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Football Leads CBS to Thursday Overnight Victory; ‘Notorious’ Remains an Eyesore on ABC

Week Three of Fox Drama 'Pitch' Shows Some Promise

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What follows are the metered market (overnight) results in households by network and by half-hour for Thursday, October 6:

Note: Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville and West Palm Beach are not included in the following averages.

Household Rating/Share
CBS: 6.2/10, ABC: 4.3/ 7, NBC: 4.0/ 7, Fox: 2.7/ 4, CW: 0.7/ 1

-Percent Change from the Year-Ago Week:
NBC: +11, Fox: no change, CBS: -21, CW: -30, ABC: -32

-Winners:

“Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC), Thursday Night Football (CBS), “Chicago Med” (NBC),

-Losers:

“Rosewood” (Fox), ‘iHeartRadio Music Festival” (CW), “Notorious” (ABC), “How To Get Away With Murder” (ABC)

—–

Ratings Breakdown:
Naturally, Thursday Night Football led CBS to overnight household victory. The match-up between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers averaged an estimated 6.7 rating/11 share in the household overnights for the CBS coverage of the game. Regardless, this was still 21 percent below the 8.5/14 for the year ago football game, which makes this one of the lower rated match-ups. As a reminder, results for any live sporting event are always approximate.

In episode three news, ABC drama “Notorious” was equal to one week earlier with a 3.4/ 5 in the household overnights from 9-10 p.m. So, the positive spin is the consistency. But “Notorious” was still 44 percent below lead-in “Grey’s Anatomy” (#1: 6.1/10 at 8 p.m.). It was 50 percent below former time period occupant “Scandal” on the year-ago evening (6.8/11 on 10/08/15). And this 3.4 overnight household rating last week translated into only 4.51 million viewers and a 1.1 rating/4 share in adults 18-49, based on the Live Plus Same Day data.

With the modest lead-in support from “Notorious,” “How To Get Away With Murder” remained depressed at a third-place 3.4/ 6 at 10 p.m. Comparably, this was 39 percent below the 5.6/10 on the year-ago evening.

Fox drama “Pitch” also leveled off in this third week with a 2.7/ 4 at 9 p.m, which was 42 percent above year-ago time period occupant “Sleepy Hollow” (1.9/ 3 on 10/08/15). While a 2.6 overnight household rating for “Pitch” last week only translated into 3.68 million viewers and a 1.0/ 3 in adults 18-49 (again based on the Live Plus Same Day data), that 1.0 rating in the demo was 25 percent above lead-in “Rosewood” (0.8). And “Rosewood” last night at 8 p.m. scored a typical 2.7/ 4 in the overnights. That said, there is some promise to “Pitch” while “Rosewood” is not cutting it as the Thursday 8 p.m. anchor.

On NBC, sitcoms “Superstore” (3.2/ 5) and newbie “The Good Place” (3.3/ 5) remained the distant No. 3 options in the 8 p.m. hour. But the two, on average, bested short-lived year-ago occupant “Heroes Reborn” (3.0/ 5 on 10/08/15) by eight percent. And the full retention for “The Good Place” out of “Superstore,” albeit low-rated, is a potential positive.

At 9 p.m. on NBC was relocated “Chicago Med” at a 4.6/ 7, which finished second in the hour with growth of 39 percent out of “The Good Place.” Comparably, “Chicago Med” outdelivered competing dramas “Notorious” and “Pitch” in the overnights by 35 percent and 70 percent, respectively. And it led into a second-place 4.2/ 7 for “The Blacklist” at 10 p.m., which compared to failed year-ago occupant “The Player” (3.1/ 5) increased by 35 percent.

Last was part one of two part special ‘iHeartRadio Music Festival” at a mere 0.7/ 1 on The CW from 8-10 p.m.

