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.

  • Paul

    @The End, everything from the sword fighting to the interactions between characters reminds me of the fun family type of adventures that Jurrassic Park, Firefly, Indiana Jones and Star Wars were. In fact, Kripke has said his intention was to make a Star Wars type show with the swashbuckling fun mentality. A little less Walking Dead and a little bit more Chronicles of Narnia. Just an old fashioned Disney type show that you would have seen in the 70s and 80s.

  • KS

    I do think it should of premiered in a 2 hour fashion,

    I have been breaking my head since a long, long time why they didn’t choose to premiere the show in two hours.

  • Silvio

    @Bill Gorman
    You’re in dreamland. No chance that number is correct. Not even remotely close to reality.
    I’d be surprised if they cost as much as $1.5m/hr.

    You’re in dreamland. Cowell’s salary alone is $75 million (though given number, it almost surely includes license fee), that alone is more than $1.5m/hr.
    Anyway, it was $3.5 million per season already in Season 1, Simon says:

    I didn’t saw estimates for this season. But I’m assuming with Britney’s $15 million per season (near $400K per hour) it’s close to $4 million now.

  • Silvio

    … continuing about All realities are cheap myth

    The Voice initially was $2.3 million per episode.
    Given success of first 2 cycles, I suppose it could only went up. But really can’t say, TV is not my every day job, just a hobby. I mean, I often have outdated data, then guesstimating (but saying it’s exact data to look smart).

  • PoI – amazing cliffhanger finale is tonight

    @Paul That is correct. And i agree with ‘the end’ critic.

    Kripke Discusses Elizabeth Mitchell Secrets, Flashbacks & Episode 2

    question: Firstly, what was your goal with Revolution?

    Eric Kripke: My goal in creating the show was to bring to a grand, sweeping epic to television. A real heroes journey. To say that I’m obsessed with Star Wars and Lord of the Rings is an understatement. I wanted to gorge myself on the heroes myth. I wanted 20 Arby’s sandwiches at once. We’re using the television medium to have the time to delve deep into every character and have a wide tapestry in which to create this journey that’s exciting, romantic, adventurous and swash buckling while also giving us characters to love.

    question: So that would make Charlie Luke Skywalker?

    Eric: Charlie is Luke or Frodo or Dorothy. Miles is Aragorn or Han Solo. Although, Aaron is also half-Frodo, because he’s carrying the ring.

    question: The reveal that some semblance of electricity still exists — was that something you ever toyed with holding onto for a few episodes?

    Eric: We did. The discussion came down to putting it in episode 5 or the pilot. When you’re making a pilot, you don’t know your fate as a series, so the ultimate decision came down to this awesome piece of world reveal there. We wanted to blow people away so they keep watching. Also, it shows the audience the beacon on the horizon. Everyone knows the show is about a bunch of heroes struggling to reunite their family but they’re also trying to turn the power back on. That moment gives the audience hope that they can achieve it.

  • Ultima

    I mean, I often have outdated data, then guesstimating (but saying it’s exact data to look smart).

    You misspelled “dumb.”

  • PoI – amazing cliffhanger finale is tonight

    But i notice that reality competition/singing shows ratings are down(as you notice too), BUT networks pay more and more bigger paychecks for stars(judges). Don’t you think, guys that this is at least strange.

  • KS

    I am confident of Kripke. I am sure he wouldn’t fail the audience. I can see Revolution going for about 2-3 seasons and 4th season with a great difficulty.

  • PoI – amazing cliffhanger finale is tonight

    I agree. But if they make 24 episodes rookie season, 22 next and 22 in third season, even with droping ratings, WB will lower licesing fees for 4rd and may be short (13 ep) 5 season. I like how Kripke think. Smart writer.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    @Silvio, That WSJ article’s estimates are PER EPISODE not PER HOUR. Note that the self interested estimate from Simon Cowell is $3.5m/episode, but the other estimate given is $2.5m/episode.

    And quoting a per episode number is a bit fishy. The Wednesday show is 2 hours, the Thursday show is 1. They cost the same?

    I’d believe X FACTOR costs Fox $3.5m for a week’s worth of two shows filling 3 hours of airtime.

    And trying to build the budget for a show, based on publicly reported salary figures for the hosts is complete folly.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “The Voice initially was $2.3 million per episode.”

    Again with the per episode cost. It’s probably half that on a per hour basis.

    Broadcast dramas cost the networks ~$3m/ HOUR.

  • joss


    I can’t recall any their recent show being renewed for Season 2

    Breaking Bad and RoE

  • The End


    Ah right. Each to their own I suppose. Though I can see where you’re coming from, quite a few elements in the pilot made it more adult than anything else, the over abundance of killing, people all to eager to put an arrow or a sword through a bad guy. Remember the plane scene, the guy trying to you know rape *Spoiler*, getting an arrow there? Was a little walking dead ish to me.


    Indeed. If anything, could you honestly give a reason to keep watching the show if you had a choice? From what you’ve seen from episode 1 is there any story element besides the electric going out, and well that scene at the end that screams, watch episode 2? In your opinion anyway.

    @PoI – amazing cliffhanger finale is tonight

    What do you mean by ‘the end critic’? My name isn’t bad or anything lol. If anything I prefer not to use my real name here, privacy if anything. Other people do the same, and well il’d like my opinions not to effect me in other ways if they got back to people.

