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'Dancing With the Stars' lowest-rated spring premiere ever


You had to know this was coming: With the rather weak Dancing With the Stars lineup for the new edition, it’s no surprise Monday’s premiere got off to the slowest start ever for a spring cycle of the show.

Dancing had 16.8 million viewers and a 3.1 adults 18-49 rating. That’s down 11 percent from last year’s show. This season has Dorothy Hamill, Ingo Rademacher, Jacoby Jones, Sean Lowe, Andy Dick and others competing for the top prize.

Still, it wasn’t all bad news for ABC. The network points out the telecast was up 15 from last fall’s Dancing epic-low run, which faced increased competition. Among total viewers, the premiere was the second most-watched unscripted series telecast this season, behind only Fox’s American Idol premiere. Plus, 10 p.m.’s Castle had its most-watched episode yet.

Elsewhere: Fox’s The Following continued to drop, getting a little worried now — down 11 percent. NBC’s Biggest Loser hasn’t had a great season, but last night’s finale was up 18 percent from last year. CBS showed some weakness, with 2 Broke Girls hitting a series low and Mike & Molly hitting a season low.


'Downton Abbey' breaks ratings records

Downton Abbey just broke another record.

The third season of the series ranked as PBS’ highest-rated drama ever, with an average of 11.5 million viewers tuning in over the course of seven episodes. For those keeping count, that’s up more than 60 percent from season 2.

To top it off, the third season finale, which aired on Feb. 17, attracted about 12.3 million viewers, beating all broadcast and cable competition airings in the time-slot, and, we presume, breaking just as many hearts along the way.

Read More:
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Kimmel ratings down from 'Nightline'

Jimmy Kimmel’s much-anticipated move to the 11:30 p.m. timeslot on ABC has generated great buzz  — along with a tidal wave of good press and favorable reviews — but the impact of such a change has yet to produce dramatic results for the fourth place network. To wit: Kimmel’s performance during the February sweeps month was actually lower than what Nightline did from 11:30-midnight in February of 2012.

According to live plus same day ratings from Nielsen, Kimmel was down 12% in adults 18-49 (1.007 million versus 1.143 million) and 25% in viewers (2.883 million versus 3.828 million) compared to what the news magazine averaged last year. ABC has long argued that by moving Kimmel to the earlier timeslot, it can make more money off of commercials because advertisers prefer entertainment programs over news. In the suits’ terms, the costs per mille (that’s thousand in Latin) among adults 18-49 can sell for a premium if they are within “quality” entertainment, which is why Kimmel — according to one high-ranking ABC suit — sells out far better than Nightline ever did. READ FULL STORY

'Idol' does OK opposite repeats

Opposite mostly repeats and a slightly weakened Survivor, Fox notched a nightly win in the adult demo and viewers Wednesday with its two-hour telecast of American Idol. Though the competition show is fighting its own erosion — it’s down 3% versus last week, though Fox blames it on a 9% decline in TV usage – the show earned a 3.6 rating/11 share in the demo and attracted 13.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.

CBS was second for the night in the demo (2.0/6) and viewers (8.2 million), with Survivor: Caramoan earning a 2.5/8, down 4% from last week, and 9.5 million viewers. It was followed by repeats of Criminal Minds and CSI.

ABC was third for the night in the demo with a 1.2/4 (oof), with a repeat of The Middle and an original of The Neighbors (1.4/4) hitting a series low. Repeats of Modern Family, Suburgatory and Nashville came later. Dang, these post-February sweeps days blow.
NBC earned a 1.1/3 for the night (double oof), with an original of Whitney at 8 (1.2/4, down 8% from last week) followed by repeats of another Whitney, and Law & Order and Chicago Fire.

CW aired repeats of Arrow and Supernatural.

'The Following' tops Monday ratings after renewal


A sleepy Monday in the ratings, with plenty of post-sweeps repeats across the grid.

Fox’s The Following continues to demonstrate impressive stability, staying dead-even with last week in the adult demo. The serial killer cult drama had 8.7 million viewers and a 2.8 rating. With CBS mostly airing repeats of its comedy lineup, The Following also was Monday night’s top-rated broadcast show. The performance comes on the heels of Fox renewing the drama for another 15 episodes (along with renewing New Girl, Mindy Project and Raising Hope).

