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'Downton Abbey' scores its highest U.K. premiere numbers


And so the temptation to look at online spoilers begins. Downton Abbey‘s fourth season debuted in Britain Sunday night and averaged 9.5 million viewers, according to ITV. That’s a huge 39.7 percent share, The Guardian reports, nearly twice the percentage of American audiences that typically tune in to watch the U.S.’s top program, NBC’s Sunday night NFL game.

The season 4 premiere was up half a million from the 9 million viewers who tuned in for the start of season 2 and season 3. The series premiere averaged 7.7 million in 2010.

Season 4 debuts Jan. 5 in the U.S. on PBS.

Emmys 2013: Biggest audience since 2005

UPDATED: CBS’s telecast of the 65th Annual Primetime Emmys attracted its largest audience since 2005 and its best adults 18-49 rating since 2006.

The three-hour, 15-minute telecast averaged 17.6 million viewers, as well as a 5.8 rating in adults 25-54, a 4.9 rating in adults 18-49 and a 4.5 in adults 18-34, according to Nielsen.  It was up 26% in adults 18-49 (from 3.9/10 last year and up 33 percent in viewers (from 13.26 million).

Overall, though, NBC was No. 1 for the night in adults 18-49, adults 18-34 and adults 25-54 thanks to its coverage of the Chicago Bears-Pittsburgh Steelers game. More to come…

'Duck Dynasty' doesn't help Tim Allen's sitcom


The mighty Ducks failed to give a boost to Tim Allen’s sitcom Friday night.

The third season premiere of Last Man Standing (6.6 million viewers, 1.5 adults 18-49 rating) was down 25 percent from last year’s premiere despite the Duck Dynasty gang stopping by.

At 8:30 p.m., the second season premiere of The Neighbors (4.6 million, 1.2) did pretty much what you expected in its new Friday time slot. ABC’s wacky aliens-next-door sitcom was down 37 percent from its regular slot on Wednesdays last season. Neighbors was also down 20 percent from its Last Man Standing lead-in.

At 9 p.m., the return of Shark Tank (6.7 million, 1.7) sighed in frustration. The entrepreneurial reality hit was down a tenth from last season’s premiere, but with that Neighbors lead-in, you can’t really blame the Tank. Still, that was enough for the sharks to easily top Friday night.

More ex-fans for 'X Factor': Ratings lowest ever


So Simon … do you want to join NBC’s America’s Got Talent next summer or return to Fox’s American Idol?

Because a fourth season of The X Factor probably isn’t going to happen.

The broadcast season hasn’t even officially started yet and Factor has been bombing, delivering ratings roughly 38 percent lower than last fall in its first couple weeks on the air. Thursday night’s episode fell to 6.1 million viewers and an unprecedented 1.9 in the demo, slipping 14 percent from last week’s two-hour edition. Broadcast competition was soft, with Factor facing repeats and the modestly rated summer finales of ABC’s Wipeout (4.4 million, 1.2) and NBC’s Million Second Quiz (5.4 million, 1.4), the latter hosted by Cowell’s former Idol band-mate Ryan Seacrest.

Given that Factor will start facing heavy competition next week like original episodes of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, it’s easy to imagine its demo rating slipping lower into the teens. Plus, NBC’s The Voice is about to launch. Voice doesn’t air on the same nights as X Factor, yet its presence certainly can’t help matters. Critics, including our EW’s Annie Barrett, have been pretty brutal about Factor Ver. 3.0, which has yet another revamped judging panel that includes Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland.

Yet Fox has cause for optimism for other slots on the schedule: New drama Sleepy Hollow surprised with an impressive opener on Monday, and the network’s new Tuesday comedies improved their time slots.

Fall TV: Six toughest time slot battles (and which show will win)

It’s war! Next week broadcasters shove the bulk of their new shows into the spotlight and anxiously count how many viewers show up to watch. Even in this era of heavy DVR use, a show’s time slot still matters plenty — just ask NBC’s Revolution, which was hugely boosted whenever it ran behind original episodes of The Voice last season (or any show that runs against The Voice, for that matter). Here are six of the most interesting new top time-period battles this fall — and who we think will win.

'The Talk': Most-watched premiere week ever

Looks like revealing all those secrets really paid off for The Talk: CBS’ daytime talk show posted its largest audience ever for its fourth season premiere last week.

For the week ending Sept. 15, the hour-long chatfest averaged 2.8 million viewers, up 20% over last year’s premiere audience of 2.33 million viewers.  Among women 25-54, the show also averaged 1.2/8, also up 20% over last year’s 1.0/6. It also matched its all-time high in the demo.

Last week, The Talk’s five hosts revealed some personal secrets. Julie Chen garnered the most attention for exposing how she got plastic surgery on her eyelids while Sara Gilbert said she realized she was gay while dating Johnny Galecki.

'Survivor' down, but CBS still wins night

The premiere of Survivor: Blood V. Water, along with the season finale of Big Brother, helped CBS to win the last Wednesday before the new season in adults 18-49.

CBS averaged a 2.5 rating/8 share and 8.1 million viewers  — enough to squeak out a win, according to Nielsen. But Survivor, which is pitting previous players with relatives, certainly didn’t break any ratings records. The premiere was down 19% from last year’s fall Survivor: Philippines (3.2/10 on 9/19/12, 8-9:30p) and earned its lowest-rated fall premiere ever. Maybe we should blame the so-not-wanted return of that ornery player Colton?

Big Brother, which was won by Andy Herren, the least offensive player of the summer, posted a 2.4/7, up 4% from last week.

