abc- modern-family


ABC’s Modern Family and Cougar Town both premiered strongly on Wednesday night with 4.3 adults 18-49 ratings, as ABC and CBS were neck and neck in the nightly ratings. NBC’s Wednesday night of Mercy and Law & Order: SVU started with a whimper.


Any journey starts with just a single step, and that first step was a good one for ABC’s all new Wednesday night line up as their premieres tied CBS, the presumptive (by me, at least) leader, in the important adults 18-49 ratings. ABC’s 9pm hour of Modern Family and Cougartown was surprisingly strong, topping CBS’s Criminal Minds in the 18-49 demo. One potential problem in the otherwise rosy results for ABC was the half hour drop off for Eastwick in the 10pm hour. It lost 15% of its demo (3.3 to 2.8) while CSI:NY lost just a tick 4.0 to 3.9), and Leno was up a tick (1.9 to 2.0). The Dancing With The Stars special at 8pm was down from its results Monday and Tuesday, but I’m not sure anything should be read into that.

For CBS, The New Adventures of Old Christine was up from last year’s premiere (2.3 rating vs. 2.1) and Gary Unmarried was level with a 2.4. Both positives in today’s broadcasting world. Criminal Minds was down 11% in the demo from its premiere last fall (4.2 vs. 4.8 demo rating). While CSI:NY returned with the same rating as last fall’s premiere (4.0 18-49 demo rating).

While ABC and CBS battled it out at the top, it was all woe for NBC’s Wednesday. The series premiere of  Mercy could only tie CBS weakling Old Christine with a 2.3 demo rating. Not a good start. It did worse than the Knight Rider premiere last year (2.5 rating). The 11th season premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit came in fourth for the hour in the 18-49 demo, falling 34% in the 18-49 demo from its 10pm premiere last season (2.5 vs. 3.8). For a presumably flagship drama that is humbling. Against two premieres, The Jay Leno Show did a 2.0 rating, better than I would have expected. Ironically for the Leno doubters, he might be shaping up as a bright spot for NBC’s Fall, no others are currently in evidence.

Fox’s strategy for the night clearly isn’t to compete for the top, just do better than last season, and they look to be doing that. Their shows both substantially held their ratings from last week against the new premieres; So You Think You Can Dance? keeping a 2.5 demo rating and Glee dropping just a tenth to a 3.0 demo rating. As Robert wrote in an earlier post, Fox is targeting Adults 18-34 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and they were the clear winner in that demo last night.

CW’s America’s Next Top Model held on, down a tenth in adults 18-49 to a 1.3 rating, but flat in CW’s target women 18-34 with a 2.3 rating. The Beautiful Life: TBL is getting uglier by the week. It fell 0.2 points to a 0.5 adults 18-49 rating, down to a 0.6 rating for adults 18-34 and just a 0.9 rating for women 18-34

In Late-Night Local People Meters Wednesday night:

  • Conan O’Brien (1.1/5 in 18-49 in local people meters) out-rated CBS’s LATE SHOW (0.9/4) in Nielsen’s 24 local markets with People Meters. Conan also beat LATE SHOW in adults 18-34 (0.7/4 vs. 0.6/3).
  • At 12:35 a.m., Jimmy Fallon (0.7/5 in 18-49 in local people meters) topped CBS’s LATE LATE SHOW (0.4/3). Jimmy also defeated Ferguson in 18-34 (0.5/4 vs. 0.4/3).
Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share Viewers Live+SD (million)
8:00 ABC Dancing With the Stars 3.2 10 14.961
FOX So You Think You Can Dance? (premiere) 2.5 8 5.600
NBC Mercy (series premiere) 2.3 7 8.248
CBS The New Adventures of Old Christine (premiere) 2.3 7 7.683
CW America’s Next Top Model 1.3 4 2.844
8:30 CBS Gary Unmarried (premiere) 2.4 7 7.373
9:00 ABC Modern Family (series premiere) 4.3 12 12.736
CBS Criminal Minds (premiere) 4.2 11 15.417
FOX Glee 3.0 8 6.624
NBC Law & Order: SVU (premiere) 2.5 7 8.358
CW The Beautiful Life: TBL 0.5 1 1.086
9:30 ABC Cougar Town (series premiere) 4.3 11 11.438
10:00 CBS CSI:NY (premiere) 4.0 11 14.568
ABC Eastwick (series premiere) 3.0 8 8.526
NBC The Jay Leno Show 2.0 5 6.430

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

You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.


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.

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