    Anyways, I didn’t feel a Star Wars vibe from the pilot. If anything for the first time in a while, it just felt odd.

  • The End

    @Bill Gorman

    Slightly offtopic, as you’re a House fan. Robert Sean Leonard who as you know played Wilson in House will be appearing in Falling Skies, no clue if you’re into the show but you might want to check it out to see him there if anything.

  • MoHasanie


    Yeah I too thought a show like X factor would be very costly, more than scripted shows, since the judges + Simon + big prize money all add up. $1.5 million seems too low of an estimate for that show but $4 million seems too much since I don’t think Fox would be making a profit from airing it.

  • PoI – amazing cliffhanger finale is tonight

    This is from PoI facebook page:

    ‘My CBS station has been dropped by DISH network. It sucks ! Someone needs to do something about a great portion on OHIO that now gets NO CBS what so ever. Last week we missed the NFL game of Battle of OHIO without being able to watch Cleveland Browns VS the Cincinnati Bengals. THIS SUCKS ! Make Dish give us another CBS station NOW !’

    Any info in Tv By the numbers and will that affect the ratings next week if big part of Ohio is without CBS as this man claims.

  • Oliver

    Scripted dramas cost the networks $3m an hour?

    Are you sure you don’t mean it costs $3m to produce an hour of drama? I was under the impression the licensing fee is lower with the production company eating up a not inconsiderable chunk of the production cost.

  • John A

    I always thought The X Factor budget people say is so high was nonsense. As if the commentators here know X factor budget.

  • Leondre

    I think Modern Family will pull a 5.5 rating next week

  • Alex

    That’s not true, both AI and X-factor are at around $4 million per hour

    Just to be clear your contention is that Fox spent more than $228 million on American Idol last season? And that they’re going to spend around $200 million on The X Factor this season (I’m not entirely sure when its finale will air so I can’t give an exact figure on that one)?

    U1 very probably earns more because it’s cheaper, but is not a rule (syndication, DVD, international).

    Again networks don’t see a cent from syndication, DVD sales or international distribution so those are all irrelevant factors when discussing a shows value to a network. All that matters is what the show commands in ad rates vs. its cost to the network.

    Nonsense, if viewership is falling rapidly, at some point S2 is to overtake U1.

    Yes because we all know that scripted shows don’t become more expensive over time nor do their ratings decline year-on-year. Thank God for that. Oh wait…

    If there was no Sony productions, nowadays 90% of today’s shows would be produced by sister production company.

    No they wouldn’t. This has already been quite nicely debunked by Ultima.

    Thus, production companies / networks share of income is moot point in waste majority of cases. </i.


    No it isn't and I wish that people would stop trying to pretend that it is. The goals and ambitions of NBC are not the same as the goals and ambitions of Universal Television. That they're owned by the same parent company does not mean that NBC is obligated to air Universal Television productions nor does it mean its obligated to keep those shows on the air at an inflated price when they're loosing money from them. The issue is about whether or not a production company is willing to gamble on back end revenue to lower license fees to a network and in that equation is don't matter who owns the production company.

    If we create a fictional drama that for season 1 has this:

    Episode budget – $4 million
    NBC license fee – $2 million per episode
    Universal Television spend – $2 million per episode

    Our first season doesn't do very well and nobody makes back the $44 million they just invested in us. But the situation is so bad at NBC that they want to give us another season they just want to pay less. Universal's issue here is exactly the same as any other production company's – do they take on an increased cost burden to produce more episodes and hopefully increase back end value or not? It isn't 'ah well we're owned by the same parent company so NBC will keep paying $2 million regardless'. Nor is NBC's thought process 'ah we're owned by the same parent company so we can afford to lose millions if not tens of millions airing this show'.

    Great example, then 2 shows probably have same ads income. But with some $3 million per episode from international sale and syndication, NCIS surely beats Survivor in profit. No doubt NCIS costs much more per hour – but no way it’s $3 millions more.

    1 – Survivor doesn’t cost $3 million per episode
    2 – CBS don’t see a cent from syndication or international sales of NCIS
    3 – CBS make more money from Survivor than they do NCIS

    But if X Factor losses 50%, then it’s like going from $200 million to $50 million = beaten by many scripted shows easily.

    What scripted shows do you think make $50 million profit for the network they air on?

    Anyway, it was $3.5 million per season already in Season 1, Simon says:

    Cowell lies and exaggerates. From the article you posted – Other estimates put the budget closer to $2.5 million

    It should also be noted that’s not a per hour budget but a per episode budget and as such is likely just the budget for the season divided by the number of episodes. So on a per house basis it would actually work out cheaper. The X Factor produced 26 episodes last year which works out as a season budget of $65 million or $91 million if you go by Cowell’s stated budget. Both of those price tags are still cheaper than the $100 million cost of replacing those hours with original scripted content which wouldn’t rate as well and would therefore demand lower ad rates and therefore make less money. Its also not entirely clear how much of the cost is being shouldered by Fox and how much is shoulder by SyCo and made up via sponsorship, international distribution and record sales. The Pepsi sponsorship alone reportedly brought in $50+ million last year so already that’s a massive offset for the cost of the show. And an offset that scripted doesn’t get. Ever.

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