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Weekly Ratings: World Series Lifts Fox to Rare Victory

Five games of the World Series lifted Fox to a dominant ratings victories last week, ending NBC’s 16-week winning streak in adults 18-49 and becoming the first network other than CBS to win a frame this fall in total viewers.

While Fox no doubt was hoping for a longer series, the 2015 edition of the Fall Classic ended up averaging 14.7 million viewers — up 6% from last year’s seven-game series, according to Nielsen. When comparing only the first five games of a World Series, this year’s was the most-watched in six years (since the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies drew 18.7 million through five).

This year’s World Series had tougher than usual competition too, including a Republican primary debate that drew a record audience for CNBC on Wednesday (14 million viewers). And of course, there was the double-barreled competition on Sunday from NBC’s especially strong “Sunday Night Football” and AMC’s expanded “The Walking Dead.”

Sunday’s Game 5 of the baseball championship between the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets averaged a series-high 5.1 rating in adults 18-49 and 17.21 million viewers overall, ranking fourth and third, respectively, among the top shows of the week in these categories. Still, a NFL matchup of undefeated teams (Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos) vaulted “Sunday Night Football” (8.2 in 18-49, 23.01 million viewers overall) ahead of baseball and to a No. 1 finish for the week in both categories.

This marked the fifth time in six head-to-head matches that “Sunday Night Football” has outdrawn the World Series game opposite it, and this was the largest audience for any of these football contests. Through eight weeks of the NFL season (nine telecasts), “Sunday Night Football” is averaging 23.6 million viewers — the largest audience for the NFL’s broadcast primetime package at this point in the season in 19 years. In adults 18-49, this year’s 8.7 rating is up 6% from an 8.2 at this point in 2014.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” averaged a 6.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 13.34 million viewers overall for its 90-minute episode Sunday — up slightly in both categories vs. last week’s episode, which saw the apparent death of one of the show’s most popular characters. Overall, Nielsen said, 36.8% of adults 18-49 in the country were watching television during primetime on Sunday, up 9% from the fall’s average on the night (33.8) and the highest level for any night since the Oscars last February.

ABC’s “Quantico” (1.2 in 18-49, 4.05 million viewers overall) took a slide opposite the intense Sunday competition, down 0.3 to its low. As the biggest gainer on a percentage basis among the fall’s new shows, the terrorism-themed soap appears poised for its largest lift to date when Nielsen issues Live+3 numbers on Friday.

Kicking off the week, CBS was pleased with the series premiere of “Supergirl” (3.1 in 18-49, 12.96 million viewers overall), airing at a special time of 8:30 p.m. and with a one-time lead-in from “The Big Bang Theory” (five-week high 4.4 in 18-49, 16.32 million viewers overall). It’s the fall’s most-watched series premiere, and ties with NBC’s “Blindspot” for No. 1 among all openers in both adults 18-49 and 25-54.

It was a quiet start on Tuesday for ABC drama “Wicked City” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.28 million viewers overall), which delivered the lowest non-Friday premiere of the season among the Big Four nets. It did less than half the demo rating of NBC’s “Chicago Fire” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.80 million viewers overall), which hit season highs.

A crossover storyline on Thursday with “Bones” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 6.57 million viewers overall, up slightly week to week) helped Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.57 million viewers overall) surge week to week by 38% in 18-49 and by more than 50% in adults 18-49. They combined to help the net match its top Thursday of the night in 18-49, edging NBC (1.2 to 1.1).

At Food Network, the season finale of Optomen USA series “Worst Cooks in America” (0.61 in 18-49, 1.55 million viewers overall) was up 5% week to week and stood as the No. 2 cable original on Wednesday in women 25-54 (0.77 rating). The show, which capped Food’s highest-rated month of 2015, was up vs. last year by 30% or more in both 18-49 and 25-54 and especially spiked among adults 18-34 (up 69% from last year to a 0.57).

Destination America’s “Exorcism Live” on Friday averaged 509,000, including 251,000 adults 18-49. The network has averaged about 175,000 viewers in primetime over the past month.

“Ash vs. the Evil Dead” got off to a sluggish start on Saturday for Starz, drawing 437,000 for its regular-timeslot telecast. The network is expected to release 3-day ratings for the show, which was up against the World Series and likely lost a lot of potential same-night viewers to Halloween festivities.

Discovery was celebrating its strong October in Live+3 results, led by “Gold Rush.” The Friday series averaged about 5 million total viewers and a 2.2 rating in adults 25-54, and it stands as the calendar year’s No. 1 unscripted cable series in those categories.

 

TOP PRIMETIME NETWORKS
(Live plus same-day for Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2015)

Adults 18-49
Fox …………. 3.6/12
NBC ……….. 2.3/7
CBS ………… 2.0/6
ABC ………..  1.5/5
ESPN ………  1.1/4
AMC ……….  0.9/3
UNI ………..  0.8/3
CW …………  0.6/2
TEL ………..  0.5/2
TBS ………..  0.5/2
TNT ……….  0.5/2

Total Viewers (in millions)
Fox …………  12.99
CBS ………..   9.70
NBC ……….   8.22
ABC ………..  6.03
ESPN ………  2.99
UNI ………..  2.29
AMC ……….  1.93
CNBC ……..  1.88
FNC ………..  1.65
USA ………..  1.58

TOP PRIMETIME PROGRAMS
(Live plus same-day for Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2015)

Adults 18-49
1.  Sunday Night Football: Green Bay-Denver (NBC), 8.2
2.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 6.8
3.  Thursday Night Football: Miami-New England (CBS/NFLN), 6.0
4.  World Series: Game 5-Sunday (Fox), 5.1
5.  World Series: Game 1-Tuesday (Fox), 4.6
6.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 4.4
7.  World Series: Game 2-Wednesday (Fox), 3.9
8.  World Series: Game 4-Saturday (Fox), 3.4
9.  World Series: Game 3-Friday (Fox), 3.2
10.  Supergirl (CBS), 3.1
11.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 3.1
12.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 2.6
12.  Republican Debate (CNBC), 2.6
14.  Scandal (ABC), 2.3
14.  Talking Dead (AMC), 2.3
16.  The Goldbergs (ABC), 2.2
17.  NCIS (CBS), 2.1
17.  Survivor (CBS), 2.1
17.  Blindspot (NBC), 2.1
20.  The Middle (ABC), 2.0

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  Sunday Night Football: Green Bay-Denver (NBC), 23.01
2.  Thursday Night Football: Miami-New England (CBS/NFLN), 17.53
3.  World Series: Game 5-Sunday (Fox), 17.21
4.  NCIS (CBS), 16.81
5.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 16.32
6.  World Series: Game 1-Tuesday (Fox), 14.94
7.  Republican Debate (CNBC), 14.01
8.  World Series: Game 2-Wednesday (Fox), 13.72
9.  World Series: Game 4-Saturday (Fox), 13.59
10.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 13.34
11.  World Series: Game 3-Friday (Fox), 13.21
12.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 13.06
13.  Supergirl (CBS), 12.96
14.  Monday Night Football: Baltimore-Arizona (ESPN), 12.20
15.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 11.88
16.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 11.86
17.  60 Minutes (CBS), 11.00
18.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 10.22
19.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 9.70
20.  Scorpion (CBS), 9.69

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