2008-9 Broadcast Season Off to A Slow Start

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September 30th, 2008

Univision, Fox, CW, Gain vs. Last Season; NBC, CBS Fall; ABC Mixed

(click image for full sized chart)

Univision, Fox, and CW all showed gains in the first week of the 2008-9 season compared to the 2007-8 season, particularly in the age demos where Fox was up and CW was up sharply vs. last season. CW was up 19% for adults 18-34 compared to last season, 12.2% for adults 18-49 and 10.9% for adults 25-54. Fox was up 13.0% for adults 25-54.

On the downside, CBS and NBC both were down sharply from their first week compared to last year. Note that CBS has yet to start CSI or its entire Friday line up and NBC still has Deal or No Deal and 30 Rock yet to premiere. NBC was down a sobering 16.3% in average audience, 12.9% in adults 18-49, 7.4% in adults 18-34 and 15.4% in adults 25-54. Ben Silverman call your agent.

CBS fell 5.0% in average audience, 9.6% in adults 18-49, a stunning 22.1% in adults 18-34 (their old audience just got a lot older), and 6.8% in adults 25-54.

ABC was mixed and very close to last season's starting week results, up 2.9% for average audience, down 1.2% for adults 18-49, unchanged for adults 18-34 and down 1.8% for adults 25-54.

Overall it was a slow start for the top 6 broadcast networks this season. All 6 networks together were down 1.6% for average audience, 2.3% for adults 18-49, 1.7% for adults 18-34 and 2.9% for adults 25-54.

10/1 Update: Even though I averaged in the Univision ratings with the rest of the broadcast ups and downs,  no one else in the TV media does, and I wanted to have an apples to apples comparison, so I have added another bar named "English 5" which excludes Univision. On that basis, the first week of the season was down in total about 3% across the board for the English networks.

Our chart shows broadcast network prime-time season to date average prime-time viewership for the 2008-9 season compared to the 2007-8 season.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

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