On a night when President Obama’s roughly 50-minute address to the nation caused the nets to preempt or shift programming, ABC’s “Off the Map” opened to respectable numbers at 10 p.m. Wednesday, improving the net’s performance in the hour.
It was tough to get much of a read on ratings for shows airing in the middle of primetime, as Obama’s remarks at the Tucson memorial service aired from about 8:30 to 9:20 p.m. ET — delaying some shows and causing nets to opt for repeats over originals in some cases. Among the programs most affected was the second week of CBS’ “Live to Dance,” whose live telecast was moved from 8 to 9 p.m. in most of the country, but still didn’t get on the air until around 9:20.
In Wednesday’s final hour, “Off the Map,” the latest medical drama from Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice”), averaged a 2.2 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 and 7.5 million viewers overall; the drama, which benefited from a healthy lead-in courtesy of “Modern Family,” dropped off some in its second half-hour but ranked a solid second to NBC’s “Law and Order: SVU” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall). The 2.2 is a big improvement over the 1.5 that “The Whole Truth” garnered in September with its series premiere in the hour, one that has vexed ABC for several years now.
About the only other clean number on the night was a good one, as ABC’s “The Middle” (preliminary 3.1 rating/9 share in adults 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall) appeared to have hit series highs. It aired opposite special repeats of comedies “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS (1.5/4 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall) and “Raising Hope” on Fox (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall).
ABC’s “Modern Family” likely will emerge as the night’s No. 1 program, but it was tough to project a number since it started at around 9:20 p.m. in much of the country but on time in the West.
Ratings for Obama’s address will be sustained by Nielsen and will not count toward a network’s nightly or weekly averages.