ABC's lineup, powered by "Dancing with the Stars," took top honors for the whole night--nipping NBC, led by its "Heroes" sci-fi drama, by one-tenth of a rating point. CBS was a bit farther back---four-tenths of rating point behind ABC--but got solid results from its comedies, both new and old.
Preliminary Nielsen Media Research numbers showed ABC earning a 4.7 rating/12 share among 18-49 viewers to NBC's 4.6/12 and CBS' 4.2/10. Final national program numbers were released late yesterday.
But as opposed to ratings results of years past, these numbers are truly preliminary for advertisers. They will need to wait another three weeks, due to new upfront deals made this past summer with networks that were based on commercial ratings plus three days of DVR viewership. Even then, comparisons will be difficult to analyze.
Even ABC, in their press release, noted: "Year-to-year rating trends based on the Live + Same Day data stream may be somewhat distorted by the level of DVR penetration in the Nielsen sample, which has more than doubled from 8.54% during premiere week 2006 up to 19.43% currently."
At present, program ratings in both the top two shows of Monday night--ABC's "Stars" and NBC's "Heroes"--perked up, with season premieres higher than their respective debuts of a year ago. "Stars" was up to a 5.8/15 from a 5.7/15; "Heroes" did even better, getting to a 6.5/15 from a 5.9/14 the year before.
Of the new shows, CBS' "Big Bang Theory" and NBC's "Chuck" had good results--"Theory" with a 3.7/9, and "Chuck" with a 3.6/9. But other rookie shows suffered somewhat--NBC's "Journeyman" with a 3.7/15 was down from the 5.0 rating that "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" earned last year in the time period.
Fox's "K-ville"--which had a promising start last week, with a mid-3 rating among 18-49 viewers--turned away viewers in its second week, sinking to a 2.3/5. But the net's "Prison Break" maintained its performance level--pulling in a 3.1/8--about the same as a week ago, even against stiffer competition.
CBS' returning comedies proved sturdy. "Two and a Half Men" took in a 4.7/11, and "Rules of Engagement" earned 4.4/10 in 18-49 viewers. "Rules" even improved on ratings for "Old Christine" of a year ago. One possible trouble spot could be veteran "CSI: Miami." Although it won its 10 p.m. time period, the show was down 20% to a 4.6/12 against weaker competition from "Journeyman."
For the night, 18-49 ratings looked this way--ABC, 4.7/12; NBC, 4.6/11; and CBS, 4.2/10. Farther down the list were Fox, 2.7/7; Univision, 1.7/4; and CW, 0.7/2. CW will debut its new "Aliens in America" next Monday.