TV Ratings Wednesday: 'American Idol,' 'Law & Order: SVU,' 'Modern Family,' 'Survivor,' 'Suburgatory,' 'Revenge' At Lows; As Fox Tops Night

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April 19th, 2012


Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 4.7/13 2.4/7 2.0/6 1.5/4 1.2/3 0.5/1
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share 3.0/10 2.0/6 1.1/3 1.5/5 0.9/3 0.5/2
Total Viewers (million) 16.467 7.039 7.868 3.588 4.423 1.245

American Idol was down 6% vs. last Wednesday to an in-season series low (pending final adjustments) 4.7 adults 18-49 rating, but still easily lead a FOX win for adults 18-49 ratings and total viewership on the night.

Suburgatory ticked down a tenth to a series low 2.0 adults 18-49 rating vs. last week's 2.1. Modern Family dropped to a season low 4.0 adults 18-49 rating, down 5% last week's 4.2 adults 18-49 rating. The second episode of Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 drew a 2.6 adults 18-49 rating, down 10% compared with last week's premiere rating of 2.9, not bad for a second episode decline. The PTC campaign/fundraising PR vs. the show didn't seem to do any damage, and may have helped. After six weeks since a regular new episode, Revenge earned a series/season low for a regular episode 2.3 adults 18-49 rating, down a tenth vs. a 2.4 rating in its last new episode in early March.

Survivor was even with last week's 2.7 adults 18-49 rating which tied its regular episode series low, and was the only new program on CBS.

Betty White: Off Their Rockers was up a tenth to a 1.7 adults 18-49 rating vs. last week's 1.6 ratings. Best Friends Forever was even with last week's 0.9 adults 18-49 rating. Rock Center with Brian Williams earned a 0.7, up two tenths compared with last week's 0.5. Law and Order: SVU fell to a new series at 1.5 adults 18-49 rating vs. last week's 1.7.

At 9pm, America's Next Top Model was the only new program on the CW and earned a 0.6 adults 18-49 rating, up a tenth vs. last week's 0.5

Late-night results are below the primetime data.

Overnight ratings for Wednesday, April 18, 2012:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share Viewers Live+SD (million)
8:00PM FOX American Idol (8-10p) 4.7 13 16.467
CBS Survivor: One World 2.7 8 9.382
NBC Betty White's Off Their Rockers 1.7 5 6.209
ABC The Middle -R 1.3 4 4.655
CW America's Next Top Model -R 0.4 1 1.138
8:30PM ABC Suburgatory 2.0 6 5.755
NBC Best Friends Forever 0.9 3 3.151
9:00PM ABC Modern Family 4.0 11 10.066
CBS Criminal Minds -R 1.7 5 7.486
NBC Rock Center 0.7 2 2.870
CW America's Next Top Model 0.6 2 1.351
9:30PM ABC Don't Trust The B---- In Apt. 23 2.6 7 6.593
10:00PM ABC Revenge 2.3 6 7.583
CBS CSI -R 1.5 4 6.737
NBC Law & Order: SVU 1.5 4 5.719

via NBC press note:

In Late-Night Metered Markets Wednesday night:

In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 2.5/7 with an encore telecast; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 1.9/5 with an encore; and ABC's combo of "Nightline," 3.3/8; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 1.7/5.

In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 0.7/3 with an encore; "Late Show," 0.5/2 with an encore; "Nightline," 1.2/5; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 0.7/4.

At 12:35 a.m., "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.3/5 in metered-market household with an encore) beat CBS's first-run "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (1.0/3). In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, "Late Night" (0.4/3 in 18-49 with an encore) topped "Late Late Show" (0.3/2).

At 1:35 a.m., "Last Call with Carson Daly" averaged a 0.9/4 in metered-market households with an encore and a 0.3/3 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters.

NOTE: All ratings are "live plus same day" from Nielsen Media Research unless otherwise indicated.
Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2012 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.

Definitions: 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. 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.

  • Captain

    Retentionistas have to get it, retention means nothing. If the demo is solid, the demo is solid.

  • Skylar

    Why cant networks go back to 28-30 episodes a season like before? It would stop with the endless hiatuses and repeats.

