Howard Stern Debut Fails to Elevate NBC’s ‘Talent’

May 15, 2012  •  Post A Comment

NBC came up short with its eagerly anticipated season premiere of “America’s Got Talent,” featuring the high-profile debut of Howard Stern on the show’s judging panel.

The two-hour program did come in as one of Monday night’s top shows with a 3.6 average rating in the key 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen overnights, but that number was down significantly from last year’s 4.3 for the season premiere, TVbytheNumbers.com reports. The rating also fell below the 3.8 turned in by the season finale of “The Voice” in the same time slot last week.

It’s worth noting that this year’s season premiere faced stiffer competition than did last year’s show, and did not have the benefit of being paired with “The Voice” as last year’s premiere was.

NBC’s season finale of “Smash” at 10 p.m. was even with the past two weeks, drawing a 1.8 average in 18-49.

CBS won the night, getting the usual strong numbers from its comedy lineup. The one-hour season finale of “How I Met Your Mother,” airing opposite the first hour of NBC’s “Talent,” matched that show’s 3.6 rating in viewers 18-49, rising three-tenths of a ratings point from its previous original. The season finale of “Two and a Half Men” was the night’s top show with a 3.8, steady with a week ago; and the season finale of “Mike & Molly” rose two-tenths to a 3.3.

CBS’s 10 p.m. drama “Hawaii Five-0” also aired its season finale, rising four-tenths from last week to a 2.7 in 18-49.

ABC’s all-reality lineup was good enough for third place, with a 90-minute “Dancing with the Stars” pulling a 2.4 average in 18-49 for the first hour and a 2.9 for the final half-hour, while the season premiere of “The Bachelorette” drew a 2.6 for the first half-hour and slipped to a 2.5 average for the 10 p.m. hour. “Bachelorette’s” numbers were down a bit from last year’s season premiere, while “Dancing” had averages roughly comparable to its two-hour edition last week.

Fox didn’t generate much interest in its “Bones” season finale, which was steady with last week, averaging a 1.9 in 18-49. “House” was up one-tenth to a 2.2.

For prime time overall, it was CBS on top with a 3.3 average rating in viewers 18-49, followed by NBC (3.0 average), ABC (2.5) and Fox (2.0). With ABC’s “Dancing” attracting an older audience, ABC won total viewers, averaging 11.9 million to 10.4 million for CBS, 8.9 million for NBC and 6.8 million for Fox.


  1. So… was it worth his $20 million plus moving the show 3,000 miles away to accommodate him?
    Watching Stern pop in on Letterman or Conan is a guilty pleasure, like slowing down to get a glimpse of a car wreck before speeding away.
    But wanting to invite him into your home on a weekly basis? That may be too much to ask of a mass audience. Does Howard’s ranch-crazed audience really want to watch a talent show?

  2. Absolutley agree – Stern finally has the perfect forum at Sirius. Most of his audience isn’t interested in a mainstream talent show, and most mainstream talemt show viewers aren’t interested in him. Huge mistake.

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