Fox’s ‘Family Guy’ Crossover With ‘Simpsons’ Tops Premiere Week in Several Demos

'Sunday Night Football,' 'Big Bang Theory' and 'How to Get Away With Murder' also standouts in the early going this season

Network Ratings September

ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder” was the most impressive newcomer in premiere week — setting a DVR playback record in the process — but a handful of returning shows stepped up big as well.

Among them was Fox’s hourlong “Family Guy” episode, featuring a crossover storyline with Sunday skedmate “The Simpsons.” It picked up 1.4 ratings points in just three days of DVR playback, according to Nielsen numbers released Friday, and as a result it finished as premiere week’s No. 2-rated entertainment series in the 18-49 demo — behind only CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.”

“Family” was the No. 1-rated entertainment series in adults 18-34 (6.7 rating) and men 18-49 (7.5) in “live plus-3” and No. 1, ahead of all sports, in teens 12-17 (4.2).

The week’s No. 1 primetime program in “live plus-3” among adults 18-34, 35-49 and 25-54 was NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” — just as it was in “live plus same-day” averages. CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” emerged on top in total viewers, after trailing “SNF” and “NCIS” in the same-night numbers.

One of the biggest ranker changes in L3 came in women 25-54, where “How to Get Away With Murder” leap-frogged “The Big Bang Theory,” “Sunday Night Football” and “Scandal” to rank No. 1 (9.9).

Five shows shot up the revised rankings by at least seven spots in 18-49: Fox’s “Gotham” and “Red Band Society,” ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” NBC’s “Parenthood” and CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.”

In terms of gains from their same-night averages, there were 14 shows (six on ABC) that rose by at least 1 ratings point in adults 18-49, and 12 shows (six on CBS) that gained at least 3 million total viewers. “Big Bang Theory” was the biggest overall 18-49 gainer (2.0 points), and “How to Get Away With Murder” led in total viewers — a U.S. television record of 5.96 million.

Three series premieres made the top 25 in 18-49 : ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder” (5.8) and “Black-ish” (4.6) and CBS’ “Scorpion” (4.6).

In total viewers, the new shows in the top 25 were: “How to Get Away With Murder” (20.30 million); CBS’ “NCIS: New Orleans” (20.05 million), “Scorpion” (17.95 million) and “Madam Secretary” (14.59 million); ABC’s “Black-ish” (14.29 million); and Fox’s “Gotham” (12.03 million).

The lowest-rated first-year shows in 18-49 for premiere week were Fox’s “Utopia” on Friday (0.7) and Tuesday (1.2), Fox’s “Red Band Society” (1.8) and CBS’ “Madam Secretary” and NBC’s “Mysteries of Laura” (both 1.9).

In rough “live plus-3” 18-49 network averages for premiere week, NBC finished on top with a 3.5 rating, with CBS second (3.0). ABC (2.8) was able to close the gap a bit with the leaders, both of which had primetime NFL games.

In total viewers, CBS averaged about 12.6 million, to roughly 11.5 million for runner-up NBC.


(Live plus-3)

Adults 18-49
1.  Sunday Night Football: New Orleans-Dallas (NBC), 8.7
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 7.4
2.  The Big Bang Theory-8:30 p.m. (CBS), 7.4
4.  Thursday Night Football: NY Giants-Washington (CBS/NFLN), 6.0
5.  Family Guy (Fox), 5.9
6.  How to Get Away With Murder (ABC), 5.8
7.  Modern Family (ABC), 5.6
8.  Scandal (ABC), 5.3
9.  Monday Night Football: Chicago-NY Jets (ESPN), 5.2
10.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 5.0
11.  The Blacklist (NBC), 4.9
11.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 4.9
13.  Black-ish (NBC), 4.6
13.  Once Upon a Time (ABC), 4.6
13.  Scorpion (CBS), 4.6
16.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 4.5
17.  The Simpsons (Fox), 4.3
18.  NCIS (CBS), 3.9
19.  Chicago Fire (NBC), 3.5
20.  Survivor (CBS), 3.4
21.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox), 3.3
21.  The Goldbergs (ABC), 3.3
23.  Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC), 3.2
23.  Resurrection (ABC), 3.2
25.  Big Brother finale (CBS), 3.1
25.  Law & Order: SVU (NBC), 3.1

Total Viewers
1.  The Big Bang Theory-8:30 p.m. (CBS), 22.82
2.  Sunday Night Football: New Orleans-Dallas (NBC), 22.77
3.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 22.57
4.  NCIS (CBS), 21.52
5.  How to Get Away With Murder (ABC), 20.30
6.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 20.05
7.  Scorpion (CBS), 17.95
8.  The Blacklist (NBC), 17.36
9.  Thursday Night Football: NY Giants-Washington (CBS/NFLN), 16.36
10.  Scandal (ABC), 15.63
11.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 15.47
12.  Modern Family (ABC), 15.21
13.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 15.10
14.  Madam Secretary (CBS), 14.59
15.  Black-ish (ABC), 14.29
15.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 14.29
17.  Person of Interest (CBS), 14.04
18.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 13.89
19.  Monday Night Football: Chicago-NY Jets (ESPN), 13.34
20.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 13.13
21.  The Good Wife (CBS), 12.99
22.  Law & Order: SVU (NBC), 12.42
23.  Once Upon a Time (ABC), 12.34
24.  Chicago Fire (NBC), 12.10
25.  Gotham (Fox), 12.03