The rest of the field also had non-surprising performances. Fox’s Bones was down a tenth. CBS’ Rules of Engagement — as the network’s only show with a new episode — was down 19 percent to a season low. ABC’s The Bachelor was down 7 percent for its Women Tell All episode. NBC’s The Biggest Loser was down 5 percent and Deception tied its low. The CW’s Carrie Diaries was up a tick.


'Celebrity Apprentice' premiere ratings low: Are All-Star editions a bad idea?


Donald Trump could get called into NBC’s boardroom if his numbers don’t improve.

The business tycoon’s All-Star Celebrity Apprentice returned Sunday night to its lowest-rated premiere ever for a celebrity edition of the reality franchise. Only 5.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the show, which had a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49. That’s down 38 percent from last year’s premiere. Contestants include Trace Adkins, Bret Michaels, La Toya Jackson and Omarosa.

ABC’s Dancing With the Stars also hit lows with an All-Star edition this season. It’s impossible to know in either case if new casts would have performed worse, but it seems pretty obvious that the All-Star versions did not boost ratings in either case. As fans pointed out regarding last fall’s Dancing, the whole point of the show is to see celebrities sink or swim in a challenging environment; when you cast returning players, you lose that mystery.

The only legit bragging point NBC can muster on this number is that Apprentice beat ABC’s Red Widow premiere.

The crime family drama soap, which scored less than a 50 out of 100 among TV reviewers on Metacritic, launched to 6.8 million viewers and a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49. That’s 36 percent lower than the debut of ABC’s short-lived GCB in this slot last year. This ties Zero Hour (which was cancelled last week) as ABC’s lowest-rated scripted premiere ever, though the network points out that among total viewers Red Widow improved its time slot. READ FULL STORY

'Duck Dynasty' return scores huge ratings after Morrissey protest


Heaven knows, Morrissey is miserable now.

A&E’s pro-hunting hit Duck Dynasty returned Wednesday night to record ratings. The season three premiere delivered 8.6 million viewers.

That’s huge. It’s not only the most-watched Duck Dynasty episode ever, it’s A&E’s most-watched telecast ever and ranks as cable’s biggest reality show telecast so far this year. The 10 p.m. episode (the first of two back-to-back airings) was up 132 percent vs. the second season premiere. In fact, Dynasty had a 4.0 rating among adults 18-49, just barely edging out Fox’s American Idol and ABC’s Modern Family (both 3.9) in the nationals and winning the night. (More on that Idol vs. Modern Family fight).

The return of Duck Dynasty benefited from an unexpected gift-from-the-PR-gods when British singer and animal rights activist Morrissey cancelled his planned Feb. 26 performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live at the last minute in protest of the Duck Dynasty stars appearing the same episode. Morrissey called the show’s stars — who own a family business that makes products for hunters — “animal serial killers.” READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' ratings fall as sitcoms blow up Fox's Death Star


American Idol … it was such an awesomely destructive ratings machine.

Fox’s singing competition series used to have Nielsen numbers so big they were scary. Other networks rearranged their schedules to stay out of Idol‘s destructive path. Showrunners feared having to compete against the program that insiders called “The Death Star.”

Nowadays, that’s no space station. Idol is just another moon in the orbit of primetime, minding its own business, not causing much trouble. Thursday nights are firmly owned by CBS’ Big Bang Theory (feel free to picture Sheldon Cooper in an X-Wing fighter here). And now, Idol is edging behind ABC’s Modern Family on Wednesday nights in the adult demo.

Last night’s Idol had 13.1 million viewers and a 3.8 among adults 18-49. That’s the lowest Idol rating since 2003 and its smallest Wednesday audience since the reality show’s summertime debut in 2002. Modern Family had 10.6 million viewers and a 3.9 rating. This is the first time Modern Family has ever scored a higher rating than Idol in these morning numbers.

Now, a minor caveat. These figures will jockey a bit — Idol will likely rise a tenth in the afternoon nationals to tie Modern Family. But then Modern Family, which benefits more from DVR playback than Idol, will surge ahead once seven days of viewing are added. Either way, the overall trend is clear: Idol has been hitting record lows in comparison to both its previous telecasts and compared to top-rated rival sitcoms. The last three Wednesdays, Idol has gone from a 4.3 preliminary rating to a 4.1 last week and now to a 3.8.

How low will American Idol go this season? Nobody knows. But the Force is no longer strong with this one.

Also, last night, NBC’s Guys With Kids had its first season finale. Will it get renewed? READ FULL STORY

'Celebrity Wife Swap' gets biggest ratings ever with Kate Gosselin


Kate Gosselin and Kendra Wilkinson set a ratings record for ABC on Tuesday night, while CBS’ latest detective drama delivered less-than golden numbers.

