ABC Attracts its Biggest Audience in 10 Weeks, Registering Its Most-Watched Non Sports Summer Week Since Early July ‘08

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

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August 25th, 2009

via ABC press release:

ABC Attracts its Biggest Audience in 10 Weeks, Registering

Its Most-Watched Non Sports Summer Week Since Early July ‘08

ABC is Up from the Same Week Last Year by Nearly 1 Million Viewers,

WEEK No. 48:

During the week of August 17, 2009, ABC attracted its biggest audience in 10 weeks, representing its most-watched non-sports Summer week since the beginning of July 2008 – since w/o 6/8/09 and w/o 7/7/08, respectively.  In addition, the Net was up over the same week last year by nearly 1 million viewers (4.5 million vs. 3.6 million – w/o 8/18/08), registering its 2nd consecutive week of year-to-year growth.


ABC’s Monday lineup improved on the same night last year (8/18/08) by 2.2 million viewers (5.0 million vs. 2.8 million) and by 75% in Adults 18-49 (1.4/4 vs. 0.8/2). 

“Millionaire-8/17” (8:00-9:00 p.m.)

ABC’s “Millionaire” stood as the No. 1 program in Monday’s 8 o’clock hour in Total Viewers (7.1million) for the 2nd week in a row, beating second-place Fox (4.6 million) by 2.5 million viewers.

“Dating in the Dark” (9:01-10:00 p.m.)

Growing from the previous week’s performance for the second week in a row, ABC’s “Dating in the Dark” turned in its strongest numbers in Total Viewers (4.6 million) and Adults 18-49 (1.8/5) since “The Bachelorette” ended its run. In addition, “Dating in the Dark” built on both its lead-in (+29% - 1.8/5 vs. 1.4/5) and on the half-hour (+12% - 1.7/5 to 1.9/5) among Adults 18-49.


During the 8 o’clock hour, ABC’s “Millionaire” was up over the prior Tuesday in Total Viewers (6.2 million vs. 6.1 million), generating ABC’s biggest audience in the hour this summer.

“Shaq VS” (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

The series debut of ABC’s “Shaq VS” jumped from its lead-in by 31% in Adults 18-49 (1.7/5 vs. 1.3/4) and gained young audience throughout its telecast (+13% build on the half-hour) opposite established unscripted time-period competition on both NBC (“America’s Got Talent”) and CBS (“Big Brother”) in the 9:00 p.m. hour. In fact despite a decided lead-in advantage for Fox coming into 9 o’clock from “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Shaq VS” outdrew Fox’s freshman unscripted “More To Love” by 11% in Total Viewers (4.2 vs. 3.8 million). On the show’s premiere episode, Shaquille O’Neal challenged Super Bowl-winning Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers to a quarterbacking challenge.

  • In Total Viewers and Adults 18-49, “Shaq VS” produced ABC’s strongest summer numbers in the hour with regular programming in more than 1 year – since 8/5/08.

“Primetime: The Outsiders” (10:01-11:00 p.m.)

ABC News’ “Primetime: The Outsiders” earned second place in the 10 o’clock hour to NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” among Adults 18-49 (1.3/4) and Adults 25-54 (1.5/4).


For the 11th week in a row, ABC grew its Wednesday audience year to year, up by 2.0 million viewers (5.7 million vs. 3.7 million) and by 23% in Adults 18-49 (1.6/5 vs. 1.3/4) from the year-ago night (8/20/08).

“Millionaire – 8/19” (8:00-9:00 p.m.)

Growing week to week by 6% in Viewers (6.9 million vs. 6.5 million) and by 8% in Adults 18-49 (1.4/5 vs. 1.3/5), ABC’s “Millionaire” stood as the most-watched TV show in Wednesday’s 8 o’clock hour for the 2nd week in a row.

  • Wednesday’s “Millionaire” improved ABC’s numbers in the hour over the same night last year by 3.5 million viewers (6.9 million vs. 3.4 million) and by 8% in Adults 18-49 (1.4/5 vs. 1.3/4).

“Wipeout” (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Once again shifting into the 9 o’clock hour this week, ABC’s repeat “Wipeout” built on its Adult 18-49 lead-in by 29% against stiff competition from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” In fact the “Wipeout” replay topped the second hour of Fox’s original high-profile 2-hour “Octomom” special by 16% in Total Viewers (5.1 million vs. 4.4 million) and by 6% in Adults 18-49 (1.8/5 vs. 1.7/5).

