Erosion continues to plague the Wednesday night broadcast lineup, as new shows and returning veterans once again suffered significant ratings reversals.
Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, every network series took a hit last night, although some declines were much more pronounced than others. ABC’s two-hour comedy block got off to a relatively stable start, as The Middle dipped 4 percent to a 2.2 in the adults 18-49 demo, but after that things went downhill.
At 8:30 p.m., the freshman comedy Back in the Game slipped one-tenth of a ratings point to a series-low 1.8, while the aging powerhouse Modern Family slumped to a 3.9 in the dollar demo, down 7 percent from a week ago. When compared to last season’s analogous episode, Modern Family was down 19 percent.
Leading out of Modern Family at 9:30 p.m., Super Fun Night returned to a 2.5 rating, down 22 percent from its premiere delivery (3.2). That’s a little steeper than the average 15-20 percent erosion that is expected between a debut and the second episode, but still enough to claim bragging rights as the night’s third biggest rating.
Super Fun Night also improved on former time slot occupant The Neighbors year-ago 2.0 rating by 25 percent.
The sudsy sophomore musical drama Nashville closed out the night with a 1.6 rating, down 16 percent versus last week and off 20 percent from its year-ago 2.0.
NBC’s Hump Day struggles continued apace, as Revolution fell another tenth to a series-low 1.5, although that was slightly better than last season’s Animal Practice-Guys With Kids battery, which combined for a 1.3 rating. Law & Order: SVU sank 20 percent to a 1.6, and newcomer Ironside wobbled closer to oblivion with a 1.1, down 15 percent from the premiere’s already untenable 1.3 rating.
Tying ABC for the lead among adults 18-49 (2.3) and winning the 25-54 demo outright, CBS endured declines at bookends Survivor (down 7 percent to a 2.5) and CSI (off 10 percent from a 1.9, tying a series low). The meat in the sandwich, Criminal Minds, held up a bit better, dipping only 4 percent to a 2.6. The procedural put up a 3.4 in its target demo, off two-tenths of a point from a week ago.
Not helping the broadcasters’ cause at 10 p.m. was ad-supported cable. With an average draw of 7.4 million viewers, A&E’s Duck Dynasty crushed Ironside and Nashville on reach. Moreover, the show put up a 3.2 in the 18-49 demo, squashing CSI and the two other network shows.
The return of FX’s American Horror Story did some damage as well (5.54 million viewers, 3.0 rating), as did TBS’ coverage of Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Pirates and Cardinals (6.09 million, 1.6).
Fox’s The X Factor shed a tenth of a ratings point (2.2), but was down 37 percent versus its year-ago 3.5. While Fox can take comfort in the fact that The X Factor has been consistent throughout the season, it doesn’t appear to be poised for any significant growth.
On a night where overall deliveries of both adults 18-49 and 18-34 were down 6 percent, the CW attracted a disappointing turnout for its returning hit Arrow. A year after bowing to 4.14 million viewers and a 1.3 rating, Arrow’s overall deliveries plummeted 34 percent to 2.74 million viewers, while ratings dropped 31 percent to a 0.9.
At 9 p.m., the series premiere of The Tomorrow People kept the lion’s share of its lead-in audience, averaging 2.32 million viewers and a 0.9 in the 18-49 demo. But whereas Arrow notched a 0.8 among viewers 18-34, The Tomorrow People drew just a 0.5—exactly half what former time slot occupant Supernatural delivered on Oct. 10, 2012.
Naturally, the CW’s overall performance cannot be determined until the DVR/streaming/on-demand deliveries are baked into the live linear views. Still, this reads as a soft launch for the new series.
The CW’s third new fall series, the costume drama Reign, bows Thursday, Oct. 17.