NBC’s ‘Go On’ Premiere Earns Strong Sampling

Matthew Perry comedy draws 16.1 million in post-Olympics preview

NBC’s sneak preview of its new comedy series Go On generated a strong sampling Wednesday night, averaging 16.1 million total viewers and a 5.6 rating in the adults 18-to-49 demo. 

Presented in a commercial-free format immediately after NBC’s prime-time Olympics coverage, Go On retained a little more than half (54 percent) of its 10:30 p.m. lead-in of 30.6 million viewers and a 10.4 in the demo.

Per Nielsen fast national data, the first half of the pilot averaged a 6.1 in the demo, while the second half slipped to a 5.1. In other words, the latter portion of the preview held on to 84 percent of the audience that tuned in for the first 12 minutes.

Because Go On aired with a nonexistent commercial load, preview ratings will not be reflected in official national Nielsen reports for the night, week or 2012-13 TV season. 

The series, which stars Matthew Perry as a glib sports-radio host forced to confront the sudden death of his wife, will debut in its Tuesday 9 p.m. time slot on Sept. 11. Go On will lead out of The Voice results show.

In what amounts to a comedy roadblock, three of the Big Four broadcast networks will air comedies in the Tuesday 9-10 p.m. slot. Go On will set the table for fellow freshman sitcom The New Normal, while ABC will counter with the one-two punch of Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23. In the second half of its new two-hour comedy block, Fox stacks the deck with the returning hit New Girl and Mindy Kaling’s single-camera comedy, The Mindy Project.

While no one expects the official Go On premiere to perform anywhere near as well as last night’s preview, nor should the early look-in hurt the show’s chances in the fall. On Jan. 25, Fox offered an advance screening of the Kiefer Sutherland drama Touch, drawing 12 million viewers and a 3.9 in the dollar demo. Two months later, Touch bowed in its Thursday 9 p.m. slot to 11.8 million viewers and a 3.3 rating.

As has been the case throughout NBC's coverage of the 2012 London Olympics, last night's deliveries were outstanding. Per live-plus-same-day ratings, NBC on Wednesday night averaged 29.1 million viewers, topping the comparable night from Beijing by 17 percent (24.8 million).

Through the first 13 days, the London Olympics has averaged 32.6 million viewers in prime time, making it the most-watched non-U.S. summer games since Montreal (1976).

With just three nights of competition remaining before Sunday night's closing ceremony, the London Games are all but certain to beat out Beijing as the most-watched event in U.S. TV history. Four years ago, NBC set the record with an aggregate count of 215 million viewers. 

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