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'The Following' enjoys huge NFL boost (thanks, Richard Sherman!)

A brutal but exhilarating NFC Championship that ended with a crazy diatribe by Seahawks corner Richard Sherman did a serious solid for the return of The Following.

The Kevin Bacon drama that aired from 10:18-11:18 p.m. averaged a 4.4 rating among adults 18-49 — a 38 percent increase from last year’s premiere (2.2/8 on Jan. 21), according to Nielsen. The drama was also up 63% versus the season one finale on April 29 (2.7/7).

That, and the game, and Sherman, gave Fox its highest-rated night in the demo in two years. (Football finals will come later). Here is Sherman’s big moment, in case you didn’t see what ended up exploding on social media: READ FULL STORY

'Chicago P.D.' sets off a few alarms (but not many)

Reception to NBC’s new drama Chicago P.D. wasn’t quite as cold as the temps these days in the windy city: The latest law drama from Dick Wolf only generated a 2.0 rating/6 share in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. Still, that’s flat with the debut last January of Deception, that amusing little Revenge ripoff with Victor Garber, Tate Donovan and I can’t remember who else.

It wasn’t the easiest night to premiere: the drama that stars the (still smoking) Jason Beghe and the is-she-seriously-playing-a-detective? Sophia Bush had CBS’ popular People’s Choice Awards for competition. The show that named Sandra Bullock a favorite drama AND comedy movie actress earned a 2.3/7, even though it was down 15% from last year’s telecast on Jan. 9.

But NBC did have two of its shinier dramas as Chicago’s lead-in (even though only one of them performed admirably). Revolution pulled in a mere 1.6/5 (though that was up 14% from its last original on Nov. 20) while Law & Order: SVU earned a 2.1/6, up 31% from its last original on Nov. 20. Still, NBC felt its new drama gave them something to boast about, as it scored the No. 2 debut rating among nine new 10 p.m. dramas so far this season on the Big Three Nets in 18-49, second only to The Blacklist (3.8).

ABC had a good news-bad news night with its comedies. The Middle earned a 2.2/7, up 10 percent from its last original, while Modern Family grabbed a 3.5/10, but Super Fun Night only scored a 1.5/4 in a special time at 8:30 p.m. and a 1.8/5 behind MF at 9:30. Sorry, Rebel. That repeat of David Blaine: Real or Magic hobbled in at 10 with a 1.4/4.

Fox phoned it in with its telecast of the movie Step Brothers, which averaged a 1.2/3.

 

 

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The biggest TV stories of 2013

It was the mother of all years when it came to major TV stories, which made it difficult to whittle them down for a Top 10. So we went with 15, instead!

In no apparent order (though honestly, does any story top the Duck Dynasty one?) here are the year’s 15 biggest newsmakers.

Phil Robertson on Duck Dynasty. Journalists loved the scandal; it gave us something to write about during the dog days of winter. Conservatives (and A&E) hated it because of claims that Duck Dynasty’s home network was squashing Robertson’s right to speak his mind. Ultimately, the Bible-thumping patriarch prevailed, order was restored, and the DD news cycle became the gift that kept giving long after Christmas Day.

100 most-watched shows on broadcast TV

With the year almost over, it’s time to take stock over what shows brought the most viewers — and which ones didn’t. The No. 1 show shouldn’t surprise you (who can deny the power of Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly?) but it’s nice to see a newbie in the Top 10 (way to go, James Spader!).

Here are the Top 100 most-watched shows of the fall. (Survey dates are from Sept. 23 to Dec. 15). Remember, Persons 2+ isn’t the coveted advertiser demo, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have a show that millions upon millions like to watch. READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' finale was second-most watched episode of series

Sons of Anarchy closed its sixth season Tuesday night with one major death and, apparently, some killer ratings.

When both the primary telecast and encore ratings are combined, the show’s season finale, which saw the demise of a series regular, was watched by a total of 6.4 million viewers, 4.3 million of which were in the all-important 18-49 demo, according to figures provided by FX.

