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Summer’s Most Engaging Broadcast Programs

Sep 14, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The five major English-language broadcast networks aired original episodes of more than two dozen original series this summer. Audience levels for these programs varied considerably, as of course did show content. Another element also exhibited variation: viewer attentiveness to the show during the course of its summer run.
Nielsen IAG measures viewer response to ads and program content for each and every telecast of these programs (as well as shows on 21 other networks). The key metric generated to assess viewer attentiveness to show content is called Program Engagement. The PE score has become a valuable analytic for marketers and broadcasters, since more engaging programs provide a superior environment for commercials.
For this report we created a table that displays the one original series from each broadcast network that generated the highest PE score this summer. The quintet of shows includes CBS’ “Swingtown,” a scripted serial drama set during the mid-1970s. The four other PE leaders were reality programs, the most prevalent genre during the warm weather months. Two of these high PE scorers were returning shows, “The Mole” on ABC and “Hell’s Kitchen” via Fox. Newcomers headed the list for NBC, “Fear Itself,” and The CW, “Farmer Takes a Wife.”

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