ABC’s ‘Modern Family’ is TV’s No. 1 Regular Scripted Show in Adults 18-49, Despite Going Head to Head Against Wednesday’s ‘American Idol’ Premiere

via press release:

ABC’s “Modern Family” is TV’s No. 1 Regular Scripted Show in Adults 18-49,

Despite Going Head to Head Against Wednesday’s “American Idol” Premiere


WEEK No. 18:

During the week of January 17, 2011, ABC’s “Modern Family” finished as the No. 1 regular scripted program in Adults 18-49, despite competing head to head against Fox’s “American Idol” premiere on Wednesday.  In fact the Network had a number of standout performance against “Idol.”   Opposite Wednesday’s 2-hour “Idol” opener, ABC’s “The Middle” and “Modern Family” each marked their highest-ever numbers against any telecast of the Fox program.  Opposite “Idol’s” Thursday premiere from 8:00-9:00 p.m., Winter “Wipeout” produced big year-over-year growth for ABC with the Net’s top results in 6 years against the opening hour of any “American Idol” Night 2 premiere – since “Lost” on 1/19/05.  With “Primetime: What Would You Do? and “20/20” on Friday night, ABC claimed TV’s Top 2 newsmagazine telecasts for the week in both Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49.

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 39% currently, from 35% at the same point in 2010. 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.


ABC’s lineup of “The Bachelor,” followed by an encore “Castle,” topped NBC’s all-original, mid-season Monday lineup by 15% in Adults 18-49 (2.3/6 vs. 2.0/5).  The Net ranked as the No. 1 broadcaster on the night in Women 18-34 (2.9/8) for the 3rd week in a row.

“The Bachelor” (8:00-10:01 p.m.)

Growing its overall audience week to week, ABC’s “The Bachelor” took second in its 2-hour time period with Total Viewers (8.8 million) and Adults 18-49 (2.7/6). “The Bachelor” led its time-slot among its Network rivals and stood Monday’s No. 1 broadcast series with Women 18-34 (3.6/9) for the 3rd straight week.

“Castle” (10:00-11:01 p.m.)

Up against an original episode of CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” and the series debut of NBC’s “Harry’s Law,” ABC’s “Castle” drew its best repeat numbers of the season in both Total Viewers (5.6 million) and Adults 18-49 (1.4/4). 


With its lineup of 2 dramas and a special edition of “20/20,” ABC attracted its second-largest audience and equaled its highest Adult 18-49 number in 6 weeks – since 12/7/10. The Net continued to deliver substantial year-to-year gains on the evening, soaring over the year-ago night (1/19/10) by 3.0 million viewers (5.8 million vs. 2.8 million) and by 89% in Adults 18-49 (1.7/5 vs. 0.9/3).

“No Ordinary Family” (8:00-9:00 p.m.)

At 8:00 p.m., ABC’s “No Ordinary Family” was up by 8% in Total Viewers (5.7 million) and by 20% among Adults 18-49 (1.8/5) week to week. In addition, “No Ordinary Family” registered sizeable year-to-year improvement for ABC in the hour, up by 3.6 million viewers (5.7 million vs. 2.1 million) and by 157% in Adults 18-49 (1.8/5 vs. 0.7/2) from the year-ago night.

“V” (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Building on its lead-in among Adults 18-49 (+11%), ABC’s “V” posted gains over the previous week among young adults against original competition on CBS (“NCIS: Los Angeles”), NBC (“The Biggest Loser: Couples”) and Fox (“Million Dollar Money Drop”). “V” improved the 9 o’clock hour by impressive margins in Total Viewers (+90% – 5.7 million vs. 3.0 million) and Adults 18-49 (+67% – 2.0/5 vs. 1.2/3) over the same night last year.

  • The ABC drama posted a season-high in Men 18-34 (1.5/5) and beat out its broadcast rivals to rank No. 1 (tie) at 9:00 p.m.

“20/20” (10:00-11:00 p.m.)