It ranks as the most-watched finale in the show’s history and its second-most watched episode ever, coming behind September’s season 6 premiere.

In all, season 6 has been the show’s most-watched season thus far. Season 7 is set to be the show’s last.

Touchdown! Iron Bowl posts massive ratings

The huge finish to Saturday’s SEC West division game between the No. 4 ranked Auburn and the No. 1 ranked Alabama was matched only by the stellar ratings it generated for CBS. The game posted an 8.6 rating/18 share in overnights from 3:30-7:30 p.m., a mind-blowing 291% increase from last year’s match-up between the two rivals when Alabama trounced Auburn 49-0.

It was the second highest-rated college football game to date in the metered markets for the 2013 season, trailing only the 9.0/21 that CBS posted for the Alabama v. Texas A&M game on Sept. 14.

Saturday’s game hit its peak in the final half hour (11.8/23), when Auburn caught Alabama’s missed field goal and returned it 109 yards for a game-winning touchdown. The match-up attracted the biggest ratings in Birmingham (57.3/82), the state’s largest city.

Death rates high (enough) on CBS Tuesday

The death of a major character on Person of Interest helped to top off another swell Tuesday for CBS, which notched a nice little win in the adult demo and viewers. Nielsen says CBS averaged a 2.5 rating/7 share in 18-49 and more than 14 million viewers with its powerhouse trio of NCIS, NCIS: LA and POI.

As for the latter, ratings were flat versus last week (2.0/6 and 12 million) but then, who knew the producers would surprise us with such an unexpected death? (Check out our interview with the show’s producers and the dearly departed). READ FULL STORY

'The Blacklist' tops list on Monday

Can you think of a drama that James Spader hasn’t rocked?

I mention this after having recently watched a few reruns of The Practice, in which Spader first created the role of Alan Shore. Dang, that guy is a Master Smugsman, which is why it’s no surprise to report that The Blacklist posted another winning performance for NBC on Monday. The freshman drama earned a 3.0 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and averaged 10.7 million, according to Nielsen — enough to dominate the 10 o’clock timeslot by a margin of 58% versus the No. 2 ranked Castle. READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': How to comprehend its massive ratings

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The Walking Dead‘s ratings are big. Like really, really big.

It’s actually become a tad difficult to describe how big they are. AMC’s zombie drama is huge among total viewers — averaging nearly 19.9 million per episode when including seven days of DVR playback. But what’s truly stunning is the show’s adults 18-49 rating, the number that matters most to advertisers. That most recent average rating — a 10.3 with DVR — is second to nothing. Which makes comparisons tricky. So I put together this guide to give The Walking Dead‘s dominance some perspective. Note: Every show’s average below is only counting episodes with seven full days of DVR playback available, so this uses everybody’s largest currently available demo rating.

The Walking Dead is 23 percent bigger among adults 18-49 than NBC’s Sunday Night Football (8.4), which is broadcast’s top rated weekly telecast.

The biggest entertainment nowadays is CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (7.7), which has more viewers than The Walking Dead. But its demo rating is nowhere close.

You know ABC’s Scandal (4.8)? One of the biggest hits on TV, right? Well, The Walking Dead doubles its rating.

In fact, The Walking Dead is about equal to almost five episodes of CBS’ The Mentalist (2.3).

And seven episodes of NBC’s Sean Saves the World (1.5).

You can fit about nine episodes of The CW’s Arrow (1.1), Comedy Central’s The Daily Show (1.1), TNT’s Franklin & Bash (1.0) or HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (1.2) inside The Walking Dead.

Or roughly 51 episodes of Fox News’ Hannity (0.19).

Okay! I feel like you get the point. It beats everything. So what IS bigger than The Walking Dead? READ FULL STORY

'The Voice' stomps 'X Factor' in rare head-to-head battle

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Fox’s The X Factor sunk to another all-time ratings low Tuesday night when an out-of-pattern telecast resulted in a rare head-to-head fight against NBC’s singing competition hit The Voice.