    This week The Middle is repeat, the rest of the lineup new. Next week The Middle, Suburgatory and MF are repeats, Apt 23 and Revenge new. People just cant keep up with it.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Why cant networks go back to 28-30 episodes a season like before? It would stop with the endless hiatuses and repeats.”

    Because studios lose money on the production of pretty much every scripted broadcast primetime episode and hope to make it back in syndication.

    More episodes = more losses!

  • ethan

    SVU needs a freaking LEAD IN…what do u expect to happen when rock center pulls an 0.7?????? svu actually more than doubled its lead in…if smash were in svus time slot it would be getting 1.2s

  • Petar

    Sports Preemption said:
    First, on this whole Revenge “hype” thing. Hype is overrated. That’s like saying Fringe should have better ratings with all the hype it gets. They don’t correlate well at all. I personally only know one person who watches Revenge, so hype is kind of subjective too. That said, it’s been surprisingly steady despite the hiatuses.
    @Sports Preemption

    I agree my friend! Wonder woman was with biggest buzz i’ve seen and was biggest failure!

  • Sammy01

    Bill Gorman – “Because studios lose money on the production of pretty much every scripted broadcast primetime episode and hope to make it back in syndication.

    More episodes = more losses!”

    But to get syndication a show needs a certain amount of episodes, so whether the show makes 88+ episodes out of 3 seasons or 4 they still have to produce those episodes.

    Surely with shows that have proven hits in their 1st couple of seasons, bumping episode orders would get them faster to syndication?

    I agree with the poster who said all the breaks don’t help ratings, they really don’t. Never knowing if a show will be on a repeat or when it will restart surely wont gain viewers.

  • Ultima

    SVU needs a freaking LEAD IN

    You’d think a drama in its 13th season would be able to stand on its own.

    People just cant keep up with it.

    I don’t buy this. If you’re a watch-every-episode type, you’re going to spend the 15 seconds it takes to check the schedule; if you’re a casual viewer, then you aren’t expecting to catch all the new episodes anyways.

  • Nadine

    getting a 4.6 — especially considering the many years it’s been on the air — is hardly getting “killed.”

  • Ultima

    Surely with shows that have proven hits in their 1st couple of seasons, bumping episode orders would get them faster to syndication?

    Hit shows can get syndication deals as early as their first season; this has happened recently with Modern Family and NCIS LA, both of which will enter strip syndication next season with ~70 episodes.

    However, there’s simply no way they’re going to hit enough episodes for strip syndication in two seasons, so bumping up the episode orders doesn’t really do anything.

  • Tony

    @Bill I understand that they want their shows to get to syndication, but for a show like The Middle which aired an extra episode, why wouldn’t they just order one extra episode so this doesn’t happen, and that one extra episode would help when it comes to syndication specifically for comedies, that’s what doesn’t make sense.

  • Allan

    “Posted April 19, 2012 at 9:07 AM
    Revenge has been GREAT so far.Everybody I know love the show and dint find it slow at all. In fact its quite the opposite. In next two episodes they will be done with murder investigation.”

    I had to stop watching it bc of how slow it was, around ep 7. Does it no longer suck?

  • Victor

    One of the “Best shows is “The Middle” it is a normal american family, with a normal house, poor, The little guy, my God he is excellent,the sister alwsays positive and the teen ager is a normal guy/ Excellent

  • James Sample

    I never knew about the whole regular episode/thanksgiving thing, so thankyou for informing me. I am a British student on a study abroad programme and I’ve been here, in the USA for almost a year and I study ratings as a hobby. Interesting to know, thankyou.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    Surely with shows that have proven hits in their 1st couple of seasons, bumping episode orders would get them faster to syndication?

    And veteran shows often receive more than the typical 22 episode orders. Mostly for scheduling purposes, but that’s not the only advantage.

  • Networkman

    @Richard Steven Hack, you are right about Revenge. It has gotten more complicated. And I like how the writers have shown Emily’s growth by allowing viewers to see her imperfections. Many viewers were enjoying just seeing an enemy get taken out every week. But that would of gotten unrealistic real fast. I love this cat & mouse game. It may not get a nomination for best drama because if seems as if the Emmy’s have become a big advertisement for cable dramas. But I do expect to see the actresses get some recognition.

