The first week of the new season belonged to CBS, the winner among the key 18-49 viewers. NBC was the most improved, and Fox the most depressed. Much of this looks to continue into the second week.
NBC didn't have to do much to get better numbers. Just shifting "The Jay Leno Show" and putting back higher-rated dramas at 10 p.m. did the trick. NBC also had a decent improved showing for its "Sunday Night Football" game.
CBS had an average 3.3 rating/10 share for 18-49 viewers, up 3% versus a year ago. NBC and ABC were tied for second place with a 2.8/8, with NBC 4% higher and ABC down 15%. Fox was behind that at 2.6/8 -- down 16% versus a year before, while CW earned a 1.1/3 for a 10% gain. The overall five-network average was a 2.7/8.
Perhaps the most alarming drop came with Fox -- all this considering that it won the fall race among 18-49 viewers a year ago.
Its new "Lone Star" earned a 1.3 rating in its first week, and a 1.0 (time-zone overrun adjustment) rating on Monday in its second week -- seemingly begging to be canceled immediately. (Without that adjustment, the show remained at the 1.3 rating level.) Perhaps more hurtful, "House" -- one of Fox's strongest players -- was down in its premiere against last season, and then down again in its second week on Monday to a 3.8 rating/10 rating.
Fox had one strong story to tell in the first week -- "Glee," which posted a best-ever 5.6 rating/16 share plus, was the second-highest-rated show of the week next to "Sunday Night Football," which earned a 7.3/19 for NBC.
While you might think some of CW's newer shows helped improve its ratings picture, it shifted its "Smallville" and "Supernatural" to Friday night to help its overall 18-49 average. (CW targets 18-34 women for virtually all of its advertising business.)
The second Monday of the new season gave ABC another win -- thanks to "Dancing with the Stars." Many shows were down a bit from its premiere, but nothing too drastic, albeit Fox's "Lone Star" situation.
ABC took a Nielsen preliminary 4.3 rating/11 share for 18-49 viewers; CBS was in second place once again with a 3.7/10. NBC was next at 2.5/7, Fox earned a 2.3/6, Univision was at a 1.7/4 and CW finished with a 1.0/3.
"Stars" was down 6% to a 4.8/12 for another two-hour version. The show tied CBS' "Two and a Half Men," also down a bit from the previous week to 4.8/12. ABC did somewhat better with "Castle," at a 3.2/9 versus the week before.
Among the new shows, CBS shows generally maintained their stature among viewers: "Mike & Molly" dropped slightly to a 3.7/9; "Hawaii Five-0" lost 10% to a 3.5/9. NBC's new shows didn't fare as well: "The Event" gave back almost 20%. But it still landed at a decent 2.9/7. The network's 10 p.m. drama "Chase" dropped almost 10% to a 2.1/6.