Broadcast’s Most Engaging Returning Prime-Time Series

Nov 27, 2006  •  Post A Comment

From IAG Research

While viewers acquaint themselves with a plethora of new series, the great majority of programs offered by the five major broadcast networks during prime time this fall are veterans. These shows have weathered the storms as newcomers and are now in at least their second season; a few have been with us for many years. The focus in this analysis is these returning shows.

We have selected the one returning series on each network that so far during the opening weeks of the 2006-07 season has generated the highest program engagement scores on its respective network. With more than 5,000 panelists participating in our daily surveys, we can target narrow segments. However, for this article, rather than drill down to a demographic we included all respondents age 13-plus.

Among the quintet of leaders are three serialized dramas: ABC’s “Lost,” Fox’s “Prison Break” and The CW’s “One Tree Hill.” An interesting contrast is that comedies on NBC (“My Name Is Earl”) and CBS (“Two and a Half Men”) are the standouts on their networks.

A number of reality shows just missed the list, reinforcing our observation that shows from any genre can achieve strong attentiveness. Attentiveness (which we call a show’s program engagement score) and general ad recall have been shown to be highly correlated among our more than 1.4 million panelists.

Looking at the table, each show’s index to its parent network average is listed, rather than the actual score. Therefore, the program engagement index illuminates the top show on each network, but is not comparable across networks. Fox’s “Prison Break” may index at 106, but its viewers may or may not be more engaged than viewers of ABC’s “Lost.” The actual program engagement scores would make such comparisons possible, but, with apologies to our readers, such data is available only to our clients.

And rankings do change depending on the demographic in question. So which series are top of their class for such important marketing segments as African Americans and younger adults? Stay tuned to TelevisionWeek for the answers.