  • Justun121

    Fewh.. Revenge only one tenth below its usual ratings and is actually up with TTL audiences to an impressive 7.77 million viewers.

    I’m happy :D

  • Brian J


    “And on that note, I’ve been noticing a lot of backlash against scheduling the past few weeks with the suggestion that the networks adopt a cable like schedule. This isn’t gonna happen for two major reasons. First is sweeps. If the networks have hit shows, they’re going to want those hit shows to play during sweeps, so why would they have them play during September and February, and then risk throwing up unknown shows for May sweeps that could hurt the ratings. The schedule is played around with so that new shows during a 22+ episode run are going to be aired during sweeps.

    And the second, which hasn’t been mentioned for some reason, is syndication. Why would the networks suddenly reduce orders to shows down to 10-15, when a big money maker for them is syndication. Networks don’t want to wait 6-8 years for a show to reach syndication.”

    Those are good points, but here’s my counterargument. One point is that the regular broadcast networks don’t need to run shows exactly like they do on cable, with shorter seasons and really sporadic scheduling. What I and others have suggested is that they run roughly the same number of episodes as they do know, roughly 18 to 22 per season, but do it in an interrupted fashion. It’s tighter in the spring, but depending on the exact date and time, you should be able to get at least 16 episodes of all television shows in before Christmas and New Year’s if you start the first or second week of September. And if you start in the second week of January, you can easily get in 20 episodes and end at roughly the same time shows do now.

    That should take care of the second point, which is syndication. Having 100 episodes in the can usually gets a show sold, but I’ve also heard 88 episodes is a safe number. But maybe that number can drop a little. I mean, really, is having 72 episodes really that different? Four seasons of 18 episodes gives us a total of 72. Or perhaps we get a longer first season and slightly smaller seasons after that, kind of like we did with “Lost,” or maybe the opposite of that, with more established shows getting slightly longer seasons. The fall and spring halves of the season could be devoted to different types of shows: one for older ones, one for newer ones, for the most part. Or perhaps the season could be extended a little.

    As for sweeps, who says that this is the only way to measure things? I think advertisers would gladly welcome a shift that would make their advertising more effective, which is getting more people to tune-in. If messing with the traditional structure is one way to do it, they might not be all that averse.

    Anyway, I think some big change will happen sooner rather than later, because what’s happening now isn’t working.

  • Brian J


    “Because studios lose money on the production of pretty much every scripted broadcast primetime episode and hope to make it back in syndication.”

    I find that kind of hard to believe. I mean, it kind of makes sense, but only up to a point.

  • Brian J


    “Move it to Tuesday nights after The Voice. Problem solved.”

    Why waste the one non-football good thing NBC has going for it on “SVU”? Whatever else you want you want to say about it, it’s nearing the end of its life. It’d be much better to give a spot like that to “Parenthood” or an even newer show that could be on for many more seasons.

    You know, I am starting to think NBC would be wise to try to steal the cult/serial killer show by Kevin Williamson away from Fox, or more easily, pick it up if it doesn’t get picked up by Fox. I know it has “Hannibal,” which may in fact be an easier sell because of the familiarity with the character some viewers would have, but Williamson’s show is getting great buzz. It’s supposed to be ridiculously creepy and violent and just awesome in a lot of ways, according to what I’ve read. It seems like the perfect show to go on Thursdays at 10:00, or even at 9:00 if NBC wants to do two dramas on that night (although, given how violent the show is supposed to be, that might not work, and with two dramas, it would still have to go on at 10:00). Or it could just take both shows. Having pretty much every show on the network be quite similar has worked very well for CBS, so why doesn’t NBC try it?

  • Brian J


    “One man’s off the wall, is another man’s nonsense.

    I’m the second man.”

    I think it’s more likely with “The Office,” given the supposedly difficult contract negotiations and proposed reboot. After all, it’s quickly becoming indistinguishable from any other comedy the network has, so its value has done down considerably. Why not give its plum Thursday spot to Greg Daniels’ new comedy “Friday Night Dinner” and bring it back, in whatever form, in midseason?

    But really, they should consider this with “SVU,” too. They probably won’t, but they should.

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