You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Idol,’ football power big Fox week

But top comedies don't cower opposite music competition

Fox’s “American Idol” returned to wreak havoc on the competition last week, but TV’s hottest comedies — ABC’s “Modern Family” and CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” — emerged unscathed from their first head-to-head battles.

As it kicks off its 11th season, “Idol” looked a bit more mortal. Nielsen estimates that Wednesday’s two-hour opener averaged a 7.4 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 21.93 million viewers overall (down 23% in the demo from last year) and Thursday’s premiere hour (5.7/15, 18.02m) was off 27%.

Even with its weakest start since its initial run in summer 2002, “American Idol” accounted for the week’s three top programs among young adults (including Sunday’s post-football special).

Biggest news during “Idol” premiere week, though, was the strong tune-in for both “Modern” and “Bang.” Though each is among the biggest gainers in DVR playback (the ABC show is No. 1), auds showed up on their premiere nights last week even with the tougher competish from Fox.

“Big Bang” (5.3/15 in 18-49, 15.83m) became the first regular in-season series to top “Idol” head-to-head in 18-49 (5.3 to 5.2), up 26% vs. a year ago when “Idol” crushed it (7.0 to 4.2). And “Modern Family” (5.1/12, 11.89m) grew year-to-year by 11%. Both shows impressively matched their week-earlier scores.

Still, Fox dominated last week like no net has this season thanks to the combo of “Idol,” a good start for Monday drama “Alcatraz” (3.3/8, 10.05m) and a monster Sunday football game (21.4/47, 57.63m for Giants-49ers). Its 7.7/19 in 18-49 was more than the other five broadcast networks combined: 2.1/5 for both ABC and CBS, 1.5/4 for NBC, 1.4/4 for Univision and 0.5/1 for CW.

The huge frame helped Fox leap-frog CBS for the season lead in 18-49, which should hold up even with a softer “Idol.”

At CBS, Thursday stayed strong post-“Big Bang” with week two of “Rob” (3.5/9, 11.41m) and the above-average “Person of Interest” (3.2/8, 14.40m) and “The Mentalist” (3.0/8, 14.22m). Also hot were Wednesday’s “Criminal Minds” (3.2/8, 13.00m, up vs. last year against “Idol”) and “CSI” (2.8/7, 12.02m).

At ABC, “Modern Family” lead-out “Happy Endings” (2.9/7, 6.06m) was up 21% vs. “Cougar Town” a year ago. Also, Tuesday laffer “Last Man Standing” was up (2.6/7, 8.59m) and Sunday’s “Once Upon a Time” (3.2/7, 9.33m) was solid vs. football.

NBC surged Monday with “Betty White’s 90th Birthday” special (2.7/7, 13.86m), and rookie drama “Grimm” shined on Friday (1.8/5, 5.92m). Not so hot is “The Firm” (3.42m), whose second Thursday seg ran eighth in 18-49 at 10 o’clock.”Drew Peterson: Untouchable,” starring Rob Lowe, was TV’s No. 1 primetime show Saturday (1.7/5, 5.77m) and the most-watched cable telepic in two years.

TNT scored big with Thursday’s Heat-Lakers NBA game (2.0/6, 4.40m); FX’s “Archer” was solid kicking off its third season (1.31m) even opposite hoops action; Science’s season preem of “An Idiot Abroad 2: The Bucket List,” featuring Ricky Gervais, was the net’s top telecast ever in 18-49 (480,000) and 25-54 (538,000); Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” hit season highs Monday (1.3/3, 2.76m); and Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” on Saturday was cable’s most-watched non-sports telecast (4.84m).

In another big week on the political front, Fox News moved up to second among cablers in total viewers (2.4 million).

More TV

  • China’s ‘Boonie Bears’ Reach Korea With

    China’s ‘Boonie Bears’ Reach Korea With Animated Series and Movie

    Two seasons of the hit Chinese animation series “Boonie Bears” have been licensed for release in South Korea. The deal was struck by animation studio Fantawild with content distributor Media to Media. The broker has acquired IPTV and VoD rights to “Boonie Bears: Four Seasons,” and “Sunsational Summer and Snow Daze,” a total of 104 [...]

  • Mike Royce24th Annual Critics' Choice Awards,

    CBS Orders Comedy Pilot 'Story of Us' From 'One Day at a Time' Co-Creator Mike Royce

    CBS has ordered a pilot for the comedy “The Story of Us” from writer and executive producer Mike Royce. The hybrid comedy tells the story of how an unlikely couple becomes a family through interviews and vignettes spanning 10 years. In addition to Royce, Nick Stoller and Conor Welch will serve as executive producers. Sony [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Bob Costas Olympics Mike Tirico

    Bob Costas Officially Out at NBC After Nearly 40 Years

    Bob Costas has formally parted ways with NBC after nearly 40 years as a sportscaster for the Peacock. Costas and NBC have been negotiating an exit agreement for months. Word surfaced last summer that he was preparing to end his tenure with the network. Costas confirmed the news in an interview with the New York [...]

  • Happy

    TV Roundup: Syfy Drops First Trailer for Season 2 of 'Happy!'

    In today’s TV News Roundup, Syfy drops the first trailer for the second season of “Happy!” and Imagine Kids & Family sets a partnership with Four M Studios.  FIRST LOOKS Syfy has dropped the first trailer for season two of “Happy!” starring Christopher Meloni and Patton Oswalt. The new season premieres Wednesday, March 27 at 10/9c [...]

  • 'Brexit' Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Stars in

    TV Review: HBO's 'Brexit'

    The announcement of the film “Brexit” — which aired in the U.K. on Channel 4 before its HBO bow on Jan. 19 — engendered serious criticism from the British, and understandably so. The film, which looks at recent history in the manner HBO productions like “Game Change” and “Recount” had done, takes on a story whose very [...]

  • 'Fyre Fraud' and 'Fyre' Reviews: Behind

    TV Review: 'Fyre Fraud' and 'Fyre'

    It seems in retrospect unavoidable that the week of release for a highly-anticipated documentary about a scammer began with an attention-grabbing stunt. On Monday, in advance of the planned Friday drop of Netflix’s “Fyre,” Hulu executed a surprise release of its own “Fyre Fraud”; both films assay the failed 2017 gathering Fyre Festival, a would-be [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content