'Sleepy Hollow' Is DVR's Most Improved, While 'SHIELD' and 'Big Bang Theory' Top Premieres

UPDATED: Nielsen's latest round of premiere week measurements show strong growth for promising freshmen, ratings boosts from last fall and CBS' unstoppable returning comedy besting even "Sunday Night Football."

The rankings for most DVR-friendly series are likely to change this season as ratings continue to show more and more movement to time-shifted viewing. Two new series, Agents of SHIELD and Sleepy Hollow, have already jumped into the Top 5 DVR growers in premiere week's Live+Seven Day returns.

Networks still sell advertising on Live+Three, but adding a week's worth of DVR use to overnight returns has become a standard measurement to tout a series' success -- and with good reason. All four networks are now in the black, ratings-wise, after initial premiere week returns had only NBC and ABC up from last year.

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The biggest gainer, SHIELD, which recouped an additional 49 percent (2.3 points) among adults 18-49 for a cumulative 7.0 rating, may have topped premiere week launches in DVR improvement -- but its latest boosts aren't enough to compensate for its falloff. The third episode of SHIELD moved up a promising 52 percent in Live+Three ratings, but that still gives it only a 4.4 rating thus far.

NBC's The Blacklist and Fox's Sleepy Hollow are proving to have comparatively stronger premiere retention with DVR taken into account. The Blacklist, which saw its premiere improve 45 percent to a 5.5 adults rating, is now even faring stronger in Live+Three. The latest episode improved 47 percent in just three days, moving up to a 4.5 adults rating. The drama has also set the two biggest time-shifting increases in total viewers across all of TV with its second and third episodes.

And Sleepy Hollow, so far the season's biggest percentage gainer with a whopping 71 percent increase in its second episode's Live+Seven to a 5.3 adults rating, is outpacing all of last season's series in its DVR jumps. The latest Live+Three have it already up 50 percent to a 4.2 rating with adults 18-49.

Veterans are not to be discounted. The Top 5 in Live+Seven includes three familiar residents: CBS' The Big Bang Theory and ABC's Modern Family and Grey's Anatomy. All three saw their premiere week ratings jump significantly, while The Big Bang Theory topped even Sunday Night Football, thanks to its boost. The sitcom was up 42 percent to 7.8 rating with adults 18-49. (The DVR-proof sport averaged a 7.6 adults rating that week.) The special Big Bang Theory, which aired after the premiere and topped all broadcast offerings for the week with a 8.6 adults rating, will not be included in season averages.

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NBC's Parenthood, which moved to Thursdays, and CBS' soft newbie Hostages both saw significant percentage gains from their rather low numbers, while CBS' Criminal Minds, Elementary and The Crazy Ones also cracked the top 10 with their growth.

New Girl remains broadcast TV's biggest time-shifted comedy. After getting a solid boost in its pre-premiere week opener, the Fox series jumped a whopping 62 percent to a cumulative 3.4 rating in the demo, outpacing all other sitcoms in percentage growth. Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Mindy Project both jumped 53 percent for original showings, while freshman Dads only improved 37 percent.

Dads was hardly the smallest grower among freshmen. The late Lucky 7 improved just 15 percent, while ABC comedy Back in the Game moved up a paltry 14 percent. The Goldbergs improved a full point from its premiere, jumping 32 percent. Mom (36 percent), Trophy Wife (26 percent) and Betrayal (40 percent) joined it in the middle of the pack.

Reality, a genre that has remained largely immune to the DVR boost, earned a surprising victory in Fox's MasterChef Junior. The Gordon Ramsay competition show jumped an impressive 56 percent to a 2.5 rating with adults 18-49.

There are, of course, even broader measurements being touted this season. Returning hits like ABC's Scandal, which premiered after kickoff week, has already brought in 17.8 million viewers in multi-platform measurements -- that's before Live+Seven. And big freshmen SHIELD and Sleepy Hollow also have gross viewerships to brag about. Sleepy Hollow, for example, now tallies a series premiere audience of 25.09 million including online streams, replays and DVR use.

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Rankings are destined to shift as the season moves on and certain new entries lose steam -- but below is a quick look at premiere week's 10 biggest growers, by both points and percentages. 

Top 10 by Total Growth

  1. Agents of SHIELD (ABC) - up 2.3 to a 7.0 (49 percent)
  2. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - up 2.3 to a 7.8 (42 percent)
  3. Sleepy Hollow (Fox) - up 2.2 to a 5.3 (71 percent)
  4. Modern Family (ABC) - up 2.1 to a 6.2 (51 percent)
  5. Grey's Anatomy (ABC) - up 1.7 to a 5.1 (50 percent)
  6. The Blacklist (NBC) - up 1.7 to a 5.5 (45 percent)
  7. The Crazy Ones (CBS) - up 1.5 to a 5.4 (38 percent)
  8. Elementary (CBS) - up 1.4 to a 3.5 (67 percent)
  9. New Girl (Fox) - up 1.3 to a 3.4 (62 percent)
  10. Criminal Minds (CBS) - up 1.3 to a 4.1 (46 percent)

Top 10 by Percentage Growth

  1. Sleepy Hollow (Fox) - up 2.2 to a 5.3 (71 percent)
  2. Parenthood (NBC) - up 1.1 to a 2.7 (69 percent)
  3. Elementary (CBS) - up 1.4 to a 3.5 (67 percent)
  4. Hostages (CBS) - up 1.2 to a 3.0 (67 percent)
  5. New Girl (Fox) - up 1.3 to a 3.4 (62 percent)
  6. Revolution (NBC) - up 1.1 to a 2.9 (61 percent)
  7. Nashville (ABC) - up 1.1 to a 3.2 (60 percent)
  8. Glee (Fox) - up 1.2 to a 3.2 (60 percent)
  9. Caste (ABC) - up 1.2 to a 3.4 (55 percent)
  10. CSI (CBS) - up 1.1 to a 3.1 (55 percent)