October 10, 2012 5:50pm PT by Michael O'Connell
NBC Wins Its First Three-Day Ratings Streak in Nearly a Decade
NBC is having a pretty nice fall. The perennially fourth place network has seen a successful autumn run for The Voice, won the adults 18-49 demographic the first two weeks of the official season, raked in the strongest DVR growth of any new series (Revolution) and, as of Tuesday's final numbers, it's pulled a feat not seen since the glory days of Friends.
Nearly nine years to the day since the network last won three nights in a row, NBC saw consecutive demo dominance on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights. That statistic, of course, concerns just the regular season -- but it last occurred Nov. 12-14, 2003.
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So what was on back then? The first night, a Wednesday, had Ed, Law & Order and The West Wing. On Thursday, Friends was already two months into its final season and still the strongest scripted performer in the demo. It was the latter days of the original "Must See TV," with Scrubs, Will & Grace and E.R. rounding out the night. Friday, a little less storied, had new episodes of Dateline, Miss Match and Third Watch.
What's working now isn't that surprising. Sunday Night Football, the highest-rated program on TV, starts every week with a guaranteed win for the network. And the combo of The Voice and Revolution on Mondays has been a strong one since it launched nearly a month ago, topping its biggest competition in the CBS comedies and, to a lesser extent, ABC's Dancing With the Stars after they returned three weeks ago.
Tuesday is the wild card. The first two of the regular season went to CBS, with its NCIS two-for and freshman Vegas. But a resurgent episode of The Voice last night, jumping 50 percent from last week's clip show, helped drive the rest of the schedule -- Go On, New Normal, Parenthood -- up double digits. The network topped CBS by just over a tenth of a point (2.93 over a 2.8 rating with adults 18-49).
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It's anybody's guess as to whether original outings of The Voice can sustain a Tuesday win moving forward -- a clearly confident NBC announced a two-hour episode of the The Voice planned for Tuesday, Oct. 30 -- but this week is certainly another feather in the network's cap.
And if there's anyone who can share in their sense of accomplishment, it's Matthew Perry. The Friends and Go On star is one of a small few who can say he was here the last time this happened.