ABC wows upscale auds

Continued success could mean diversifying demographics

In a fall season of declining ratings for all broadcasters but NBC, every network is looking for a silver lining. ABC’s is pretty much golden.

The Alphabet is in fourth place in the network adults 18-49 standings through three weeks, but toss out sports — it’s the only Big Four net without the NFL — and its average is neck and neck with the other nets. And a look at how it fares in key upscale Nielsen categories makes the Alphabet’s story even better.

ABC has five of fall’s top 15 programs among adults 18-49 living in households earning $100,000 or more, according to Nielsen Audience Demographic data. CBS and NBC each have four, and Fox has two.

ABC’s “Modern Family” is far and away the leader in this category (11.7 rating), followed by CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (7.7), ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (7.5), NBC’s “Revolution” (6.2) — the top-rated rookie show — and Fox’s “Glee” (6.1).

Also repping ABC in the top 15 are young dramas “Revenge” (4.9), “Nashville” (4.8) and “Once Upon a Time” (4.5).

“Modern Family” is an advertiser’s dream; it’s not only the No. 1 entertainment series among all adults 18-49, but it also skews more upscale than most shows (indexing at 166, or 66% greater than average).

The only programs with a higher upscale skew are comedies on NBC’s low-rated Thursday block: “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” both index at 179, and “30 Rock” at 177.

Other shows rating well and drawing big indexes include “Glee” and CBS’ “The Amazing Race” (both 156) and ABC’s “Shark Tank” (144).

As much as ABC enjoys hitting a bull’s-eye with upscale auds (it also does well among professionals/managers and those with four-plus years of college), a key as it looks to challenge in the overall ratings race could be attracting a more diverse audience.

In other words, shows that will likely index lower, such as Tim Allen family comedy “Last Man Standing” and Reba McEntire’s new “Malibu Country,” both bowing on Nov. 2, could help recruit new viewers to the net.

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