Perhaps the most highly touted show of the fall season, Fox's "X Factor" hit its starting note a bit flat in its season premiere -- coming in lower than media agencies' expectations.
The singing competition show -- which was heavily marketed by Fox -- scored a Nielsen preliminary 4.4 rating/12 share among 18-49 viewers and some 12.2 million viewers overall. This was a bit off media agencies' expectations of around a 5.0 to 5.2 rating for the show in the demo.
In fairness, it was a decent broadcast prime-time performance in comparison to other shows.
While some were expecting "American Idol"-type viewership numbers, advertisers were more conservative in their estimates for the Simon Cowell-produced show. It is similar to "Idol," where he had a long-time association.
Still, many believe Fox will have a better time of it at the beginning of the season -- as compared to most of their slow-moving fall TV starts.
Brad Adgate, senior vice president and corporate research director for media agency Horizon Media, says: "Most people thought Fox would have a stronger fourth quarter this year, based in part on 'X Factor' and the popularity of 'Glee.'"
Fox's "X-Factor" faced heavy competition, specifically ABC's mega-Wednesday night show "Modern Family"-- coming off some big marketing spin after another Emmy win. It grabbed a night-leading 6.0/15 among 18-49 viewers. The show muscled a strong 18% rise in this viewer group versus last season's premiere.
Still, Fox won the night -- as least according to preliminary Nielsen results, with a 4.2/12 among 18-49 viewers. ABC scored a 4.1/11, followed by CBS at a 3.5/9, NBC at a 1.8/5, Univision with a 1.7/4, and the CW at a 0.6/2.
ABC kept the pressure on later in the evening with its new "Revenge" drama -- posting a very decent 3.4 rating/9 share at 10 p.m. This beat CBS' new "CSI" -- in a new time period and with new cast member Ted Danson, which earned a 3.1/8. Another season premiere, NBC's "Law & Order: SVU," came in third place at a 2.3/6.
Earlier in the night, at 8 p.m., another edition of CBS' longtime franchise "Survivor: South Pacific" took in a 3.1/9 -- holding up well against strong competition from "X-Factor," which won the 8 p.m. hour, and from ABC's "The Middle," which like "Modern Family," showed gains versus its season premiere of a year ago. A special hour-long "Middle" took in a 3.0/9.
CBS' best effort came at 9 p.m. with "Criminal Minds" getting to a strong 4.1/11 -- despite heavy competition from "X-Factor" and "Modern Family." Behind all this was NBC, struggling to maintain some visibility with its new comedies -- "Up All Night" and "Free Agents". Both shows each fell 40%. "Night" landed at a 2.3/7 and "Agents" went to a 1.3/4. With the heavy schedule of new TV content, CW had trouble keeping pace. Reality effort "H8R" took in a 0.4/1 and "America's Next Top Model" earned a 0.7/2 among 18-49 viewers.