Due to the nature of live programming the ratings for ABC (NASCAR: Sprint Cup) are approximate and subject to significant revisions in the final numbers. See definitions at bottom of this post for more information on these Fast Affiliate Ratings.

NASCAR racing led ABC to the top spot with adults 18-49 for the night and CBS had the most viewers.   Saturday’s regular champions (when there are no special events), the  battle-scarred lineup of Cops and America’s Most Wanted came in second with adults 18-49 with adults 18-49.

I’m not 100% sure what to make of the data for CBS, where particularly from 8pm-10pm it was atypically high for a summer Saturday.  My best guess is that there were a lot of local preemptions for NFL preseason action (there were 11 games in total last night) included in the numbers and that those numbers will be adjusted down significantly in the finals.

That might have also been the case (though not quite as apparent) with NBC, where Persons Unknown was up over 2 million viewers from its last original on Saturday August 7 (last week it was preempted by the “Visa Gymnastics Championships”).  The final numbers will tell the tale, but I might not see those until Tuesday.

Remember, episode 11 of Persons Unknown is only be available online (it’s already up at Hulu & NBC.Com) and will not air on NBC.  The two hour finale (episodes 12 & 13) will air next Saturday, August 28 on NBC.

A very melancholy happy trails to CBS News correspondent Harold Dow who died on Saturday.  Dow was instrumental in shaping the “48 Hours” franchise.

Broadcast primetime ratings for Saturday, August 21, 2010:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Sh Viewers (Millions)
8:00 ABC NASCAR: Sprint Cup Bristol 1.8/7 5.95
CBS Cold Case (R) 1.3/5 5.79
FOX Cops (R) 1.3/5 4.28
NBC Persons Unknown 1.1/4 3.94
8:30 ABC NASCAR: Sprint Cup Bristol 1.8/7 6.04
CBS Cold Case (R) 1.6/6 6.62
FOX Cops (R) 1.6/6 5.29
NBC Persons Unknown 1.0/4 3.44
9:00 ABC NASCAR: Sprint Cup Bristol 1.9/7 6.11
FOX America’s Most Wanted 1.8/6 5.72
CBS CSI (R) 1.6/6 6.47
NBC Law & Order: Criminal Intent (R) 1.1/4 4.09
9:30 FOX America’s Most Wanted 2.0/7 5.96
NBC Law & Order: Criminal Intent (R) 1.3/4 4.70
CBS CSI (R) 1.7/6 6.66
ABC NASCAR: Sprint Cup Bristol 1.8/6 5.97
10:00 ABC NASCAR: Sprint Cup Bristol 2.0/7 6.46
CBS 48 Hours Mystery (R) 1.7/6 6.62
NBC Law & Order: Criminal Intent (R) 1.4/5 5.16
10:30 CBS 48 Hours Mystery (R) 1.7/6 6.60
ABC NASCAR: Sprint Cup Bristol 1.5/5 5.16
NBC Law & Order: Criminal Intent (R) 1.2/4 5.00

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2010 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. Source: Marc Berman/Mediaweek.

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 which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. 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.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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