ABC Easily Tops New Year’s Eve Ratings But NBC Makes Strides

Ryan Seacrest-hosted coverage again beats its broadcast competitors combined

ABC remained the dominant network in New Year’s Eve ratings last night, but was down some from last year while runner-up NBC showed gains to close the gap a bit.

According to Nielsen metered-market overnights, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” averaged a 10.1 household rating/24 for its coverage from 11:30 p.m. to 1:15 a.m. — beating the combined scores of “NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly” (5.2/11 from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.) and Fox’s “New Year’s Eve Live” (2.6/6 from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.). Still, ABC was down 5% while NBC was up 6% to match its highest rating to date) and Fox was off 7%.

In the 25 markets where adults 18-49 data was available from Nielsen, ABC’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” led comfortably with a 7.1 rating/28 share, but was down 8% from the previous year. “NBC’s New Year’s Eve” did a 3.1/11 (up 11% to a four-year high), and Fox’s “New Year’s Eve Live” (2.1/8) was up 5%.

(Last year saw an especially strong New Year’s Eve ratings performance for ABC, as its coverage included tributes to Dick Clark, who had passed away earlier in the year.)

In primetime on New Year’s Eve, ABC prevailed with its two-hour special “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Presents the 30 Greatest Women in Music” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall) and the 10-11 p.m. portion of “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (3.7/13 in 18-49, 12.1 million viewers overall). The Seacrest-hosted 10 p.m. program was especially dominant from 10:30 to 11 p.m., beating NBC’s Daly-hosted show by 147% in adults 18-49 (4.2 vs. 1.7) and by 114% in total viewers (13.2 to 5.7 million).

Still, NBC had to be pleased with gains for the 10-11 p.m. portion of “New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall), which surged by more than 50% vs. last year in all key categories. These were the strongest deliveries in the seven years of 10 p.m. New Year’s Eve telecasts for Daly.

The Peacock was competitive earlier in primetime with its NBC News special “A Toast to 2013” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall. And for the night, NBC was up 89% vs. the previous year in 18-49 (1.7 vs. 0.9) and about 80% in total viewers (6.0 million vs. 3.3 million).

CBS was not a factor in demos on the night as it aired repeats of its regular Tuesday crime dramas.

For NBC, its improved showing on New Year’s Eve comes on the heels of a string of good numbers for many of its holiday specials. The “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” drew its largest-audience in Nielsen’s People Meter history (25.2 million); “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” hit a seven-year high in adults 18-49 (2.3); and the Dec. 4 telecast of “The Sound of Music Live” delivered the Peacock’s most-watched Thursday night since 2004.

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