Broadcast Network Ratings Roundup: Jan. 14-20

Football Games Dominated Network Viewing

With cable networks and digital video recorders siphoning viewership for regular programming on the broadcast networks, they have come to depend on big events for bursts of attention — things like awards shows and the Olympics. Football was most helpful last week.
Associated Press,

NEW YORK (AP) — Pro football's conference championships dominated viewership over the weekend, a vivid illustration of how big events have become so important to network television.

The Nielsen Co. said 47.7 million people watched the Baltimore Ravens defeat the New England Patriots for a trip to the Super Bowl. It was a rematch of the 2012 AFC Championship Game, and the ratings were similar, too. Last year's game had 48.7 million viewers.

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NFC ratings were sharply down, however, perhaps a reflection of the size of the markets involved. An estimated 42 million people watched the NFC Championship between the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons, well below the 57.6 million who saw the New York Giants beat San Francisco last year. The Fox game aired Sunday afternoon.

With cable networks and digital video recorders siphoning viewership for regular programming on the broadcast networks, they have come to depend on big events for bursts of attention — things like awards shows and the Olympics.

Football is most helpful. Of 247 programs that have reached at least 20 million live viewers between Sept. 1, 2010, and Sunday, 136 of them were NFL games, according to Nielsen statistics analyzed by the NFL.

Next were 39 episodes of Fox's "American Idol," 18 nights of the London Summer Olympics and 18 episodes of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," Nielsen said.

Brand Connections

That list did not include last week's season premiere of "American Idol" on Fox. Despite introducing new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, the show reached 17.9 million viewers last Wednesday. The show's Thursday edition had 16.3 million viewers, Nielsen said.

After the football games, last week's most-watched show was "NCIS" on CBS.

Cult favorite "Fringe" ended its five-year run on Fox last week with just over 3 million viewers, ranking No. 95 among all prime-time programming last week.

Except for the two "Idol" episodes, CBS had all of the week's 15 most popular programs. The network averaged 15.9 million viewers in prime time for the week (9.4 rating, 15 share). Fox had 7.5 million (4.4, 7), ABC had 5.8 million (3.8, 6), NBC had 3.7 million (2.4, 4), the CW had 1.6 million (1.0, 2) and ION Television had 1.1 million (0.7, 1).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision averaged 3.9 million viewers (2.0, 3), Telemundo had 1.3 million (0.7, 1), UniMas had 580,000 (0.3, 1), Estrella had 230,000 and Azteca had 120,000 (both 0.1, 0).

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.2 million viewers (6.2, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 8.5 million (5.7, 11), and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.2 million viewers (4.9, 9).

A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Jan. 14-20, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "AFC Championship: Baltimore vs. New England," CBS, 47.71 million; "AFC Championship Post-Game," CBS, 25.95 million; "NCIS," CBS, 22.86 million; "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 17.93 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 17.64 million; "American Idol" (Thursday), Fox, 16.23 million; "Hawaii Five-0" (Sunday), CBS, 13.03 million; "Criminal Minds," CBS, 12.64 million; "2 Broke Girls," CBS, 12.45 million; "The Big Bang Theory" (Monday, 8:30 p.m.), CBS, 11.7 million.

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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 27, 2016
  • 1.
    3.0/11
  • 2.
    1.8/6
  • 3.
    1.2/4
  • 4.
    0.9/3
  • 5.
    0.6/2
  • 6.
    0.2/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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