Is the Fall Broadcast Season Already Running Out of Gas? More Shows Sink to Historic Lows

Oct 31, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Prime-time shows across multiple broadcast networks sank to all-time lows and season lows Wednesday night, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that ABC’s "Nashville," "Back in the Game" and "Super Fun Night" all equaled or surpassed their historic lows in the demo, while NBC’s "Revolution" also matched its series low.

ABC’s "The Middle," meanwhile, notched a new season low. On CBS, the numbers weren’t at historic lows, but the entire prime-time lineup was down from last week’s numbers.

Much of the damage appears to have been done by Fox’s coverage of the deciding game of the World Series. The game, in which the Boston Red Sox clinched the championship by knocking out the St. Louis Cardinals, delivered a preliminary 5.4 average in 18-49 from 8-11 p.m., with 18.0 million total viewers.

The demo number was up 42% from Monday’s Game 5, and gave Fox the distinction of notching the highest Wednesday rating for any broadcast network since Fox’s own Jan. 30, 2013, airing of "American Idol." The report notes that the numbers for Fox are subject to more than the usual adjustments due to the nature of live programming.

Fox easily won the night, both in the 18-49 demo and in total viewers.

Second-place CBS saw "Survivor" slip 4% from a week ago to a 2.3 average in 18-49, while "Criminal Minds" lost 11% to come in with a 2.4 and "CSI" dipped 14% to a 1.8.

ABC managed to place third overall, even as "The Middle" recorded a season-low 2.1 average in viewers 18-49, off 5% from last week; "Back in the Game" equaled last week’s series low with a 1.7; "Super Fun Night" fell to a series-low 1.8, losing 14% from a week ago; and "Nashville" fell 13% to a series-low 1.4.

NBC aired only an hour of fresh programming and finished well off the pace. "Revolution" delivered a 1.4 in the 18-49 demo, matching last week’s series low. A two-hour "Law & Order: SVU" repeat notched a 1.0.

For prime time overall, Fox finished well ahead of the pack with a 5.4 average in adults 18-49, followed by CBS (2.2 average), ABC (1.8), NBC (1.2) and Univision (1.1). Fox outdistanced the field in total viewers as well, averaging 18.0 million to lead CBS (9.7 million), ABC (6.3 million), NBC (4.4 million) and Univision (3.1 million).

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