Seasonal Stumbles for Monday Night’s Hottest Series

The Voice, The Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow dip in first week of November sweeps

Monday night’s biggest broadcast shows are starting to settle into their seasonal troughs … a pattern that unfortunately coincides with the first full week of November sweeps.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, all but one of the night’s most popular series have dropped to seasonal lows. Most of these declines were expected—for example, The Voice always seems to sag a bit after the blind auditions end, which in turn could only result in a dip for lead-out drama The Blacklist, while Fox’s Sleepy Hollow tumbled after returning from its two-week baseball hiatus.

From 8-10 p.m., the first live Voice installment of Season 5 delivered 11.8 million viewers and a 3.6 in the adults 18-49 demo, down 16 percent from last Monday’s show (4.3) and 20 percent off the year-ago 4.5 rating. In the final hour of prime, The Blacklist drew a series-low 10.3 million total viewers and a 2.9 in the demo.

While The Blacklist tends to shed viewers from one half-hour to the next, Monday night’s episode was particularly erratic, dropping 22 percent from a 3.2 at 10-10:30 p.m. to a 2.5 in the final 30 minutes.

Ratings declines aside, NBC still dominated in the dollar demo, averaging a 3.3 for its three programming hours. ABC was No. 1 among total viewers, averaging 12.3 million to NBC’s 11.0 million.

Two weeks on the bench left Sleepy Hollow a little rusty, as the supernatural thriller dipped to a series-low 7.08 million viewers and a 2.5 in the demo. That said, the sixth episode of Sleepy blew the former 9-10 p.m. time slot occupant out of the water, more than doubling the 1.0 eked out by The Mob Doctor a year ago. 

Beginning Nov. 18, Sleepy will lead out of the new robocop drama Almost Human, while Bones will be shuffled over to Friday nights.

Fox closed out the night with a 2.3 in the demo, up 53 percent from a lowly 1.5 on Nov. 6, 2012, and tying CBS for second place.

ABC finished fourth (2.1), as Dancing With the Stars was flat and Castle was up a tenth of a point. The night’s other grower: CBS’ 8 p.m. comedy How I Met Your Mother, which improved 13 percent to a 3.4.

CBS officially rolled out version 2.0 of its Monday night comedy block, returning veteran comedy Mike & Molly to the 9 p.m. slot vacated by 2 Broke Girls. Both shows tied for fourth place on the night with a 2.6 in the 18-49 demo, although with a 3.5 among the 25-54 set, the Melissa McCarthy vehicle edged its lead-in by one-tenth of a ratings point.

Girls was down 4 percent from last week, while M&M fell 16 percent versus its Season 3 premiere (3.1). Year-over-year comps are a little dodgy in this case, as M&M last year occupied the 9:30 p.m. slot.

At 9:30 p.m., the sole survivor of Monday’s freshman comedy class, Mom, averaged 7.38 million viewers and tied a series low with a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating. Beleaguered 10 p.m drama Hostages fell another tenth to a 1.1.; with seven of the show’s slated 13 episodes having aired, it now appears as if CBS is content to burn off the serialized thriller in its current time slot.

Hostages is set to be replaced by the midseason Josh Holloway action series, Intelligence, on Feb. 24.

A closely fought (27-20) battle between NFC North combatants Green Bay and Chicago may have contributed to some of the erosion on the broadcast nets. ESPN last night notched its second-highest Monday Night Football rating of 2013, averaging 16.1 million viewers and a 6.1 in the demo.

Only the Sept. 9 MNF kickoff game put up bigger numbers for ESPN. The Eagles-Redskins telecast averaged 16.5 million viewers and a 6.6 in the dollar demo.

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