With NBC generally faring poorly this season in the Nielsen ratings, the network’s narrow win over ABC and Fox for prime time Monday night in the key 18-49 demo is reason to take notice. NBC averaged a 2.6 rating for the night, according to Nielsen overnights, narrowly edging ABC’s 2.5 and Fox’s 2.4, with CBS and Univision tied for fourth place at 1.5, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.
A closer look reveals that CBS basically took itself out of the running with a mostly repeat lineup — reruns of “How I Met Your Mother,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Mike & Molly,” followed by the interesting-sounding but clearly not mass-targeted “Clash of the Commercials: USA vs. the World,” which averaged a 1.4 in viewers 18-49 at 10 p.m.
That left the night to a few reality shows — ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” (2.8 average in 18-49) and two-hour “The Bachelorette” (2.4) vs. NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” (3.1) and its brand-new entry, “American Ninja Warrior” (2.4) — along with Fox’s “night of ‘House’”: a retrospective at 8 p.m. (2.0 average) and the series finale at 9 p.m. (2.9).
In the end, it was close, with the top three networks all within two-tenths of a ratings point for the night.
On a night when “America’s Got Talent” was off substantially from a week ago — down six-tenths of a ratings point from the 3.7 it earned last week — NBC should find encouragement in winning the night of its two-hour premiere of “Ninja.” The obstacle course show battled to a tie with ABC’s “Bachelorette” in the 9-11 p.m. block — although both reality shows trailed the finale of “House.” But the weeks ahead — and whether the numbers go up or down for “Ninja” — will fill out the picture.
In total viewers the night belonged to ABC with an average of 10.6 million for prime time, well ahead of Fox (7.4 million), NBC (7.2 million), CBS (5.7 million) and Univision (3.9 million).