewers.  It seems like no matter where Fox places the show, it performs solidly.  The show posted gains from its timeslot premiere by more than 750,000 viewers. Lead-out Hell’s Kitchen declined by double-digits from the week prior (when it aired out of an original episode of American Idol) but managed to grow from its lead-in by 9% in the key A18-49 demographic, placing a competitive third place for the hour in that demo.

The biggest disappointment came from NBC.  The network’s attempts to heavily advertise their Thursday night lineup during the Super Bowl (which as everyone knows included airing The Office directly after the Super Bowl/postgame) failed and failed badly.  Every single episode for the evening declined from their last original airings including The Office. This was NOT the result that NBC wanted from their advertising push.  I mean, a loss of viewership from the Super Bowl episode of The Office was expected, but for the show to have returned even below its last original episode — even if by just a little bit (-4% among viewers and -6.5% among adults 18-49) — is just horrible, horrible news.

Rounding out the night’s remaining programs, CBS followed in third place for the evening among viewers and fourth place among adults 18-49, while The CW held up decently against strong competition with its lineup of Smallville and Supernatural (more so Smallville).

My full analysis of the night’s ratings follows after the jump.ABC finished in first place for the evening with a 7.7/12 household rating/share, 11.82 million viewers and a 4.5/12 rating/share among adults 18-49.

Last Week:

4.1/7 HH rating [#3]
5.72M viewers [#3]
1.8/5 A18-49 rating [#4]

  • 8:00 p.m.: ABC’s only downer was Ugly Betty (5.0/8 HH rating/share, 7.27M viewers, 2.3/7 A18-49 rating/share), but really only minimally.  While the show was down, it was down by just low single-digits.  While a higher performance would have obviously been more preferable, the truth of the matter is that Ugly Betty hasn’t been a solid performer for the network for quite some time.

Episode-to-episode numbers (1/22/2009):

Households – 5.1/8 to 5.0/8 (-2%)
Viewers – 7.50M to 7.27M (-3%/-0.23M)
Adults 18-49 – 2.4/7 to 2.3/7 (-4%)

  • 9:00 p.m.: As I noted in the opening paragraph, Grey’s Anatomy (9.8/15 HH rating/share, 15.20M viewers, 5.8/14 A18-49 rating/share) led the night for ABC.  The show posted gains from its lead-in by an extraordinary 109% among viewers and 152% among adults 18-49.  The main thing to take from those percentage gains is this: Ugly Betty is NOT an effective lead-in.  Moving into the 9pm hour…

Episode-to-episode numbers (1/22/2009):

Households – 9.4/14 to 9.8/15 (+4%)
Viewers – 14.43M to 15.20M (+5%/+0.77M)
Adults 18-49 – 5.7/14 to 5.8/14 (+2%)

  • 10:00 (10:02) p.m.: …a special Grey’s Anatomy crossover episode of Private Practice (8.4/14 HH rating/share, 12.99M viewers, 5.3/14 A18-49 rating/share) was a success for ABC.  In addition to week-to-week gains of more than 5 million viewers and nearly 90% among adults 18-49, Private Practice held onto a very strong 85/91 percent, respectively, of its lead-in’s audience among viewers and adults 18-49.  The show outpaced its nearest time slot competitor among viewers by nearly 5 million (12.99M vs. 8.18M) and among adults 18-49 by double its demo rating (5.4 vs. 2.7).

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 5.4/9 to 8.4/14 (+56%)
Viewers – 7.74M to 12.99M (+68%/+5.25M)
Adults 18-49 – 2.8/8 to 5.3/14 (+89%)

FOX followed in a tie for second place for the evening with a 5.6/9 household rating/share and was alone in second among both viewers (9.22 million) and adults 18-49 (3.3/9 rating/share).

Last Week:

10.1/16 HH rating [#1]
17.67M viewers [#1]
7.0/18 A18-49 rating [#1]

  • 8:00 p.m.: I’ve decided to place two comparisons for Bones (6.7/11 HH rating/share, 10.76M viewers, 3.2/9 A18-49 rating/share) below.  The first a straight episode-to-episode comparison, which shows dramatic growth of more than 42% among viewers and nearly 30% among adults 18-49, and the second is a comparison for the time slot.  As you remember, the show premiered in its new time slot two weeks ago and aired two episodes, one at 8pm and one at 9pm.  The 9pm airing, while still solid, drew a good deal less viewers, so I thought it would be more fair to show a comparison with its now standard 8pm comparison.  On that measure, the show grew by a still strong 8% among viewers and 7% among adults 18-49 (with its best increase coming from households — +10%).