What follows is the half-hour breakdown:

8:00 p.m.
ABC – “Grey’s Anatomy”: 6.2/10 (#1)
CBS – Thursday Night Football Kick-Off: 3.9/ 7 (#3)
NBC – “Superstore”: 3.2/ 5 (#3)
Fox – “Rosewood”: 2.7/ 4 (#4)
CW – “iHeartRadio Music Festival” – Night 1: 0.8/ 1 (#5)

8:30 p.m.
ABC – “Grey’s Anatomy”: 6.1/10 (#1)
CBS – Thursday Night Football (Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers): 6.0/10 (#2)
NBC – “The Good Place”: 3.3/ 5 (#3)
Fox – “Rosewood”: 2.7/ 4 (#4)
CW – “iHeartRadio Music Festival” – Night 1: 0.7/ 1 (#5)

9:00 p.m.
ABC – “Notorious”: 3.6/ 6 (#3)
CBS – Thursday Night Football (Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers): 6.8/11 (#1)
NBC – “Chicago Med”: 4.5/ 7 (#2)
Fox – “Pitch”: 2.6/ 4 (#4)
CW – “iHeartRadio Music Festival” – Night 1: 0.7/ 1 (#5)

9:30 p.m.
ABC – “Notorious”: 3.2/ 5 (#3)
CBS – Thursday Night Football (Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers): 7.0/11 (#1)
NBC – “Chicago Med”: 4.8/ 8 (#2)
Fox – “Pitch”: 2.8/ 4 (#4)
CW – “iHeartRadio Music Festival” – Night 1: 0.6/ 1 (#5)

10:00 p.m.
ABC – “How to Get Away With Murder”: 3.4/ 6 (#2)
CBS – Thursday Night Football (Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers): 6.6/11 (#1)
NBC – “The Blacklist”: 4.3/ 7 (#2)

10:30 p.m.
ABC – “How to Get Away With Murder”: 3.3/ 6 (#3)
CBS – Thursday Night Football (Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers): 7.0/12 (#1)
NBC – “The Blacklist”: 4.1/ 7 (#1)

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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  1. I can’t wait for the full CBS Thursday lineup to come in as it will be really interesting to see how they effect the night.

    Looks like Chicago Med and The Blacklist were good moves by NBC this year. Superstore and The Good Place are too close to Heroes which is not a good sign. ABC is just failing outside of Grey’s I can’t believe Murder has fallen that much in just one year. ABC has a lot of shows that start out good then drop like a rock just like Designated Survivor is doing on Wednesday nights. Pitch not doing good numbers but improving the timeslot is always good, FOX might hang onto it but they should really promote it hard during the World Series this year.

    • The “Murder” drop is due to both a weaker lead-in than last season and higher time-shifting.

      It wounds my spirit to see it in the “loser” column.

      • It’s definitely the loss of the higher lead-in but I think with Murder they’ve been on a downward spiral since that season 1 finale when they killed Rebecca Sutter I’ve noticed they’ve been slipping since last year.

        • We’ve had that conversation: they’ve kept slipping the whole run. It’s actually amazing how it doesn’t seem to even stabilize.

          Certainly the lower lead-in doesn’t help, but HTGAWM was supposed to be ABC’s shining moment, the show that would be the new tentpole of their (imaginary) super-successful Shonda Night…

          Even in Live+7, according to wikipedia, it went from 13 million viewers for the premiere to a little under 9 by the end of the season, giving one more piece of evidence that high DVRing does predict lower future ratings.

          On those numbers, Did you read anything about them Hello Larry? They feel like they’ve been doctored to me (ie. that they added some unaudited online or VOD numbers to them to make them look bigger compared to the year before.)

          Perhaps not.

          Maybe HTGAWM went from having little DVR usage to people using the DVR more but still watching it for a while, to them dropping the show in a pattern that is not quite the usual pattern…

          • And we’ll probably continue to have this conversation because we keep approaching the same data from two different perspectives.

            They’ve continually slipped in live viewership as more and more people opt to DVR it because of it’s time slot and complicated storylines. Overall between season one and season two, their L7 decrease in viewers was only 10%.

            And if you’re paying attention to the show’s DVR usage, there hasn’t been as much fall-off as of yet. Therefore, it only predicts future lower L+SD ratings, but also portends an increase in DVR usage — thereby more or less ebbing substantial ratings losses overall.

            • I’ll welcome the conversation. 🙂

              On the L+7 it HAS lost audience if you look at the Wikipedia data on L+7. It slipped the whole season, though not as terminally fast as SD, so the lower ratings are materializing.

