A new ratings measure that incorporates digital-recorder playback failed to boost the bulk of the shows airing during the first week of the TV season, according to Nielsen Media Research data issued Monday.
While about a third of the shows got an average 15% lift in Live+7 ratings (live + playback within a week) in the week ended September 30, the rest didn't see much help at all. Fifteen programs saw a gain of 1 million or more viewers each.
The ratings-rich shows at each of the networks got richer.
ABC's Grey's Anatomy was up 2 million viewers, compared with the Live+SD (same day) ratings released three weeks ago. CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, NBC's Heroes and Fox's House were each up 1.9 million viewers.
But the ratings-poor shows that might have been looking for a boost from the DVR playback didn't get one. Among newcomers, only NBC's Bionic Woman and Journeyman and ABC's Private Practice could see any measurable increase, and it wasn't clear whether that would hold in the second week or whether it was sampling.
There's nothing that would save a show or make a show look even stronger, Fox scheduling chief Preston Beckman said.
NBC research chief Alan Wurtzel said that the new ratings system makes for an even more Darwinian environment and agreed that it won't save anything that didn't look good in the initial ratings.
This is not the magic bullet that will make a program struggling into a success, Wurtzel said. They're not going to get a miracle.