Episode-to-episode numbers (1/22/2009 – 9:00pm):

Households – 4.7/7 to 6.7/11 (+43%)
Viewers – 7.55M to 10.76M (+42.5%/+3.21M)
Adults 18-49 – 2.5/6 to 3.2/9 (+28%)

(1/22/2009 – 8:00pm – time period debut comparison):

Households – 6.1/10 to 6.7/11 (+10%)
Viewers – 9.98M to 10.76M (+8%/+0.78M)
Adults 18-49 – 3.0/8 to 3.2/9 (+7%)

Last week’s numbers (American Idol):

Households – 13.6/21
Viewers – 24.61M
Adults 18-49 – 9.3/25

  • 9:00 p.m.: Hell’s Kitchen (4.5/7 HH rating/share, 7.68M viewers, 3.5/9 A18-49 rating/share) ended the evening for Fox with mixed results.  The good news is that the show grew from its lead-in by 9% in the key demo, the bad news is that it dropped in viewers by more than 3 million viewers.  That loss represents a near identical week-to-week loss of 29%/3.18 million among viewers.  The show also lost steam on a week-to-week basis among households and adults 18-49.  That can all be attributed to the show losing its American Idol lead-in.

Week-to-week numbers (fifth season premiere):

Households – 6.3/10 to 4.5/7 (-29%)
Viewers – 10.86M to 7.68M (-29%/-3.18M)
Adults 18-49 – 4.8/12 to 3.5/9 (-27%)

CBS finished in a tie for second place for the evening with a 5.6/9 household rating/share, was third among viewers with 8.63 million, but was fourth among adults 18-49 with a 2.2/6 rating/share.

Last Week:

8.7/13 HH rating [#2]
13.94M viewers [#2]
3.5/9 A18-49 rating [#2]

  • CBS, as usual, was incredibly solid with just a straight line-up of repeats.
  • 8:00 p.m.: The Big Bang Theory-REPEAT (3.9/6 HH rating/share, 6.17M viewers, 2.0/6 A18-49 rating/share).
  • 8:30 p.m.: How I Met Your Mother-REPEAT (3.7/6 HH rating/share, 5.95M viewers, 2.0/5 A18-49 rating/share).
  • 9:00 p.m.: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation-REPEAT (7.4/11 HH rating/share, 11.65M viewers, 2.7/7 A18-49 rating/share).

Last week’s numbers (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation):

Households – 12.0/18
Viewers – 20.15M
Adults 18-49 – 5.4/13

  • 10:00 (10:01) p.m.: Eleventh Hour-REPEAT (5.5/9 HH rating/share, 8.18M viewers, 1.9/5 A18-49 rating/share).

Last week’s numbers (Eleventh Hour):

Households – 8.1/14
Viewers – 12.74M
Adults 18-49 – 3.1/8

NBC followed in fourth place for the evening with a 4.3/7 household rating/share and 6.70 million viewers, but managed a third place finish among adults 18-49 and a 2.9/8 rating/share.

Last Week:

3.1/5 HH rating [#4]
4.67M viewers [#4]
1.9/5 A18-49 rating [#3]

  • 8:00 p.m.: My Name Is Earl (3.9/6 HH rating/share, 6.16M viewers, 2.5/7 A18-49 rating/share) kicked off NBC’s low-performing/disappointing evening.  The show declined by upper-single digits among viewers and adults 18-49 from its last original airing, and actually drew less viewers than a competing repeat CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory (6.18M vs. 6.16M).  You don’t need me to tell you how bad that is.

Episode-to-episode numbers (1/22/2009):

Households – 4.1/7 to 3.9/6 (-5%)
Viewers – 6.59M to 6.16M (-6.5%/-0.43M)
Adults 18-49 – 2.7/8 to 2.5/7 (-7%)

  • 8:30 p.m.: Kath & Kim (3.1/5 HH rating/share, 4.72M viewers, 2.0/5 A18-49 rating/share) continues to be NBC’s weakest link for Thursday night.  The show fell off from its already low-performing lead-in by 23% among viewers and 20% among adults 18-49.

