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Anyone immediately discouraged by fall ratings might want to wait an extra three days before throwing in the towel.
Time-delay returns for the past two weeks have DVR viewership up across the board over last season for returning shows, and new series are recouping as much as half of their initial audience in delayed viewings. For those anxiously watching the bubble, these Live+3 Day numbers are what networks report to advertisers and, despite the attention on daily broadcast finals, an increasingly reliable measurement of a show’s health.
One series in decidedly good health going into its third week is Revolution. Nielsen’s Live+3 returns for NBC’s post-Voice drama set a record for time-delayed viewing with a massive 53 percent bump for its second episode. Jumping to a 5.2 rating with adults 18-49, from a 3.4, it currently ranks as the second-strongest scripted effort of the week behind Modern Family. (CBS’ The Big Bang Theory is certain to eclipse Revolution when data is available for Thursday, Sept. 27.)
Speaking of Modern Family, the series moved up 33 percent to a 7.3 adults rating for its season four opener. Not only is it the top scripted performer in the demo, it’s the strongest primetime network broadcast of the week, excluding football.
Another returning series that saw significant boosts was New Girl. Both of its episodes improved a full point in the demo, both rising 36 percent to 3.8 ratings in the demo. ABC’s Castle (up 38 percent) and Private Practice (47 percent), NBC’s Parenthood (39 percent), Fox’s Bones (30 percent) and CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 (44 percent), How I Met Your Mother (22 percent) and 2 Broke Girls (24 percent) all saw significant growth in their episodes from the week of Sept. 24. Glee‘s recent season premiere also jumped 40 percent, though subsequent episodes have grown by small margins.
Among new series, none matched Revolution‘s haul, but New Normal certainly tried. The NBC comedy grew by 40 percent to a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49, more than doubling the growth of lead-in Go On. The Matthew Perry vehicle grew just 19 percent in its recent outing to a 3.2 adults rating. Vegas, which opened to a gargantuan 14.6 million viewers and comparatively lackluster 2.5 rating with adults 18-49 on CBS, grew 28 percent with Live+3 to a 3.2.
Still, some new scripted efforts haven’t fared as strong in Live+3 data. The slowest growers through this past Wednesday include Fox’s Ben and Kate (up 14 percent) and ABC’s The Neighbors (13 percent). CBS’ Partners didn’t even crack double digits, rising just 8 percent to 2.6 rating adults 18-49.
And, as history has shown before, live reality remains particularly resistant to three-day playback gains. Dancing With the Stars‘ two-hour premiere jumped a mere 12 percent in the demo after three days (from a 2.5 to a 2.8 adults rating), while the results show only grew 10 percent.
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