X Factor

For the first time in nine years, NBC has outright won the first week of the broadcast season among adults 18-49.

CBS, for the fourth year in a row, was first among total viewers.

Both networks are claiming victory, which is normal (though most in the industry believe the network that wins the adult demo has earned the greater glory since advertisers pay more to target younger adults).

No matter how you look at it, this is a good week for NBC. The network is up 12 percent from last fall, while others are down. As we pointed out a few weeks ago, NBC seemed like it might have a better story to tell this fall. So far it’s true, mainly due to the strength of adding The Voice to its fall lineup, as well as the strong performance of new drama Revolution. New comedies Go On and New Normal have been delivering survivable numbers so far, but Animal Practice and Guys With Kids are struggling (not the mention the network’s returning Thursday lineup). NBC’s biggest show — as rivals point out — is not an entertainment program, but Sunday Night Football, with last week’s game up 23 percent, so that doesn’t hurt either.

This is the first week of the season. There’s 30-some more to go. And we all know Fox tends to come from behind and end up on top in the demo, with CBS leading in viewers. But here’s how the networks stacked up during premiere week (and for those who missed it, here’s the role DVR played):

Adults 18-49





Total Viewers

CBS…10.7 million…-15%

ABC…8.3 million …. -16%

NBC…8.2 million…+9%

Fox… 6.9 million… -18%