In Depth

Ratings: NBC’s ‘Biggest Loser’ Strong, ‘Momma’s Boys’ Not So Much

NBC touted the debut of Ryan Seacrest's new reality show "Momma's Boys" as "the most anticipated premiere" of the year, but viewers apparently disagreed.

Despite the benefit of a huge lead-in from the season finale of "The Biggest Loser: Families," "Momma's Boys" notched a mediocre 2.5 rating/7 share among adults 18-49. About 6 million viewers tuned in Tuesday night, according to preliminary Nielsen data. "Momma's Boys" finished a distant second behind an original episode of CBS' "Without a Trace" (3.2/9, 14.9 million).

Particularly disappointing for NBC: "Momma's Boys" performed well below normal 10 p.m. Tuesday time-slot occupant "Law & Order: SVU," which last week earned a 3.7/10, despite a less impressive (and less compatible) lead-in.

The good news for NBC, of course, was that "Biggest Loser" ended its latest season on a high note. The show's finale averaged a 4.5/12 and approximately 11.5 million viewers, about the same as last December's seasonal swan song but a tick above how the show wrapped up its last season in April.

Given the current ratings environment, and NBC's own tough fall, that's the sort of performance that will bring smiles to the folks in Universal City. "Loser" also essentially matched the numbers scored by CBS' Sunday "Survivor" finale, another positive for the NBC series, which hasn't always gotten the respect other big reality franchises garner.

"Loser" peaked during its final half-hour, averaging a 5.2/13 from 9:30-10 p.m.—numbers NBC these days usually sees only with football games.

Unfortunately, all those reality viewers who flocked to "Loser" didn't stick around for "Momma's Boys." The latter series earned a 2.7/7 from 10-10:30 p.m., then lost more viewers at 10:30, dipping to a 2.4/7.

Translation: "Momma's Boys" lost half of the audience "Loser" tried to deliver to it.

That's one reason why, at least in the preliminary numbers, NBC was only able to tie CBS for the nightly averages Tuesday. Both networks averaged a 3.8/10 from 8-11 p.m. The race wasn't even close in total viewers, however, with CBS (17.9 million) trouncing second-place NBC (9.8 million). ABC and Fox finished third and fourth, respectively. Fox was in repeats for the night.

CBS was paced by more strong performances for "NCIS" (3.9/11, 19.86 million), "The Mentalist" (4.2, 19.32 million) and "Without a Trace" (3.1/9, 14.49 million). Despite increased competition from NBC, the CBS series were all well above their season averages. Indeed, hot freshman "Mentalist" earned its highest ratings yet in viewers and key demographic groups, while CBS' overall Tuesday performance was its best with regular programming since 1995.

(Editor: Baumann)
(10:25 a.m.: Updated final paragraph about CBS)