Through 4 weeks of the 2008-9 broadcast prime-time season, only Univision is showing gains vs. the 2007-8 season. As of this week, all of the English networks are now negative in all broad categories vs. their 2007-8 results, most substantially so.
Fox which had clung to some increases through last week saw its comparisons go sharply negative vs. last season. I'm certain it's because, unlike last year when it had the baseball ALCS playoff featuring the Red Sox, this year it had the NLCS. With the World Series also predicted to be a ratings loser, Fox's year to year comparisons are going to get worse, perhaps much worse.
The CW also had some small increases vs. last season through last week, but another disastrous Friday and Sunday have pushed their comparisons solidly negative across the board.
CBS continued to close the gap with last season's results and I'd expect more progress in the coming weeks. It's the best performing network of the fall, not only in an absolute sense, but relative to last season as well.
ABC's and NBC's tales of woe vs. last season are similar, both are down 9-16% in every broad audience measure.
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. Click the image for a full sized chart.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.