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Stats Spotlight - Top Dramas After 7 Weeks Year To Year - Castle / Person of Interest / Scandal / The Blacklist and more

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It's been an interesting opening few weeks in regard to ratings for the 2013 - 2014 television season. Most shows are well past the premiere buzz and have settled into somewhat normal ratings patterns. Let's run through a few of the more popular shows and how they're going.

FOX's Bones has been pretty stable on Mondays 8|7c so far this season. A ratings high of 2.3, and low of 1.9 are identical to those highs and lows seen in the first seven episodes of last season. The ratings and audience averages after 7 episodes last season sat at a 2.08 rating and 7.31 million viewers, which is almost identical to this season's 2.10 ratings average and 7.28 million viewer audience average after the same number of episodes. Interestingly, Live+7 DVR ratings data has been made available for just one episode this season, meaning Bones doesn't rank among the top 25 most timeshifted series any more. That wasn't the case last season, with every single episode having some or all of the timeshifted ratings data available because it was inside the top 25 most timeshifted shows.

Bones' move to Fridays will be interesting to monitor. Fridays are a pretty dull night for television, so Bones should remain stable, with a possible increase in timeshifted viewing given that it is a Friday night after all. You can see Bones' same day and timeshifted data for this season here and last season here.

ABC's Castle has had a particularly strong first 7 episodes this season. Its long time lead-in, Dancing With The Stars, hasn't been providing a lot of support in terms of ratings though it continues to comfortably eclipse Castle for audience size. Castle has seen ratings highs and lows of 2.2 and 1.9, with all but one episode thus far actually differing from those two values. Audience-wise, the current season high sits at 11.46 million viewers which was garnered in premiere week, and the low sits at 10.51 million viewers. The first 7 episodes of the season have earned a ratings average of 2.10, and audience average of 10.87 million viewers. That's markedly better than last season after 7 episodes, where the ratings average sat at 2.02, and audience average at 10.48 million viewers. Interestingly though, both seasons share the exact same ratings highs and lows after 7 episodes, though none of the first 7 episodes of last season break past the 11 million viewer mark.

Timeshifted viewing for Castle is well up on last season too. With four weeks of data for this season available currently, Castle is averaging a 3.3 Live+7 rating and 15.275 million viewers. The same four episodes last season averaged a mere 3.00 rating and 14.055 million viewers. Very strong competition from The Blacklist on NBC could be contributing to these higher numbers, but in a good way, because same day ratings and audiences are up on last season. In addition, Castle's Sundays screenings on CTV in Canada aren't negatively impacting US ratings either, which is pleasing.

You can see Castle's same day and timeshifted data for this season here and last season here.

Criminal Minds on CBS, has fallen on some tough times as of late. After a start to the season that was to be expected, with ratings and audience numbers in a strong position, the last 2 episodes have both
seen substantial drops. Last Wednesday's episode, which was directed by series star Matthew Gray Gubler, earned a series low 2.3 rating, and series low 9.70 million viewers. I don't think any analyst would have predicted such a sharp drop in ratings and audience in such a short period of time, but given the series' history of rock solid, stable ratings throughout its 8 previous years on air, I'm pretty confident ratings will bounce back in the near future.

This season's ratings average currently sits at 2.60, and the audience average is still a relatively strong 10.89 million viewers despite the audience drops of the last 2 episodes. Last season's first 7 episodes saw a ratings average of 3.03, and audience average of 11.85 million viewers, so the drop year to year is quite noticeable. The first 7 episodes of season 7 solidify this, because they averaged a 3.76 rating and 12.92 million viewers.

You can see Criminal Minds' same day and timeshifted data for this season here and last season here.

ABC's longest running series Grey's Anatomy is following a pattern in its ratings almost identical to that seen last season, though minus the 1.4 ratings point drop seen between episodes 1 and 4 last season. The last 5 weeks of this season has seen ratings sit between 2.6 and 2.8, and audience hold steady between 8.68 and 8.94 million viewers. All the while, Grey's Anatomy has had to hold its own thanks to very poorly performing lead-ins in the 8pm timeslot. The much hyped Once Upon A Time in Wonderland scored a terrible 0.9 rating and just 3.55 million viewers last Thursday, leaving Grey's Anatomy to multiply that rating by 3 and the audience by 2.4 to achieve its 2.7 rating and 8.68 million viewers.

