UPDATE, 10:41 AM: The final numbers are in for Sunday’s primetime and there is good news for some and not such good news for others. The good news is for Fox’s Utopia and CBS’ Big Brother: Both reality shows saw adjustments, with the series premiere of the much-hyped former going up just more than 5% to a 2.0/6 and the latter grew from the 2.3/7 it had in preliminary numbers to a 2.4/7.
With a night that also saw massive competition from the official season debut of the NFL and NBC’s Sunday Night Football, Utopia’s debut remains modest. However, compared to other unscripted shows that debuted this year, Utopia is easily No. 1. ABC’s equally heavily promoted Rising Star got a 1.5/5 for its June 22 premiere while the third spot was a tie between ABC’s Bachelor In Paradise, which launched on August 4, and NBC’s Running Wild With Bear Grylls, which started on July 28 – both of them got a 1.4/5.
Big Brother remains the top non-NFL show of Sunday night. In terms of the overall dominance, SNF rose to a 9.0/26 between 8:30-11 PM. While an almost 13% rise from its fast national result, Sunday’s broadcast was down 10% from last year’s SNF opener on September 8, 2013.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY AM: The summer isn’t officially over but the summer TV season sure is. You know that because the NFL and NBC’s Sunday Night Football (8.0/22) had its powerhouse launch last night and Utopia (1.9/6) also began on Fox. In fast nationals ratings results, last night’s match-up between the victorious Denver Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts saw SNF down 20% from the 10.0/27 rating its 2013 debut got among adults 18-49 in adjusted final numbers.
Fast nationals to fast nationals, last night’s game was down 12% from the 9.1/23 result that the September 8, 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. NY Giants game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas drew. The Broncos vs. Colts game got 21.20 million viewers last night between 8:30 PM and 11 PM. That’s a drop of more than 2 million from the 23.25 million who watched the Cowboys and Giants game had between 8:30 PM – 11 PM in fast nationals. As almost always happens with NFL games and other live sports expect more than usual adjustments for last night’s game when the final numbers come in – we’ll update once we have the results. As it stands right now, NBC’s SNF and its Football Night In America lead-ins easily won the night with a 6.7/20 rating and 18.03 million viewers overall. Fox was second with a 3.2/9 among the demo and 7.98 million viewers.
Of course, football was far from all that was on TV last night as Utopia opened its doors. You’ve been able to watch the camera feeds for about a week online, but the much-touted new reality show finally took to the broadcast airwaves with its 2-hour part 1 premiere on Sunday. Spending the next year building the perfect society, the more than a dozen contestants on the self-described social experiment spent a lot of last night’s show in swimwear, getting water and dealing with chickens. With that said, on a night of tough competition, Utopia didn’t exactly have a heavenly debut. In fact it was rather modest. For instance, facing off against Big Brother (2.3/7) on CBS in the 8 PM – 9 PM hour, Utopia was a tad behind the vet reality show with a 2.2 rating. In terms of overall viewership, Utopia had an audience of 4.60 million – way behind the 7.13 million BB had in its 1-hour time slot. Utopia moves to its regular Tuesday time slot on September 9 and six Friday broadcasts starting September 12.
CBS had a full slate of programming in primetime on Sunday with Big Brother, Unforgettable (1.1/3) and Reckless (0.7/3). The reality show was up 15% against last week while the drama were up 10% and down 22% respectively from their August 31 shows on the long weekend.
Over on ABC, there was The ABC’s Of Schoolhouse Rock (0.5/2) special looking at and celebrating the classic 1970s TV educational series. For lead-out Wipeout, it was a mixed result. The 8 PM – 10 PM Season 2 of the competition show was up 33% from last week but down 11% from its Season 1 ender on September 19, 2013.
The CW was all repeats last night.