Weekly Ratings: ‘Voice’ Still Resonating for NBC; Fox News Leads All Cable Nets

Despite a lackluster performance by its first-year programs, NBC appears to be a lock to finish the season on top in the key young-adults demo for a second straight year — and “The Voice” is the biggest reason why.

The music competition series has shown that it still has a lot left in the tank, dominating its four hours last week and helping the net edge out Fox in a frame when its monster hit “Empire” notched yet another high, as well as an improved ABC.

Another network that overcame a heavyweight program on the competition was Fox News Channel, which was the week’s most-watched cable network in primetime even though AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (and its 14.53 million viewers) was about four times more popular than any other cable program, according to Nielsen “live plus same-day” estimates.

FNC, with 1.93 million viewers, drew about 200,000 more than AMC, TBS, USA and Disney Channel, which were closely bunched at about 1.75 million.

Fox News has finished on top before, but it’s usually been in weeks of big news events. The last three times it finished on top were the week of the Malaysian plane crash (March 2014), the State of the Union in January 2014 and the Boston bombing in April 2013.

While there weren’t any major news events last week, the network continues to be bolstered by rising numbers for “The O’Reilly Factor” since the controversy surrounding host Bill O’Reilly’s war-reporting experiences. Four nights of “O’ Reilly” ranked among the week’s 20 most-watched primetime cable programs, and Tuesday’s hour, which drew a 2015-best 3.38 million viewers, spiked a big 40% in the key news demo of adults 25-54 vs. the same night a year ago.

Also in cable, USA’s international murder mystery “Dig” opened to decent numbers Thursday (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.83 million viewers overall) but then more than doubled its audience with three days of DVR playback. Its 3.77 million viewers in L+3 makes it the network’s most-watched telecast of 2015.

If you count all three of its Thursday night airings in L+3 as well as exposure over the weekend on sister networks Bravo, E!, Esquire and Oxygen, the event series from Tim Kring and Gideon Raff combined to draw nearly 9 million viewers, USA said.

Looking at last week’s overall averages, according to Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” estimates, NBC’s 1.7 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 put it ahead of ABC and Fox (both 1.6/5), CBS (1.4/4), Univision (1.1/4) and top cabler AMC (0.7/3). The Peacock also led in adults 25-54 while CBS cruised in total viewers.

For NBC, “The Voice” won its two-hour timeslots in 18-49 on Monday (3.9 rating/12 share) and Tuesday (4.1/13), both of which ranked among the week’s top five primetime programs. Tuesday’s installment also drew the show’s largest-ever audience on the night in Live+3 (17.3 million).

“Chicago Fire” was glad to see “The Voice” return, as its first episode behind this cycle of the reality show resulted in its top scores since November (2.1/7 in 18-49, 9.07 million viewers overall). Among all networks, it was the week’s No. 1-rated 10 p.m. drama in 18-49.

On Thursday, “The Blacklist” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 8.23 million viewers overall) again towered over the new shows on either side of it: “The Slap” and “Allegiance,” both of which did a 0.8/3 in 18-49. The net has pulled “Allegiance” from the schedule, and will shift “Slap” to its 10 p.m. timeslot starting this week.

Saturday’s telecast of “Premier Boxing Champions” grew throughout, peaking with a 1.4 rating in 18-49 and 4.2 million viewers in the 10:30 p.m. half-hour and helping NBC win the night in 18-49, 25-54, 18-34 and all key male demos.

ABC had a solid week, placing eight shows among the week’s top 20 broadcasts in 18-49 and finishing first or second among the Big Four (including ties) on every night of the week. The net’s Wednesday comedy block looked good, with “The Goldbergs” matching its season high (2.5/8 in 18-49, 7.86 million viewers overall) and “Modern Family” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 9.61 million viewers overall) seeming impervious to Fox’s growing “Empire.”

Thursday’s series premiere of “American Crime” didn’t wow in the ratings (2.0/7 in 18-49, 8.37 million viewers overall) but it kept the net on top for its hour in 18-49, retaining two-thirds of its below-average “Scandal” lead-in (3.0/9 in 18-49, 9.57 million viewers overall).

On Sunday, Ryan Phillippe drama “Secrets & Lies” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.96 million viewers overall) retained more than 90% of its premiere rating and seemed to make a better lead-in for the returning “Revenge” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.89 million viewers overall), which bested the rating for its final four episodes airing behind “Resurrection.”

At Fox,”Empire” (5.8/17 in 18-49, 14.33 million viewers overall) continued its unprecedented streak intact by growing its audience for an eighth straight week. In 18-49, its 5.8 rating tripled that of drama timeslot competitor “Criminal Minds” on CBS and stands as the highest for any regularly scheduled broadcast drama since an episode of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” in October 2009.

Sunday comedy “Last Man on Earth” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 4.35 million viewers overall) declined 21% from its impressive hourlong bow of the previous week but it was its timeslot’s No. 1-rated broadcast in 18-49, retaining about 90% of its “Family Guy” lead-in. That March 1 premiere grew by nearly 40% in both 18-49 (3.3 from 2.4) and total viewers (7.89 million from 5.75 million) in Nielsen’s “live+3” ratings. It was also streamed more than 1.6 million times on Fox Now and Hulu in the first four days post-premiere.

