Saturday Ratings: CBS Wins with 48 Hours, ABC Wins Demo with NCAA Football

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September 28th, 2008

Scoreboard CBS ABC FOX NBC
Total Viewers (million) 6.03 5.52 4.85 3.15
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 1.3/4 1..9/6 1.7/6 0.9/3

CBS took the most total viewers, edging out ABC by an average of about half a million viewers. Though CBS came in next to last among 18-49 year olds with its lineup of repeats of CSI: Miami and Criminal Minds. But, the season premiere of 48 Hours was the night's most-watched show with 7.27 million viewers and a 1.8/6 (rating/share) among 18-49 year olds.

ABC won the 18-49 demo with college football, but while Joe Pa and the Penn State Nittany Lions are winning games (now 5-0, I think) they're not exactly a ratings juggernaut. In fairness, the Illinois vs. Penn State game was only on in ~70% of the country according to ESPN, with the other 30% getting Virginia Tech at Nebraska. ABC probably wishes they could air a USC game every Saturday night. Even though USC is no longer undefeated, a mere two weeks ago when USC beat Ohio State it averaged 10.5 million viewers and a 4.1/13 among 18-49 year olds in the overnight ratings (remember, overnight ratings for live events are always subject to change). That game had over 100% more 18-49 year old viewers than last night's game.

Indeed, no network averaged even a 2.0 rating in the 18-49 demo last night, and Fox's long-running combo of Cops and America's Most Wanted finished third in total viewers and second among 18-49 year olds. Meanwhile, NBC did its best impersonation of the CW...

Full details:

Time Network Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share
8:00 CBS CSI: Miami (R) 4.56 0.9/3
  ABC Saturday Night Football (8p-11p) 5.52 1.9/6
  FOX Cops 4.77 1.7/6
  NBC Heroes (R) (8p-10p) 2.35 0.7/3
9:00 CBS Criminal Minds (R) 6.27 1.3/4
  FOX America's Most Wanted 4.93 1.7/5
10:00 CBS 48 Hours (Season Premiere) 7.27 1.8/6
  NBC Law & Order: SVU (R) 4.76 1.2/4

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. Source Marc Berman/Mediaweek.


Fast Affiliate Overnight Ratings: Local metered-market ratings service of Nielsen Station Index (NSI) in which household ratings and shares are provided to clients the morning following the day or evening of telecast. While routinely used for "next day" immediate analysis, these fast affiliate ratings are by process inaccurate for programs that air live across a network since they represent affiliate time period performance. For example, last night's 10-11pm affiliate #'s would reflect 10pm on the East Coast but also 10pm on the West Coast which for a live event would not represent the same broadcast or portion of the broadcast.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

LIVE+SD: The number that watched a program either while it was broadcast OR watched via DVR on the same day [through 3AM the next day] the program was broadcast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

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