To kick off the inaugural installment of our weekly ratings report, it seems like a good idea to give you some sense of what the top programs on television actually are. To wit, here are the top 10 shows among total viewers (all numbers are for the week that ended Sunday):
1. Two And A Half Men (20.5 million viewers)
2. NCIS (19.5 million)
3. NBC Sunday Night Football (18.9 million)
4. 60 Minutes (17.1 million)
5. NCIS: Los Angeles (16.3 million)
6. Dancing With The Stars (performance) (16.2 million)
7. The Big Bang Theory (14.7 million)
8. Dancing With The Stars (results) (14.4 million)
9. Football Night In America (14.1 million)
10. Mike & Molly (13.9 million)
Now, what does all of this tell us?
1.) Two And A Half Men, now with 100 percent more Ashton Kutcher, continues to be a massive, massive hit. (The show was only averaging a little over 60 percent of that number last season.) That number should fall off a bit. It's already 8 million off the premiere number. But for now, it's the number one show on TV, overall, for the first time in the show's history.
2.) Andy Rooney's retirement brought in over 17 million viewers, the best audience for 60 Minutes in many years. Clearly, Rooney's proto-video-blogging/old man bitching struck a chord with Americans, who will be sad to see him go. (Or, rather, he struck a chord with Americans not in the 18-49-year-old demographic, as only 4.5 million of the viewers were in the key demo.)
3.) TV Club only regularly covers one of the 10 most-viewed series on television. And it's not one of our bigger hits! (Yes, we know TV Club takes place in an alternate universe where Breaking Bad and Community are the biggest shows on TV, but this is a sobering reminder that we live on Earth-2.)
Just for comparison, here are the top 10 shows in terms of 18-49-year-old viewers, just to give a sense of how the two lists diverge:
1. NBC Sunday Night Football (9.9 million viewers)
2. Two And A Half Men (9.4 million)
3. Modern Family (7.3 million; 11th among total viewers)
4. Football Night In America (6.8 million)
5. The Big Bang Theory (6.3 million)
6. Mike & Molly (6.2 million)
7. 2 Broke Girls (5.9 million; 19th among total viewers)
8. How I Met Your Mother (5.8 million; not in the top 25 among total viewers)
9. New Girl (5.7 million; not in the top 25 among total viewers)
10. NCIS (5.4 million)
Those numbers may give a better sense of why Fox picked up New Girl for a full season last week and why CBS picked up 2 Broke Girls for a full season yesterday. The resurgence of comedies on networks is tied much more directly to young viewers. Other comedies scoring in the top 25 for younger viewers are Glee, Family Guy, The Office, and Suburgatory. (Though neither was anywhere near the top 25 for the demo, Community was up a point, while Parks & Recreation stayed level, which was a good showing for both.) Meanwhile, the older demographics continue to embrace mainly crime dramas, though they're singlehandedly keeping The Good Wife alive, so good for them, huh?
Starting next week: We'll be looking at one show per week, trying to parse out just what its numbers really mean, what its chances at renewal are, and so on and so forth. Yes, we'll be taking requests, so toss your favorites into comments.