A new report says there’s a new No. 1 network in prime time — and this one might surprise you, TV Guide reports.
“If the digital video recorder were a network — with you, the viewer, as chief programmer — it would rank as tops among total viewers and in the key young-adult demographics,” writes our friend Michael Schneider in TV Guide.
“For example, on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 10 p.m., CBS’s new drama ‘Vegas’ was No. 1 with adults 18-49, attracting 3.4 million viewers in that demo, followed by ABC’s ‘Private Practice’ (2.5 million) and NBC’s ‘Parenthood’ (2.4 million),” the piece reports. “But at that same time, 8 million viewers in the demo were watching something else on their DVRs — which means that an imaginary "DVR Network" would actually be No. 1 in that time slot.”
DVR use is up 30% over a year ago, the story notes. “That’s good news for many of your favorite TV shows, which are much more likely to survive if they have a bigger audience than first thought,” the report says. “It’s also heartening to network executives, who were dismayed by this fall’s initially dismal prime-time results. In fact, viewers are still there, they’re just watching TV on their own schedule.”
Said CBS Senior Executive Vice President Kelly Kahl: "Our shows are really popular, and to think they suddenly lost their popularity seemed hard to believe. We started getting the delayed numbers and it made more sense."
“Kahl says that time-shifted viewing is forcing network execs to take a breath and wait a beat before making too many snap judgments,” the piece adds, noting that Fox has cited DVR viewing in its decision to stick with “Fringe.” “But in many cases, a dud’s just a dud. CBS canceled ‘Made in Jersey’ after just two episodes because it was clear, DVR or no DVR, that audiences weren’t interested in the show.”