TV Ratings: American Idol Leads Easy Fox Win; Parenthood Debuts Modestly; Lost Falls

Posted on 03 March 2010 by Bill Gorman

Scoreboard FOX CBS NBC ABC Uni CW
Rating: Adults 18-49 8.6/11 3.3/9 3.1/8 2.5/7 1.4/4 0.3/1
Rating: Adults 18-34 7.1/20 2.1/6 2.4/7 2.3/7 1.4/4 0.3/1
Total Viewers (million) 23.440 15.978 8.181 6.312 3.562 0.693

American Idol lead Fox to an easy win on Tuesday night, while NBC’s heavily promoted premiere of Parenthood opened modestly, and likely disappointingly for NBC, with a 3.1 adults 18-49 rating and 8.1 million viewers. While Lost lost 13% of its adults 18-49 rating vs last week, dropping to a 4.0 adults 18-49 rating.

American Idol won Tuesday’s ratings race easily, and stayed reasonably steady, down 5% in the adults 18-49 rating from the comparable episode last season (2/25/09) to an 8.6 adults 18-49 rating. For the American Idol haters keeping track at home, the show’s down 5% on a season to date basis in adults 18-49.

Two weeks off for Biggest Loser didn’t do it any good, as it fell 11% to a 3.1 adults 18-49 rating. Did that end up hurting the premiere of Parenthood? Perhaps. Needless to say, even though Parenthood won the 10pm ratings battle, with all the Olympic promotion, the fact that it debuted with the same 18-49 ratings as Southland and My Own Worst Enemy last season is not cheery. And shouldn’t the retentionistas (you know who you are!) be crowing about Parenthood? It held 94% of Biggest Loser’s last half hour. That’s a win, right? Silly retentionistas.

Lost’s 13% tumble to a 4.0 rating, its lowest of the season, is somewhat of a mystery to me. Were few Lost viewers watching the Olympics last week? Did that many Lost viewers from last week switch over to a new NCIS: LA? The 20/20 special at 10pm delivered just a 1.8 rating.

After a two week repeat hiatus, CBS’s 9pm+ lineup returned soft. NCIS held up with a 4.1 rating, but NCIS: LA fell 24% to a 3.1 rating. Against something on NBC a little more competitive than Jay Leno, The Good Wife fell 13% to a 2.7 rating.

In Late-Night Fast Nationals Tuesday Night:

  • “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (1.6 rating in adults 18-49) led the time period over CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” (1.0) and ABC’s “Nightline (0.9) in fast  national “live plus same day” ratings from Nielsen Media Research.  The “Tonight” margin over “Late Show” in fast-national adult 18-49 rating is 60 percent.
  • Tuesday’s “Tonight” matched the show’s Monday rating in adults 18-49 (1.6 each night in fast nationals).
  • In total viewers in the fast nationals, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (5.8 million) ranked #1 among the major networks in the time period over “Late Show” (3.7 million) and “Nightline” (3.3 million).  The “Tonight” margin over “Late Show” in total viewers in these fast-national results is 56 percent.
  • At 12:35 a.m., “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (0.7 in adults 18-49) out-delivered CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” (0.6) by a margin of 17 percent in these fast nationals.  In total viewers, “Late Night” (1.96 million viewers overall) topped “Late Late Show” (1.92 million) by a margin of 2 percent.
Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share Viewers Live+SD (million)
8:00 FOX American Idol 7.8 22 21.885
CBS NCIS 4.0 11 19.371
NBC The Biggest Loser 2.9 8 7.833
ABC Lost (repeat) 1.4 4 4.266
CW 90210 (repeat) 0.4 1 0.825
8:30 FOX American Idol 8.9 23 24.545
CBS NCIS 4.2 11 19.968
NBC The Biggest Loser 3.2 8 8.110
ABC Lost (repeat) 1.7 4 4.405
CW 90210 (repeat) 0.3 1 0.647
9:00 FOX American Idol 8.6 21 23.451
ABC Lost 3.9 10 9.026
CBS NCIS: LA 3.2 8 15.152
NBC The Biggest Loser 3.2 8 8.243
CW Melrose Place (repeat) 0.3 1 0.676
9:30 FOX American Idol 9.0 22 23.880
ABC Lost 4.1 10 9.328
NBC The Biggest Loser 3.3 8 8.747
CBS NCIS: LA 3.1 8 14.797
CW Melrose Place (repeat) 0.3 1 0.624
10:00 NBC Parenthood (premiere) 3.1 8 8.235
CBS The Good Wife 2.7 7 13.465
ABC 20/20: Before They Were Stars 2.1 6 6.011
10:30 NBC Parenthood (premiere) 3.1 9 7.914
CBS The Good Wife 2.6 8 13.114
ABC 20/20: Before They Were Stars 1.5 4 4.834

