TV Ratings Sunday: Football Wins; 'Desperate Housewives' Premiere Plunges, 'Pan Am' Has Good Takeoff, CBS Premieres Indicate Down, Fox Mixed

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September 26th, 2011

Scoreboard NBC FOX CBS ABC Uni
Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 5.9/15 4.4/11 2.5/6 2.4/6 1.3/3
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share 5.3/15 4.9/14 1.5/4 1.8/5 1.2/3
Total Viewers (million) 14.583 9.546 10.890 8.706 3.014

Due to the nature of live sports programming the ratings for NBC (NFL Football), CBS (NFL Overrun) and Fox (NFL Football 7*8pm) are approximate and subject to more than the typical adjustments in the final numbers. See below for more information on these Fast Affiliate Ratings.

Of course Sunday Night Football led NBC to a win on the first Sunday night of the broadcast primetime TV season. NBC's Sunday Night Football Game 3: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts posted a 7.2 adults 18-49 rating from 8:30-11p, down from last week's Sunday night matchup (PHI Eagles vs. ATL Falcons), which delivered a 9.2 rating from 8:30-11p in the Fast Nationals before rising to a 10.0/25 from 8:31-11:47p in the Finals. I'll post a link to Sunday's final ratings here when they're available on Tuesday.

For ABC, CBS and Fox it was season/series premieres across the board on Sunday.

ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition premiered with two hours of 1.3 and 2.3 adults 18-49 ratings at 7 and 8pm respectively. That was down 13% and 8% from last year's 1.5 and 2.5 ratings. Desperate Housewives 3.1 adults 18-49 rating was down sharply (28%) from last Fall's 4.3 adults 18-49 rating, its lowest premiere rating ever. Pan Am's series premiere 3.1 rating was 7% above the season premiere of Brothers & Sisters last season (2.9 rating) a pretty nice takeoff. Our polled readers were too pessimistic.

You can ignore the Fox results for the 7pm hour, it was live football in the East/Central time zones and those fast affiliate numbers are meaningless. However the rest of their lineup aired normally in all timezones. The season premiere of The Simpsons drew a 3.8 adults 18-49 rating, up 3% from last year's 3.7 rating in the premiere. The season start for The Cleveland Show had a 3.1 adults 18-49 rating, even with the premiere last year. Family Guy scored a 4.1 rating, down 9% from last year. American Dad's had a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating even with last season's premiere (which was not on "premiere Sunday"). Note that Fox didn't have the late NFL national game on premiere Sunday last year as it did last night.

There were CBS NFL football overruns into primetime in a number of big metro areas (including NYC, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Baltimore Kansas City and Minneapolis) that render the CBS results below effectively useless for comparison purposes, remember that their fast affiliate results are likely to be adjusted more than usual in the final ratings.

I'd wait for the final ratings (available Tuesday) for drawing any comparisons with or conclusions on the CBS premieres because their results are all jumbled up because of the NFL overruns. Of course, you may read about their ratings today (and conclusions from them) on other sites, don't jump to conclusions yet. The early results that are subject to likely significant revisions are: 60 Minutes 2.6 adults 18-4 rating, down 16% vs. last year. The Amazing Race 3.0 adults 18-49 rating, down 21% from last season's Fall premiere and its lowest Fall premiere rating ever. The Good Wife's 2.2 adults 18-49 rating was down 12% vs. its Tuesday 10pm premiere last season. CSI: Miami had a 2.2 adults 18-49 rating, down 31% vs. its season premiere on 10/3/10, also a lowest rated season premiere. Note that CBS had a big boost from the NFL late afternoon game last season on premiere Sunday.

Broadcast primetime ratings for Sunday, September 25, 2011:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share Viewers Live+SD (million)
7:00PM FOX THE OT 7.6 21 18.897
CBS 60 Minutes 2.8 8 12.111
ABC Extreme MakeoverHome Edition 1.0 3 4.746
7:300PM FOX THE OT 4.7 13 11.104
CBS 60 Minutes 2.5 7 13.013
ABC Extreme MakeoverHome Edition 1.5 4 6.079
FOX THE Simpsons 3.8 10 7.909
CBS THE Amazing Race XIX 3.0 8 11.085
ABC Extreme MakeoverHome Edition 2.1 5 8.102
8:30PM NBC NBC Sunday Night Football 7.5 18 19.059
FOX The Cleveland Show 3.1 7 6.020
CBS THE Amazing Race XIX 2.9 7 9.953
ABC EXTREME MAKEOVER:  Home Edition 2.5 6 9.437
9:00PM NBC NBC Sunday Night Football 7.4 17 18.463
FOX Family Guy 4.1 9 7.625
ABC Desperate Housewives 3.2 7 10.112
CBS THE Good Wife 2.3 5 10.540
9:30PM NBC NBC Sunday Night Football 7.3 16 17.765
ABC Desperate Housewives 3.1 7 9.438
FOX American Dad 3.0 7 5.719
CBS THE Good Wife 2.2 5 10.454
ABC Pan Am 3.2 7 11.004
CBS CSI:  MIAMI 2.3 5 10.429
ABC Pan Am 3.0 8 10.733
CBS CSI:  MIAMI 2.1 5 9.539

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2011 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 baseball 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. 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 and Numbers 102.

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