The first 8 episodes of the season have averaged a 2.94 rating and 9.01 million viewers. Last season didn't have a 2 hour premiere, and it also had three fortnight breaks between the first 8 episodes. Nevertheless, it averaged a 3.4 rating and 9.95 million viewers, so there is a reasonably large year to year drop there. I do, however, believe the year to year drop will be reduced thanks to the split season format ABC is running with Grey's Anatomy and others this season because it gives the creative team a chance to build up to a proper midseason finale. Of course, the truth will be told when Grey's Anatomy and others return next year.

You can see Grey's Anatomy's same day and timeshifted data for this season here and last season here.

CBS's NCIS is enjoying a great start to the season, with its ratings and audience average boosted thanks to the departure of the Ziva David storyline. The first 7 episodes of the season have averaged a 3.13 rating and 19.23 million viewers. Though last season returned a 3.41 ratinga average over the first 7 episodes, this season's audience average is 950,000 viewers higher than last season's first 7 episodes, which is pretty impressive.

NCIS broke its series audience record later on last season, so despite last season's first 7 episodes averaging 18.28 million viewers, the season on a whole finished with an audience average 1 million viewers higher, at 19.28 million viewers. Another good midseason period this season will most likely cement season 11 of NCIS as the most watched in its history.

You can see NCIS' same day and timeshifted data for this season here and last season here.

CBS's Person of Interest is my favorite show this year. In its third season, the series has been relocated from Thursdays 9pm to Tueadays 10pm, but the move hasn't done the series' ratings much good at all. The first 7 episodes have rated between 1.9 and 2.3, with the one and only 2.3 rating occurring in premiere week, and the two 1.9 rated episodes coming back to back in the last fortnight. Compare last season's first 7 episode ratings average of 2.93, and audience average of 14.27 million viewers, to this season's first 7 episode average of 2.09 and 12.30 million viewers and it's a rather bitter pill to swallow for POI fans. Syndication will most likely ensure a fourth season is secured, but if ratings drop low enough this season and flow on to next season, then it's anyone's guess.

There is a silver lining for Person of Interest though, in the form of Live+7 DVR ratings. Despite the shift in timeslot, Person of Interest remains a highly popular timeshifted series, with this season's first four episodes averaging 16.555 million viewers, and a 3.23 rating. Though the first three episodes of last season were also the three least timeshifted of the season, the first four episodes last season averaged a 4.0 Live+7 rating and 17.571 million viewers, so while the gap has widened in same day data thanks to the timeslot change, the viewers are still, though choosing to tune in later.

You can see Person of Interest's same day and timeshifted data for this season here and last season here.

ABC's Scandal has had a rather bouncy first 6 episodes after kicking off its season a week after most others. After premiering to a record 10.52 million viewers and a 3.6 rating, the season's highest rating since then sits at 3.3, and the highest audience at 9.51 million viewers. However Scandal has continued to dominate its lead-in, Grey's Anatomy. Each week it's outrated it, and has also won in audience in all but 2 of the 6 weeks so far. It's been a very impressive beginning to the season.

This season has averaged a 3.10 rating, and 9.25 million viewers. That makes a mockery of last season's first six episodes, which averaged a 1.98 rating and 6.28 million viewers. That's a 56.6% increase in ratings, and 47.3% increase in audience year to year. I wonder how many networks can say that about a drama airing at 10|9c.

You can see Scandal's same day and timeshifted data for this season here and last season here.

Let's conclude with NBC's The Blacklist. There isn't a lot more to say apart from that it's breaking records left right and center. It's averaging a staggering 3.17 rating and 11.05 million viewers after its first 7 episodes. In Live+3 timeshifted ratings, The Blacklist holds 5 out of the top 6 spots for biggest L+SD to L+3 audience increases in US broadcast history, per this press release. NBC have already extended their episode order to a full length 22 episode season, and I don't have any doubts at all about it being renewed for a second season. I love this show and I can't wait for more.

You can see The Blacklist's same day and timeshifted data for this season here.

That's all the shows I have time for in this post. Be sure to share your thoughts on the progress and ratings of your favorite shows in the comments below, and to follow me on Twitter!

Remember you can find all this data and more on many more shows on my website, www.seriesmonitor.com

Thanks as always for reading!

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