NBC's sampling strategy pays dividends

Associated Press Modified: September 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm •  Published: September 25, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — A jump on the fall television season enabled NBC to get some of its new series sampled.

The premiere episode of "Revolution," a J.J. Abrams thriller about a world with the power grid shut down, reached 11.7 million viewers last week and finished among the Nielsen Co.'s top 10. NBC had aired highlights of the pilot episode during the Olympics and the full episode last Monday, a week before the official season opening.

An episode of "Go On," the Matthew Perry comedy that has been aggressively promoted, finished among last week's top 15 shows, according to Nielsen, which measures media consumption.

The fast starts by no means guarantee success. But as the fourth-place network, NBC needed to find a way to get viewers to at least try their new shows before an avalanche of programming starts for ABC, CBS and Fox.

"The Voice" has also been doing well in its return, with both of its episodes last week topping 13.5 million viewers. By contrast, Fox's "The X-Factor" was seen by 10.1 million and 9.5 million in its two episodes.

Not everything worked for NBC. The network opened its Thursday schedule a week early, starting with a special "Saturday Night Live" election edition, and couldn't stem the erosion of viewers on a night NBC once ruled.

NBC averaged 8.4 million viewers for the week (5.3 rating, 9 share). CBS was second with 7.9 million (5.1, 8), ABC had 6 million (3.9, 7), Fox had 5.2 million (3.1, 5), ION Television had 1 million (0.7, 1) and the CW had 770,000 (0.5, 1).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with a prime-time average of 3.5 million viewers (1.9, 3), Telemundo had 1.2 million (0.7, 1), TeleFutura had 590,000 (0.3, 1), Estrella had 210,000 and Azteca 110,000 (both 0.1, 0).

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