              It follows the experience I’ve had with shows (and I’ll wager you and most people here have had) which is that shows you love, you watch right away (even if you have to DVR them), then you start waiting a few days, then a few weeks (and maybe do a marathon to catch up) and then you just delete the shows and the “season pass”.

              At least that’s how I observed it worked for me with The Mentalist (the last regular show I liked and watched avidly from the onset).

          • Yeah we can’t give Murder any excuses since it was supposed to be this huge hit it should be able to perform on its own. I didn’t read the Live+7 DVR numbers but there’s a reason for that because that’s all PR work to make the numbers look bigger than they are. If people aren’t watching it live then the show isn’t bringing people to your network when it matters. ABC did the same thing last year with Quantico and trying to do it this year with Designated Survivor. People like us don’t buy those excuses.

            • Couldn’t have said it better. 🙂

              They use the innate tendency of people to compare apples and oranges (live+7 to Live+sd) in order that people (and more importantly their press) think that “it’s really not so bad”.

              It is indeed excuse-seeking and PR spin.

              And you’re right not to fall for it. 🙂

              I’d forgotten about the Quantico spin. It’s not surprising as when a show has pull at the network, they’ll do practically anything to “justify” renewals.

              Look at FOX renewing Scream Queens “because of social media”…

              And people in the industry, perhaps from the same false info being endlessly repeated, actually do fall for the “but this show has buzz on social media” excuse and end up thinking that it makes sense when it makes none.

              • All truth here and people who are fans of these shows I feel bad for in some ways because they’re being duped into thinking their show is some sort of success. Those were great examples of PR spin and the saddest one I’ve seen so far is the excuse for Scream Queens. Maybe I’m not on these sites or whatever but I’ve never seen anybody talk about that show.

                L+30 is no different than L+7 but that’s definitely an excuse if they ever came out with it if they already haven’t. These shows are spun so badly for failing because they were propped up as hits.

                Although spins have always been around even inside of commercials back in the day. The networks always knew better when to pull the plug.

                • They would over-promote successes to the point where you wouldn’t want to hear about them ever again.

                  Now they’re over-promoting failures…

                  One of my favorite spin was a “mini-series” (more like a two-parter) that Siffy did and it bought full-pge ads saying “We’re #2 on cable” (which was hilarious in itself!) and then if you looked at the fine print, it was of course in a well-chosen demo and [roll drums] excluding 7 of the highest-rated clable networks (somehow..!)

                  The cherry on top was that they chose a reviews saying “the perfect show for a gilded age” as the quote on the ads, the culturally-deprived ad-man not knowing it for the insult it was! 😛

                  I do feel bad for fans in general as they are lied to and spun like underwear by uncaring networks and studios.

                  But it’s interesting to see how many people get so vested into believing the spin [not aimed at Terrence who is one of the few who sees through the “2.0 rating is great” spin 🙂 ]

                  What is sad is that way back when, you cold read the trades that would give you rel numbers and real info. Today all they give you is spin. There is no place to go to (except here of course! 🙂 ) to get real data and analysis.

        • The lead in is certainly part of it but it also became way too complicated to follow. This has turned people off. I just want to watch a good, compelling drama. Not saying its not good, but I don’t really want to think too hard about all the back and forth crap going on. Too confusing.

          • Based on its L7 ratings, those complicated storylines probably drove more people to DVR than off the show altogether.

          • It’s definitely not the easiest show to follow at all and I don’t feel like its been watchable since the first season.

            • Not easy to follow = bad writing.

              Seriously.

              Not being clear doesn’t make something intellectual or high-level.

              By definition TV shows and movies are meant to be understood easily. You can make complex easy-to-follow if you write well enough.

              • Thank you one of the things that really bothers me about these new shows is that they think that something that is not being clear is something intellectual or high-level when in reality it’s just bad writing. I don’t mind seeing the same kind of show over and over again which is why I still watch crime shows or old school type comedies but they have to be written good though.

                This out-of-the-box crap has to go.

                • You’re welcome. 🙂

                  It’s been sad to notice that excuse being used all the time, and even sadder to see it used to justify bad directing too (shake the camera, play with the focus and the zoom and you’ll get directing awards today and be hailed as “creative” when in rality you just don’t know how to do it right!)

