CBS Wins First Thursday of New Season; More Mixed Freshman Series Results

Friday, September 24, 2010
Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not

On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options 

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
TV Trivia Time:

Live From New York…It’s Saturday Night Live!



CW   2.3/ 4

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, September 24, 2009):

Fox: +15, NBC: +11, CW: +10, CBS: + 9, ABC: -24,

The Big Bang Theory (CBS), $#*! My Dad Says (CBS), Bones (Fox), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), CSI (CBS), The Office (NBC), The Mentalist (CBS)

-Very Respectable Sampling:

Outsourced (NBC)

-Perfect Combination:

The Vampire Diaries and Nikita on The CW

-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

My Generation (ABC), Community (NBC), The Apprentice (NBC)

CBS won this first Thursday (and fourth night overall) of the new TV season, with an overnight advantage of a healthy 38 percent over second-place ABC. But this does not necessarily mean CBS will win the evening among adults 18-49. It could be a race to the finish line. Third overall was Fox, followed by NBC and The CW.

CBS opened the evening on a winning note, with the season four premiere of relocated The Big Bang Theory at a 9.2 rating/15 share at 8 p.m. Comparably, this was an increase of 23 percent from Big Bang’s year-ago season-opener (7.5/11 on Sept. 21, 2009), when it aired out of Two and a Half Men on Monday. Considering the Eye net has not aired a comedy in this time period in 45 years, bravo to Penny and the gang of geeks. Leading out of The Big Bang Theory was the series-premiere of $#*! My Dad Says at an also dominant 7.7/12 at 8:30 p.m. While the William Shatner comedy did lose 16 percent from The Big Bang Theory, this is still solid sampling. Together, The Big Bang Theory and $#*! My Dad Says, on average, outdelivered year-ago occupant Survivor: Samoa (6.0/10 on Sept. 24, 2009) by 41 percent.

At 9 p.m., the 11th season-premiere of CSI (remember when I said time flies yesterday?) finished a very second behind Grey’s Anatomy in the overnights, with a 9.6/15. And it will certainly not win the time period among adults 18-49. But CSI did built from $#*! My Dad Says by 25 percent and it was only off by three percent from one year earlier. Season three of lead-out The Mentalist was the top-rated show of the evening in the overnights, with a 10.2/17 at 10 p.m. One year earlier, The Mentalist kicked-off with a 10.0/16 on Sept. 24, 2009.

ABC got off to a sour note last night, with the series-premiere of relationship drama My Generation at a fourth-place 3.9/ 6 in the overnights at 8 p.m. Comparably, this was a loss of a whopping 49 percent from the launch of failed action/adventure FlashForward on the year-ago evening (7.6/13 on Sept. 24, 2009). The alphabet net was back on the overnight map with the seventh season-premiere of Grey’s Anatomy at a dominant 10.0/15 at 9 p.m. — 156 percent above lead-in My Generation and on par with one year earlier. Next on ABC was the season four premiere of spin-off Private Practice at a second-place 6.4/11 at 10 p.m. While Private Practice did trail CBS’ The Mentalist by 37 percent, the variation demographically will be much closer (and Private Practice could ultimately win the hour among adults 18-49).

Over at Fox, old faithful crime solver Bones remained just that, with the season six opener at a very comfortable (and second place) 6.8/11 in the overnights from 8-9 p.m. Next on Fox was the third season launch of Fringe at a fourth-place 3.9/ 6 in the highly competitive 9 p.m. hour. While that may not sound like much, Fringe did build by eight percent from one year earlier (3.6/ 6 on Sept. 24, 2009).

Over at NBC, not even Betty White could ignite surprise returnee Community, with the second season-opener ranked fourth at 8 p.m. with a mere 3.6/ 6 in the overnights. Relocated lead-out 30 Rock picked-up steam, with a third-place 4.3/ 7 for the fifth season launch at 8:30 p.m. Season seven of demo friendly The Office finished third at 9 p.m., with a 5.6/ 9, and comparably that was up by a hefty 40 percent from one year earlier (4.0/ 6 on Sept. 24, 2009). Expect a solid return among adults 18-49 for The Office (hence the “winners” listing). Randy Cordray and company…great opening musical segment last night!

In series-premiere news, NBC’s Outsourced opened with a 5.0/ 8 at 9:30 p.m., just 11 percent below The Office and 43 percent above year-ago occupant Community (3.5/ 6 on Sept. 24, 2009). Consider that a solid start. But week two of lead-out The Apprentice dropped the ball with a dismal third-place 3.2/ 6 at 10 p.m. 

