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It's an "NCIS" World. We're Just Living In It

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | September 30, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | September 30, 2009 |

If you need more evidence that television is quickly becoming an older person’s medium, look no further than this week’s Nielson ratings. CBS absolutely dominated, thanks to it’s procedurals. “NCIS” and it’s spin-off, “NCIS: Los Angeles” were number one and number two; There were three CSI’s and two other CBS procedurals, “Criminal Minds” and “The Mentalist” in the top 20 this week.


I’m honestly beginning to think that, as one commenter suggested last week, that the Nielson ratings are absolute bullshit. They don’t take into account online viewership, which is where a lot of us watch our TV now. Thank you, Hulu. Nor, I suspect, does it fully account for DVR viewership, and I can’t think of a non-sports related show that I don’t watch on a DVR. These aren’t the Top 20 shows in the real world. These are the Top 20 shows in nursing homes across America, which is apparently the only place that those goddamn Nielson boxes are placed. I cannot believe that advertising dollars and television schedules are based on a random and probably woefully inaccurate sampling of people. I don’t know anyone that watches “NCIS.” I don’t know anyone that watches “CSI.” Or “Dancing with the Stars.” These ratings are honest-to-God bullshit.

The good news, however, is that “Modern Family” did crack the top 20. And if you look at the ratings that actually matter — the 18-49 demographic — “Modern Family” was even higher.

Elsewhere, “FlashForward” also debuted big on ABC, beating out “Survivor” in its timeslot. The NBC Thursday night comedy block fell off a bit; “Fringe” didn’t do so hot on Thursday (5.8 million viewers), and sorry Whedonites: “Dollhouse” stunk it up on Friday night, debuting with a weak 2.5 million viewers.The second cancellation watch begins again.

Here are the overall ratings for premiere week.

1. (2) “NCIS,” CBS, 20.6 million viewers.

2. (3) “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 18.73 million viewers.

3. (4) “Dancing With the Stars” (Monday), ABC, 17.79 million viewers.

4. (1) Sunday Night Football: Indianapolis at Arizona, NBC, 17.47 million viewers.

5. (5) “House,” Fox, 17.16 million viewers.

6. (6) “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 17.03 million viewers.

7. (8) “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 16.01 million viewers.

8. (9) “Criminal Minds,” CBS, 15.84 million viewers.

9. (X) “Dancing With the Stars” (Tuesday), ABC, 15.367 million viewers.

10. (X) “Dancing With the Stars” (Wednesday), ABC, 15.356 million viewers.

11. (11) “The Mentalist,” CBS, 15.07 million viewers.

12. (11) “CSI: New York,” CBS, 15.06 million viewers.

13. (13) “60 Minutes,” CBS, 14.88 million viewers.

14. (14) “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 14.20 million viewers.

15. (15) “The Good Wife,” CBS, 13.71 million viewers.

16. (15) “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 13.64 million viewers.

17. (15) “Two And a Half Men,” CBS, 13.63 million viewers.

18. (7) “Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” NBC, 13.35 million viewers.

19. (19) “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 12.96 million viewers.

20. (20) “Modern Family,” ABC, 12.61 million viewers.

However, in the demographic that matters, it’s not as depressing (except for Seth MacFarlane). Here are the top 20 programs among 18-49 year olds.

1. NBC Sunday Night Football Colts/Cardinals
2. “House”
3. “Grey’s Anatomy”
4. “Family Guy”
5. “Cleveland Show”
6. “NCIS”
7. “Desperate Housewives”
8. “Big Bang Theory”
9. “Two and a Half Men”
10. “NCIS: Los Angeles”
11. “Cougar Town”
12. “Criminal Minds”
13. “CSI: Miami”
15. “Modern Family”
16. “CSI”
17. “Dancing with the Stars (Monday)”
18. “CSI: NY”
19. “FlashForward”
20. “The Office”

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.