Football, ‘Following’ and ‘American Idol’ Fuel Fox’s Monster Week

Drama's return on Sunday draws series highs

The Following TV review Fox

One week after CBS produced the season’s most lopsided primetime ratings victory, Fox has topped it.

Boosted by football’s NFC Championship and the return of “American Idol” and “The Following,” Fox beat its combined ABC-CBS-NBC-CW competition in young adults while also drawing nearly as many combined total viewers as ABC, CBS and NBC.

The football game, in which the Seattle Seahawks held off the San Francisco 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl, did a massive 19.0 rating/47 share in adults 18-49 and 55.91 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen estimates — up 13% in the demo and 17% in total viewers vs. the primetime conference championship game on CBS a year earlier (Baltimore-New England).

This made it the top-rated program on television since last year’s Super Bowl on CBS, besting the most recent Oscars telecast on ABC by 46% in 18-49 (19.0 vs. 13.0) and by about 15 million in total viewers (55.91 million vs. 40.38 million).

The second-season premiere of “The Following” on Sunday followed football with series highs (4.4/12 in 18-49, 11.18m) as the net was looking to boost the Monday drama leading up to its timeslot premiere next week. This was the top demo rating for any returning drama premiere this season (“NCIS” and “Scandal” did a 3.6).

As for “American Idol,” the comparisons aren’t quite as pretty — even if the show continues to win nights for Fox in its 13th season. The show returned Wednesday (4.7/13 in 18-49, 15.19 million viewers overall), down 15% in the demo from last year; and on Thursday (3.9/12 in 18-49, 13.35m) the year-over-year dropoff was an even steeper 30% in the demo, despite facing about as soft of competition it will on the night this season.

On the bright side, Fox was pleased that “Idol” came back higher than its most recent finale (a 3.6 in 18-49 and 14.31 million in May) for the first time in three years.

Also for the net, “Almost Human” had a good showing Monday (2.0/6 in 18-49, 6.88m), posting its second-highest rating on the night to date and teaming with “Sleepy Hollow” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.46m) to lift the net to a first-place tie in 18-49.

CBS, with “The Big Bang Theory” airing in repeat, was paced by “NCIS” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 19.72m) and “How I Met Your Mother” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 8.59m), with the comedy doing the same demo rating even though it drama drew about 11 million more viewers.

The Eye’s new drama “Intelligence” looked shaky on Monday (1.2/3 in 18-49, 6.20m), doing half the demo score of its preview episode on a Tuesday one week earlier.

Bright spots for ABC included Friday’s “Shark Tank” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 7.44m) and “20/20” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.56m), as well as Tuesday’s “The Goldbergs” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 4.89m), which hit a 14-week high in 18-49 and beat Fox’s “New Girl” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.24m) in 18-49 for a second straight week. “Goldbergs” also rated ahead of “New Girl,” known as a particularly strong gainer in DVR playback, in Live+3 numbers (2.6 to 2.5).

Not so hot were low-rated first-year dramas “Killer Women” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.51m) and “Betrayal” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.31m), the latter of which wrapped its run Sunday.

Of note at NBC was another winning perf by “The Blacklist” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 9.35m), which may have hit a low but proved that it can perform well without help from “The Voice.” Similarly on Tuesday, “Chicago Fire” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.76m) was below average sans a “Voice” lead-in, but was in the hunt for the timeslot’s 18-49 lead.

The net’s Thursday comedy block continues to struggle, with rookies “Sean Saves the World” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.67m) and “Michael J. Fox Show” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.99m) unable to post any gains despite facing repeats of competing CBS half-hours.

Among the cable highlights for the week were strong performances by a pair of original movies: Lifetime’s “Flowers in the Attic” (1.9/7  in 18-49, 6.06m) became the net’s most-watched telepic in two years on Saturday, and Disney Channel’s “Cloud 9” drew a good crowd of its own on Friday (4.96 million). The Disney net was the week’s most-watched cable network, ending a winning streak for ESPN that began in November.

Nickelodeon also did well with a kids-driven program, as its special hour of “Sam & Cat” drew 4.84 million viewers on Saturday.

A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” returned to good but far from record-breaking numbers on Wednesday (3.4/10 in 18-49, 8.51 million viewers overall); it was in line with its winter premiere of last year but well down from its series-best scores when it opened its season last summer.


Adults 18-49 (rating/share)

Fox             5.7/16
CBS             1.5/4
ABC             1.4/4
NBC             1.3/4
UNI             1.0/3
TEL             0.6/2
CW              0.6/2

Total Viewers

Fox           17.24 million
CBS             8.36 million
ABC            5.15 million
NBC            4.59 million
UNI            2.74 million
CW              1.57 million
TEL             1.43 million

(Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.   NFC Championship: San Francisco-Seattle (Fox), 19.0/47
2.   American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 4.7/13
3.  The Following-Sunday (Fox), 4.4/12
4.  American Idol-Thursday (Fox), 3.9/12
5.  Duck Dynasty-10:30 (A&E), 3.4/10
6.  Duck Dynasty-10 (A&E), 3.3/9
7.  Modern Family (ABC), 3.2/9
8.  NCIS (CBS), 3.0/9
8.  How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 3.0/9
10.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 2.9/9
11.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 2.7/7
12.  The Blacklist (NBC), 2.5/7
13.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 2.4/7
13.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 2.4/7
13.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 2.4/6
16.  The Bachelor (ABC), 2.3/6
17.  Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC), 2.2/7
17.  Mom (CBS), 2.2/6
17.  Sleepy Hollow (Fox), 2.2/6
20.  Shark Tank (ABC), 2.1/7

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.   NFC Championship: San Francisco-Seattle (Fox), 55.91
2.  NCIS (CBS), 19.72
3.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 15.87
4.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 15.19
5.  American Idol-Thursday (Fox), 13.35
6.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 12.62
7.  Person of Interest (CBS), 12.54
8.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 12.03
9.  The Following (Fox), 11.18
10.  Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 10.63
11.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 10.35
12.  CSI (CBS), 10.30
13.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 9.84
14.  The Blacklist (NBC), 9.35
15.  Modern Family (ABC), 9.14
16.  Castle (ABC), 9.02
17.  Undercover Boss (CBS), 8.98
18.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 8.94
19.  How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 8.59
20.  Duck Dynasty-10:30 (A&E), 8.52