Episode-to-episode numbers (1/22/2009):

Households – 3.1/5 to 3.1/5 (n/c)
Viewers – 4.93M to 4.72M (-4%/-0.21M)
Adults 18-49 – 2.2/6 to 2.0/5 (-9%)

  • 9:00 p.m.:  The numbers for The Office (5.2/8 HH rating/share, 8.40M viewers, 4.3/11 A18-49 rating/share) must be the most disappointing result for NBC for this Thursday night performance.  The only area where the show improved upon its last original airing before the Super Bowl was among households, and at a mostly insignificant 6%.  The show actually drew less viewers (by 4%) and less adults 18-49 (by 6.5%) than that episode that aired before the Super Bowl.  In terms of retention from its Super Bowl episode, the show managed to retain just 37% of the total viewers who tuned into that episode and 39% of the A18-49 audience.  I’d love to see how NBC tries to spin these numbers.

Retention levels from 2/1/2009  post-Super Bowl episode (green indicates the retention resulted in an increase, red a decrease.):

Households – 11.6/21 to 5.2/8 (45%)
Viewers – 22.91M to 8.40M (37%)
Adults 18-49 – 11.0/18 to 4.3/11 (39%)

Most recent Thursday night numbers (1/22/2009):

Households – 4.9/7 to 5.2/8 (+6%)
Viewers – 8.76M to 8.40M (-4%/-0.36M)
Adults 18-49 – 4.6/11 to 4.3/11 (-6.5%)

  • 9:30 (9:31) p.m.: 30 Rock (4.1/6 HH rating/share, 6.33M viewers, 3.0/7 A18-49 rating/share) posted mostly identical numbers from its last original airing, but a drop off of 25% among viewers and 30% among adults 18-49 from its lead-in continues to concern. Retention levels of 75 and 70 percent among viewers and adults 18-49, respectively, are on the lower end of acceptable levels.

Episode-to-episode numbers (1/22/2009):

Households – 3.9/6 to 4.1/6 (+5%)
Viewers – 6.41M to 6.33M (-1%/-0.08M)
Adults 18-49 – 3.2/8 to 3.0/7 (-6%)

  • 10:00 (10:31) p.m. : While improving slightly from its lead-in among viewers, ER (4.8/8 HH rating/share, 7.30M viewers, 2.7/7 A18-49 rating/share) couldn’t escape the same fate of the network’s other programs, posting losses from its most recent original airing.

Episode-to-episode numbers (1/22/2009):

Households – 5.1/9 to 4.8/8 (-6%)
Viewers – 7.65M to 7.30M (-5%/-0.35M)
Adults 18-49 – 3.1/8 to 2.7/7 (-13%)

The CW finished in fifth place for the evening with a 2.2/3 household rating/share, 3.61 million viewers and a 1.5/4 rating/share among adults 18-49.

Last Week:

2.4/4 HH rating [#5]
3.88M viewers [#5]
1.7/4 A18-49 rating [#5]

  • 8:00 p.m.: Smallville (2.4/4 HH rating/share, 3.88M viewers, 1.6/4 A18-49 rating/share) saw some slight declines from the week prior, but still drew a solid performance with just under 3.9 million viewers.

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 2.6/4 to 2.4/4 (-8%)
Viewers – 4.21M to 3.88M (-8%/-0.33M)
Adults 18-49 – 1.7/5 to 1.6/4 (-6%)

  • 9:00 p.m.: Supernatural (2.1/3 HH rating/share, 3.34M viewers, 1.3/3 A18-49 rating/share) fell off slightly more (especially among adults 18-49 where it saw a nearly 20% drop-off from last week’s numbers), but again, more than 3.3 million viewers for a network on The CW is acceptable.

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 2.2/3 to 2.1/3 (-4.5%)
Viewers – 3.56M to 3.34M (-6%/-0.22M)
Adults 18-49 – 1.6/4 to 1.3/3 (-19%)


Note: Network average numbers from the week prior are based on fast affiliate data. Comparison’s from the week prior (or episode-to-episode, etc.) on specific shows are based on final national data. Ratings for the current day are based on fast affiliates. (Expect all three scenarios to be the case at all times, unless otherwise noted). The final rating for first-run episodes that aired this evening will be reported the following week. So for example, the final rating for tonight’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” will be reported in next weeks report for Thursday, February 12, 2009.

Also keep in mind that because these are fast affiliate ratings, numbers may increase or decrease when the final nationals are released.

Source: Fast Affiliate/Final National Ratings Data from Nielsen Media Research. Daily ratings figures can be found at Zap2It, PI Feedback, and TV by the Numbers.

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