                  A TV show isn’t an art films where being obtuse can be part of the concept. It’s a mass-maket medium where the goal is to communicate with as many people as possible.

                  Reaching very few is not a mark of brilliance. It’s a mark of failure.

        • I still enjoy it regardless. I don’t think they’ve slipped at all — they just keep amping up the drama.

    • HTGAWM was getting 7.47 and 6.93 in the similar week last year.

      That IS quite the drop for a show that was once hailed as huge for ABC…

      Personally, I don’t think anything good is going on there.

      Thursday used to be the highest-rated night of TV and now it looks like a disaster area, and doing slightly less poorly than the rest is really little consolation for the “winners”…

      • It’s huger on DVR and twitter.
        So it’s still big, just not as HUGE.
        There’s still good things happening on Thursday nights — just not as it was back in the NBC heyday.

        • A point on DVRs that you may find worth mentioning: back before DVRs, you had VHS (and DVD recorders) and those were in wider and wider use, so older numbers may not be as different as that (especially that – at least according to the networks – those were not tracked well at all at the time).

          No matter how executives love to mention Twitter as a reason to renew flops, the fact that there is or isn’t twitter chatter clearly has no correlation to ratings.

          It’s just something that makes executives sound like they’re “in with the times”…

          It’s not the heyday of NBC. It’s not even the heyday of CBS with CSI and Mentalist…

          It’s a self-perpetuated disaster.

          • Twitter can’t necessarily be tied to ratings — yet.

            But “Scandal” certainly got its boost in the second and third seasons because of its heavy twitter presence.

            And it’s a changing game out there. What constitutes a hit and what factors into a renewal are much different than even 10 or 15 years ago. The live viewership numbers are just not there anymore, so you almost have to consider DVR usage and social media engagement or you’d have no schedule.

            I personally would rather see more replays of old shows and promising his in prime time than a crappy show picked up simply to fill a time slot — which is the other issue network TV is having: crappy shows, a focus on younger instead of broader and a disconnect between shows people want to watch and what they THINK people want to watch.

            • Twitter: If not now then when? The company can’t make money and the potential merger suitors that announce they’re not interested see their shares skyrocket instantly.

              Scandal: It got a boost from Oprah campaigning for it at the end of the first season. Twitter had nothing to do with it.

              The renewal game (except for shows like BBT and NCIS) HAS changed. But not becuase bad ratings have become good.

              In the absence of hits, the flops with the biggest backing at the network get renewed. That’s how insta-mega-flop Scream Queens got renewed.

              After the fact, they come up with an explanation like “my audience is young” (always a winner in ageist Hollywood) or “big on social media” (also a winner because it makes executives sound hip and is also indirectly ageist).

              My favorite was Fringe which was renewed not because Rupert’s Niece was in it (perish the thought!) but because it had a hashtag logo… Seriously. That’s what FOX said then.

              DVR usage IS considered (even the overnights are Live+SD) and don’t change flops into hits, and in spite of a bigger population, ratings have dropped like stones. It would have been nonsensical 15 years ago to predict FOX would happily renew three shows averaging 2.5 million viewers overnight and that the network executives wouldn’t be fired wholesale.

              And yet that what happened.

              As I often say, the fault lies with the owners who buy into the litany of excuses just because they see it reprinted in the press, and it’s unlikely to change until we get owners who understand the scripted TV business.

              But I do agree with your conclusion. As long as they order awful shows, nothing can be done.

              Where I disagree is that I’d just cancel whole networks wholesale at this point and re-brand. The negative goodwill with the viewing public is such that only massive restructuring can save the industry (and frankly I don’t see it coming – then again I didn’t see the current collapse coming either – it’s actually surreal to me when I think about it).

              • I was on Twitter for the great “Scandal” surge of 2013 and 2014, so trust me — Twitter had a LOT to do with it. I know nothing of Oprah’s campaign for it.

                I don’t know where the whole cancel and rebrand thing came from unless it was someone else’s comment. If I said anything of the sort, it was about Fox’s Sunday night that’s in need of a major overhaul.

                It’s a vicious cycle — crappy shows don’t hit. So you keep them on because all you have in the coffers is more crappy shows that won’t hit. So then you have to make up a reason to keep existing crappy shows on the air instead of just developing better shows.

