Early Gossip Girl: Solid Numbers, But...

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September 2nd, 2008

Please see updated post with better Monday night data here.

And see here for CW's Mindblowingly impressive press release.

Two people writing for Nielsen publication, but the one with the earlier data set (Marc Berman at MediaWeek, owned by Nielsen) winds up looking bad. And I feel bad for citing it. With apologies to all you fans! James Hibberd at the Hollywood Reporter (also in the Nielsen empire) is reporting 3.4 million viewers for Gossip Girl. I don't know if that's "putting up" per Bill standards, but we'll see when he writes the overnight report. Sorry for the confusion Gossip Girl fans. I think I've learned my lesson: always wait for better data! :D

Update: In last year's overnight fast national results for the premiere, Gossip Girl did 3.65 million (out of a 5.15 million lead-in from America's Next Top Model). In last year's fast nationals it did a 1.7/4 among 18-49 year olds. The FINAL numbers for last year's GG premiere were 3.504 million, 2.087 million 18-49 year olds and 1.44 million 18-34 year olds. I'm not really seeing where this year's numbers are really up, but I will check w/Mr. Hibberd.

Update: I just checked with my sliderule instead. Last year's 18-49 rating in the final numbers was ~1.6, and so the 1.7 would be the 6% increase James Hibberd cites, but it's an apples-to-pears comparison. We won't really be able to do apples-to-apples until we have the final numbers for last night's episode. In the best case that will be later today, and in the worst case it will be a week from today when we get the week's worth of full data for the broadcast networks from Nielsen.

Bill will post the viewer numbers later, but until they're available the early numbers in the prime-time metered markets looked pretty bad. In the metered markets at 8pm Gossip Girl scored a 2.5/4 (household rating/share), down 14% from the series premiere last year on Wednesday, September 19 at 9pm when it scored a 2.9/5. (note, this data is via Marc Berman and I believe comparing this years metered market overnight to last years -- not the final numbers) The actual final numbers for last year's premiere were a HH rating/share of 2.3/4 so if these numbers hold up, it's an improvement over last year..

Not surprisingly it trailed Deal or No Deal, the season premiere of Prison Break on Fox and repeats of The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother.

Still, it was not in dead last at 8pm -- that honor goes to the series low for High School Musical: Get in the Picture which did a 1.5/3 in the metered markets on ABC.

Please note, these household ratings numbers usually change a bit even by the time the "fast nationals" (what we use for the regular overnight posts) arrive, but I do not imagine the rank order, or the disappointment with Gossip Girl's numbers. I do not believe we will see the "At Least ABC was Worse" press release from the CW, but if they managed to score any victories with teen girls and 18-34 year old women, they'll probably issue a release anyway...

Wanting them to "put up or shut up" seems reasonable, but that doesn't mean the CW will. Shut up, that is, obviously it didn't "put up".

I have been thinking about the issue of what's better: to air against less competition when fewer people are watching or to air when more people are watching TV when there is more competition? For this and other reasons, I'm leaning towards it's better to air things at times when more people have their televisions turned on, even if there's more competition.

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