On a night of premieres, a penultimate and a finale, there are two big things to take in account with Wednesday’s fast nationals. One, with all the networks covering the 15-minute speech by President Barack Obama at 9 PM ET live from the White House, all the preliminary numbers are up in the air from that point on, as everything was pushed and smushed. Secondly, there was no NFL on any of the Big 4 last night unless you count news programming focusing on the ever-growing Ray Rice video scandal. With the former in mind, expect larger than usual adjustments with almost everything in the final numbers later today.
In terms of the President’s speech on how the administration intends to deal with the threat of ISIS, NBC was first in metered market results among adults 18-49. The peacock’s 9 PM – 9:30 PM coverage got a 2.2/7 LPM. Second place was a 1.2/4 tie between Fox, who cut live to Fox News coverage from 9 PM – 9:15 PM, and ABC, who ran a special half-hour report with NBC. CBS was a distant third with a 0.8/2 with its 9 PM to 9:30 PM coverage of Obama’s remarks. In preliminary ratings, which were for the full 9 PM – 10 PM time slot for everyone but ABC, NBC also came out on top with 1.9/6. Fox was second with a 1.4/4, ABC was third with a 1.2/4 and CBS was fourth with a 0.7/2. Of course all those mixed in America’s Got Talent, the second hour of Hell’s Kitchen season premiere and CBS’ Under The Lights football preview too.
Other than the President’s speech, ABC was all encores on Wednesday but all the other nets pretty much served a full meal. To continue the metaphor, if you stopped to grab a bite and you might have missed the fact that Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen was actually off the air. Having wrapped its 12th season on July 24, the Gordon Ramsay competition series was back last night for Season 13. Presidential interruptions taken into account, the 9-10 PM hour is meaningless right now but the 8 PM – 9 PM hour got a 1.5/5 result among the demo. That’s down 25% from the 8 PM 1-hour Season 12 premiere on March 13, which was a Thursday. Not only has HK’s day of the week changed this season but also S13 is the first time the Ramsay series has debuted in September since its Season 8 opener on September 22, 2008.
The debut of Thursday Night Football tomorrow on CBS saw the network shuffle the eviction episode of Big Brother (2.4/8) forward a day to Wednesdays for the rest of the season. Not that it seemed to hurt the obviously malleable vet reality show. Airing at 8 PM, last night’s BB was up 4% from last week’s comparable show. After Obama’s speech, CBS had a special Under The Light as a preview of its new primetime football programming premiering on Thursday. That then pushed into Extant (0.7/2). While the Halle Berry drama was down 30% from last week to hit a low, the numbers could change dramatically later so don’t give then too much heed now.
With next week’s finale now within sight, it was truly getting down to the wire at Radio City Music Hall last night on America’s Got Talent. As the final set of hopefuls was culled in the results show that had the President’s speech as a lead-in in its 9 PM slot, AGT slid into the next hour. That 15 minutes that pushed into the finale of Taxi Brooklyn (1.1/3) undoubtedly inflated the 22% leap that the show had and will, pardon the broken record, likely be greatly adjusted later.
On The CW, Penn & Teller: Fool Us (0.5/2) was on at 8 PM and not touched by the President’s speech. All of which meant the freshman UK import saw a 28% drop from last week’s high.