                • Your last sentence describes very accurately the state of affairs. 🙂

                  At this point, even if you managed the networks well, if you can’t pick shows, you’re not going to be able to save them.

                  I still say that throwing a lot of show to the wall will result in occasionally finding a solid show like Empire which FOX found in spite of an inept development team.

                  On Twitter: what is striking to me is that it’s always shows in trouble for lack of ratings that say they’re huge on Twitter…

                  Oprah did promote Scandal and the small surge it got then happened when she did. or better or worse, her endorsement can make a hit book (sales numbers to be a hit book aren’t that high) and can help a TV show. It’s not true of many people.

                  Sorry about the confusion about rebranding. Don’t know what happened, but it was entirely my fault. 🙂

                  • I knew nothing of the Oprah thing, so suffice to say she and twitter were a factor in the great “Scandal” surge.

                    • I will let you have the last word because, at this point, I fear I am just aggravating you and I certainly don’t mean to. 🙂

                    • don’t worry. I wasn’t aggravated. I was just conceding a point that neither one could have been a lone factor, so it had to have been both.

      • Yeah that’s why I don’t get caught up in shows that do well out of the gate during Freshman year they have to prove their long-term ability after their Sophomore seasons for sure.

        Thanks for bringing up the troubles on Thursdays this is a huge disaster night now. Some people will bring up the Thursday Night Football excuse but that only airs for a few Thursdays to start the year. I think it’s turning into another Sunday where nobody is tuning into the bad programming on this night.

        • I don’t know that I’d wait that long, but you’re right not to scream “massive hit” after the first two episodes.

          The trajectory of the ratings is usually telling.

          More generally, most shows have trouble holding up past the first 4-5 seasons and one of the big failures of recent years is the extension of many shows way past their prime caused by the total inability of executives to pick hits.

          You’re welcome. 🙂

          I’m glad you see it too.

          It’s really shocking to me how low those ratings are across the board.

          On the NFL, Bob Greenblatt decided to lose more money just to get the NFL games, and they’re not even all that highly-rated and when they finish the season, it’s not like the ratings of the scripted shows goes back up…

          I totally agree with you on comparing it to Sunday. Thursday is even more striking to me because it was – by far – the most-watched night.

          • For me it depends on the situation like if the slot they’re in or whatever. You can determine a hit after one season but I prefer at least two due to Sophomore slumps that some shows have. You’re right the trajectory usually tells you where the ratings are at. There are a lot of shows that are on the air more than ever that are past their prime making these network execs look good, CBS does that a lot but I guess if they’re working still to this day I don’t blame them but I will blame them when they fail to make new hits like they currently haven’t been able to do the past 3 years.

            Greenblatt grabbed those extra five Thursday games which don’t rate anywhere near the throwback style ratings of 20 million they get on Sundays so he can do PR excuses for Thursdays as a whole this year since Superbore and The Sad Place are dragging their ratings down.

            I’m actually amazed at how the networks let Thursdays get so out of hand like that. For NBC they were supposed to find successors to Must See TV era comedies and ER instead they found demo spin shows which ruined their run of 20 years of success on the night. For CBS they had Survivor and CSI and they were supposed to had found successors to them. I think when CBS messed up with Without a Trace moving it around that’s when they messed up Thursdays. ABC had Grey’s and took too damn long building around it. They actually should’ve left Dancing with the Stars on that night when it was on there in 2006. They took too long moving something successful into 8pm as well. FOX was trying to live off of American Idol and nothing ever transpired.

            All of those mistakes is why Thursdays have become the wasteland its become. The PR spin now is that Thursday Night Football killed the night like Sundays when TNF doesn’t rate that high to affect the competition quite like that. With Sundays that’s not a good excuse either because remember when Desperate Housewives was there?

            • I’m amazed that anyone can seriously say that TNF with it barely 10 million viewers is preventing shows from getting good ratings.

              You 100% right on why Greenblatt picked those shows when Moonves cut the order because he was losing money on them…

              And we’ll see the articles once again touting “NBC’s Comeback”… 🙁

              On the two-year rule, it’s true I judged Lost by that rule. It was a one-season wonder and not really a hit.

              Of course by today’s “standards”…