NBC's bold experiment faltered in the third week of television's new season, with none of its five editions scoring higher than No. 60 in the Nielsen Co.'s ranking of most popular programs. The shows ranged from a low of 4.5 million to a high of 6.2 million viewers.
All of CBS's 10 p.m. dramas last week had more than twice as many viewers as Leno. ABC's "Eastwick" was the only major network show beaten by Leno (Fox turns 10 p.m. over to local news).
NBC, however, says Leno's show must be viewed over the long haul. While the network says Leno's show is much cheaper to produce than scripted programming, it's unclear whether those savings can compensate for the low ratings. NBC concentrates on the ratings for 18-to-49-year-old viewers, and by that measure Leno is precariously close to the 1.5 rating the network says it has promised to advertisers. Last Monday, the show had a 1.5 rating, and on Friday it was 1.4, Nielsen said.
If NBC is looking for a glimmer of good news, "The Office" wedding of Jim and Pam gave the show its best ratings in a year. Among youthful viewers, it was the fourth most popular show of the week.
CBS' Tuesday schedule has emerged as the most popular night in television, led by "NCIS." That show's strength helped the two new shows that follow it "NCIS: Los Angeles" and "The Good Wife" into Nielsen's top 11 last week.
Meanwhile, Nielsen released statistics for the first week of the television season that measured how much shows were recorded on digital video recorders and played back within seven days, something of increasing importance within the industry as more people buy DVRs.
ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" was helped most by that measurement. The show had 17.06 million viewers for its season premiere, but add in all the people who watched within the next week, and that figure jumped to 20.03 million. ABC's freshman drama "FlashForward" was also among the top five in DVR playback, likely a factor in ABC's announcement that it has ordered a full season of episodes.
CBS won the third week of the new TV season with ease, averaging 12.2 million viewers (7.6 rating, 13 share), and also winning among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic. ABC averaged 8.4 million viewers (5.4, 9), NBC had 7.5 million (4.8, 8), Fox had 6.5 million (3.9, 6), the CW had 2.1 million (1.4, 2) and ION Television had 780,000 (0.5, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision dominated with a prime-time average of 3.7 million viewers (1.9 rating, 3 share). Telemundo had 1.1 million (0.5, 1), TeleFutura had 900,000 (0.4, 1) and Azteca had 200,000 (0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.1 million viewers (5.4, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 7.3 million (4.9, 10) and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.3 million viewers (3.7, 7).
A ratings point represents 1,149,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.9 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of Oct. 5-11, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "NCIS," CBS, 20.7 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 16.35 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 16.31 million; NFL Football: Indianapolis at Tennessee, NBC, 16.02 million; "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 14.9 million; "The Mentalist," CBS, 14.7 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 14.54 million; "Grey's Anatomy," ABC, 14.13 million; "Criminal Minds," CBS, 14.05 million; "House," Fox, 13.74 million.