Primetime Ratings Report For the week of September 22, 2008 (Based on National Live + Same Day Program Ratings)
ABC Wins the Opening Week of the Season in Viewers and Young Adults, Growing its Audience Year to Year Despite the Jump in DVR Penetration
ABC Airs 3 of the Top 4 Shows for Premiere Week in Adults 18-49,
And Each of the Top 4 Most-Watched Television Programs Overall
"Desperate Housewives" is TV's Most-Watched Scripted Series Telecast Since April, and "Grey's Anatomy" the Top-Rated in Adults 18-49 Since February
On Each Night of its 3-Night Live Season Premiere Event, "Dancing with
The Stars" Ranks No. 1 in its Time Period in Total Viewers and Adults 18-49
ABC is the No. 1 Net on the Opening Night of the 08-09 TV Season, Growing
Year to Year and Outdrawing Second-Place CBS by 4.0 Million Viewers
ABC Marks its Most-Watched Season Premiere Monday in 9 Years,
Representing the Top Season Opening Monday for Any Net Since 2002
"DWTS" Attracts ABC's Largest Audience in its Monday Time Slot in 1-1/2 Years
And Generates the Net's Highest Number with Adults 18-49 in Close to a Year
"DWTS Results" Generates ABC's Top Viewer and Young Adult
Numbers in its Wednesday 8-9pm Hour Since Last November
ABC Wins the Opening Thursday of the Season in Viewers and Key Adults,
The Net's First Total Viewer Victory on a Season-Opening Thursday in 8 Years
Drawing its Biggest Audience Since January and Top Adult 18-49 Number Since November, "Ugly Betty" Opens its Third Season a Strong No. 1 in Key Demos
ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" Generates its Strongest Numbers in Nearly 11 Months
ABC Ranks No. 1 on Friday in Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54 with
ABC News' "20/20 Special Edition" and Presidential Debate Analysis
ABC Wins Saturday Across All Key Adults with "Saturday Night Football"
"Home Edition" is the Most-Watched Entertainment Show Sunday from 8-9pm, Beating CBS' "Amazing Race" Opener by Wide Margins in Viewers and Adults 18-49
Sunday's No. 1 TV Show, "Housewives" Marks its Best Numbers Since January
ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" Towers Over CBS' "The Unit" in Sunday's 10pm Hour,
In Viewers and Young Adults, Marking its Biggest Numbers Since Early December
WEEK No. 1:
ABC won the opening week of the 2008-09 television season (w/o 9/22/08), beating its nearest competitors by 1.0 million viewers (12.3 million vs. 11.3 million � CBS) and by 15% in Adults 18-49 (3.8/10 vs. 3.3/9 � NBC). In fact ABC marked its 4th straight year to rank No. 1 among Adults 18-49 during premiere week, representing the longest winning streak for any network in 9 years � since an NBC streak from 1995 through 1999. The most-watched net on premiere week for the 2nd straight year, ABC's tallied its first back-to-back Total Viewer victories on the opening week of the TV Season in 13 years � since dual wins in 1994 and 1995.
� Despite a substantial increase in DVR penetration year to year (rising from 20% last year up to 28% currently) allowing more viewers to record shows and watching them later, the Network increased its overall audience from the opening week of last season in Total Viewers (+3% - 12.3 million vs. 11.9 million). Disney-owned ABC was also up year to year by 6% in Teens 12-17 (1.7/6 vs. 1.6/6) and by 17% in Kids 2-11 (1.4/6 vs. 1.2/5). The Net retained a strong 97% of its Adult 18-49 audience, pacing within one-tenth of a rating point of last year in the demo.
� ABC generated its strongest week since last November among Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 � since the week of 11/26/07.