“The Following” kicked off its third season with OK numbers (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.86 million viewers overall), topping its final eight episodes of last season and retaining 80% of its “Gotham” lead-in. (It did fall off to a 1.1 demo rating on Monday of the current week, though, with a repeat “Gotham” as its lead-in).

At CBS, “CSI: Cyber” had a solid bow on Wednesday (1.8/6 in 18-49, 10.46 million viewers), retaining 90% of its “Criminal Minds” demo lead-in (1.8 vs. 1.9) and building on the vet in total viewers (10.46 million vs. 10.37 million). Compared to the season average for originals of “Stalker” in the time period, the “CSI” spinoff opened 20% higher in 18-49 and 36% better in total viewers.

The net’s new Sunday drama, “Battle Creek” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 6.93 million viewers overall) was down 0.2 from its soft week-earlier premiere, though it again got little support from lead-in “The Good Wife” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 9.09 million viewers overall), which dipped to another low.

“The Big Bang Theory” rose to its top demo score since early last fall on Monday (4.8/16 in 18-49) and hit a season high in total viewers (18.17 million) with the first episode since Leonard Nimoy’s death. The “Star Trek” fave is an obsession of Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) and has been referenced frequently on the show; and series creator Chuck Lorre paid tribute to the late actor with a brief message on his vanity card at the conclusion of the episode.

And following “Big Bang” on Thursday, new comedy “The Odd Couple” was on the rise in its third week (3.0/9 in 18-49, 12.36 million viewers overall).

In cable, it was another good week for AMC, which is coming off a No. 1 finish for the month of February in 18-49 and all male demos.

The Walking Dead”  (7.5/24 in 18-49, 14.53 million viewers overall) was on par with the previous week and up nearly 20% vs. the comparable year-ago episode; it more than tripled the rating of any other show on Sunday. “Talking Dead” dominated its timeslot too (2.9/8 in 18-49, 5.73 million viewers overall).

“Better Call Saul” continues to do well on Monday nights (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.71 million viewers last week), leading all of television in its 10 p.m. hour in categories including men 18-49 (1.6/6) and adults 18-34 (1.2/4). And for the first time, it went on to more than double its ratings in “live+3” (+115% in 18-49, 1.2 to 2.6; and +104% in total viewers, 5.51 million vs. 2.71 million).

Discovery’s “Gold Rush” surged to a high Friday as it wrapped its fifth season (1.7/6 in 18-49, 4.96 million viewers overall). It was the No. 1 network on television for its 9-10:30 p.m. time period in 18-49 and stood as the night’s No. 1 TV program overall in men 18-49 (2.2/9).

Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” was again Sunday’s top-rated cable program not on AMC (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.60 million viewers overall), beating Fox’s comedies in 18-49 and CBS’ “Madam Secretary” in 25-54.

The Weather Channel had reason to be pleased with its performance on Monday, when signature series “Coast Guard Alaska” (from Al Roker Entertainment) averaged 139,000 adults 25-54 to finish ahead of networks likes MSNBC (124,000 for “Rachel Maddow”), NGWD (123,000 for “Unlikely Animal Friends”) and HLN (97,000 for “Dr. Drew on Call”).

 

PRIMETIME NETWORK RANKINGS
(Week of Feb. 22-March 1, 2015 — Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
NBC                          1.7/6
ABC                          1.6/5
Fox                           1.6/5
CBS                          1.4/4
UNI                          1.1/4
AMC                         0.7/3
TBS                           0.6/2
USA                          0.6/2
ESPN                       0.5/2
TEL                          0.5/2

Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS                           8.59
NBC                          7.03
ABC                          6.18
Fox                           4.78
UNI                          3.02
Fox News                1.93
TBS                          1.77
AMC                        1.75
USA                         1.74
Disney                    1.74

TOP PRIMETIME PROGRAMS
(Week of March 2-8, 2015 — Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
1.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 7.5/24
2.  Empire (Fox), 5.4/15
3.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 4.8/16
4.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 4.1/13
5.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 3.9/12
6.  Modern Family (ABC), 3.4/10
7.  The Odd Couple (CBS), 3.0/9
7.  Scandal (ABC), 3.0/9
9.  Talking Dead (AMC), 2.9/8
10.  The Goldbergs (ABC), 2.5/8
11.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.4/8
11.  The Bachelor (ABC), 2.4/7
11.  The Big Bang Theory, 9 p.m.-r (CBS), 2.4/7
14.  Survivor (CBS), 2.3/7
15.  Black-ish (ABC), 2.3/6
16.  Mom (CBS), 2.2/7
16.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 2.2/7
16.  American Idol-Thursday (Fox), 2.2/7
16.  The Middle (ABC), 2.2/7

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 18.17
2.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 15.54
3.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 14.67
4.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 14.53
5.  Empire (Fox), 14.33
6.  The Odd Couple (CBS), 12.36
7.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 11.03
8.  Madam Secretary (CBS), 10.82
9.  NCIS-r (CBS), 10.79
10.  The Big Bang Theory, 9 p.m.-r (CBS), 10.54
11.  60 Minutes (CBS), 10.49
12.  CSI: Cyber (CBS), 10.46
13.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 10.37
14.  Survivor (CBS), 9.77
15.  Mom (CBS), 9.67
16.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 9.65
17.  Modern Family (ABC), 9.61
18.  Scandal (ABC), 9.57
19.  Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 9.54
20.  American Idol-Thursday (Fox), 9.41

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