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Broadcast TV Ratings for Thursday, March 12, 2009


The competition was surprisingly tight last night, especially among adults 18-49 where the top four networks were separated by just six-tenth of a point.

CBS was first for the evening, drawing the night’s most-watched show in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation at 9:00pm (#2 among adults 18-49) and placing first place for every hour of the evening among both households and viewers.  It wasn’t all good news, however, as ‘CSI’ actually declined by nearly 4 million viewers from last week’s episode.

That decline was partially a result of the return of Grey’s Anatomy on ABC (#2 for the night).  Grey’s Anatomy was number two for the night among adults 18-49, but it wasn’t all good for it either, as it was down by double-digits from its last original episode.  Elsewhere on the network, Ugly Betty opened stronger than usual, but still below average, at 8:00pm, while Grey’s Anatomy lead-out Private Practice suffered the same fate as its lead-in, declining by double-digits from its last original airing and falling to a last place finish in the hour among households and viewers.

Over on NBC, who finished in third place last night, the season (potential series) finale of Kath & Kim drew just 4 million viewers.  I don’t expect that show to return next season, while The Office was below average with under 8 million viewers.  3o Rock declined as well, but it’s retention was good.

The biggest news of the night, was the special episode of ER last night on NBC.  The network tried to keep the news of guest starring roles by former stars, including George Clooney, secret (for what reason I don’t know) but many knew regardless, resulting in the show performing the best it has in some time, drawing nearly 11 million viewers and a very solid 3.9 rating in the demo (+23 and +15 percent, respectively, from the week prior).

Rounding out the night’s programs, The CW was in last place with the return of original episodes of Smallville and SupernaturalSmallville performed well, with no loss in A18-49 viewership from its last original episode, but Supernatural?  Hmm…, not so much.  The show was down by more than 500,000 viewers and a disappointing 21% among adults 18-49.

Don’t forget to click through the jump to check out the night’s full ratings and breakdown’s, including week-to-week comparisons, etc. and even more analysis on an individual show-by-show basis.

CBS finished in first place for the evening with an 8.3/13 household rating/share, 13.88 million viewers and a 3.7/10 rating/share among adults 18-49.

Last Week:

9.2/15 HH rating [#t1]
14.98M viewers [#2]
4.0/11 A18-49 rating [#2]

  • 8:00 p.m.: Survivor: Tocantins (7.4/12 HH rating/share, 12.89M viewers, 4.1/12 A18-49 rating/share) led off the night for CBS and produced strong results.  The show was narrowly the network’s top-rated among adults 18-49, placing one-tenth of a point below a weaker than average ‘CSI’.

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 7.0/11 to 7.4/12 (+6%)
Viewers – 11.85M to 12.89M (+9%/+1.04M)
Adults 18-49 – 3.8/10 to 4.1/12 (+8%)

  • 9:00 p.m.: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (10.3/16 HH rating/share, 16.96M viewers, 4.2/12 A18-49 rating/share) really took a nose dive from last week, erasing any gains it had made — and then some — on route to double-digit losses across all three main categories.  Even with this weak performance, the show was still #1 for the evening among households and viewers and #2 among adults 18-49.

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 12.7/20 to 10.3/16 (-19%)
Viewers – 20.87M to 16.96M (-19%/-3.91M)
Adults 18-49 – 5.3/13 to 4.2/12 (-21%)

  • 10:00 (10:01) p.m.: Eleventh Hour (7.4/12 HH rating/share, 11.78M viewers, 2.8/7 A18-49 rating/share) did a bit better than usual with retention levels at nearly 70% among viewers and 67% among adults 18-49 from its CSI lead-in.  It’s also worth noting that while CSI slid drastically in the ratings, Eleventh Hour remained steady.  That suggests to me that the success of Eleventh Hour isn’t linked exclusively to CSI, which bodes well should CBS decide to renew the series.  That point I just made will come into focus as you continue to read this report.

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 7.8/13 to 7.4/12 (-5%)
Viewers – 12.05M to 11.78M (-2%/-0.27M)
Adults 18-49 – 2.9/8 to 2.8/7 (-3%)

ABC followed in second place for the evening with a 6.7/11 household rating/share, 9.94 million viewers and a 3.5/9 rating/share among adults 18-49.

Last Week:

3.9/6 HH rating [#4]
5.51M viewers [#4]
1.6/5 A18-49 rating [#4]

  • 8:00 p.m.: Ugly Betty (4.9/8 HH rating/share, 7.21M viewers, 2.1/6 A18-49 rating/share) rebounded a bit from last week’s lows, but still remains below average in terms of both overall audience and adults 18-49 performance where it was second-to-last for the hour ahead of only CW’s Smallville (english-speaking broadcast networks only).

