update: Fast national data is available here, Glee did great, and SYTYCD did just fine.
Please note: my personal opinion is these numbers are fairly meaningless and merely give us something to do between now and when the fast national ratings come out.
We don't usually pay much attention to the early metered market ratings since they don't provide the age demographic information the advertisers (and our readers!) crave, but I probably have at least an hour to kill until those numbers are available.
Keeping in mind that all preliminary results are subject to change, especially for live events (like a presidential address) and that these numbers are merely the early metered market numbers for the broadcast networks...
President Obama's Health Care speech had a combined 13.2 rating in the early metered markets across NBC (5.5), ABC (4.7) and CBS (3.0). One ratings point = 1% of the television homes. These numbers do not include the viewing on other networks or any of the cable news networks. We expect we will have a full accounting of viewership for Obama's address this afternoon. In the meanwhile you can check out the combined viewership numbers (across all networks) for President Obama's previous press conferences.
The devil's in the details, and in this case the demos, but it is unclear whether the fall premiere of So You Think You Can Dance got any benefit by going head-to-head with Obama. In terms of early metered market household ratings, it pulled a 3.6/6 (rating/share) from 8p-9p. That's down noticeably from its summer premiere on May 27 when it had a 5.0/8. Of course FOX could not reasonably expect for the show to perform as well in the fall as in the summer, and the demos will tell the important story.
Whatever the results people will weigh in with opinions ranging from "FOX took too big a risk airing a summer show in the fall" to "there wasn't enough time in between the summer edition ending and the fall edition beginning."
Glee may have fared a bit better though with a 4.5/7 household rating/share. Again, demos are everything.
The latest installment of America's Next Top Model averaged a 2.5/4 in the early metered markets, that's down from last year's 3.3/5 on September 3, 2008.
America's Got Talent pulled a 6.0/9 between 9p-10p on NBC.
BTW? What's up with you people who are e-mailing me about when we will have the ratings for last night? We post them as soon as we can, like always. I expect we will see the fast national numbers (with the demos) between 11:15a-12p EDT. We will post them as soon as we can.
Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.
*Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.
Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.
Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)
Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.
For more information see Numbers 101.