Simon Cowell and Co. faced Christina Aguilera’s crew for the first time this fall, with both shows airing two-hour telecasts that overlapped in the 9 p.m. hour. Factor averaged 4.8 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49 — less than half the audience and adult demo rating for The Voice.

But to be fair, Factor entered this ring with some real disadvantages (aside from the show itself, which typically delivers significantly smaller ratings than The Voice). Factor has been preempted the last couple weeks due to Fox’s baseball coverage — Tuesday is not Factor‘s usual night, so The Voice had a home-field advantage. Any pattern interruption can shed viewers, and last night’s Factor aired on both a different night and after skipping some airings.

Also, The Voice did not escape this fight without taking some damage too — last night’s episode was down 15 percent to a season low.

Still, seeing Cowell’s big music competition show several tenths of a rating point away from The CW’s Supernatural and getting beaten outright by NBC’s The Biggest Loser is pretty striking.

Also Tuesday: ABC’s freshman sitcom The Goldbergs held steady despite not having a new episode of of SHIELD for a lead-in, and Trophy Wife improved a bit; CBS’ Person of Interest fell to a series low (this new time slot has not been good for its health). Full chart:

READ FULL STORY

'Homeland' posts highest ratings of season

Clearly, viewers don’t seem too concerned about the screwy plot twists and how Brody is pretty much MIA this season: Homeland earned its highest ratings of the season Sunday on Showtime, despite heavy competition from the World Series.

Episode 5 averaged 2 million viewers at 9 p.m., up 13 percent versus the previous week. After two airings, the Claire Danes drama ended up pulling in 2.73 million viewers, up 9 percent versus last week (2.51 million).

Showtime says Homeland is on pace to complete its most watched season ever with 6.7 million weekly viewers across multiple platforms, up 25 percent versus season season 2. Wow.

Meanwhile, the premium net’s new drama Masters of Sex averaged 1.01 million at 10 p.m. and 1.32 million for the night. Season to date, it’s averaging 5.4 million across multiple platforms.

'American Horror Story: Coven' ratings spell slips in Week 2

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After last week’s record-setting premiere, you might expect FX’s American Horror Story: Coven ratings to slip for the second episode. And you’d be right: Coven delivered 4.5 million viewers and a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49 Wednesday evening, down 17 percent from the premiere.

That was still enough to beat most broadcast shows last night. But not quite enough to top a certain other cable show: A&’E’s reality titan Duck Dynasty continued its reign with 7.3 million viewers and a 3.1 adult demo rating.

Speaking of Reign, how do you think The CW’s new drama will do tonight? It’s probably the network’s last best chance to score a ratings breakout this season…

'Arrow' ratings a bit off target

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It wasn’t exactly a super fun night in the ratings Wednesday. Pretty much every show was down at least a little. Let’s start with the premieres and newcomers:

– The second season return of The CW’s Arrow fell 31 percent from last year’s strong opening. Then at 9 p.m., The CW launched new drama The Tomorrow People (a.k.a. Pretty People with Powers). Tomorrow matched Supernatural in this slot a year ago, but that’s not saying all that much. The CW’s three-day DVR ratings for Thursday’s TVD premiere significantly narrowed the gap with last fall’s debut, so maybe that will happen again here.

– NBC’s crime drama reboot Ironside slipped 15 percent for its second episode. Ironside reboot went from losing 10 p.m. to really losing 10 p.m. Starting off NBC’s night, Revolution was down just a tenth after the last two weeks of more worrisome drops in this new time slot — stabilizing?

– ABC had the second round of Rebel Wilson’s Super Fun Night sitcom at 9:30 p.m. falling 22 percent from last week’s premiere. ABC’s other new sitcom, Back in the Game at 8:30 p.m., dropped a bit too.

If you’re curious how FX’s American Horror Story: Coven opened, so am I. We’ll have those numbers within the next few hours and will post separately (I’m betting on a best-yet premiere). Here’s your chart: READ FULL STORY

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