Rankings: ABC aired 3 of the Top 4 TV shows during premiere week in Adults 18-49, including the 2 highest-rated shows with "Grey's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives": "Grey's Anatomy" � No. 1, "Desperate Housewives" � No. 2 and "Dancing with the Stars" � No. 4. In fact it was the 4th consecutive year for ABC to claim the No. 1 TV show during premiere week in the key young adult sales demo. The Net placed each of the Top 4 most-watched television shows, with "Dancing with the Stars," "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy" and "DWTS SP-9/23." In fact "Housewives" represents TV's most-watched scripted series telecast since early-April (4/10/08 - CBS' "C.S.I.") and "Grey's Anatomy" the highest-rated among Adults 18-49 since the beginning of February (2/5/08 - Fox's "House" coming out of "American Idol"). Among its core female audience, ABC claimed 5 of the Top 6 television shows of the week in each of in both Women 18-34 and Women 18-49.
A note about increasing DVR penetration and year-to-year rating comparisons: Year-to-year rating comparisons based on the Live + Same Day data stream are distorted by the level of DVR penetration in the Nielsen sample, which has jumped up to 28% currently, from 20% at the same point in 2007. More viewers are watching shows on their own timetables, which may not be reflected in the overnight next day numbers. The only truly valid year-to-year comparison would be one based on the Live + 7 Day metric, once those stats are released by Nielsen.
With the season premieres of "Dancing with the Stars" and "Boston Legal" on the night, ABC stood as the most-watched TV network on the opening Monday of the 2008-09 TV Season, outdrawing its nearest competition by 4.0 million viewers (17.2 million vs. 13.2 million - CBS). ABC also ranked No. 1 on Monday night across each of the key women demographics: W18-34 (4.2/11), W18-49 (6.0/14) and W25-54 (7.5/16). ABC finished in a near-tie with CBS for first place in Adults 18-49 on Monday, with just one-tenth of a rating point separating the two networks (4.4/11 vs. 4.5/11).
� Growing from opening Monday of last season by 2.0 million viewers (17.2 million vs. 15.2 million on 9/24/07), ABC posted its biggest season premiere audience on the night in 9 years and the most-watched for any network since 2002 � since 9/20/99 and 9/23/02 (CBS), respectively. In fact it was a good start to the season for broadcast television overall, as the 5 networks combined (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW) attracted 1.3 million more viewers this year than last (48.3 million vs. 47.0 million), despite a sharp increase in DVR penetration (from 19% a year ago up to more than 27% currently).
� ABC registered its most-watched (17.2 million) Monday since last November and its highest rated among Adults 18-49 (4.4/11) since March � since 11/19/07 and 3/24/08, respectively
"Dancing with the Stars" (8:00-10:01 p.m.)
The most-watched TV show on Monday night, ABC's seventh-season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" dominated in its 2-hour time period, beating second-place CBS by 10.1 million viewers (21.3 million vs. 11.2 million) and by 26% in Adults 18-49 (5.3/13 vs. 4.2/10). "DWTS" was also Monday's No. 1 show in the key Adults 18-49 sales demo (tied w/CBS' "Two and a Half Men" from 9:00-9:30 p.m.), besting high-profile competition including the season opener of CBS' "C.S.I.: Miami" (5.2/13) and NBC's 2-hour return of "Heroes" (5.0/12).
� "Dancing with the Stars" generated ABC's largest audience in the time period in 1-1/2 years and its highest Adult 18-49 rating since last November � since 3/19/07 and 11/19/07, respectively.
"Boston Legal" (10:01-11:00 p.m.)
In its season premiere, ABC's "Boston Legal" turned in its best viewer (8.8 million) and young adult number (2.4/6) since April � since 4/22/08.
ABC took second place on the opening Tuesday of the '08-09 season in Total Viewers (14.4 million) and Adults 18-49 (3.8/10), while holding the No. 1 position on the evening with Women 18-49 (5.1/13) and Women 25-54 (6.4/14).
� Year to year, ABC retained all of its Total Viewers (14.4 million) and grew its Adult 18-49 audience (3.8/10 vs. 3.7/10) from last year's season premiere Tuesday (9/25/07).