A special edition of ABC’s “20/20” at 10:00 p.m., featuring Capt. Mark Kelly in his first television interview since the shootings in Tucson, generated the Net’s best time period numbers in 6 weeks in Total Viewers (6.2 million), Adults 18-49 (1.3/4) and Adults 25-54 (1.8/5) – since 12/7/10. The “20/20” special boosted its time slot by wide margins from the year-ago night by 84% in Total Viewers, by 44% in Adults 18-49 and by 50% in Adults 25-54.


Up against the 2-hour season premiere of Fox’s “American Idol,” ABC posted a solid second-place finish on Wednesday night in Adults 18-49 (2.7/7), beating out third-place CBS by 42% (1.9/5) and fourth-place NBC by 59% (1.7/4).

  • The Net grew by strong margins over the Wednesday last year, when “Idol” premiered from 8:00-9:30 p.m. (1/13/10), in both Total Viewers (+24% – 7.2 million vs. 5.8 million) and Adults 18-49 (+23% – 2.7/7 vs. 2.2/6).  In fact ABC was the only major net up year to year against the Wednesday premiere of “Idol.”

“The Middle” (8:00-8:30 p.m.)

At 8:00 p.m., ABC’s “The Middle” defeated its non-“Idol” competition in viewers and young adults.  Among Adults 18-49 (2.6/8), “The Middle” topped NBC’s original “Minute to Win It” by 86% (1.4/4) and CBS’ original “Live to Dance” by 189% (0.9/3).

  • Marking the series’ highest-ever numbers against “Idol,” “The Middle” jumped over its year-ago performance opposite the Fox opener by 2.3 million viewers (8.3 million vs. 6.0 million) and by 24% in Adults 18-49 (2.6/8 vs. 2.1/5).
  • “The Middle” generated a season-high rating with Men 18-34, equaling its top number in nearly 1 year – since 2/10/10

“Better with You” (8:30-9:00 p.m.)

Like its lead-in, ABC’s “Better With You” bested its non-“Idol” competition at 8:30 p.m. in viewers and young adults, leading the second half-hours of “Minute to Win It(+17% – 1.8/5) and “Live to Dance” (+110% – 1.0/3) by wide margins in Adults 18-49 (2.6/6).

  • The freshman comedy improved its time period for ABC over the year-ago Wednesday against the “Idol” premiere by 7% in Total Viewers (6.4 million vs. 6.0 million).

Modern Family” (9:00-9:31 p.m.)

Standing as the definitive No. 1 scripted TV program on Wednesday among Adults 18-49, ABC’s “Modern Family” (4.6/12) built on its lead-in against the third half-hour of “Idol” at 9:00 p.m., towering above its closest scripted competition in its time slot by 64% (CBS’ original “Criminal Minds” – 2.8/7).  In fact the ABC comedy topped its combined CBS and NBC scripted competition by 18% in the half-hour (4.6/12 vs. 3.9/10).

  • In viewers and young adults, the ABC sophomore comedy scored its best-ever results against “American Idol.” The show surged over its performance on the year-ago night of the “Idol” opener by double-digit percentages in both Total Viewers (+40% – 10.9 million vs. 7.8 million) and Adults 18-49 (+39% – 4.6/12 vs. 3.3/8).

  • “Modern Family” produced its highest Adult 18-34 number since November and its top Men 18-34 number since October – since 11/17/10 and 10/20/10, respectively.

“Cougar Town” (9:31-10:00 p.m.)

At 9:30 p.m. against the final half-hour of “Idol,” ABC’s “Cougar Town” earned second against its scripted competition in Adults 18-49 (2.4/6), beating NBC’s time-period premiere of “Chase” by 140% (1.0/3).  “Cougar Town” registered as the No. 1 scripted program in the hour with Adults 18-34 and Men 18-34.

“Off the Map” (10:00-11:00 p.m.)

Retaining an impressive 91% of its week-ago series debut among Adults 18-49 (2.1/6 vs. 2.3/6) in Wednesday’s 10:00 p.m. hour, ABC’s “Off the Map” ran a close second to NBC’s veteran “Law & Order: SVU” (2.3/7) and beat out CBS’ time-period premiere of “Blue Bloods” by 5% (2.0/6).  “Off the Map” ranked No. 1 against its drama competition in the hour with Men 18-49, Men 18-34 and Teens 12-17.

