You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FX’s ‘The Bridge’ at the Center of the DVR Revolution

Drama, which ends its first season tonight, is the biggest playback gainer by percentage

Americans’ viewing habits have changed markedly since the advent of DVRs, and perhaps no show has benefited from time-shifted playback quite like FX’s “The Bridge,” which wraps its first season tonight.

In what’s believed to be a first, the Shine America drama about detectives tracking a serial killer on both sides of the American-Mexican border is being watched by more young adults on their DVRs within a week of its initial telecast than on Wednesday night, when it airs on the network.

For those who are longtime and/or heavy users of DVRs, this may not sound surprising. But “live plus same-day” viewing (Nielsen speak for viewing that’s done either live or via DVR playback before 3 a.m. the morning after a scheduled telecast) remains the window when most television viewing of a show is done.

But this is increasingly less so for some programs with relatively small audiences — especially 10 p.m. dramas with complicated storylines that may require more attention and mental energy than people can muster at the end of a long day.

Looking at the Nielsen numbers for “The Bridge,” which has been renewed for a second season, its original episodes are averaging 821,000 adults 18-49 on Wednesday nights to place ninth among all new cable drama premieres in 2013. But it moves up to sixth on the list — leapfrogging VH1’s “Hit the Floor,” ABC Family’s “The Fosters” and Syfy’s “Defiance” — in data inclusive of full-week DVR playback.

As a result, “The Bridge” was the third most popular new cable drama of the summer among adults 18-49, behind Lifetime’s “Devious Maids” and USA’s “Graceland.”

The 105% growth from “Live + same-day” (821,000) to “Live + 7” (1.684 million) makes “The Bridge” the most time-shifted show, on a percentage basis, in FX history.

Many dramas grow more than 50% in L7, but this year has seen even more new series rising by 75% or more, including cable newcomers “Ray Donovan” on Showtime (84% growth from same-night to full-week), “Graceland” (adding 92%) and “The Americans” on FX (93%).

On the broadcast side, last season’s biggest DVR gainers on a percentage basis were NBC’s “Smash” at 89% (laregly due to its Saturday timeslot), “Hannibal” at 78% and “Grimm” at 74%.

Like “The Americans,” “The Bridge” was renewed by FX for a second season in part due to its impressive DVR audience. And following its premiere, which was its highest-rated episode, “The Bridge” showed amazing consistency in its numbers throughout its run.

“The Bridge” is the first scripted series from Shine America. Shine is also behind Fox’s Americanized version of the the U.K. crime drama “Broadchurch,” set to run as an event series on the network in the 2014-15 season.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Screen writer Beau WillimonMary Queen of

    Beau Willimon Re-Elected as President of Writers Guild of America East

    Beau Willimon, the playwright and showrunner who launched Netflix’s “House of Cards,” has been re-elected without opposition to a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America East. Willimon also ran unopposed in 2017 to succeed Michael Winship. Kathy McGee was elected to the vice president slot over Phil Pilato. Secretary-treasurer Bob Schneider [...]

  • Dickinson First Look Teaser

    TV News: Apple Drops New 'Dickinson' Trailer With Hailee Steinfeld (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, Apple TV Plus’ “Dickinson” series released a new trailer and Netflix released the trailer for the fifth season of “Peaky Blinders.” DATES The “Cash Cab” revival will come to Bravo on Oct. 7. The game show takes place inside a New York cab, where unsuspecting passengers become contestants in a game of [...]

  • Jennie Snyder Urman, Katie Wech Team

    Jennie Snyder Urman, Katie Wech Team for Medical Drama in Development at CBS

    CBS is developing a medical drama that hails from writer Katie Wech, Variety has learned. Currently titled “Good Sam,” the series follows a talented yet stifled surgeon who embraces her leadership role after her renowned and pompous boss falls into a coma. When he awakens and wants to resume surgery, however, it falls to her to [...]

  • Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent,

    Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent, Dies at 88

    Jack Gilardi, a longtime ICM Partners agent who represented such stars as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston and Shirley MacLaine, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88. Gilardi was known for his gentlemanly style, love of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his skill at representing top actors. He [...]

  • Will Gluck

    Will Gluck Sets TV Overall Deal at eOne (EXCLUSIVE)

    Will Gluck has signed a two-year overall television deal with Entertainment One (eOne), Variety has learned exclusively. Under the deal, Richard Schwartz will continue to oversee all television projects for Gluck’s Olive Bridge Entertainment, with eOne set to serve as studio on all projects under the partnership. “The choice for us was clear given their impeccable [...]

  • Katie Hockmeyer

    NBC Entertainment Names Katie Hockmeyer Exec VP of Late Night Programming

    Katie Hockmeyer has been named executive vice president of late night programming at NBC Entertainment She will report to NBC Entertainment co-chairmen George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy, where she will work on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Saturday Night Live” and newly launched late-night addition, “A Little Late with [...]

  • Nexstar Completes Tribune Acquisition, Sean Compton

    Nexstar Completes Tribune Acquisition, Sean Compton to Head Programming

    Nexstar Media Group has become the nation’s largest owner of TV stations after completing its $4.1 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. The deal creates a broadcasting colossus with more than 200 stations serving more than 100 markets, although a number of stations will be divested to keep Nexstar in compliance with FCC ownership limits. Nexstar, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content