"Opportunity Knocks" (8:00-9:00 p.m.)
Building audience opposite established series in the 8 o'clock hour, including Fox's "House," NBC's "Biggest Loser" and CBS' "NCIS," ABC's premiere of "Opportunity Knocks" grew by 1.3 million viewers (5.9 million to 7.2 million) and 31% in Adults 18-49 (1.6/5 to 2.1/6) from start to finish.
"Dancing with the Stars" (9:00-11:00 p.m.)
On the second evening of its 3-night live premiere event, ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" finished a definitive No. 1 in its 2-hour time period, outpacing its nearest competition by 4.8 million viewers (18.3 million vs. 13.5 million � CBS' "Mentalist"/"Without a Trace") and by 15% in Adults 18-49 (4.7/12 vs. 4.1/10 � Fox's "Fringe" from 9:00-10:00 p.m.). It was the second night in a row that "DWTS" won its time slot on both Nielsen measures. Comedian Jeffrey Ross was the first celebrity dancer to be eliminated from the competition this season. Surging from its lead-in to win its first hour from 9:00-10:00 p.m., "DWTS" beat competition including Fox's "House"-boosted "Fringe" and CBS' series debut of "The Mentalist." Building audience at 10:00 p.m., "DWTS" bested the competition in the hour, including season premieres of NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" and CBS' "Without a Trace."
� "DWTS" qualified as the most-watched TV show on Tuesday (and for the second consecutive night) and finished as the night's No. 2 program in Adults 18-49, behind only Fox's "House." It was also Tuesday's highest rated show with Adults 25-54 (6.1/14) and Women 18-49 (6.4/15).
ABC delivered a solid second-place finish on Wednesday night in Total Viewers (10.3 million) and Adults 18-49 (2.9/8), while ranking No. 1 among Adults 18-34 (2.2/7). ABC was also the highest-rated broadcaster on the night with Teens 12-17 (1.7/6) and Kids 2-11 (1.5/7).
"Dancing with the Stars Results" (8:00-9:00 p.m.)
On the third evening of its 3-night live premiere event, ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" finished a strong No. 1 in its time slot, topping second-place Fox's "Bones" by 6.2 million viewers (15.9 million vs. 9.7 million) and by 16% in Adults 18-49 (3.6/10 vs. 3.1/9). It was the 3rd night in a row that "DWTS" won its time slot with both viewers and young adults. Actor Ted McGinley was the second celebrity dancer to be eliminated from the contest this season. Also in the hour, "DWTS" towered over NBC's highly-promoted series debut of "Knight Rider," more than doubling the NBC premiere in viewers and outpacing it by 44% in the key Adult 18-49 sales demo ("Knight Rider" = 7.4 million viewers and 2.5/7 in AD18-49).
� "DWTS" registered as the second-most-watched TV show overall on Wednesday, and with musical performances by the Jonas Brothers and Jesse McCartney, "Dancing" ranked as the No. 1 broadcast program on Wednesday night with Teens 12-17 (2.0/8-tie) and Kids 2-11 (2.3/9).
� "Dancing with the Stars Results" attracted ABC's biggest audience and highest Adult 18-49 number to the time period since last November � since 11/28/07.
"David Blaine: Dive of Death" (9:16-11:16 p.m.)
Starting after the Presidential Address at 9:16 p.m. (ET), "David Blaine: Dive of Death" took second place in its time period among Total Viewers (7.1 million) and Adults 18-49 (2.6/7). The special featured David Blaine, the "Upside Down Man," attempting to hang from a thin wire five stories in the air � with no safety net or airbag to break his fall � in Central Park's Wollman Rink for three days and nights.
� "David Blaine: Dive of Death" drew the Net's biggest audience in the time period since April and its top Adult 18-49 rating in nearly 7 months � since 4/16/08 and 2/27/08, respectively.
