CBS is still the only English broadcast network ahead of all its major demo group results from last season. Although behind last season, ABC showed improvement in the past week and looks likely to go positive vs. last season, at least in some demos, before the end of this season. Fox also showed improvement vs. last season in the last week. Because its average is so tied to American Idol, which is down about 10% this season, it will be hard pressed to exceed last season's numbers. NBC and CW's recent trends vs. last season are mixed.
Remember that at this point last season the WGA strike was causing havoc with the English broadcasters scheduling.
I have adjusted the NBC numbers to remove the effects of Super Bowl week 2009 and adjusted the Fox numbers to remove the effects of Super Bowl week 2008. My adjustments remove the effect of the entire week, not just the game, so they're crude, but they make season to season comparisons at least reasonably possible. With the data I have available I cannot make a finer adjustment.
Some of the CW decline is due to the fact that they started their new shows before the official Nielsen start to the season (but so did Fox for several shows), and so the timelines don't line up well and they are airing increased reruns in the middle of the season. Still, we use the data we get, and by that measure the CW is very far behind last season across the board.
Univision is up across the board vs. last season (but not as much as CBS in most cases now). MyNetworkTV (MNT) is up drastically over last season, thanks mainly to the addition of Friday Night Smackdown!. Note just their numbers, because their bars are truncated. The scale for the other networks would be useless if I adjusted the scale for them.
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: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.