Over at The CW, week three of Nikita held 88 percent of The Vampire Diaries lead-in (#5: 2.5/ 4), with a 2.2/ 3 at 9 p.m. Comparably, that bested year-ago occupant Supernatural (1.8/ 3 on Sept. 24, 2009) by a noticeable 22 percent. Expect a full season episode order for Nikita at any moment.   For more on The CW, see TV Tidbits.

Ratings Box:


-New Series Report Card:
Based on Live Plus Same Day ratings, here are the results (in order of total viewers) for the Wednesday debuts of ABC’s Better with You and The Whole Truth, CBS’ The Defenders and Undercovers on NBC.

The Defenders (CBS) – Wed. 10 p.m.

Viewers: 12.17 million (#1 in time period), A18-49: 2.9/ 8 (#2)

Grade: B


The retention out of season-premiere of lead-in Criminal Minds (Viewers: 14.13 million; A18-49: 4.0/11) was very respectable at 86 percent in total viewers, but weak among adults 18-49 at 72 percent.


Undercovers (NBC) – Wed. 8 p.m.

Viewers: 8.70 million (#3), A18-49: 2.1/ 6 (#4)

Grade: C+


Comparably, this is only similar to failed year-ago occupant Mercy, and the immediate older skew could be detrimental in the future.


Better With You (ABC) – Wed. 8:30 p.m.

Viewers: 7.86 million (#3), A18-49: 2.5/ 7 (#3)

Grade: C+


The fit out of the season-premiere of The Middle (Viewers: 8.80 million; A18-49: 2.5/ 7) is solid, but higher HUT levels at 8:30 p.m. should translate into a stronger performance. 

The Whole Truth (ABC) – Wed. 10 p.m.

Viewers: 4.85 million (#3), A18-49: 1.5/ 4 (#3)

Grade: F


Once NBC’s competing Law & Order: Los Angeles steps in next week, these abysmal opening level results will only get worse. Tick, tock…the cancellation clock is ticking.


-Final Wednesday Nationals:

What follows are the overall results for this first Tuesday of the new TV season:


Total Viewers:

CBS: 12.96 million, NBC: 9.62, ABC: 7.92, Fox: 6.57, CW: 2.56


Adults 18-49:

CBS: 3.6 rating/10 share, Fox: 2.9/ 8, ABC and NBC: 2.8/ 8 each, CW: 1.1/ 3


-Freshman Syndie Overnight Update:

What follows are the updated metered market (overnight) results for the new first-run stripped product in syndication. Ratings are based on the weighted household average and ranked from highest to lowest.


Nate Berkus (Sony Pictures Television) – 54 markets


September 2009 time period: 1.0/ 3

Lead-in average: 1.2/ 4

Nate Berkus: 1.1/ 4


Given the exposure on Oprah, these early overnight results could be better.


Swift Justice with Nancy Grace (CBS Television Distribution) – 56 markets


September 2009 time period: 1.1/ 4

Lead-in average: 1.1/ 4

Swift Justice with Nancy Grace: 1.0/ 3


The house of hits may have sprung a leak.


Judge Karen’s Court (Litton): 35 markets


September 2009 time period: 0.6/ 2

Lead-in average: 0.7/ 3

Judge Karen’s Court: 0.7/ 2


Growth from the year-ago time period and full retention (in household rating) from the lead-in is a positive first week to-date for the welcome returnee.  


Access Hollywood Live (NBC Universal): 13 markets


September 2009 time period: 0.8/ 3

Lead-in average: 1.1/ 4

Access Hollywood Live: 0.7/ 3

Retention of just 64 percent out of the lead-in average is particularly weak.


Don’t Forget the Lyrics (Twentieth Television) – 51 markets


September 2009 time period: 0.6/ 2

Lead-in average: 0.6/ 2

Don’t Forget the Lyrics: 0.4/ 1


A loss of 33 percent from both benchmarks is noticeable disappointing. 


Steven & Chris (Program Partners) – 16 markets


September 2009 time period: 0.3/ 1

Lead-in average: 0.2/ 1

Steven & Chris: 0.1/ 0


No matter how hard you try, you cannot spin a 0 share of the audience. 

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Night 5 of the 2010-11 Season

 8:00 p.m. Modern Family (R)

 8:30 p.m. Better with You (R)

 9:00 p.m. The Whole Truth (R)

10:00 p.m. 20/20

 8:00 p.m. Medium (season premiere)

 9:00 p.m. CSI: NY (season premiere, new day and time)

10:00 p.m. Blue Bloods (series premiere)

 8:00 p.m. Dateline (season premiere, two hours)

10:00 p.m. Outlaw (time period premiere)

 8:00 p.m. Human Target (R)

 9:00 p.m. The Good Guys (season premiere)


 8:00 p.m. Smallville (season premiere)

 9:00 p.m. Supernatural (season premiere)\

New Program Descriptions
Blue Bloods (CBS)

-The Premise:
A multigenerational family of New York based cops is the focus of this relationship-driven crime solver. The ensemble cast includes Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Flex Alexander, Len Cariou, Will Estes and Dylan Moore.