ABC dominated the opening Thursday of the season among Total Viewers (15.6 million) and across each of the key Adult demographics: AD18-34 (6.4/18), AD18-49 (6.0/15) and A25-54 (6.3/15). The Net bested second-place CBS on the evening by 3.8 million viewers and by 58% in Adults 18-49 (CBS = 11.8 million and 3.8/10). ABC's Thursday was the highest-rated night for any net so far this season in the key young adult sales demo.
� ABC's numbers were up over the same night a year ago in both Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 (14.5 million and 5.8/15 on 9/27/07).
� It was the first time that ABC has won the opening Thursday of a season in Total Viewers in 8 years (since 10/5/00) and just the second time since at least 1991 - going back to the start of Nielsen's electronic database.
"Ugly Betty" (8:00-9:00 p.m.)
From 8:00-9:00 p.m. ABC's "Ugly Betty" opened its third season a definitive No. 1 in its time period among Adults 18-34 (3.5/11), beating its nearest competitors by 30% - the first hour of CBS "Survivor: Gabon" premiere and NBC's opener of "My Name is Earl" tied for second (2.7/9). Asserting itself in the hour among its core audience of Women 18-34, "Betty" defeated second-place CBS' "Survivor" franchise by a best-ever 75% (5.6/17 vs. 3.2/10). The show earned a solid second in the hour to CBS' "Survivor" in Total Viewers (9.8 million) and Adults 18-49 (3.3/9), leading third-place NBC's season opener of "My Name is Earl" by wide margins ("Earl" = 6.4 million and 2.7/8).
� "Ugly Betty" generated its biggest audience since early January and its top Adult 18-49 number since last November � since 1/10/08 and 11/15/07, respectively. It was the series' highest-rated telecast with Women 18-34 in 1 year � since 9/27/07.
"Grey's Anatomy" (9:00-11:00 p.m.)
Thursday's No. 1 TV program in Total Viewers (18.5 million) and Adults 18-49 (7.4/18) on its fifth-season premiere, ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" opened as the highest-rated premiere so far this season in the key young adult sales demo, outdelivering the second-highest-rated season opener by a margin of 32% (Fox's "House" on 9/16/08 = 5.6/16). The ABC medical drama marked its 41st straight original telecast as Thursday's No. 1 TV show in Adults 18-49 � No. 1 on every single original airing since premiering on the evening in 2006. In its 9:00-11:00 p.m., "Grey's" beat its nearest time-period competition by 7.4 million viewers (18.5 million vs. 11.1 million � CBS) and by 80% in Adults 18-49 (7.4/18 vs. 4.1/10 � NBC).
� "Grey's" represents TV's highest-rated scripted series telecast among Adults 18-49 since the beginning of February (2/5/08 - Fox's "House" coming out of "American Idol").
� In Total Viewers and Adults 18-49, "Grey's Anatomy" turned in its strongest performance in nearly 11 months � since 11/15/07.
With a special edition of "20/20" and ABC News' Presidential Debate analysis, ABC ranked No. 1 on Friday night among Adults 18-49 (1.9/6) and Adults 25-54 (2.5/7-tie).
"20/20 Special Edition" (8:00-9:00 p.m.)
ABC News' "20/20 - Special Edition," the first of two hour-long specials with Diane Sawyer examining the personal crises, family struggles and defining events that have shaped the Presidential candidates, drew the Net's largest audience (6.9 million) in the hour in nearly 2 years and highest Adults 25-54 performance (2.4/7) in over 1-1/2 years - since 12/29/06 and 2/9/07, respectively.
� "20/20" was up over its most recent telecast (9/19/08) by 1.1 million viewers and by 20% in Adults 25-54 (5.8 million & 2.0/6 in Adults 25-54).
"Vote 2008: Analysis FRI" (10:39-11:00 p.m.)
