Season To Date Ratings

When NBC overtook ABC for third place in the all important adults 18-49 ratings, I wondered whether they could get caught by ABC before the end of the season.

After just one post-Olympic week, the race looks to be tilting toward ABC more than I initially guessed. NBC pulled out all the stops last week and scored just a 2.1 18-49 rating. There is no way they can maintain that weekly average going forward considering all the special programming last week. ABC now needs to beat NBC on a weekly basis by only 0.5 ratings points in the final 11 weeks of the season. If ABC can maintain a weekly 2.7 rating (same as a typical week last fall), I think they push NBC back to fourth, even with the Winter Olympics.

In the gold and silver medals, Fox is certain to retain the adults 18-49 season ratings title for yet another broadcast season. Their 0.4 ratings point lead is insurmountable by CBS (who is just as certain to keep second place).

In other races, CBS-Fox are going to stay 1-2 in average viewership. Fox is a lock for #1 in adults 18-34, although perhaps NBC can lose its grip on #2. Fox could challenge CBS for #1 for adults 25-54.

I include numbers in the Season To Date chart that show the season to date ratings minus a few non-annual events for CBS and NBC.

  • The xCBS number is the CBS season to date ratings average minus the entire Super Bowl 2010 week.
  • The xNBC number is the NBC season to date ratings average minus the 3 weeks with any Winter Olympics telecasts.

Unfortunately, with the data I get, I can do no better than exclude entire weeks. Those numbers should not be considered “official”, and there are always errors possible. They’re meant to help answer the question “How would CBS (or NBC) be doing without those non-annual events”.

Ratings Increase / Decrease: 2009-10 Season vs. 2008-9 Season

  • CBS is up across the board vs. last season, due to boost they received during Super Bowl week. Without it, they’d be down across the board in the demo ratings.
  • Even with the Winter Olympics boost, NBC is down 3% vs. last year in adults 18-49.
  • ABC is down vs. last season by 7% in adults 18-49. Makes life tough on their PR team!
  • Fox continues up vs. last season across the board due to lots of factors.
  • CW looks up nicely in some demos vs. last season, but that’s deceptive, see below.

I’ve included some new numbers in the Season To Season change chart that show the season to date ratings minus a few non-annual events for CBS and NBC.

  • The xCBS number is the CBS season to season ratings change minus the entire Super Bowl 2010 week.
  • The xNBC number is the NBC season to season ratings change minus all 3 weeks that included any Winter Olympics this year, and the week that included the Super Bowl 2009 last year.

Unfortunately, with the data I get, I can do no better than exclude entire weeks. Those numbers should not be considered “official”, and there are always errors possible. They’re meant to help answer the question “How would CBS (or NBC) be doing without those non-annual events”. Note that I lack the data to do those adjusted comparisons for average viewership.

In looking at the CW’s ratings averages note that they would be about 20% ahead of last season across the board if they’d just kept their Monday-Friday numbers steady because of the automatic boost to their ratings averages just by dumping Sunday nights. Compared to last season, the CW’s Monday-Friday ratings averages are down, but don’t be surprised if the CW’s crack PR troops can pull one over on the credulous TV media.

You can see past week’s broadcast network primetime season to date average TV ratings results here.

Each rating point is a percentage of the US TV population in that demographic group and equals: 2.90 million viewers, 1.32 million adults 18-49, 0.68 million adults 18-34 and 1.24 million adults 25-54.

Note that the chart includes RATINGS not VIEWERSHIP as was typical in our weekly network ratings posts prior to July, 2009.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2010 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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