Accurate ratings for the night’s top attraction, the first Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, won’t be available until later in the day. If the non-time zone adjusted fast nationals are any indication, the broadcast networks ran neck-in-neck in their coverage of the debate, with NBC in the lead.
Leading into the debate, NBC, ABC and CBS aired their regular lineups from 8-9 PM. There was some encouraging news for NBC’s freshman comedies Animal Practice (1.5/5) and especially Guys With Kids (1.8/5), which were up 7% and 13%, respectively, from their underwhelming time slot debuts last week for a rare Week 2 ratings bump. They were still topped in the hour by ABC’s comedies The Middle (2.2/7) and The Neighbors (2.0/6) but those shows were down 24% and 38%, respectively, from their openers last week. A dropoff for The Neighbors was expected as the rookie moved to its regular 8:30 PM slot after launching behind hit Modern Family last week. It also ranks as the most watched new comedy for a second consecutive week (6.6 million) and held onto an OK 91% of its Middle lead-in. Still, its predecessor in the slot, Suburgatory, was building on its Middle lead-in last fall. On Fox, The X Factor‘s first boot camp telecast (3.4/10) was up a tenth from the show’s fast national last Wednesday. Survivor: Philippines (2.9/9) was down a tenth from its fast national last week.
A second returning CW series opened respectably last night. Veteran Supernatural kicked off its eighth season with 1.8 million viewers, a 0.7/2 in adults 18-34 and a 0.8 in 18-49. It was even with last fall’s opener in 18-34 and 18-49. In total viewers, it was slightly down but logged its most watched episode since February and was up in both viewers and 18-49 from the seventh season finale. Supernatural is on a new night, Wednesday, this season, which has higher HUT levels than Supernatural’s previous Friday berth. But taking into account that it is one of the shows with biggest DVR lifts and that DVR use has climbed year-to-year as well as the fact that the Supernatural premiere aired against the first Presidential debate last night, its showing was solid.