You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.


*Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted ViewingProgram ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

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180 Responses to “TV Ratings: American Idol Leads Easy Fox Win; Parenthood Debuts Modestly; Lost Falls”

  1. Frank says:

    I don’t work for NBC at all. I hated their Winter Olympics coverage. Katie, Jason Katims could have decided to make the characters quirky after the pilot. Besides, I thought Lauren Graham and Peter Krause were quirky and funny. Especially with Krause and that Little League game was quite funny. Also, Lauren Graham was funny with her ex husband.

  2. Stefan says:

    Yeah, pilots usually aren’t a good way to judge a show. For example, I didn’t like the pilots for Old Christine, Brothers & Sisters, The Big Bang Theory or Grey’s Anatomy at first, but stayed on and never regretted it.

    As for the cast, I saw clips with Maura Tierney and they were way better. Graham fits in perfectly for the quirky scenes but for more dramatic ones… meh. I hope they’ll at least hire Maura for a recurring role when she’s feeling better. But the cast is pretty much OK, I’m familiar with every single one of the adults and many of the children. And except for Erika Christensen and Craig T. Nelson I like them all too.

  3. Frank says:

    I would have liked to see Julie Bowen in the EErika Christensen role.

  4. Katie says:

    Why did they recast Maura Tierney. I love her

  5. Petrie says:

    Frank: But then she wouldn’t be on Modern Family and that would be sad.

    Dude that Leno thread is scary. That is all.

  6. Frank says:

    She had cancer

  7. Katie says:

    Thanks Frank wow I didn’t know that. I hope she’s ok.

  8. Aquat1c F1sh says:

    It seems like Lost does better when it has more competition… >__>

    But really, everything seemed down. How long ago was it that NCIS: LA had a 4.0?

  9. Lost FTL says:

    I stopped watching Lost after it became clear after the first few episodes that they wanted to drag out the season as slowly as possible. I’ll watch it all in sequential order in May, kthx.

  10. Katie says:

    I just read Maura Tierney is back to work. She’s doing a play in LA wit Frances McDormand. And she wears a lot of wigs because she lost it in chemo.Regardless great to see her back to work.

    I’ll be interested to see how next Tuesday performs for all the shows with AI.

  11. Mark D. says:

    I think Parenthood will get the renewel for next fall….and we’ll see how it does then.

  12. Acey says:

    I agree with some other people posting… I definitely would not call Parenthood a family show, at least based on the pilot. If they wanted to establish the show as such, they would have done it in the first episode, so I don’t see it improving in that regard. I wouldn’t want my little sister watching it.

    When I made my first comment the data table wasn’t up yet so I assumed Parenthood dropped 3 or 4 tenths in the second half, but the fact that it held steady is definitely good news for NBC, that’s not too common even for established 10 pm shows.

    Frank, you can’t really compare Glee to anything else; the money they’re making from the music, tours, album etc. changes the finances of that show versus any other with similar ratings.

    Edward, insulting me in your comment makes no sense since I am fan of oodles of shows that are not on CBS. There’s no way that you are such a massive fan of Parenthood after one episode, if you even watched it. Lets get real. Also, the rants of CBS being ‘clone television’ get boring considering their ratings don’t suck. Just saying.

    Mark D., I wouldn’t try to guess that after one episode… I guess it’s going to depend on the confidence NBC has in their pilots for the fall.