“Primetime: Crime” (10:00-11:00 p.m.)

During the 10 o’clock hour, ABC News’ “Primetime: Crime” was up over its performance in the time period on the same night last year by nearly 1 million viewers (5.0 million vs. 4.1 million) and by 7% in Adults 18-49 (1.5/5 vs. 1.4/4).


“Millionaire-8/13” (8:00-9:00 p.m.)

Despite facing major-market local preemptions (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) for NFL pre-season games resulting in reduced U.S. Coverage (95%), “Millionaire” was up over the previous night by 11% in Total Viewers (7.2 million vs. 6.5 million) and by 15% in Adults 18-49 (1.5/5 vs. 1.3/5) to finish second in the hour. In fact "Millionaire" turned in its second-strongest numbers yet in viewers and young adults, while hitting an event-high Adults 25-54 rating (1.9/6-tie). 

  • "Millionaire" attracted ABC's largest summer audience in the hour in well over 1 year - since 5/22/08.


Growing its Sunday night audience for the 3rd week in a row, ABC tallied its most-watched non-sports Summer Sunday (5.6 million) in 3 years – since 8/27/06.

“America’s Funniest Home Videos” (7:00-8:00 p.m.)

ABC’s repeat “America’s Funniest Home Videos” won the 7 o’clock hour in Adults 18-49, beating second-place CBS’ original “60 Minutes” by 42% (1.7/6 vs. 1.2/4).  In fact it was the 4th time in the past 5 weeks that the replay “AFV” finished No. 1 in its time period in the key young sales demo.

  • “AFV” pulled in its largest summer audience (6.8 million) since August 2006 – since 8/20/06.  The show also posted a summer-high in Adults 18-49, matching its best summer number in 2 years – since 8/26/07.

“Millionaire - 8/23” (8:00-9:00 p.m.)

On the finale of its 11-night run, ABC’s “Millionaire” finished as the most-watched (7.6 million) TV show during the 8 o’clock hour, outdrawing CBS’ time-period veteran, “Big Brother” (7.5 million). In fact the Sunday closer of “Millionaire” attracted the show’s biggest audience during its 10th anniversary event.

  • In addition to hitting its best Total Viewer number, “Millionaire” also posted event-high ratings with Adults 25-54 (tie) and across all key Men demos (M18-34/M18-49/M25-54).

  • On average through its 11-night run, the 10th-anniversary “Millionaire” event improved ABC’s performance in the time periods by 3.4 million viewers (6.9 million vs. 3.5 million) and by 27% in Adults 18-49 (1.4/5 vs. 1.1/3) over the same nights last year.

“Shark Tank” (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

For the 2nd week running, ABC’s “Shark Tank” registered as the most-watched television show at 9 o’clock. In fact against its freshman unscripted competition in the hour, ABC’s “Shark Tank” overshadowed CBS’ “There Goes the Neighborhood” by 2.0 million viewers (5.5 million vs. 3.5 million) by 64% in Adults 18-49 (1.8/5 vs. 1.1/3).  Among Adults 18-49, the new unscripted series built on its lead-in (+20%) and gained audience from its first half-hour to its second half-hour (+6%).

  • “Shark Tank” retained 100% of its week-earlier Adult 18-49 number and achieved series-highs with Adults 18-34, Men 18-34, Men 25-54 and Women 25-54.


No.1 FOX 2.0      No.1 CBS   5,810,000

No.2 CBS 1.5      No.2 NBC   5,560,000

No.2 NBC 1.5      No.3 FOX   5,140,000

No.4 ABC 1.2      No.4 ABC   4,510,000

No.5 CW  0.4      No.5 CW    1,100,000

A note about increasing DVR penetration and year-to-year rating comparisons: Year-to-year rating comparisons based on the Live + Same Day data stream are distorted by the level of DVR penetration in the Nielsen sample, which has jumped up to 32% currently, from 26% at the same point in 2008. More viewers are watching shows on their own timetables, which may not be reflected in the overnight next day numbers. The only truly valid year-to-year comparison would be one based on the Live + 7 Day metric, once those stats are released by Nielsen.

Source: Nielsen Media Research (National Live+Same Day Program Ratings), week of 8/17/09, unless stated otherwise.

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