It was an historic night for television in America. In a bravo performance, the hills were alive with the sound of Carrie Underwood starring in ‘The Sound of Music’, a special live presentation on NBC Thursday evening. The New York centric NBC suits finally hit upon both a star who can draw draw with crayon in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and gain applause, and a vehicle that would draw huge numbers on a cold, winter night throughout America. To understand the scope of this was to understand that NBC finished 319% ahead of last year’s comparable date. At 8P, ‘The Sound of Music’ opened with a 10.9/18 in a half hour which was 8% above the 10.1/16 for normally undefeated ‘The Big Bang Theory’ on CBS. And to understand the overall dominance of this live musical performance, it ended at 1030P with a 10.0/17. The audience stayed with it the entire evening. It was a smash hit. Bravo to the suits at The Peacock Network. They finally figured out that all they had to do was to go down to Broadway to lead them out of the basement of television ratings. While social media had a field day bashing, the rest were thrilled so much that each half hour was baffo. At 830P, it reached a peak of 11.5/18 with 19.7 million viewers; at 9P it did an 11.3/18; at 930P it continued with 11.2/17, then at 10P, it did a 10.5/17. It was the most watched Thursday night show on NBC (excluding sports) in 9 years! “Must See TV Returned To NBC”. Absolutely historical.
CBS brought out ‘The Big Bang Theory’ at 8P and drew 15.26 million, good for only second place in the half hour. At 830P, ‘The Millers’ fell down to 9.38 million while at 9P, ‘The Crazy Ones’ could only muster 7.66 million, some 11.5 million behind Carrie Underwood. At 930P, ‘Two and a Half Men’ drew 8.33 million. At 10P, ‘Elementary’ with a terrific episode of Holmes stepping over the line, drew 8.51 milion for #2 but at 1030P, it lost nearly 800,000 viewers and finished with 7.86 million.
ABC led off the evening with ‘Once Upon A Time In Wonderland’ with 3.76 million and was buried. At 830P, it could only draw 3.46 million. At 9P, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ pulled 7.37 million and increased it a bit at 930P to 7.59 million. At 10P, ‘Scandal’ bounced back to 8.5 million viewers and increased it position to 8.7 million at 1030P for #2 in this time period.
FOX pulled out its ‘The X Factor’ and bled to death with only 4.49 million viewers. It increased a bit at 830P with 4.91 million while at 9P, ‘Glee’ dropped to 3.39 million and at 930P fell to 2.97 million to finish the night on The Animal Network of Broadcast.
The CW had ‘The Vampire Diaries’ lead off at 8P with 2.3 million. At 830P it dropped to 2.21 million viewers. At 9P, ‘Reign’ drew 1.71 million.
For the record, NBC was #1 with 18.47 million viewers and an astonishing 10.9 rating along with a magnificent 18 share of audience. This was 15 million more viewers than it had on this comparable date last year. CBS, long the dominating winner on Thursdays could pull out the magic rabbit and triumph on this evening. It drew 9.5 million viewers and a 6.2/10, this was 4.5 million viewers less than last year on the comparable day. ABC finished next with 6.565 million and a 4.6/7, a drop of 700,000 from last year. FOX came in with 3.993 million viewers and a 2.9/5, a drop of 2.6 million from last year. Univision had a 1.5/2 while The CW had 1.995 million and a 1.5/2, an increase of 80,000 viewers from last year.Univision drew a 0.8/1.
ACROSS THE POND:
A superb update on television in the UK was written by Tara Conlan in The Guardian on December 5, 2013. It explains the resurgence of ITV vs its main rival, the venerable BBC in its struggle to regain a position it once had on television in the UK.
Figures published on Thursday show ITV is on course to be the only one of the five terrestrial channels to record an increase in audience share during 2013, with Channel 4’s figures slumping the hardest after the ratings success of its London Paralympics coverage in the previous year. The last time ITV’s annual share of viewing grew, John Major was prime minister and the broadcaster dominated British television. At the time there still just four terrestrial channels and BSkyB’s satellite service was in its infancy.
In 1990, ITV had a 44% audience share and Coronation Street was the most popular show on TV, with its highest rating episode attracting nearly 20 million viewers. ITV, which now faces competition from hundreds of digital channels, also has the most-watched programme of 2013 to date, last month’s I’m a Celebrity launch show, with a consolidated audience (including recorded viewing for the seven days after first transmission) of 13.5 million. According to the Barb figures, ITV1 had an audience share of 16.5% (including timeshift service ITV1+1) for the year to 22 November, compared with 15.7% in 2012.
The broadcaster’s ratings suffered during 2012 as viewers switched to the BBC’s coverage of the London Olympics and Queen’s diamond jubilee but bigger audiences for ITV’s stable of reliable ratings bankers including I’m a Celebrity and Britain’s Got Talent, plus new dramas such as Broadchurch and Mr Selfridge, are also credited with helping deliver the broadcaster’s improved performance.
“We needed to bounce back and we have,” said Peter Fincham, ITV director of television. “We’ve had a very good year … That’s due to a range of different things. We’re coming good on drama, we’ve got good entertainment and more new entertainment shows that will return.” Fincham highlighted programmes including the Tom Daley diving show Splash!, soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale, and entertainment series including Catchphrase. However, he said it would “be foolish to think ‘stability at last'”, as ITV still faces a “competitive and challenging world”. Industry analyst Tim Westcott said ITV’s audience share had inevitably fallen since 1990 due to the explosion in digital television, cable and satellite channels and other competition from the likes of Netflix and YouTube. Westcott added that the challenge now for mainstream broadcasters such as ITV, in the face of digital competition, is to “hold onto shows and big events that do well”. He highlighted ITV’s success in regenerating I’m A Celebrity each year.
ITV also appears to have been a beneficiary of BBC2 replacing original programming with repeats in its afternoon schedule as part of the corporation’s ongoing cost-cutting measures. BBC2’s audience share for the year to date is 5.7%, compared with 6.1% in 2012. BBC1 slipped back slightly this year, from 21.3% to 21.1%, but remains the UK’s most popular channel. The channel’s recent Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode, The Day of the Doctor, is the third most watched show of the year, with 12.8 million viewers, after I’m a Celebrity and Britain’s Got Talent. Channel 4 has suffered a decline in its audience share from 6.5% in 2012 to 5.8%, including Channel 4+1.
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