-The Reality:
The obvious disadvantage of any new show airing on Friday is the growing lack of interest in the evening. But the networks thankfully refuse to abandon ship and relocated lead-in CSI: NY is the strongest show on the night. So, there is some hope for Blue Bloods. While there is no reason to think the family themed crime drama will strike it rich in the ratings, decent support and weak competition (ABC’s deteriorating 20/20 and unproven NBC drama Outlaw) could be beneficial. Anticipate a performance similar to former time period occupant Numb3rs in its later years.


-Chance of Survival for Blue Bloods (Based on a scale of 1-1, the best, to 10-1, the worst): 5-1

Night 6 of the 2010-11 Season
 8:00 p.m. Saturday Night Football

 8:00 p.m. Hawaii Five-O (R)

 9:00 p.m. Blue Bloods (R)

10:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery (season premiere)

 8:00 p.m. The Event (R)

 9:00 p.m. Chase (R)

10:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (R)

 8:00 p.m. Cops (original and repeat)

 9:00 p.m. America’s Most Wanted (season premiere)

Sunday 9/26/10
Night 7 of the 2010-11 Season

 7:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (season premiere, part one)

 8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (part two)

 9:00 p.m. Desperate Housewives (season premiere)

10:00 p.m. Brothers & Sisters (season premiere)


The line-up begins at 7:30 p.m. due to a football overrun.

 7:30 p.m. 60 Minutes (season premiere)

 8:30 p.m. The Amazing Race (season premiere, 90-minutes)

10:00 p.m. Undercover Boss (season premiere)

 7:00 p.m. Football Night in America

 8:30 p.m. Sunday Night Football: New York Jets at Miami Dophins


 7:00 p.m. The Simpsons (R)  

 7:30 p.m. The Simpsons (R)

 8:00 p.m. The Simpsons (season premiere)

 8:30 p.m. The Cleveland Show (season premiere)

 9:00 p.m. Family Guy (season premiere, one hour)


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest


-Lifetime Renewals:

Lifetime Television has renewed scripted hours Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva for their fifth and third seasons, respectively. Thirteen new episodes have been ordered for 2011.


-Additional Script Orders at The CW:

It is not an official full season renewal yet. But The CW has ordered six additional scripts for freshman drama Hellcats and veteran Monday occupant One Tree Hill. Both series received an initial order of 13 episodes for the current season.


Live From New York…It’s Saturday Night Live!


Who was the first female host of long-running Saturday Night Live on NBC?


a)      Candice Bergen

b)      Jodie Foster

c)      Louise Lasser

d)      Lily Tomlin

e)      Raquel Welch


The answer to yesterday’s question…


What was Coach’s real first name on beloved sitcom Cheers?


a)      Alvin

b)      Dominic

c)      Ernie

d)      Fred

e)      Louis


Is: c) Ernie. As is Ernie Pantusso. All together now…


Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same

You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.
You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows
your name.

-Current kudos goes to:
Kristin Barnes, Burt Benoliel, Gerry Bixenspan, Kimay Bloch, Barbara Bloomfield, Larry Cauble, Mavis Chow, Tom Condosta, Kristen Conner, Reid Davis, Ric Dittman, John Ferlazzo, Beth Gelfond, Adam Giagni, Michael Grewe, Ed Griffis, Peter Grad, Scott Hamula, Kevin Harlan, Carolyn Becker Hayes, Brad Hight, Melissa Hodgdon, Heidi Hoffmeister, Michael Holland, Ken Hommel, Kerry Hughes, Bob Ingersoll, Greg Janover, Ken Jobe, Irene Kirschner, Synda Kollman,  Joel Kunkel, Steven Kurtzer, Sherry Lambie, Stephen LaRue, Charmaine Leary, Howard Lieboff, Rick Locke, Patty Lynch, James Marquet, Michele McAleer, Julia McCray, Tom Mertes, Debbie Mirr, Jim Moore, Matt Moore, Matthew Morse, Michael Natale, Joe Pedri, Alan Perris, Alex Petrilli, Jr., Amy Preisendefer, Michael Ratliffe, Jay Rossi, Colleen Roth, Mary Ryan, Ron Salmon, Jack Schabel, Maxine Shulman, Mark Simmons, Rafi Stefan, Michelle Stanton, Ronnie Tallant, Nina Tomlinson, Linda Weeks, John Wood, Abbott Wool, Jeanne Yonkers