Are network viewers already bored on Wednesday -- or just looking to screen those shows later in the week?
In analyzing Nielsen live-plus-same-day viewing results, total viewers slipped 3% on Wednesday, October 20 to 33.8 million total viewers at the five English-language networks versus the same day a week ago -- all this while the networks are still airing virtually all fresh episodes.
TV analysts have noted that DVR playback has grown this year over last season -- now in 33% of U.S. TV homes, and up from 28% a year ago, much of it having an effect on live prime-time viewing.
Preliminarily, CBS and Fox tied for the top spot among 18-49 viewers with a Nielsen 2.9 rating/8 share on Wednesday this week. A week ago, the two networks tied in final ratings, each with a 3.1/9.
CBS' "Criminal Minds" slipped a bit to a 3.6/9 from 3.8/10 -- still good for the best-performing network show of the night. ABC's "Modern Family" and Fox's "Glee" continued to be hot on the heels of the CBS drama this week -- with a 3.3/9 and a 3.2/8, respectively. A week earlier, "Modern Family" was at a 3.6/10 and "Glee", at a 3.4/9.
Other shows posting in the three-plus rating range were ABC's "Cougar Town" -- now at a 3.0/8, down from a 3.3/8 the week before -- and "CSI:NY" -- now at a 3.0/8, off from a 3.2/9 the week before.
After this group, the best of middling new performers looks to be ABC's "The Middle" -- at a 2.0/6, running at 8:30 p.m. -- and NBC's "Mercy," also at a 2.0/6, running at 8 p.m.
ABC's "Eastwick" continues a bit lower -- a 1.7/5, a little less than half of the "CSI: NY" numbers at 10 p.m., but better than NBC's "Jay Leno Show" at a 1.5/4.
ABC's earlier-evening comedy, "Hank," is also still in a struggling mode -- coming in at fourth place at 8 p.m. with a 1.5/5.
For the night overall, ABC came in third place at an average 2.2/6 among 18-49 viewers. NBC was right behind at 2.1/6, followed by Univision at a 1.5/4, and the CW at 1.0/3.