Heroes Remains NBC's Hero

The ratings are in for this fall’s First Monday and from my POV, NBC’s Heroes was the night’s winner.

Why? It’s because of this number: 7.8 rating/20 share among men 18-34, according to Nielsen’s live plus same day fast national ratings. That’s huge. It’s hard to get men that age to sit still long enough to even watch anything but sports. A show that brings one in five of them to the set (that’s what the 20 share means) is gold to advertisers.

So ABC’s Dancing with the Stars averaged a 5.7/15 among adults 18-49. That’s a great number as well – for the sake of comparison, Heroes averaged a 6.5/15 in the key adult demo – and ABC went on to win the night with hour-and-a-half premieres of both Dancing and The Bachelor.

Still, here’s the difference: Dancing with the Stars averaged about 21 million viewers, by far the most of any show on Monday. Heroes averaged about 14 million viewers. Among women 25-54 – Dancing’s strongest demo – Dancing averaged a 10.3/23. In this demo, Heroes averaged a 6.7/13. Finally, among men 18-34, Dancing averaged a 2.5/6. Compare that to Heroes’ 7.8/20.

See the difference? Dancing’s bringing in the viewers and the older women, TV’s easiest-to-reach demo. Heroes is bringing in a very concentrated audience of hard-to-reach younger viewers, especially men. And I haven’t seen this statistic, I’m sure Heroes does very well among the higher-income demos. So while ABC gets bragging rights for the night, NBC gets a surefire hit with ad buyers.

As a sidenote, the rest of NBC’s premieres didn’t fare so well, with Chuck averaging a 3.6/10 among adults 18-49 and about 9.3 million viewers – that’s pretty  mediocre. The good news for Chuck is that it built significantly from its first half-hour to its second, showing that viewers didn’t get bored and go watch something else. That’s not the case for Journeyman at 10 p.m., which started at a 4.0/10 in adults 18-49 – a huge drop-off from Heroes’ lead-in – and then fell to a 3.4/9.

So, while Chuck shows some potential, Journeyman got off to a very slow start.

Last night’s other big loser was Fox’s K-Ville, which averaged  2.3/5 in 18-49, a big drop from last week when it opened at a 3.3/8 against very little competition.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.