TV Ratings Wednesday: 'The X Factor' Rises, 'Survivor' Premiere Flat, 'Big Brother' Finale Down

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September 20th, 2012


Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 3.5/10 2.8/8 1.4/4 1.4/4 1.1/3 0.4/1
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share 3.4/12 1.6/5 1.3/5 1.0/3 0.7/2 0.4/1
Total Viewers (million)  9.377 9.324 3.402 4.879 3.643 0.953


FOX was the number 1 network with adults 18-49 and with total viewers.

On FOX, The X Factor garnered a 3.5 adults 18-49 rating, up 6% from last week's 3.4

On CBS, the 90 minute season premiere of Survivor: Philippines earned a 3.1 adults 18-49 rating, matching  the premiere of Survivor: One World on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 and  in line with your predictions. It was down 9% from a 3.4 for  last fall's premiere on September 14, 2011 when the show was not competing with The X Factor. The 90 minute season finale of Big Brother scored a 2.5 adults 18-49 rating, up  from a 2.1 for last week's episode, but down 14%  from a 2.9 rating for last season's finale on Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On the CW, Oh Sit! scored a 0.4  among adults 18-49, equaling last week's performance.

Late-night results are below the primetime data.

Overnight ratings for Wednesday, September 19, 2012:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Sh Viewers (millions)
8:00 FOX The X Factor (8-10PM) 3.5/10 9.38
CBS Survivor: Philippines (8-9:30PM) - Premiere 3.1/10 11.22
NBC The Voice - R 1.7/5 5.42
ABC The Middle - R 1.1/4 4.48
CW Oh Sit! 0.4/1 0.97
8:30 ABC Suburgatory - R 1.0/3 3.54
9:00 ABC Modern Family - R 1.6/5 4.68
NBC Law & Order: SVU - R 1.2/3 4.74
CW Supernatural - R 0.3/1 0.94
9:30 CBS Big Brother (9:30-11PM) Finale 2.5/7 7.42
ABC Suburgatory - R 1.2/3 3.58
10:00 NBC Revolution - R 1.2/4 4.47
ABC Revenge - R 0.7/2 2.79


In Late-Night Metered Markets Wednesday night:

  • In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 2.4/6; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 2.0/5; and ABC's combo of "Nightline," 2.7/7; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 1.3/4.
  • In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 0.8/4; "Late Show," 0.6/3; "Nightline," 0.9/4; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 0.6/3.
  • At 12:35 a.m., "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.2/4 in metered-market households) beat CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (1.0/4). In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, "Late Night" (0.4/3 in 18-49) topped "Late Late Show" (0.3/2).
  • At 1:35 a.m., "Last Call with Carson Daly" averaged a 0.7/3 in metered-market households with an encore and a 0.2/2 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.

  • cc

    Didn’t reality shows come to be, because of a writers strike? Networks not wanting to pay anymore to the writers and “reality” was a cheaper way to put shows on the air? Just asking.

  • bob

    Survivor and Big Brother great job! Dan should have won though. I am thrilled for the repeat of Revenge. Overall a great night for ME and my favorite shows.

  • KarenM

    CBS IMO is the best network for shows but many of their shows are aging or are in sophomore slumps.

  • Holly


    “Unscripted” shows have always been part of television. Ed Sullivan, Carol Burnett, Lawrence Welk, dozens of game shows and other variety shows aired decades before the strikes. The 1988 writers strike did mark a resurgence as did the 2007 strike, but they’ve always been around.

  • Alex

    Once again you’re showing lack of knowledge of TV business.

    Unfortunately Silvio you are showing your lack of knowledge of the TV business.

    Last season American Idol was on the air for 19 weeks and was producing at least 3 hours of content a week. That’s 57 hours or the equivalent of two full seasons of hour long dramas (22 episodes) and a half season order of an hour long drama (13 episodes). The cost to Fox of replacing all the original hours of Idol with new scripted drama would be in the region of $86-114 million (if not more and that sums doesn’t factor in promotional budgets) but lets split the difference and call it $100 million. So right off the bat Idol can have a $100 million price tag and still be cheaper than or the same price as programming new scripted drama in the same slots. However we also to take into account that Idol is still easily out rating scripted content (particularly Fox’s scripted content) so actually its price tag can be higher than that because its ad rates will be higher than scripted drama in the same slot. Equally working in Idol’s favour is big endorsement deals with companies like Coke who pay millions to have their product on the show and they get additional revenue streams from weekly iTunes downloads of performances and the fact that they’re splitting some of the costs with a record label that gets to sign the winner and often gets refusal on other acts.

    So yes these big reality shows can be very expensive. However they still work out cheaper than replacing them with scripted content particularly when they’re still easily out rating scripted content on their network.

    More over all of this is besides the point since what you originally argued was the reality television was dying on broadcast because people wanted to see scripted television. In that instance its actually perfectly reasonable to point out that reality television is still out rating scripted television and that the most successful new show of recent years has been a big reality show as it highlights that clearly the audience hasn’t rejected reality television and isn’t clamouring for more scripted content. Compare and contrast Bones and The Mob Doctor with The X Factor on Fox. Equally the argument that you can’t compare and contrast those ratings is ridiculous.

    Also important to remember is what a network cares about isn’t syndication or DVD sales. Production companies might care about those things but a network cares about ratings. They want shows that will rate well and therefore allow them to charge higher ad rates and therefore make more money.

