Ad Age

Fall TV Season Off to a Shaky Start as Veteran Shows See Viewer Erosion

Sep 21, 2016  •  Post A Comment

The fall broadcast season started off with something less than a “Big Bang,” according to a report by Ad Age.

“TV’s most popular comedy got off to its slowest start in four years, as ‘The Big Bang Theory’ on Monday night opened its tenth season on CBS with a not-insignificant ratings decline compared to its year-ago premiere,” the story reports.

The report cites Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, noting that Monday’s “Big Bang” premiere averaged 15.8 million total viewers with a 3.8 rating in adults 18-to-49 — down 19% in the demo from a 4.7 a year ago.

“Big Bang” was still easily the most-watched and highest-rated show of Monday night, which marked the official launch of the 2016-17 season.

Leading out from “Big Bang,” CBS’s new Kevin James sitcom “Kevin Can Wait” pulled 11.1 million total viewers. The show is an important one for CBS, as it will be moving into the 8 p.m. anchor position, where it will lead in to the new Matt LeBlanc sitcom “Man with a Plan.”

“Elsewhere on the broadcast dial, NBC’s ‘The Voice’ clocked in for its eleventh cycle in front of a national audience of 12.1 million viewers and a 3.3 among adults age 18-to-49, which marked a 6% dip in the demo versus cycle nine’s 3.5 rating, and just a 3% decline compared to the spring opener,” Ad Age notes.

Back-to-back episodes of NBC’s new Ted Danson-Kristen Bell comedy “The Good Place,” airing at 10 p.m., drew 8.04 million total viewers and a 2.3 rating in 18-49. The show moves to its regular spot at 8:30 Thursday.

ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” also saw some erosion, with 10.7 million total viewers and a 1.7 rating in 18-to-49 for the season 23 premiere — down 19% from the 2.3 demo rating last fall.

“After a rough summer, Fox got its new season off to a shaky start, as ‘Gotham’ and ‘Lucifer’ both drew a 1.3 in the 18-to-49 demo,” the story reports, noting that “Gotham” was down 19% from its 1.6 rating a year ago. “Lucifer” was up 18% from its former time slot occupant “Minority Report,” but it was down 46% from the 2.4 it delivered for its Jan. 25 series premiere. “Lucifer” had the advantage last season of leading out from the “X Files” reboot.

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One Comment

  1. Don’t expect it to improve.

    The Fall Premiere Season is far from what it once was for a number of reasons including:

    (1.) It is no longer “The” kickoff of new shows. Now there are at least three seasons of returning programs and/or new ones: Fall, Winter (mid-season), Summer.
    (2.) The proliferation of delivery channels and content has saturated the viewing marketplace with choices which continues to fragment the audience further depressing shows’ ratings.
    (3.) Viewers have become accustomed to the fact that a large percentage of new shows don’t make it through the first season. Further, the networks have little tolerance for poorly performing programs whether new or longer running. To this point the (networks) have contributed to the problem.
    (4.) Audiences have an increasing number of technologies and platforms from which they can view programs. In spite of advanced rating measurement there is.no way of actually knowing a program’s true audience size.
    (5.) Call it the “Lemming Mentality”. Soon as soon as new program (e.g. vampires, hospital dramas, etc.) takes off similar programs show up on competing networks leading to Wwhat I would term as “program fragment ion.”
    (6.) The vast number of available movies on Direct TV, Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, and on-and-on.
    (7.) “Real-time”drama brought to viewers by CNN, MSNBC, Fox, local outlets, etc. Why watch a pretend drama when I can see on unfold right in front of my eyes.

    To conclude, I believe it’s fair tonsay that the poor performance of Fall Premiere Season is a precursor of future seasons; ratings continue to decrease at a increasing rate.

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