The second season premiere of ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap saddled Playboy pinup Wilkinson with Gosselin’s famed mega-litter (if only you could buy patience at Costco). The show was seen by 7 million viewers and had a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49. That’s up 4 percent from last year’s preview of the celebrity version of Wife Swap last year (and up 14 percent from last year’s regular Tuesday premiere) and represents an all-time high for the show among both viewers and the demo. Next week, “wives” Coolio and Mark McGrath do a swap.

CBS had a premiere last night too — Golden Boy, the story of one detective’s rise to fame. The drama had 10.5 million viewers and a 1.8 rating in the demo. The show easily ruled its 10 p.m. time slot, but its competition was NBC’s Smash and ABC’s Body of Proof so … no trophy for pummeling those two. The episode was technically a “preview” instead of a premiere even though the drama will also air its second episode in this slot next week. Golden Boy then moves to Fridays at 9 p.m.

Also Tuesday, ABC’s The Taste, despite shifting to 9 p.m. and gaining a strong lead-in from Celebrity Wife Swap, fell to its lowest numbers ever. Body of Proof was flat with last week’s premiere. CBS’ NCIS was basically steady to rank as the night’s top show and NCIS: LA was up 7 percent. NBC was more or-less flat, with everything at a series low except New Normal. The CW and Fox were pretty much unchanged too.


'Mike & Molly' falls to season low ratings


CBS’ pleasantly plump sitcom Mike & Molly fell to a season low in the ratings last night, and it had some company on the network — 2 Broke Girls matched its series low and Rules of Engagement hit a season low. Mike & Molly had the biggest drop of the bunch, however, falling 16 percent this week (EW fan favorite HIMYM was steady).

On Fox, freshman drama The Following was down 7 percent. It’s probably too soon to say for certain, but the trend-line on this serial killer thriller has been pretty steady, wavering in the high 2s among adults 18-49. This isn’t a big hit, but Fox will gladly renew this show for a second season if it can stay close to this range. Lead-in Bones climbed a tick.

Also Monday: The lineups on ABC, NBC and The CW were basically unchanged. Here’s your full chart: READ FULL STORY

Oscars: Most-watched entertainment show in 3 years

Sunday night’s Oscars was the most-watched entertainment telecast in three years.

ABC’s broadcast of the Academy Awards delivered 40.3 million viewers and a 13.0 rating among adults 18-49. That’s up 3 percent among total viewers and a strong 11 percent  in the demo. The growth makes sense given this year’s crop of best picture contenders such as Lincoln and Argo had more box office heft than last year’s frontrunners like The Artist. Also, tapping Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane as host might have aided the show’s 18-49 appeal (Billy Crystal hosted last year).

Overall, this was the second most-watched Oscars telecast since 2005. The Oscars easily topped all other award shows this season, outdrawing the Golden Globe Awards by 20.6 million viewers and the Grammy Awards by 11.9 million viewers.

Here’s Owen Gleiberman’s review of the show.

Big audience for Robin Roberts' 'GMA' return

More than 6 million people tuned in to see Robin Roberts return to her job at Good Morning America on Wednesday, giving ABC another win in the morning show time slot.

GMA easily outranked Today in viewers (6.12 million vs. 4.93 million) and adults 25-54 (2.27 million vs. 2.24 million) on her big comeback day, according to Nielsen Fast Affiliate data.

Season to date, GMA remains the No. 1 morning news program in viewers (5.1 million) and adults 25-54 (1.9 million), and leads Today by its largest season margin in overall viewers (538,000 more than NBC’s 4.6 million) in more than 21 years. GMA is up 6% in viewers and 2% in adults 25-54 versus last year, while Today is down 15% and 21% respectively. CBS This Morning is up 8% in viewers but is flat in the demo.

ABC says GMA is enjoying its best overall season audience in seven years.

NBC ranks fifth during February sweeps -- behind Univision

After a fall filled with positive signs for NBC, the Peacock Network has suffered a major blow.

For the first time ever, Univision has so-far edged NBC out of the top four networks during the highly competitive February sweeps period, a time when ratings are traditionally important to networks as they help determine local ad rates. In the first 20 days of sweeps, NBC averaged a 1.2 rating in the 18-49 demo while Univision has averaged 1.5. CBS (*4.9), Fox (2.0), and ABC (1.7) make up the top three so far. READ FULL STORY


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