  • Silvio

    Most of reality shows are unexpensive. But, please show me cheap broadcast reality show with hit ratings, like over 3.0. There is none.
    That is where you’re terrible wrong, you can’t look at Idol or Voice high ratings and compare it to low cost of Big Brother or Shark Tank. Each show is separate case. It’s a simple minded to say all realities are cheap and thus all are highly profitable. If so, why not air only reality shows?

  • Holly

    Survivor and Amazing Race both rate over a 3.0. And if Idol or X-Factor want to lower costs, they just have to replace their judges again.

  • Kevin

    X factor was labeled as a flop at the very beginning and we all know what it means. Forever flop no matter what.

  • bob

    The Voice will drop like a rock once auditions are over. It does this every year and every year people are left scratching their heads over it. After the auditions, the show sucks so badly. They get rid of people to quick, they put up two singers that aren’t even remotely competitive so the one that they ALREADY want wins. It is a hot mess after auditions. I admit I love the Voice auditions and watch every time but the minute they are over, I can’t stand the show.

  • Michael

    the geniuses at NBC finally made a brilliant move (head-to-head “extra” episode of T”he Voice” against “X Factor”) which they follow up with a boneheaded repeat the following week. IDIOTS – be aggressive. It’s called KILLER INSTINCT. Try it. You had the chance to kill “X Factor” and you let them off the hook.

    That said, Simon must be pulling his hair out. He stuck his neck out AGAIN with another dumb prediction (i.e. “I’ll be happy with the same number of viewers as last year”). That would be 12 million. So far,” X Factor” is averaging less than 10 million. Ouch. And losing to “The Voice” last week and “Survivor” this week (total viewers). Oy vey! Poor Simon. Ouch.

    Does anyone else think his judging/hosting decisions have been bizarrely incompetent? Firing Cheryl was the worst decision and it’s been down hill since then… Paula and Nicole Sherzinger? Assinine; especially after Paula’s high-profile “Live To Dance” flop. Hiring a catatonic Britney was so-so (and the jury is still out). Hiring Demi was an insane miscalculation. Hiring and firing Steve Jones? Really? Khloe J. and cheesy/boring-as-hell Mario Lopez as the new hosts? WOW! Disaster. And the show looks like a cheap version of “So You Think You Can Sing” while “The Voice” looks expensive.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Most of reality shows are unexpensive. But, please show me cheap broadcast reality show with hit ratings, like over 3.0. There is none.
    That is where you’re terrible wrong, you can’t look at Idol or Voice high ratings and compare it to low cost of Big Brother or Shark Tank. Each show is separate case. It’s a simple minded to say all realities are cheap and thus all are highly profitable. If so, why not air only reality shows?”

    So much nonsense there. Hard to know where to start.

    Holly debunked the “no cheap reality can get >3.0″.

    Reality shows are in general *far* cheaper than scripted shows of the same length. There are scripted exceptions (Summer scripted, Oh, Canada!) but in season scripted shows are far more expensive to produce per hour than all reality shows.

    Who, that put any thought into it, ever said “why not air only reality shows?”

    For the corporate netowrk’s studio’s that produce a successful scripted show that’s able to be syndicated, the financial returns are HUGE.

    No choice is clearly better than the other, if it were there would be only one or the other. There are tradeoffs galore.

  • Silvio

    You are comparing Idol with Mob Doctor? Ridicilous. Let aside Idol is like biggest hit ever and wins any show it’s compared to, scripted or unscripted. But to pick none than poor TMB? It’s like if I’d compare Desperate Housewives to ANTM. But picking random shows is not the point here. Point you refuse to understand is: unscripted outrating scripted means nothing. Zilch. It needs to outprofit scripted. And with most reality shows yearly declining in range of 25% to 30% I somehow doubt unscripties can achieve it

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “unscripted outrating scripted means nothing”


    An unscripted show outrating a scripted show means IT MAKES MORE ADVERTISING MONEY. Ratings = network ad revenue. Period.

    And, since that scripted show (in season) cost more than the unscripted show, IT MAKES MORE PROFIT for the NETWORK airing the show.

    Ultimately a scripted show can make a vast fortune for the studio, which I noted earlier, but if that studio is not the corporate sibling of the network, that isn’t a factor.

  • Sarah

    X Factor and The Voice both rose this week. I’m sure it’s because they weren’t airing opposite either. Are Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian really hosting the X Factor? I don’t think I can stomach those two.

  • Silvio

    @Bill Gorman
    So you’re saying: there are cheap reality shows with high ratings, but you give no example of it. Of course, when there’s none. Plus, it’s easier to just wave as nonsense what you don’t understand.
    And that’s: there’s plethora of scripted shows with ratings over 3.0. All of them are expensive compared to most of reality shows.
    There’s only 3 reality shows with ratings over 3.0, and all 3 are expensive.

  • Holly


  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “So you’re saying: there are cheap reality shows with high ratings, but you give no example of it.”

    All broadcast reality shows are cheaper per hour than in season scripted broadcast shows. All of them.

    What’s your point? Edit: Other than nonsense?

    Edit: It’s conceivable that scripted CW shows could cost less/hour than the most expensive of broadcast reality shows (X Factor, Idol), but no in season scripted shows on a given network cost less than the unscripted shows on that network.

  • Katie

    I thought The X Factor was fantastic last night, there were SO many incredible singers. One after another. Some of the best singers I’ve seen on any show in a long time so I really hope that it will keep rising.

  • PoI – amazing cliffhanger finale is tonight

    So we will watch many years yet relity/singing/competition tv.

  • ABCFanatic2012

    Yeah Survivor! 25 seasons and still strong!

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