Fox came in second in the key demo (2.2/7) with the second week of The X Factor. The net boasts that it was up 2% from last week’s premiere in viewers (6.6 million vs. 6.5 million). NBC, meanwhile, won the night in viewers (9.2 million) but came in third in the key demo (2.0/6) with a special run of Million Second Quiz (1.2/4) and part 2 finale of America’s Got Talent (2: 2.5/7, up 14% from last week).

ABC and CW aired annoying reruns. Who’s ready for some originals already?

'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' ratings boost Fox's comedy block


Fox’s new comedies didn’t exactly blow up the Nielsens on Tuesday night, yet Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine improved their slots compared to last fall and helped prop up the return of New Girl.

Dads premiered to 5.6 million viewers and a 2.1 adult demo rating, up 24 percent from the debut of Raising Hope at 8 p.m. last year. Brooklyn Nine-Nine opened to 6 million viewers and a 2.5 rating at 8:30 p.m., up 19 percent from the first episode of the short-lived Ben and Kate.

That helped New Girl (5.6 million, 2.9) rise up a tenth a point for its third season premiere. Yet returning companion series The Mindy Project (4.0 million, 1.9) fell 21 percent from last fall’s series opener.

Let’s be clear: Nobody is jumping up and down at Fox over the Dads or Brooklyn numbers. I suspect the network had higher hopes for Andy Samberg’s well-reviewed Brooklyn in particular, a show that some critics felt was the best new comedy this year. And Dads, well, critics at the network’s summer TV press tour reacted to that pilot like Fox was rolling out “Springtime for Hitler” — so any non-bomb rating is a relief for the brass. Point is: Neither performance is great, yet both are workable. And coming off Monday’s clear-win with the premiere of Sleepy Hollow, Fox is off to a not-too-shabby start.

For more on that, here’s EW’s take on the Dads pilot and Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, ABC did something interesting last night: Ran Iron Man 2. Can you guess why? …. READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' premiere is Tuesday's No. 1 show

Sons of Anarchy‘s shocking season 6 premiere paid off as far as ratings are concerned. Coming in as Tuesday’s No. 1 show, according to Nielsen ratings, SOA topped all broadcast and cable programs in the following demographics: Adults 18-49, Adults 18-34, Adults 25-54, Men 18-49, Men 18-34, Men 25-54, Women 18-49 and Women 18-34.

Last night’s episode also set a series high across those demographics on a live and same-day basis with 5.87 million total viewers. Adding in encore telecasts, the total rises to 8.09 million viewers.

The show’s ratings saw a significant improvement from its season 5 debut, with an increase of 13 percent in Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54, a 43 percent increase in Women 18-34, and a 35 percent increase in Women 18-49.

Awaiting more data, the episode is likely to become FX’s top-rated single telecast in history.

'Big Brother' posts best Wednesday ratings this summer

Did more people show up to see if Amanda’s on her way out?

Wednesday’s episode of Big Brother on CBS — during which Amanda almost drowned in a pool of tears over losing the veto competition to her showmance McCrae  — attracted its largest audience of the summer. The episode won its 8 p.m. time slot in viewers (6.60 million), adults 18-49 (2.2 rating/7 share) and adults 25-54 (2.8/7), according to Nielsen. It was also up 5% and 8% in adults 18-49 and 25-54, respectively, from the previous week.

Overall, the show consistently wins its three time periods in key demos.




'Longmire' hits season high in ratings heading into finale

As A&E’s Longmire heads toward its season 2 finale on Monday, it continues to improve with viewers. This week’s penultimate episode hit a season high in the show’s key demo, adults 25-54, with 1.38 million viewers in the demo and a 1.16 rating.

Monday’s episode, in total, had 4.12 million viewers, its best performance since the season 2 premiere back in May. And with adults 18-49, Longmire roped in 997,000 viewers and a .79 rating. All in all, it remains one of A&E’s most-watched scripted series among total viewers.

The Longmire season 2 finale airs Monday at 10 p.m. ET on A&E.

'Shark Week' posts best ratings ever

Dang, you people dig sharks: Discovery reports that its annual Shark Week posted the highest ratings ever in its 26-year history. The week of programming from Aug. 4 to Aug. 10 also pulled in a record number of eyeballs in the persons 18-49 demo.

The bragging rights continued among men 18-49 demo: Shark Week helped Discovery to become the No. 1 network in all of TV among dudes, including broadcast and cable.  Many of the network’s shark programming enjoyed high-rated premieres in persons 18-49, including Voodoo Sharks, I Escaped Jaws, Great White Serial Killer and Great White Gauntlet.

A lot of the network’s success rests on the special Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, a mockumentary that questioned whether a giant prehistoric shark could still exist today. Though it averaged a record 4.8 million viewers, some questioned whether it toyed with the network’s reputation. “With a whole week of Shark Week programming ahead of us, we wanted to explore the possibilities of Megalodon,” Shark Week executive producer Michael Sorensen said in a statement. “It’s one of the most debated shark discussions of all time, can Megalodon exist today? It’s Ultimate Shark Week fantasy. The stories have been out there for years and with 95 percent of the ocean unexplored, who really knows?”

'Breaking Bad' premieres huge

No surprise here: The Sunday, Aug. 11, premiere of Breaking Bad brought huge ratings for cable channel AMC, delivering 5.9 million viewers, the most in series history and up 102 percent over the show’s season 5 premiere last summer.

With 3.6 million viewers among adults 18-49, Breaking Bad is second only to AMC’s The Walking Dead in delivery to this key demographic across all cable networks.

Additionally, AMC premiered its newest dramatic series Low Winter Sun, which attracted 2.5 million viewers. Following that, Talking Bad — hosted by Chris Hardwick and featuring discussion and analysis of Breaking Bad — debuted with 1.2 million viewers.

Missed the edge-of-your-seat episode? Check out EW’s recap and read some zany theories.


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