Only three shows among the 49 prime-time programs returning to the big 4 broadcast networks have registered an increase in live viewing over the first three weeks of the new season, the AP reports. The shows are ABC’s sophomore drama “A Million Little Things,” the ABC reality show “Shark Tank” and the Fox drama “9-1-1.”
The report, which cites Nielsen data, does not include sports programming.
“A decade or so ago, such a statistic would prompt audible wailing from network executive suites,” the AP notes. “The nature of television has changed so much that it’s too early to tell if viewers are bored with the offerings or if those numbers reflect that more people are watching on their own time and making their own schedules.”
The big 4 — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — will get a clearer picture of how they’re doing in the weeks ahead, when delayed viewing and digital viewing are added in.
“One quick example: Last season NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ averaged 8.3 million viewers on the night an episode first aired, Nielsen said. After 35 days of digital and delayed viewing was added, the typical episode of the show reached 19.9 million,” the AP reports. “It grew further to 21.7 million viewers after 100 days, meaning a minority of viewers actually watched it live.”
The report adds: “The live numbers shouldn’t be ignored, though. The 45% drop in live viewership for Fox’s ‘Empire’ isn’t likely to improve that much. Similarly, NBC might want to keep an eye on the comedy ‘The Good Place’ and medical drama ‘New Amsterdam,’ both of which are down 28%.”