look out below

Another broadcast primetime season has the networks looking at more declines in viewership, and the rosy stories in the middle of the first week by the TV media are looking even sillier now.

Through 2 weeks of the 2009-10 season (ending October 4), only Fox is ahead in the major adult demographic groups that pay the bills at the broadcast networks. Fox’s demo gains range from 11-19% in the adult demos, as it finally seems to have programmed its Fall with more than a throw away mentality. Still, the baseball playoffs will make or break their fall comparisons with last season, and while the early matchups look good, long series matter a lot more to ratings than matchups. As Robert aptly points out, 7 games of the Rockies vs. Twins is better than 4 games of the Dodgers vs. Yankees for Fox’s ratings.

CBS is up vs. last season in average viewership, but has now slipped negative in all the main adult demo groups by 3-5%. ABC behind last season across the board by 4-8%. NBC (down 9-15% in the adult demos) and the CW (down 7-18%) are both just getting crushed. And that’s even with the CW’s automatic boost to its seasonal ratings averages just by dumping Sunday nights.


No more MyNetworkTV in our network ratings averages, since they are now being rated as a “programming service” only. The data source I am using for the season to season comparison this week doesn’t include Univision numbers as previously. I may be able to get them from another source, but for the time being, no Univision either.

Our chart shows broadcast network prime-time season to date average prime-time viewership for the 2009-10 season compared to the 2008-9 season.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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