The one-hour drama--an unusual musical drama of sorts based on a British import--surprisingly turned away viewers on Thursday night, only reaching a 2.3 rating/6 share. It lost 65% of CBS' big 9 p.m. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" show, which came in with a 6.5/15.
CBS wanted to give "Viva" a good premiere and send it off on the back of its prized Thursday night 9 p.m. show--before it moves to its regular 8 p.m. Sunday night time slot. But the loss gave NBC's "ER" an easy and surprising win at 10 p.m., with a 4.0/11. ABC's "Big Shots" was a full rating point behind, at a 3.0/8.
CBS executives, and other TV network research executives, have said that shows airing at 10 p.m. Thursday (as well as those at 9 p.m.) are being DVR-recorded more than other time periods. The theory is that viewers want to save something for the weekend, where there are fewer interesting shows to watch.
All that means the numbers for "Viva" could improve. Had the show performed even slightly better, CBS would have won the night. "Survivor: China" maintained its 4.6/13 from the week before, and "CSI" grew 0.4 of a rating point. Competitor ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" lost 0.6 of a rating point.
Instead, CBS came in second with a 4.5 rating/11.6 share to ABC's 4.6 rating/11.9 share. Both networks were down on the night, versus the week before--ABC losing 0.5 of rating point, and CBS losing 0.3 of a rating point.
To be fair, ABC's "Big Shots" also has trouble keeping its lead-in. It lost a whopping 60% of "Grey's" viewers. Earlier in the evening, ABC's "Ugly Betty" (3.2/9 in 18-49) and "Grey's Anatomy" (7.3/17 in 18-49) were also under their season averages.
While ABC and CBS were sinking a bit, other networks made some gains.
Fox's game five of the League Championship Series help it improve to a 3.7/10.4 for the evening--versus a 2.1/5 the week before. The game between the Red Sox-Indians earned a 4.1/11.
CW moved up a bit with a 1.6/4 with its two dramas--"Smallville" and "Supernatural--from a 1.5/4 the week before.
NBC slipped a bit to a 3.7/10 for the night. While "ER" gained almost half a rating point versus a week ago, the network gave it back and then some--with "30 Rock" slipping again to a 2.6/7, off of a 3.0/8 the week before. "My Name is Earl" also went lower, coming in at 2.7/8 versus a 3.1/9 the week before.