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 4.3/7 to 4.9/8 (+14%)
Viewers – 6.34M to 7.21M (+14%/+0.87M)
Adults 18-49 – 1.7/5 to 2.1/6 (+24%)

  • 9:00 p.m.: Grey’s Anatomy (9.0/14 HH rating/share, 13.54M viewers, 4.9/12 A18-49 rating/share) did not make a triumphiant return from its three week hiatus.  The series, airing against stiff competition from NBC and CBS, sank 13% in viewers and 17% in adults 18-49 after weeks of continued increases.  But just as it was with CSI, even with signficant declines, there’s still some positive news.  For ABC, it was that the show easily carried the most A18-49 audience for the evening, rating five-tenth of a point above CSI in the key demo.

Episode-to-episode numbers (2/19/2009):

Households – 10.0/15 to 9.0/14 (-10%)
Viewers – 15.57M to 13.54M (-13%/-2.03M)
Adults 18-49 – 5.9/15 to 4.9/12 (-17%)

  • 10:00 (10:02) p.m.: Private Practice (6.3/11 HH rating/share, 9.07M viewers, 3.4/9 A18-49 rating/share).  This is where what I said about Eleventh Hour begins to come into focus.  Before being moved to post-Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice was more than likely on its way out, or at least in a good deal of danger at being canceled, but now, because it has such a large lead-in to work with, it has a better chance at success.  The problem though is that it’s performance is now completely linked with ‘Grey’s’.  If ‘Grey’s’ declines, so too does Private Practice.  If you notice, the loss in viewership for ‘Grey’s‘ (2.03M) is nearly identical to the loss of viewers for Private Practice (2.09M).  The same holds true for households (1.0 rating) as well as adults 18-49 (1.0 rating).  There’s another example of this when we get to NBC.  Regardless, one can say as long as it remains consistent with Grey’s Anatomy, then the show is safe, and retention levels of 70% among households, 67% among viewers and 69% among adults 18-49 are at an acceptable level.

Episode-to-episode numbers (2/19/2009):

Households – 7.3/12 to 6.3/11 (-14%)
Viewers – 11.16M to 9.07M (-19%/-2.09M)
Adults 18-49 – 4.4/12 to 3.4/9 (-23%)

FOX finished in third place for the evening with a 5.2/8 household rating/share and 8.66 million viewers and was tied for third among adults 18-49 with a 3.1/8 rating/share.

Last Week:

9.2/15 HH rating [#t1]
15.94M viewers [#1]
6.1/16 A18-49 rating [#1]

  • 8:00 p.m.: Bones (5.9/10 HH rating/share, 9.55M viewers, 2.8/8 A18-49 rating/share) didn’t skip a beat and returned right on par with its last original episode.  Even with the switch to a new night, a more competitive night than the one it was on before, the show remains a strong lead-off hitter for Fox.

Episode-to-episode numbers (2/19/2009):

Households – 5.9/9 to 5.9/10 (n/c)
Viewers – 9.51M to 9.55M (+0%/+0.04M)
Adults 18-49 – 2.9/8 to 2.8/8 (-3%)

Last week’s numbers (American Idol: Judge’s Wild Card Round):

Households – 12.2/19
Viewers – 21.50M
Adults 18-49 – 7.6/21

  • 9:00 p.m.: As expected, away from ‘Idol’ and with more competition in the hour, Hell’s Kitchen (4.5/7 HH rating/share, 7.76M viewers, 3.5/9 A18-49 rating/share) took a dive from last week’s episode, declining by more than 20% in all three categories.  This performance, however, is basically on par with where the show has performed this season when not linked with ‘Idol’.  Also, growth from its lead-in among adults 18-49 of 25%, despite significant declines among both households (-24%) and viewers (-19%) is very noteworthy.

Week-to-week numbers (9:05pm):

Households – 5.7/9 to 4.5/7 (-21%)
Viewers – 9.71M to 7.76M (-20%/-1.95M)
Adults 18-49 – 4.4/11 to 3.5/9 (-20.5%)

NBC followed in fourth place for the evening with a 4.6/7 household rating/share and 7.29 million viewers, but managed a third place tie among adults 18-49 with a 3.1/8 rating/share.

Last Week:

4.6/7 HH rating [#3]
7.21M viewers [#3]
3.2/9 A18-49 rating [#3]

  • 8:00 p.m.: My Name Is Earl-REPEAT (2.9/5 HH rating/share, 4.41M viewers, 1.7/5 A18-49 rating/share).