Directly following the Presidential Debate, ABC News' aired the top post-debate coverage with "Vote 2008: Analysis FRI," ranking No. 1 in the time period against CBS and NBC with Total Viewers (8.3 million), Adults 18-49 (2.5/7) and Adults 25-54 (2.8/7-tie).
"Saturday Night Football: Illinois vs. Penn State and Virginia Tech vs. Nebraska" (8:00-11:00 p.m.)
ABC's "Saturday Night Football," with games featuring Illinois vs. Penn State and Virginia Tech vs. Nebraska, took ABC to the top spot in Saturday prime across each of the key adult demographics [Adults 18-34 (1.6/6), Adults 18-49 (1.9/7) and Adults 25-54 (2.2/7)] for the 3rd time in the last 5 weeks.
Competing against NBC's "NFL Sunday Night Football" on the night (Philadelphia-Chicago) and Fox with its highly-rated NFL overrun into the first hour of primetime, ABC held second place to NBC on the opening Sunday of the season in Total Viewers (12.5 million) and ranked No. 1 across all key women demos: W18-34 (5.1/14), W18-49 (6.0/15) and W25-54 (6.8/16).
� ABC's fifth-season premiere of "Desperate Housewives" stood as the definitive No. 1 TV program on the first Sunday of the season in Total Viewers and Adults 18-49. In fact ABC aired the Top 2 entertainment programs on Sunday evening in the key Adult 18-49 sales demographic, with "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers & Sisters," respectively.
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (8:00-9:00 p.m.)
Building sharply on its lead-in during its regular time period premiere, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" ranked as the most-watched TV series during the 8 o'clock hour (12.0 million). "Home Edition" topped its unscripted competition in the hour, CBS' "The Amazing Race XIII" season premiere, by 2.0 million viewers (12.0 million vs. 10.0 million) and by 16% in Adults 18-49 (3.7/9 vs. 3.2/8).
"Desperate Housewives" (9:00-10:01 p.m.)
The fifth-season premiere of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" jumped to the top of 9 o'clock hour with an average audience of 18.6 million viewers and a 7.1 rating, 16 share in Adults 18-49, beating NBC's "Sunday Night Football" (18.2 million and 7.0/17) and overshadowing CBS' "Cold Case" opener (11.4 million and 2.7/6) in the hour. In fact the "Housewives" season premiere stands as television's most-watched scripted series telecast since early-April (4/10/08 - CBS' "C.S.I.").
� "Desperate Housewives" drew its largest audience and top Adult 18-49 rating since January (since 1/6/08) and ran well ahead of where it left off last season. "Desperate Housewives" was up over its 2008 May Sweep performance by 2.1 million viewers and by 18% in Adults 18-49 (May Sweep Live + Same Day = 16.5 million viewers and 6.0/15 in Adults 18-49). Despite the increase in DVR penetration, "Housewives" topped it's year-ago season opener by 5% with Women 18-34 (8.5/20 vs. 8.1/19).
"Brothers & Sisters" (10:01-11:00 p.m.)
ABC's third-season premiere of "Brothers & Sisters" overshadowed its CBS drama competition in the 10 o'clock hour, leading the third-season premiere of "The Unit" by 2.3 million viewers (12.0 million vs. 9.7 million) and by 77% in Adults 18-49 (4.6/11 vs. 2.6/6).
� "Brothers & Sisters" saw its best performance since early December in Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 � since 12/2/07. "Brothers & Sisters" grew from the series' performance during the '08 May Sweep by 1.2 million viewers and by 21% in Adults 18-49 (May Sweep Live + Same Day = 10.8 million viewers and 3.8/10 in Adults 18-49). Despite the increase in DVR penetration year to year, "Brothers & Sisters" was up 5% from last year's season premiere in Adults 18-34 (4.0/11 vs. 3.8/11).
Source: Nielsen Media Research (National Live+Same Day Program Ratings), week of 9/22/08, unless stated otherwise.