Super Bowl puts net on top in young-adults demo

CBS, which found the ratings end zone Sunday, doesn’t figure to be tackled any time soon.

Sometime early in primetime Sunday during the net’s coverage of the Super Bowl, the Eye moved ahead of NBC in adults 18-49 for the season. And there’s probably no looking back for the net, which is poised for its first season-long victory in the key young-adults category.

Sunday’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers went down as the third most-watched Super Bowl (average audience of 108.69 million viewers), but because it extended until nearly 11 p.m. ET (due to the 34-minute power outage at the Superdome), it helped CBS claim the most-watched night of primetime on record (108.5 million). The previous high was 100.9 million for the 2011 Super Bowl and “Glee” on Fox.

Toss in some strong perfs by its entertainment series, and CBS put up the best weekly averages for any net since the Summer Olympics on NBC in August.

Overall, according to national estimates from Nielsen, CBS (8.9 rating/23 share) drew more than four times the 18-49 average of runner-up Fox (2.2/6), which was followed by ABC and Univision (1.4/4) and NBC (1.2/3). In fact, CBS topped the combined averages of the next eight networks.

And in total viewers, its 28 million bested the next nine networks combined.

The football game wasn’t only huge on TV, but it was also the most streamed single-game sporting event, with 3 million unique viewers on CBSSports.com, NFL.com and NFL Mobile from Verizon — up 43% from last year (2.1 million). And the game generated nearly 10 million live video streams, more than doubling last year.

Also for CBS, “The Big Bang Theory” was the No. 1 scripted series in 18-49 (5.4/16), beating American Idol” by 22% in their first encounter this season, while “NCIS” (3.8/11, 22.07m) drew the most total viewers for any series.

With “Person of Interest” (3.2/9, 15.71m) beating ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” by its largest margins yet (including by 14% in 18-49), CBS won the opening Thursday of the February sweep in 18-49 for the first time since 2006.

Other standouts for the net included Tuesday’s “NCIS: Los Angeles” (3.1/8, 17.30m) and Friday’s “Undercover Boss” (1.9/6, 9.94m).

Fox ran second as “American Idol” continues to hold up well year to year. Wednesday’s two-hour seg was the week’s No. 1 series in 18-49 (5.5/15, 15.78m), and Thursday’s ranked third (4.5/13, 13.80m).

Net also had a strong Monday with “Bones” (2.6/7, 9.25m) and “The Following” (3.3/8, 10.10m), which edged up in its second week. And on Tuesday, “New Girl” (2.6/7, 4.74m) checked in with its best rating since October.

ABC was led by Thursday drama duo “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.8/7, 8.93m) and “Scandal” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.09m), with the latter holding a best-yet 96% of its vet lead-in in 18-49. It also drew 2.89 million African-Americans, according to Nielsen, edging out “American Idol” (2.87 million) as the No. 1 series of the week by this measure.

Friday’s “Shark Tank” had another good showing (1.9/5, 3.97m), but it was tougher going for new cooking contest “The Taste” (1.6/4, 4.80m), which fell by 24% from its premiere.

At NBC, auds tuned in for the finale of “30 Rock” (1.9/5, 4.88m), up 35% from the previous week, but Thursday drama “Do No Harm” opened to tiny numbers (0.9/3, 3.12m) and is probably already on a short leash. Faring only a bit better was Monday’s “Deception” (1.2/3, 3.73m).

FX had a solid premiere with “The Americans” on Wednesday (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.22m). But topping it and all of cable that night was Discovery’s second-season finale of “Moonshiners” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.87 million viewers overall), which set series highs. It ranked second on all of television for the night (behind “American Idol”) in men 18-49 (2.2/6) and men 25-54 (2.6/6).

And on Friday, Discovery ruled all of television in key male demos with its lineup led by “Gold Rush” (1.7/5, 4.70m). On the same night, Disney Channel led all of cable in total viewers, paced by “Phineas and Ferb” (3.77 million) and a season high for “Jessie” (3.84 million).

Animal Planet’s annual “Puppy Bowl” on Super Bowl Sunday drew 2.63 million viewers for its premiere and 4.05 million combined viewers for its first two airings — up sharply from last year’s 1.60 million for the preem and 2.54 million total.

USA’s “WWE Raw” had its best full-night averages since expanding to three hours last July (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.01m).

Logo’s season preem of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” drew 565,000 viewers Monday to become the most-watched series or season debut in net history.

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