  • “Off the Map” delivered strong year-over-year improvement for the Network in the hour, building over the same night last year with original programming (“Ugly Betty” on 1/20/10) by 1.3 million viewers (5.8 million vs. 4.5 million) and by 31% in Adults 18-49 (2.1/6 vs. 1.6/4).


“Wipeout” (8:00-9:00 p.m.)

Head to head against the second night of Fox’s “American Idol” premiere from 8:00-9:00 p.m., as well as original comedies on CBS and NBC, ABC’s “Wipeout” pulled in an impressive 8.3 million viewers and a 2.6/7 in Adults 18-49.  In the hour the winter edition of the ABC unscripted series beat out NBC’s original comedies, including the well-promoted series debut of “Perfect Couples,” by 3.9 million viewers and by 18% in Adults 18-49 (“Community”/”Perfect Couples” = 4.4 million and 2.2/6).

  • In viewers and young adults, “Wipeout” produced ABC’s top results in 6 years against the opening hour of any “American Idol” Night 2 premiere – since “Lost” on 1/19/05.
  • Despite facing the move of “Idol” into the time period this year, “Wipeout” drastically improved the hour year to year for ABC in Total Viewers (+17%) and Adults 18-49 (+44%) over original drama programming on the year-ago night (“Deep End” = 7.1 million and 1.8/5 on 1/21/10).
  • ABC was the only net to build audience in the hour against “Idol,” as CBS, NBC and CW each lost viewers from 8:00-9:00 p.m.  From its first half-hour to its second-half hour, “Wipeout” surged by 9% in viewers (7.9 million to 8.6 million) and by 22% in Adults 18-49 (2.3/6 to 2.8/8).  In fact during its second half-hour from 8:30-9:00 p.m., “Wipeout” ranked No. 2 to “Idol” in Adults 18-49, Adults 18-34, key Women (W18-34/W18-49), Teens 12-17 and Kids 2-11.

“Grey’s Anatomy” (9:00-10:01 p.m.)

At 9:00 p.m. coming out of “Wipeout,” ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” posted its strongest repeat numbers this season in viewers and young adults (4.7 million and 1.6/4), despite facing all-original competition on CBS, NBC, and Fox.


Gaining 8% week to week, ABC took second place against its network rivals on Friday night in Adults 18-49 (1.4/5), beating CBS and NBC. The Net ranked No. 1 on the evening with Women 18-49 (1.9/6).

“Primetime: What Would You Do?” (9:00-10:03 p.m.)

Surging 55% over its lead-in, ABC’s “Primetime: What Would You Do?” finished a strong second in the 9 o’clock hour among Adults 18-49 (1.7/5). In the key young adult sales demo, ABC’s “Primetime” dominated NBC’s “Dateline” in the hour by 21% (1.4/4).  The ABC newsmagazine won its time slot with Adults 25-54 (2.2/6) and key Women demos (W18-49/W25-54).

  • Building over the prior week by 13% in Adults 18-49 (1.5/5 on 1/14/11), “Primetime: What Would You Do?” equaled its highest rating since mid-November – since 11/12/10.

“20/20” (10:03-11:00 p.m.)

ABC’s “20/20” ranked No. 1 in the 10 o’clock hour among Adults 18-49 (1.5/5). “20/20” featured John Quinones’ report on the murder mystery of a popular school nurse on Mother’s Day 2009 in New England and John Berman’s report on vervet monkeys that are giving tourists and natives a run for their money in the vacation paradise of St. Kitts in the Caribbean.

  • ABC’s “20/20” was up week to week in both Adults 18-49 (+7%) and Adults 25-54 (+5%).


No.1  CBS 4.9   No.1 CBS    17,240,000

No.2  FOX 3.6   No.2 FOX     9,800,000

No.3  ABC 1.7   No.3 ABC     5,600,000

No.3  NBC 1.7   No.4 NBC     5,580,000

No.5  CW  0.5   No.5 CW      1,250,000

Source: The Nielsen Company (National, Live+ Same Day Program Ratings), week of 1/17/11, unless stated otherwise.

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