Last week’s numbers (My Name Is Earl):

Households – 3.5/6
Viewers – 5.46M
Adults 18-49 – 2.2/6

  • 8:30 p.m.: The season/series? finale of Kath & Kim (2.6/4 HH rating/share, 4.00M viewers, 1.7/5 A18-49 rating/share) was flat from the week prior, and that’s all the good news I can heap on it.  Coupled with its lead-in, NBC barely beat The CW on the hour among adults 18-49 (1.7 vs. 1.6 rating).  Then again, that shouldn’t be all that surprising because Kath & Kim has been a dud ever since its premiere.  I’m frankly shocked that NBC hasn’t announced its been canceled yet.  Don’t expect it to come back.  Full season data will be edited in as soon as I can get to it.

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 2.7/4 to 2.7/4 (n/c)
Viewers – 4.09M to 4.00M (-2%/-0.09M)
Adults 18-49 – 1.8/5 to 1.7/5 (-6%)

  • 9:00 p.m.: The Office (4.5/7 HH rating/share, 7.51M viewers, 4.0/10 A18-49 rating/share) seems to have been hurt by the added competition of Grey’s Anatomy, as the show performed well below average and was down by lower double-digits across the board.  One positive thing worth noting is that the show grew by an extraordinary 67% among households, 88% among viewers and a whopping 135% among adults 18-49 .  Then again, when you have such a crappy lead-in, those strong gains tend to happen.

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 5.1/8 to 4.5/7 (-12%)
Viewers – 8.54M to 7.51M (-12%/-1.03M)
Adults 18-49 – 4.5/11 to 4.0/10 (-11%)

  • 9:30 (9:31) p.m.: 30 Rock (3.9/6 HH rating/share, 6.41M viewers, 3.3/8 A18-49 rating/share).  As I teased above with my notes on Private Practice, 30 Rock is the other show whose performance is nearly completely linked with the success of its lead-in.  The Office was down slightly over 1 million viewers, six-tenth of a point among households and 1.03M viewers and five-tenth of a point among adults 18-49.  30 Rock declined at a rate nearly identical to those figures (six-tenth of a point among households, 0.84M viewers and four-tenth of a point among adults 18-49).  Expect these two shows to be pared with each other for the forseeable future.

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 4.5/7 to 3.9/6 (-13%)
Viewers – 7.25M to 6.41M (-12%/-0.84M)
Adults 18-49 – 3.7/9 to 3.3/8 (-11%)

  • 10:00 p.m.: As I noted in the opening paragraph, I don’t know why NBC kept the return of Clooney and gang a “secret”.  Whatever.  Even with their guest-starring roles being “secret”,  ER (6.9/12 HH rating/share, 10.71M viewers, 3.9/11 A18-49 rating/share) still managed very solid week-to-week gains across all three categories, growing most among viewers where it tacked on an additional 2 million viewers (23%) followed by households (+19%) and then adults 18-49 (+15%).  Worth noting, while the show trailed the night’s most-watched program, CSI, by a significant margin (the gap was 6.25M viewers or 37%), the gap between the top-rated show among adults 18-49, Grey’s Anatomy, was much closer (just 1 point or 20%).  Not bad for a show in its 15th season, compared to one only in its fifth. I just can’t help but wonder if it would have done better had NBC more property advertised the event.

Week-to-week numbers:

Households – 5.8/10 to 6.9/12 (+19%)
Viewers – 8.71M to 10.71M (+23%/+2.00M)
Adults 18-49 – 3.4/9 to 3.9/11 (+15%)

The CW finished in fifth place for the evening with a 2.0/3 household rating/share, 3.28 million viewers and a 1.3/4 rating/share among adults 18-49.

Last Week:

1.3/2 HH rating [#5]
2.09M viewers [#5]
0.8/2 A18-49 rating [#5]

  • 8:00 p.m.: Smallville (2.2/4 HH rating/share, 3.72M viewers, 1.6/5 A18-49 rating/share) returned with most all of its audience from the series’ last original episode more than a month ago, managing to match that episode’s performance among adults 18-49.  It’s lead out…

Episode-to-episode numbers (2/5/2009):

Households – 2.4/4 to 2.2/4 (-8%)
Viewers – 3.93M to 3.72M (-5%/-0.21M)
Adults 18-49 – 1.6/4 to 1.6/5 (n/c)

  • 9:00 p.m.: …Supernatural (1.8/3 HH rating/share, 2.84M viewers, 1.1/3 A18-49 rating/share) on the other hand, didn’t fare as well.  The show was down by more than double-digits, most depressingly among adults 18-49 where it was down by 21%.  But the show’s already been renewed for another season.

Episode-to-episode numbers (2/5/2009):

Households – 2.1/3 to 1.8/3 (-14%)
Viewers – 3.37M to 2.84M (-16%/-0.53M)
Adults 18-49 – 1.4/3 to 1.1/3 (-21%)


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 “American Idol” will be reported in next weeks report for Thursday, March 19, 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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