TV Ratings Saturday: 'Elf' Bigger Than 'Transformers', 'Cops' Returns Down, '48 Hours' Up

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December 16th, 2012

Scoreboard CBS ABC FOX NBC
Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 1.5/5 1.0/3 0.7/2 0.5/2
Total Viewers (million) 5.558 2.957 2.184 2.673

CBS was number one last night with adults 18-49 and with total viewers.

On CBS, the trend of strong performances for holiday programming continued with  Elf  earning a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating. 48 Hours scored a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating, up 25%  from last week's 1.2.

On FOX, the return of Cops earned a 0.8 adults 18-49 rating, down 20% from a 1.0 for its last new episode on April 7, 2012.

On ABC, Transformers garnered a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating


Broadcast primetime ratings for Saturday, December 15, 2012

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Sh Viewers (millions)
8:00 CBS Elf (8-10PM) 1.5/5 5.14
ABC Transformers (8-11PM) 1.0/3 2.96
FOX Cops 0.8/2 2.61
NBC Chicago Fire - R 0.4/1 2.27
8:30 FOX Cops - R 0.8/3 2.81
9:00 FOX Kitchen Nightmares - R 0.6/2 1.65
NBC Chicago Fire - R 0.5/2 2.79
10:00 CBS 48 Hours 1.5/5 6.40
NBC Chicago Fire - R 0.7/2 2.97

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2012 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.

  • Zoniako

    Good numbers for Chicago Fire repeats

  • Mark

    I’m just glad that COPS is back!!!!

  • John A

    Wow CBS did great. Nice to see 48 Hours do that well too.

  • John A

    Why did FOX bring back Cops with numbers that bad?

  • Ron

    CBS’ viewer totals are wrong. Both say 6.4 million but the average for the night was 5.55

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Sara Bibel

    Ron, thanks for pointing that out. Viewer totals for Elf have been fixed.

  • FringeFan

    Good numbers for CBS especially on a Saturday. However, this highlights how bad FOX Saturday’s have truly become. They axed AMW, but kept Cops which continues to decline even worse… It will be next too.

  • eridapo


    ABC Scores With Upscale Viewers…

    Interesting read. It is also not the first time I’ve seen where it indicates that ABC does well with upper income people.

    When it comes to prime-time non-sports programming so far this season, ABC leads in the TV currency that matters most to advertisers — as well as getting top numbers when it comes to upscale viewers

  • Oliver

    I didn’t expect Elf to do that well.

  • John A

    Christmas specials and movies doing very well for CBS.

  • CC

    Many people watch Elf.
    Haha ;)

  • SarahL

    I love Elf so I am glad that it took down Transformers.

  • DenverDean

    I’m surprised that many people even knew that COPS was back. Season premier in the middle of December. Really?

  • silvit


    It was old news. I remember reading that among the top upscale shows there were the likes of Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, obviously. ABC used to brag about it in their press releases.

  • cass rowland

    fox should have kept americas most wanted

  • Joseph

    One note about tonight’s (December 16th) “Survivor” finale:

    Given that there will be a live “reunion” of the castaways after the results are announced, could the reunion segment be shrunk to approximately a half-hour (or even less) so it ends at 11 P.M. EST, allowing CBS stations’ late local news to begin on-schedule??

  • Joseph

    Although I didn’t see it, didn’t “48 Hours” devote it’s show to the aftermath of the Connecticut school massacre??

    That would explain the strong ratings.

  • Cj morton

    Hahah so funny that a 10 year old movie won the night!! But elf is awesome, so I’d watch it over any of he other crap. :)


    CBS takes another night!

    Jennifer Lawrence will be on SNL 1/19

  • Honey Badger

    Weekend Update: Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy
    one of the best Saturday Night Live skits ever

    Shalom and Happy Holidays to everyone !

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