Bad Night for NBC in Prime Time: A Previous Hit Show Sinks, and a New Drama Chalks Up an Unwelcome Milestone

Oct 3, 2013  •  Post A Comment

A new NBC series opened with a resounding thud in the ratings Wednesday night, and a series that has been considered a hit for the network sank to an all-time low as NBC finished a distant fourth among the big four broadcast nets, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the new drama series "Ironside," featuring Blair Underwood in the role made famous by Raymond Burr, premiered to a 1.4 average rating in viewers 18-49 to rank third in a three-horse race in the 10 p.m. time slot. The premiere was off 26% from the number delivered by "Chicago Fire" in the time slot for its premiere a year ago, and gave "Ironside" the dubious distinction of being NBC’s lowest-rated fall drama premiere of all time.

Another NBC drama, "Revolution" — which has been a success story for the network — also had a rocky night. The show lost 20% of its demo audience from a week ago and sank to a 1.5 average, the lowest in series history.

Sandwiched between those two disasters, NBC’s "Law & Order: SVU" also had a less than stellar night, tumbling 26% from last week’s two-hour season premiere to a 2.0 average in 18-49.

ABC, CBS and Fox all fared much better, even as this week’s general downtrend continued for the top broadcast nets following a good opening week to the fall season.

ABC had the top show of the night on broadcast, with "Modern Family" delivering a 4.2 average in adults 18-49 — matching last week’s number. Leading out from it, "Super Fun Night" had an encouraging series premiere with a 3.2, equaling the number for the premiere of "The Neighbors" in the time slot a year ago.

ABC’s "The Middle" came in with a 2.2 average in 18-49, down 12% from a week ago, "Back in the Game" dipped 18% to a 1.8, and "Nashville" slipped 5% to a 1.9.

CBS’s "Survivor" found a way to buck the downtrend, rising 8% from last week to a 2.6 in the 18-49 demo. "CSI" was also up, rising 5% to a 2.1, while "Criminal Minds" fell off 4% to a 2.7.

Fox’s two-hour "The X Factor" slipped 4% to a 2.4 in the demo.

CBS and ABC wound up in a tie for first place for prime time overall in the 18-49 demo, followed closely by Fox. ABC and CBS notched 2.5 average ratings, Fox had a 2.4 and NBC came in with a 1.6, followed by Univision with a 1.3. In total viewers, CBS separated itself from the pack with 10.2 million, followed by Fox (7.8 million), ABC (7.6 million), NBC (6.3 million) and Univision (3.3 million).

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