ABC’s OMG-fest Scandal once again topped Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings this week, with the other two Thursday night shows that Shonda Rhimes also executive produces – How to Get Away With Murder and Grey’s Anatomy – again not far behind. Over on the sports side of the weekly Top 10 lists, the NFL remained ensconced on top, but three big baseball playoff games also grabbed a spot, along with another college football game.
Scandal has benefitted from the strong live-tweeting presence of its cast and other show principals, as fans and stars alike comment about the show’s twists and turns. Rhimes has applied the approach to her oldest show, Grey’s Anatomy (eighth this week), and her newest, How To Get Away With Murder (fifth). NBC’s music reality show The Voice also seems to have settled comfortably into the Top 10, fueled by its own live-tweeting and pre-show “tailgate” sessions. This week, The Voice again had two episodes on the list, at second and seventh.
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The biggest surprise on the list might be the debut appearance of Criminal Minds. Given the CBS demographics and the fact that it’s a police procedural, Criminal Minds would not be the most likely candidate to poke past regulars such as the WWE and Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood, and yet, here it is.
The Twitter TV ratings measure the unduplicated audience of Twitter users who saw posts about a show during its initial broadcast and during the three hours before and after the show. That typically advantages sports, specials such as awards shows, and reality competitions that draw an in-the-moment crowd. With live tweeting, narrative shows such as Rhimes’ can get an audience engaged in watching a show when it happens, instead of waiting a couple of days to catch it on Hulu or the DVR. Pretty much everything about Criminal Minds makes it unlikely to hit the attention jackpot on Twitter. But again, here it is.
Over on the sports side, the Monday-night matchup between a stumbling superstar franchise, the NFL’s New England Patriots, and an up-and-comer, the Kansas City Chiefs grabbed the most attention (nearly three times as much Twitter audience as Scandal). It’s a mark of the Patriots’ enduring national popularity and success that the team’s second game of the week, on Sunday against Cincinnati, was second.
Of greater note, given how much the NFL has dominated Twitter TV ratings since the season began, is how three Major League Baseball playoff games made the list. Two of the MLB games were high-stakes match-ups between wild card teams. The loser of the single game was done for the year, while the winner moved on to a somewhat less fraught five-game division championship series. No. 10 on the sports list was one of those latter games, the first of the series between two of baseball’s most popular franchises, and featuring the league’s winningest pitchers, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright. Despite those two formidable players on the mound, the game became a scoring fest, ending in a 10-8 win for the Cardinals.
The only other non-NFL sports event to make the list featured perennial college football power Alabama (winner of three of the last five national championships) against the University of Mississippi, a rising former doormat in the same division of its conference. Even more likely to set Twitter digits a-posting: the 10th-ranked Mississippi Rebels beat No. 3 ‘Bama. Oh, that SEC continues to make things interesting.
As always, Nielsen sends along a raft of disclaimers and explanations for its data, to wit:
Nielsen Social captures relevant Tweets from three hours before, during and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast, local time. Unique Audience measures the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to an episode from when the Tweets were sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. Sports Events include those on Broadcast and National Cable Networks only across all day parts. For multicast events, networks are listed alphabetically and metrics reflect the highest Unique Audience across all airing networks, denoted with an asterisk.
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