Repeats, no Sunday football lead to year-low broadcast share

The Christmas holiday, oodles of repeats and a postponement of “Sunday Night Football” resulted last week in one of the lowest-rated frames of the calendar year.

Fox, which benefited from the early-evening Sunday NFL overrun, emerged victorious in key demos, while CBS led the pack as usual in total viewers. Kicking off the week, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” ruled as easily the top-rated telecast of the sesh.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” far and away the fall’s No. 1 primetime program, was preempted when a winter storm led to the postponement of the Philadelphia Eagles-Minnesota Vikings contest in Philadelphia. The game’s void left NBC scrambling to fill the night with repeats and kept the net from what appeared to be a cinch third straight weekly victory in adults 18-49.

Of note among firstrun fare, NBC’s “The Sing-Off” wrapped its strong second season with solid Nielsens (2.7 rating/7 share in adults 18-49, 8.61 million viewers overall), while Fox’s “Million Dollar Money Drop” fared decently in its four-night run but failed to make much of a buzz (averaging a 1.8/5 in 18-49 and 5.13 million viewers overall over its six hours).

And then there was ABC’s “Skating With the Stars,” which was on thin ice after opening sluggishly earlier in the month before wrapping to minuscule numbers last Tuesday (0.8/3 in 18-49, 3.41m).

Overall, according to Nielsen estimates that include same-night DVR playback, Fox captured the Dec. 20-26 sesh with a mere 1.8 rating/6 share in adults 18-49, followed by ESPN (1.7/5), CBS and NBC (both at 1.3/4), ABC (1.3/4) and Univision (1.2/4).

Combined, the Big Four garnered a mere 19% of the primetime 18-49 audience — their lowest of the calendar year.

Fox also edged out CBS for the lead in adults 25-54 (2.1/6 vs. 2.0/5), but the Eye still held a commanding advantage in total viewers (7.1 million to 5.2 million for both ESPN and Fox) — the 13th time in 14 weeks this season that the Eye has had it in overall audience.

The best-performing specials during the week included ABC’s Thursday airing of live-action feature “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2.1/7, 6.39m) and its Christmas night telecast of theatrical blockbuster “Transformers” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 6.11m), as well as NBC’s Tuesday repeat of “SNL Presents A Very Gilly Christmas” (2.3/7, 6.02m).

ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” contest between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings was easily the week’s No. 1 program in all categories (6.2/17, 17.09m) as auds turned out in big numbers for the outdoor game played on the U. of Minnesota field following a roof collapse at the Metrodome.

Also clicking on the sports front was the NFL Network’s game between Dallas and Arizona on Christmas night (2.8/8 in 18-49, 7.84m), which ranked No. 2 for the week in 18-49.

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