Nashville Hits a Sour Note in Week 2

ABC musical drama falls 29 percent in the dollar demo

A week after hitting all the high notes in its network television debut, ABC’s country music drama Nashville is singing a slower, sadder tune.

According to Nielsen’s live-plus-same-day ratings data, Nashville drew 6.74 million viewers and a 2.0 in the 18-to-49 demo, marking a 29 percent decline from its inaugural 2.8 rating.

After beating all comers a week ago in the 10 p.m. time slot, Nashville was left in the dust by the CBS workhorse CSI, which won on reach with 10.6 million viewers and in the demo (2.3). CSI performed even better with its target audience, notching a 3.2 rating among the 25-to-54 set.

NBC took third on the hour with the second installment of Chicago Fire, drawing 5.85 million viewers and a 1.5 in the dollar demo. While hardly encouraging, Fire’s 15 percent week-to-week decline was well within anticipated churn levels for a second episode.

The broadcasters faced a formidable foe in FX’s returning anthology/miniseries, American Horror Story: Asylum. Jessica Lange and the rest of AHS’s resident ghouls and deviants scared up a whopping 3.85 million viewers at 10 p.m., and its 2.2 demo rating beat out everything but CSI.

FX wasn’t the only network to put a chill in viewers. Facing a three-and-a-half-hour rain delay in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, Fox began airing a new episode of The X Factor at 8:33 p.m.  When baseball informed Fox that the Cards-Giants game was set to resume play at 9:47 p.m., the network threw to its studio team, only to discover that the rain was still falling.

After switching to an encore of The Mindy Project for a few minutes, Fox jumped back to St. Louis for the conclusion of the Cardinals’ 3-1 victory.

Speaking to his 4.4 million Twitter followers last night, X Factor impresario Simon Cowell gruffly characterized the scheduling snafu thusly: “It what’s known as a total f-up.”

Elsewhere on the dial and earlier in the night, The CW’s superhero drama Arrow returned in fine form, drawing 3.55 million viewers and a 1.3 in the 18-to-49 demo, flat versus its premiere rating. Arrow also delivered a 1.1 in the target demo (adults 18-to-34).

In the first half of the 8 p.m. hour, Arrow beat a Ben and Kate repeat on Fox (1.2) and topped NBC's newly canceled Animal Practice (1.1). Practice lead-out Guys With Kids was flat versus a week ago (1.4), while 8:30 p.m. rival The Neighbors dropped one-tenth of a ratings point, notching a 1.9 for ABC.

Modern Family won the night on reach (12.3 million viewers) and in the demo (4.7), offering a blockbuster lead-in for the return of ABC’s sophomore series Suburgatory. Unfortunately, the Jeremy Sisto-Jane Levy comedy retained just 60 percent of the 9 p.m. audience, drawing 7.54 million viewers and a 2.8 in the demo.

Suburgatory bowed Sept. 28, 2011, in the 8:30 p.m. slot, drawing 9.81 million viewers and a 3.3 rating.