  13. Ryan says:

    NBC BEST ABC! oh my gosh I hope The Marriage Ref has good ratings

  14. Matt says:

    I’m actually shocked at how low the Parenthood ratings are. NBC launched it competently in one of their most plum slots after a successful Olympics. It’s a broadly appealing show with a well-known cast and positive buzz. I’m just baffled as to why people avoid NBC shows so adamantly.

  15. forg says:

    I was predicting a 3.2 for Parenthood so it kinda met my expectation. And you know if the show premiered on its original schedule (when Leno show wasn’t canceled yet it was supposed to air Mondays at 9pm) I think it would only pull 2.5. It’s an underwhelming start ratings-wise but I hope it remains steady.
    The Good Wife took a hit in the demo but the Total viewers is still solid I must say. Do you have the demo numbers for the show’s 50+ viewers? They are loyal to this show

    Woah, Lost dropped? Quite surprised with that since it held steady against Olympics and Idol.

  16. Frank says:

    Matt a 3.1 is not bad for NBC at all at this point.

  17. hessian says:

    Shouldn’t that be a 21 share in 18-48 for IDOL? 11 seems awfully low.

  18. Lucky says:

    I think NBC besting ABC is a temporary event that will change once DWTS Results and V come on board.

    Parenthood: I actually kind of liked it. I finally might have a show to watch on NBC for the first time since Will & Grace got axed.

    A lead in can totally make a difference. Look at the increase in Private Practice’s ratings after being moved behind Grey’s. Is Accidentally on Purpose a modest hit because of it’s lead in? I like the show, but I think it is. It definately depends on the shows involved. They have to be somewhat compatible. While nothing has benefited from a LOST lead in, I think V could be the show to break the losing streak.

  19. CCon99 says:

    I think NBC should have put Parenthood in a 9pm Time slot, maybe have it air at 9pm and move SVU back to 10pm where it always performed better. I understand they wanted to try to give Parenthood a bump from Biggest Loser, but to many they were probably still expecting unfunny Leno to still be on at the 10pm timeslot he has killed. I hope they didn’t waste the show by poor time slot, Parenthood is pretty good and the 2nd episode is even better.

    I’m surprised that Lost went down in the ratings this week, it was probably one of the best episodes and set things in motion that can’t be undone going into the final 10 episodes. It probably doesn’t really matter much, the ratings will probably hover where they are and then get a huge finale rating from tons of people who want to see how it ends and wind up even more confused because they stopped watching in the first place. Of course like the Sopranos, Lost’s finale will never please everyone and will be way overhyped and likely disappoint most viewers like most finales always do.

  20. MUSTAFA says:

    no no no no .. i guess thats a season low for NCIS:LA

  21. AtCat says:

    So much for NBC promoting it during the Olympics. The Winter Olympics aren’t very popular outside the snowbelt or Rockies.

  22. Holly says:

    The Winter Olympics aren’t very popular outside the snowbelt or Rockies.


    The Olympics are very popular, but, for the most part, the people who tune in to the games aren’t regular TV viewers and aren’t likely to stay on that network after the games.

  23. Eran says:

    Stefan is right drama Pilots ALWAYS SUCK. I hated the first episodes of Nip/Tuck, Ally McBeal, and even the O.C. And I didn’t like the pilot of Glee which turned out the best comedy this year…And Gossip Girl’s pilot sucked too. So yeah Stefan is right.

  24. Frank says:

    Gilmore Girls pilot was horrible in my opinion. Don’t always judge a show by how bad the pilot is. I can name several shows in tv history whose pilots were horrible, but whose show took 2-3 additional episodes to find it’s rhythm.

  25. Katie says:

    I don’t know people say don’t judge a show by it’s pilot but can anyone explain why a show like The Unusuals which I kind of liked never really got a shot. It seemed like it was gone after 3 or 4 episodes.

  26. Frank says:

    Then there are pilots that are great and the episodes that follow don’t live up to the pilot. Caprica comes to mind. Then there are shows like Twin Peaks and Lost whose shows are great right off the bat.

  27. sarah says:

    Parenthood really impressed me. I wasn’t sure the first 15 minutes because they have a lot of characters to introduce but it was great – the acting was really good and it definitely kept me wanting more. I can’t wait for next week!

  28. Bryan says:

    NBC = Nothing But Crap.

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