UPDATE, 1 PM: The unprecedented 36-hour rain delay for the Daytona 500 moved the marquee NASCAR race from weekend afternoon to the competitive Monday night. That resulted in a ratings dent for the first primetime Daytona 500, which drew 13.7 million viewers. That’s down 8% from last year’s race, which aired on Sunday afternoon, but up 4% from the 2010 event, which also had delays. From 8-11 PM, the Daytona 500 posted a 4.6 rating in 18-49 and 14.1 million viewers to win the night for Fox with the network’s largest audience in 16 months. Additionally, NBC’s new drama Smash was adjusted down in the finals to a 2.3/6, so it is now even with last week.
PREVIOUS, 9 AM: Because of a 36-hour rain delay, the Daytona 500 made its primetime debut last night and sucked out male viewers from the competition. The marquee NASCAR race pushed CBS’ lineup and NBC’s The Voice down, while female-skewing series like ABC’s The Bachelor and NBC’s Smash were actually up from last week. Time-adjusted ratings for the race, won by Matt Kenseth and punctuated by a fiery crash, will be available within the hour. Daytona 500 appears on track to surpass last year’s audience of 15.6 million when it aired on Sunday afternoon. Fox will likely win the night in adults 18-49 and total viewers.
As it was the case against baseball playoffs, CBS’ Monday series were the the most vulnerable against sports competition. How I Met Your Mother (3.6/10) was down 5% from last week, 2 Broke Girls (3.7/9) was down 8%, Two And A Half Men (3.6/9) was down 14%, Mike & Molly (2.9/7) was down 15% and Hawaii Five-0 (2.5/6) was down 14%. 2 Broke Girls outpaced Men for the second time to rank as CBS’ top-rated program of the night. NBC’s The Voice (5.4/13) also took a hit, down 10% from last week. But at 10 PM, the network’s Broadway musical drama Smash (2.4/6) stopped its post-premiere ratings decline and inched up a tenth from last week. Also up was ABC’s female-friendly lineup of The Bachelor (2.6/6, up 4%) and Castle (2.2/5, up 5%). The CW’s Gossip Girl (0.5/1) was even in 18-49 and up in total viewers and 18-34, while Hart Of Dixie (0.5/1) was down a tenth in 18-49 and slipped in other key demos.