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As the first half of the 2013 - 2014 television season winds down across the networks, let's have a look at how some of the more popular series are sitting in comparison to last year.
Let's begin with ABC's Castle. It's enjoyed a back-to-back 10 episode stretch not seen since season 2, in 2009. Airing Mondays 10|9c, it's had a very good opening half season despite running alongside record-breaking NBC hit The Blacklist. An average of 10.85 million viewers are tuning in each Monday night, garnering a 2.07 adults 18-49 ratings average for the season. It gets even better when timeshifted viewing is taken into account too, with the first 9 episodes for which data is available for, seeing that rating jump to 3.29, and the audience to 15.128 million viewers.
The first 9 episodes of last season managed a 1.98 rating and 10.25 million viewers live, which grew to a 3.0 rating and 13.88 million viewers when Live+7 data is accounted for. This lift puts Castle in a reasonably rare category of shows that have grown both their rating and audience year to year. A live rating increase of 4.5% and live audience increase of 5.9% looks great alongside a Live+7 ratings increase of 9.6% and Live+7 audience increase of 9%. These numbers also give season 3 a run for its money in terms of ratings and audience averages too. Castle is ABC's most watched scripted series in both Live+SD and Live+7 ratings, bettering the likes of Modern Family and Grey's Anatomy. That fact alone is quite impressive, and there's no doubt in my mind that ABC's second-longest running scripted series will be back for another season next year.
Castle returns Monday Jan 6, 10|9c on ABC, or Sunday Jan 5 on CTV in Canada. See more stats and graphs for Castle here.
It's been an interesting season for CBS's Elementary, airing Thursdays 10|9c. With one episode due this week from the 11 scheduled for this year, the series has managed a modest 1.81 Live+SD rating and 9.03 million viewers. However the series is one of the most popular on America's DVRs, with timeshifted numbers right up there with the highest gaining shows. That 1.81 rating leaps to a 3.26 rating over the course of a week - a 80% increase, while the total audience shifts to 13.785 million viewers, translating into a 53% gain.
The first 10 episodes of Elementary's debut season paint a different picture indeed. Though it's worth bearing in mind the series premiere slightly inflates averages, the first 10 episodes earned an average 2.37 rating an 10.91 million viewers. Timeshifting improved that rating to 3.60, and audience to 14.68 million viewers - a 51% and 35% gain respectively. This clearly shows that for fans, Elementary is a show they will catch up with another time, bearing in mind it runs head to head with ABC's highest rating drama, Scandal. Elementary's 21 Nov episode returned the season's second highest Live+7 rating and fourth highest Live+7 audience, proving fans continue to come back each week, which is great to see. Like Castle, Elementary is almost certain to return for a third season next fall.
Elementary's midseason finale airs Thursday, 10|9c on CBS. It returns in 2014 on Jan 2. See more stats and graphs for Elementary here.
NBC have found something special this year in the form of The Blacklist. The James Spader led drama has broken several television viewership records in its 10 episode first half season run. With just one of those episodes failing to reach the 3.0 Live+SD ratings mark, it's not at all surprising to see The Blacklist's Live+SD ratings average sitting at 3.14, and audience average at 11.07 million viewers. Bear in mind too, that The Blacklist is competing with ABC's longest running and most watched drama, Castle, which makes these numbers even more impressive.
But it's Live+7 records that The Blacklist favors the most. The Nov 4 episode of the series delivered the largest total viewer increase from Live+SD viewing to Live+7 viewing in US television history, growing by 6.589 million viewers (from 10.337 million viewers to 16.926 million viewers). The Blacklist now holds the top three increases from Live+SD to Live+7 among total viewers in US television history. From the 8 episodes of which data is available, The Blacklist averages a 5.18 Live+7 rating, and 17.085 million viewers. That's an average 65% - or almost 2 full ratings points - increase in ratings and 54% - or just over 6 million viewers - audience increase. NBC have already put The Blacklist on the list of returning series for next fall, which is excellent news.
The Blacklist returns Monday Jan 13, 10|9c, on NBC. See more stats and graphs for The Blacklist here.
Back to ABC now, with its highest rated drama, Scandal. Following a record breaking season 3 premiere, the series has been rock solid over its 9 episodes to date. The Live+SD numbers are excellent, with the ratings average sitting at 3.04, and audience at 9.08 million viewers. With one episode to come this year, we are already at the halfway point of the season, due to the recently announced 4 episode cutback due to lead actress Kerry Washington's pregnancy. Live+7 numbers for Scandal have been phenomenal this season, with the 8 episodes for which data is available averaging a 4.63 Live+7 rating and 13.069 million viewers. That's a 52% ratings increase and 44% audience increase during the week.
These numbers are miles above last season's, which, as fans will remember, saw ratings take off 10 episodes in following the attempted assassination of President Grant. The first 10 episodes of last season averaged a mere 2.18 Live+SD rating and 6.72 million viewers. That's a 39% ratings increase and 35% audience increase year on year. Last season's Live+7 ratings of the first 10 episodes sat a 3.09 rating and 9.13 million viewers - pretty solid in their own right - but this season's Live+7 ratings are a touch shy of 50% higher, and audience 43% higher than last season. It will be interesting to see how these numbers change in the last 8 episodes of the season, because a long gap between halves is never beneficial. However if any show can survive a break, Scandal can. There's no doubt in my mind that ABC will order a fourth season!
Scandal's midseason finale airs Thursday, 10|9c on ABC. A 2014 midseason premiere date is yet to be announced. See more stats and graphs for Scandal here.
Last but not least is my favorite network drama series, Person of Interest, which airs Tuesdays 10|9c. The move from Thursdays 9|8c hasn't been beneficial in terms of live ratings, but timeshifted ratings haven't been impacted as much. With one episode remaining from this half's 11 episodes, Person of Interest is averaging a 2.08 rating and 12.29 million viewers. Timeshifted viewing boosts that rating 51% to 3.l5, and the audience lifts 35% to 16.672 million viewers. The two most recent episodes for which Live+7 data is available for, have garnered audiences over 17 million - making them two from three that the series has seen above that level this season. Of course, Person of Interest fans will be aware that those two episodes are the first two episodes of the 3 part storyline in which Detective Carter was killed.
Last season, airing in the earlier timeslot on Thursday nights, averaged a 2.92 Live+SD rating, and 14.26 million viewers across the first 10 episodes. That equates to a 28.8% ratings decrease, and 13.8% audience decrease year to year in Live+SD data. This is a bit better than what I initially expected at the start of the season. Timeshifted viewing shows lower percentage drops year to year though, with the first 10 episodes last season averaging a 3.99 rating and 17.62 million viewers. When coupled to last season's Live+SD data, that's a 21% ratings drop, and 5.4% audience drop year to year in Live+7 data. One wonders whether the lack of Detective Carter will have an impact on ratings in the second half of the season.
Person of Interest's midseason finale airs Thursday 17 Dec, 10|9c on CBS. It returns in 2014 on Jan 7. See more stats and graphs for Person of Interest here.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading! Be sure to share your thoughts about your favorite shows in the comments below, and follow me on Twitter!
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