Bill does the mesmerizing year over year post on a weekly basis. Look for the latest installment on Thursday. I do love looking at that chart, especially when I want to reach a trance state, but I mostly like to focus on numbers. Though it's not advertised on the site anywhere (I'll change that momentarily) I've been keeping an eye on a few shows tracking ratings all along. It's a limited set and it's fairly heavily skewed towards Thursday's at 9pm, but I like it just fine that way. Here are the links to the show data:
The intra-season losses are quite eye opening. I know a lot of people will say that it's a seasonal thing, but through 12 days of May sweeps so far overall primetime broadcast network viewing for the big four networks plus the CW and MyNetworkTV is down 9% versus last year and down 14% in the 18-49 demographic. In fairness the size of Nielsen's DVR universe estimate has grown from 15% this time last year to 25% and that will make up for some of the difference.
Perhaps with the strike people just got more accustomed to watching less primetime broadcast television. To some degree, I think they'll get over it by the fall premiere season, but by then I expect the DVR panel will be even bigger.
Factoring out MyNetworkTV which was tiny and has shown big growth during this year's sweeps, the best performer is FOX, which is down only 2% so far vs. last year's May sweeps in overall viewing and down 6% in the 18-49 demo. NBC has taken the biggest May sweeps demo hit and is off 20% vs. last year through 12 days. CW has taken the biggest hit in overall viewers where it's down 16% versus last year's sweeps.