Net dominates, capped by highly watched awards show
In a big frame for music, NBC made a lot of noise with “The Voice” and “Smash” and Fox vet “American Idol” remained a chart-topper, but it was the Grammys that emerged as easily the loudest of all, capping a big week for CBS.
The Eye actually had a strong sesh across the board thanks to its core comedies and dramas. It placed first or second among the broadcasters among adults 18-49 on 13 of 15 weeknight hours and then crushed the competition on Sunday with the most-watched Grammys telecast in 28 years.
Nielsen estimates that the Grammys earned a whopping 14.1 rating/33 share in adults 18-49 and 39.91 million viewers overall — higher than last year’s Academy Awards and the best numbers for any entertainment telecast this season.
The show, whose viewership was boosted by curiosity surrounding coverage of Whitney Houston’s death, matched its best 18-49 score since 1990 while drawing its second largest aud ever (behind only the 43.9 million in 1984).
Overall for the week, CBS averaged a 4.2/11 in adults 18-49 (its biggest average in more than a year), and was followed by Fox (2.5/7), ABC and NBC (both at 2.1/6), Univision (1.3/3) and top cabler TBS (1.0/2). It also won easily in 25-54 (5.3/13 to 2.9/7 for runner-up Fox) and its average overall aud of 15.4 million was more than the next two nets combined.
CBS opened up its seasonal advantage over Fox in both adults 25-54 and total viewers and has pulled to within a tick of the leader in adults 18-49.
For the Eye, “NCIS” popped with its 200th episode on Tuesday (4.2/11 in 18-49, 20.98m), dominating its timeslot and hitting a season high in total viewers.
Net has also been clicking on Thursday, where “The Big Bang Theory” remains scorching hot (5.6/16 in 18-49, 16.21m), ruling as the week’s No. 1 scripted show in adults 18-49 and key male demos. Rookie 8:30 p.m. laffer “Rob” (3.3/9, 10.74m) also continues to look pretty good, leading into above-average scores for “Person of Interest” (3.3/9, 15.14m) and “The Mentalist” (3.0/8, 14.68m) led their hours behind it.One thing that didn’t work for CBS was Wednesday’s interview special “Person to Person” (1.0/3, 5.90m).
At Fox, “American Idol” stabilized in its third week, with Wednesday’s hour (6.1/17 in 18-49, 19.32m) beating its combined ABC-CBS-NBC competish in 18-49 and Thursday’s hour (5.8/16, 18.13m) showing week-to-week gains.
Its top scripted shows were the Tuesday tandem of “Glee” (3.3/9, 7.81m) and “New Girl” (3.5/9, 6.83m).
NBC had a big Monday with the timeslot debut of “The Voice” (regular-slot series high 6.7/17 in 18-49, 17.84m) followed by the series preem of “Smash” (3.8/10, 11.44m), with the net sweeping all six half-hours in 18-49 and 25-54 (Daily Variety, Feb. 8) on a night that it typically placed a distant fourth for the first half of the season. “Voice” was the week’s No. 1 series in 18-49, ahead of usual leader “American Idol.”
But its third-place tie with ABC for the week shows that the net needs to improve elsewhere to consistently be competitive. Comedy remains challenging for the net, with vet “The Office” slumping to a firstrun low (2.5/7, 5.19m) and rookies “Whitney” (1.5/5, 4.06m), “Are You There, Chelsea?” (1.5/4, 3.63m) and “Up All Night” (1.7/4, 3.65m) all rated low.
ABC was paced by its Wednesday lineup, led by “Modern Family” (5.5/14, 12.90m), while new drama “The River” flowed to a decent but unspectacular opening number on Tuesday (2.4/6, 7.59m). Net took a hit on Sunday opposite the Grammys, as rookie hit “Once Upon a Time” hit a low (3.0/7, 8.65m) and fading vet “Desperate Housewives” (1.8/4, 6.40m) hit lows.
“Housewives” had to contend with not only the Grammys but also the return of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (4.2/9, 8.10m), which set basic-cable demo records and tied CBS’ “NCIS” as the week’s No. 1 drama in 18-49.
The only other cable show in the week’s top 25 in 18-49 was MTV’s “Jersey Shore”