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The Top 25 Programs of the Week and the Increasing Irrelevance of Network Dramas

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 10, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 10, 2011 |

Take one glance at the Top 25 programs of the week, even among the prized 18-49 demographic, and you can quickly get an idea for how increasingly irrelevant network television has become. It’s not the the network shows don’t get the viewers — the 25th highest rated program among ALL viewers, “Unforgettable,” was watched by 11 million people, while the highest rated cable drama, “The Walking Dead,” was watched by 6.2 million — it’s that there are increasingly fewer network shows that pop-culture enthusiasts care about. It’s nice to see that a show like “Modern Family,” among the 18-49 demographic, is outranking “Two and a Half Men” on some weeks (although, not by much), but the networks no longer have a stranglehold on viewers, particularly where drama is concerned (unless you count procedurals).

Among the 18-49 demo, here were last week’s top 25 television shows.

1. NBC Sunday Night Football
2. College Football
3. Sunday Night NFL Kick Off
4. The OT
5. Modern Family
6. Big Bang Theory,
7. Football Night in America
8. Two and a Half Men
9. 2 Broke Girls
10. How I Met Your Mother
11. X-Factor (Wednesday)
12. NCIS
13. Once Upon A Time
14. Mike & Molly
15. Simpsons
16. X-Factor (Thurs)
17. Criminal Minds
18. Rules of Engagement
19. Survivor
20. Grey’s Anatomy
21. New Girl
22. NCIS: Nos Angeles
23. Happy Endings
24. Bones
25. The Office

It’s good to see “How I Met Your Mother,” “Happy Endings,” and “The New Girl” performing well, and I know many of you have gotten attached to “Once Upon a Time.” That show looks like a bona fide hit, and one of the few network dramas, along with “Revenge” to do well this season (as opposed to “The Playboy Club” and “Charlie’s Angels,” both of which have been cancelled, and “Pan Am,” which is on its way out). The networks can’t compete with cable when it comes to drama, which may be why we’ve seen a resurgence in network comedies over the last two years.

I know many of you are always curious about DVR numbers, too. Here are the top 25 shows on DVRs, with the number of 18-49 year old viewers who watch on DVRs in parenthesis.

1. Modern Family (2.3 million)
2. Two and a Half Men (1.7 million)
3. Grey’s Anatomy (1.6 million)
4. House (1.5 million)
5. Big Bang Theory (1.4 million)
6. Once Upon A Time (1.2 million)
7. Private Practice (1.2 million)
8. Terra Nova (1.2 million)
9. Revenge (1.1 million)
10. Criminal Minds (1.1 million)
11. Hawaii Five-0 (1.1 million)
12. NCIS (1.1 million)
13. How I Met Your Mother (1.1 million)
14. NCIS Los Angeles (.90 million)
15. Castle (.90 million)
16. Desperate Housewives (.90 million)
17. CSI (.90 million)
18. The Mentalist (.90 million)
19. Person Of Interest (.90 million)
20. Law And Order:SVU (.90 million)
21. Parenthood (.90 million)
22. Up All Night (.90 million)
23. 2 Broke Girls (.90 million)
24. Mike and Molly (.80 million)
25. Pan Am (.80 million)

Several of those shows, obviously, get a significant percentage bump over their live viewership, including “Parenthood” (a 45 percent bump), “Revenge” (a 44 percent bump) and “Up All Night” (a 42 percent bump). Interestingly, “Private Practice,” a show I’d forgotten still aired, receives the largest percentage bump, while “Supernatural,” of all shows, has the second largest percentage bump (although, it doesn’t have many live viewers). What I don’t understand is why 1.2 million people would record “Terra Nova” and savor it.

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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.