CBS Stems the Bleeding With Monday Comedy Switcheroo

Ratings up after net shuffles the deck

In killing off the underperforming We Are Men and shifting 2 Broke Girls to the 8:30 p.m. time slot, CBS appears to have halted its Monday night skid. That said, the year-ago comparisons are a stark reminder of how quickly a prime-time lineup can lose its footing.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, CBS’ two-hour comedy block showed a slight uptick from a week ago, averaging a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49, an improvement of 9 percent versus a 2.3. How I Met Your Mother started strong with a 3.1 rating, up from last week’s 3.0, while the relocated 2 Broke Girls delivered a 2.6 in the demo, up three-tenths of a point from its final 9 p.m. showing.

An encore presentation of The Big Bang Theory drew a 2.2 rating, down a tenth versus 2 Broke Girl’s Oct. 7 performance, while new comedy Mom dipped 5 percent to a series-low 2.0.

Hostages remained unchanged at 10 p.m., averaging 5.16 million viewers and a 1.2 in the demo. While these are particularly poor ratings by CBS’ lofty standards, the C3 ratings may very well ensure that Hostages will live to see its entire 13-episode run. (According to the first batch of currency data, the series premiere improved 17 percent upon application of DVR playback and commercial ratings. If Hostages can continue adding viewers who actually watch the ads, it will live to fight another day.)

For all that, the year-over-year comparisons are disconcerting. On Oct. 15, 2012, HIMYM, Partners, 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly averaged a 2.9 in the demo, while Hawaii Five-0 delivered a 2.1. All told, CBS last night averaged a 2.2 rating, down 21 percent from the year-ago 2.8.

While Fox showed marked year-over-year improvement, growing 50 percent to a 2.4 in the dollar demo, direct comparisons are a bit dicey. A year ago, Fox’s coverage of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series averaged just 5.58 million viewers and a 1.6 rating. (While the Cards-Giants series went all the way down to the wire, this particular outing was a dud. By the fourth inning, San Francisco already had a cushy five-run lead; they’d go on to win 7-1.)

At any rate, both Fox dramas showed some slippage, with Bones dipping 5 percent to a 2.0 and Sleepy Hollow tumbling 4 percent to a series-low 2.7. Having already been picked up for a second season and boasting the strongest live-same-day to C3 deliveries, the setback is no cause for concern to Sleepy enthusiasts.

NBC’s seemingly unstoppable [twirling] musical chairs juggernaut suffered only minor erosion, falling one-tenth of a point versus last week’s installment with a 4.5 rating. As has been the case throughout the season, The Voice dominated every ratings category, boasting particularly strong deliveries among women 18-49 (5.7) and 25-54 (7.0).

Rounding out the night for the Peacock was its new procedural, The Blacklist, which was flat with a 3.0. While the James Spader vehicle is the No. 2 new drama series behind ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., its half-hour erosion patterns remain a puzzle. Per Nielsen, The Blacklist fell from a 3.4 in the 9-9:30 p.m. slot to a 3.0 in the final half-hour. In previous weeks, the split was 3.5/2.9, 3.8/3.3 and 4.1/3.5.

The Blacklist also faced competition from ESPN’s Monday Night Football (4.7) and, to a lesser extent, TBS’ coverage of Game 3 of the NLCS battle between the Cards and Dodgers (1.3). 

ABC did its usual big-reach/low-demo waltz with Dancing With the Stars; with an average draw of 13 million viewers and a 2.1 rating, only 21 percent of the DWTS audience landed in the 18-49 demo. No surprise, really: with a median age of 62.1 years, Stars is the second oldest-skewing show on broadcast television, behind CBS’ Friday night cop show Blue Bloods (62.6).

At 10 p.m., Castle was up 16 percent with a 2.2.