The first week of the 2008-9 season has been gone over with a fine toothed comb by Magna Global and here are a few tidbits from their report:
FOX was the first network to cancel a new series last week, pulling comedy Do Not
Disturb after just three episodes. Considering Til Death (now in its third year) isn’t
performing much better, we have to wonder how much longer that will last.
Otherwise, the network was actually up last week compared to 2007, helped largely by
new drama Fringe.
ABC was very close to its week one performance a year ago, staying within a tenth of a
rating point among most adult demos. However, not all of its regular series premiered,
and Wednesday night is particularly critical for the network because it is effectively re-
launching three series that had their freshman seasons cut short by the Writers’ Strike.
CBS was down compared to 2007, but not by much, particularly when looking at Live
Plus Same Day data. With several of its scripted dramas yet to premiere (including
flagship CSI); the network could easily make up ground in the coming weeks.
It’s been a tough start for NBC, as none of its new series have made particularly strong
debuts. Knight Rider premiered to ratings below what the canceled Bionic Woman averaged in 4th Quarter 2007, and America’s Toughest Jobs finished dead last in its time period premiere on Friday. On the plus side, Heroes returned to slightly better ratings, in spite of a long hiatus.
CW’s extensive promotional campaigns and early premieres seem to have worked in its
favor, as it continued to show year-to-year increases among its target women 18-34
audience in the face of stronger competition last week. The network has yet to premiere
its MRC-produced Sunday night lineup, which targets an older audience than its
Overall television usage was up compared to a year ago, on both a Live and Live plus
Same Day basis. While one week isn’t a lot to go on, it’s at least a good indicator that
the Writers’ Strike did not affect interest in the new season.
The report has a massive amount of data in it, and you can download the entire report here.
Another thing to note that wasn't easily quoted is that while the top 5 English broadcast networks were down about 3% season to season for viewership in the first week, ad supported cable was up 13%, yowza!