Monday, July 30, 2018

TV's AGT Leads In A Bummer Summer

Broadcast TV's slavish adherence to the rhythms of the calendar can make for a whole lot of deadly summer programming, and if the ratings are any indication, it appears that America's tolerance for hastily revived game shows and lazily construed ripoffs of existing competition-series formats is at low ebb.

According to AdAge citing Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the networks may have been better served if they'd simply hung up a "Gone Fishin'" sign and flooded their summer schedules with a torrent of repeats. Midway through the 18-week sweaty season, only six broadcast shows are averaging north of a 1.0 rating in the adults 18-to-49 demo, and just one series (ABC's "To Tell the Truth" reboot) is currently out-performing its year-ago ratings. Meanwhile, the summer scripted-series revival that was heralded a few years ago by the remarkable success of CBS's "Under the Dome" is deader than the diplodocus, as the Big Four's slate of 15 dog-days productions and burnoffs is sputtering along with an average draw of a 0.4 in the demo, which works out to a little more than 515,000 adults 18 to 49.

Now in its 13th season, NBC's "America's Got Talent" remains the solstice's ratings champ, beating all comers with an average draw of 11.6 million viewers and a 2.2 rating in the target demo, good for some 2.8 million adults 18 to 49. No other show comes anywhere near "America's Got Talent" in the summer ratings race; trailing the million-dollar competition series are CBS's "Big Brother," ABC's "The Bachelorette" and "Talent" lead-out "World of Dance," all of which are now averaging a 1.4 in adults under 50.

If "Talent" deliveries have slipped somewhat compared to its year-ago performance—at this time in 2017, the show was averaging 12.6 million viewers and a 2.6 in the dollar demo. If you were to transfer the show's demo deliveries to the regular season, "Talent" would rank fourth among all non-NFL broadcast programs, trailing only the now defunct "Roseanne" (3.5), "The Big Bang Theory" (2.7) and NBC's own "This Is Us" (2.7).

While "Talent" does reach a crowd that is a bit long in the tooth (season-to-date, the median age of the viewers who watch the show is just shy of 59 years old), it also boasts the sort of multi-generational appeal that ensures a decent turnout of younger fans. In each of the eight nights it has aired thus far this summer "Talent" has earned bragging rights as network TV's top draw among the 18-to-34 set, and is the only show that averages more than 1 million members of that particular demo week in and week out.

This will mark the fourth straight season in which "Talent" will finish out the summer as the season's top-rated show—or the fifth if you factor in its 2014 performance, when it tied "Big Brother" for the lead.

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