Monday 29th September 2014


Never Mind The Buzzcocks last night returned to BBC2 at 10pm for its 28th season. The comedy music quiz has seen a number of hosts come and go, starting with Mark Lamarr, then Simon Amstell, before resorting to the same trick as Have I Got News for You, by having a guest host each week.  The latest series sees the arrival of a new regular host in the shape of Rhod Gilbert, and returning team captains Noel Fielding and Phill Jupitus.

In 2013, the season that ran from September averaged 1.2m (6.5%), and reached the height of 1.6m (8.5%) at its peak.  The premiere edition of the latest season of the venerable show attracted 1.1m (6.5%), with a much younger audience profile than the BBC2 slot normally attracts: 16.8% of the audience were in the age range 25-34, compared with a benchmark profile of 9.2%, and 20.4% aged 35-44, compared with the slot average of 14.6% of the audience.

Week 22nd - 28th September 2014

Factored In  

The 11th season of The X Factor this weekend reached the end of the Boot Camp stage, and is readied for next week’s trips to the judges’ houses.  This week also saw the first weekend when the show went head to head with its BBC1 rival, Strictly Come Dancing.  So how is X Factor faring this year so far, and how did it perform against Strictly?

By this stage in 2013, X Factor was averaging 9.1m (38.8%).  In 2014, the average to date is 8.4m (36.7%).  The first two of this weekend’s three editions both faced competition from Strictly Come Dancing.  Friday’s X Factor episode was watched by 5.8m (25.7%), directly up against the dance show, which drew 6.5m (28.48%), down considerably on Strictly’s 2013 performance of 7.8m (35%).  On Saturday, Strictly started at 7pm, while The X Factor aired from 8pm.  Over all, Strictly averaged 8.2m (39%) – a million down on the audience for the same stage last year - while X Factor drew 7.8m (34.6%).

 Now, at first glance this does not look as though The X Factor is having a good year.  However, in the context of the overall picture on ITV, it starts to look better.  In 2013, the average figures for 7pm – 10pm on Saturdays and Sundays on ITV (Total), from January to the end of August (before the X Factor started its 10th season), were audience: 4.5m, and Share 22.2%.  Exactly the same slots from January to August 2014 drew a reduced 3.9m and (19.87%).  This is a decline of 2.3 percentage points, year on year.  The decline in Share for The X Factor is below this figure, at 2.1 Share points. 


US SCREENWATCH 26th September 2014

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Big Brother (CBS) Season finale up four tenths in A18-49

Survivor (CBS) Season premiere increases to a 2.7 in A18-49

Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) Season 2 premiere slips to a 1.9 in A18-49

Utopia(FOX)Drops to a small 0.8 in A18-49

Modern Family (ABC) Season premiere falls to a 3.7 in A18-49

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As the new fall premieres are well underway this week, we look at how well the latest debuts have done on the broadcast networks.

On Sunday 21st September at 9pm CBS launched their new drama, Madam Secretary. The show centers around the personal and professional life of a Secretary of State as she tries to balance her work and family life. The show got very well sampled, with 14.7m viewers tuning in for its debut, however it did skew older, getting a middling 2.0 rating in the Adults 18-49 demo.  

Kicking off the start of the week, CBS also had another drama premiere at 9pm on Monday 22nd September. Scorpion, which is inspired by a true story, centers around eccentric genius Walter O’Brien and his team of brilliant, socially awkward misfits. The team forms the last line of defense against complex, high-tech threats of the modern age. This new CBS drama also got off to a strong start with 14m viewers and an impressive 3.3 rating in Adults 18-49.

Also that night, FOX launched their new highly anticipated drama, Gotham. The series tells the origin story behind Commissioner James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City, in the years before Batman’s arrival. The series had an early start at 8pm, and drew 8m viewers, but with a solid 3.2 rating in the Adults 18-49 demo.

Tuesday 23rd September saw the series premiere of the newest member of the NCIS franchise, NCIS: New Orleans. The procedural drama follows Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula), a Louisiana native who runs the New Orleans branch of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. With NCIS as its lead-in, the newcomer held on to a large chunk of its viewership with 17.1m viewers (NCIS getting 18m). The show also earned a 2.5 rating in Adults 18-49, compared to the formers 2.9 in the previous hour. The new series also saw competition from The Voice, which was in its second hour, which stole a lot of the Adults 18-49 demo with a 4.0 rating.  

In mid-week, ABC had the series premiere of their new half-hour comedy, black-ish on Wednesday 24th September. Also getting help from a huge long running franchise, the show had Modern Family as its lead-in, which obtained 10.9m viewers for its new episode. Black-ish did well for its debut and got 10.8m viewers, with another strong performance in Adults 18-49 with a 3.3.

NBC also aired the second episode of The Mysteries of Laura this week, earning a 1.5, down half a ratings point in Adults 18-49 since its premiere but it still held strong in terms of viewership with 9.9m viewers.

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In development….

ABC have a musical comedy, Galavant. Produced by ABC Studios and Rhode Island Ave. Productions, the show centers on handsome Prince Galavant and his quest for revenge over the King who stole his one true love.

ABC is also developing another new comedy, Untitled Emily Halpern Sarah Haskins Comedy Project. Produced by ABC Studios and UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, the series is about Mia, a successful home renovator who can’t stop problem solving when she leaves work – especially when it comes to her boyfriend, her family and everyone she comes into contact with.

CBS has a comedy in development, Mall Security. The show, based on the real life experiences of Rob Cohen, follows a man who moves from Canada and works as a mall security guard. The production is by CBS Television Studios and Amigos de Garcia Productions.

FOX has a new action comedy in development, 100 Grand. The series follows two guys who learn how to grow up in the most unexpected way – paying off a debt for a local crime boss. The new show is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.

Wednesday 24th September 2014


This year, the centenary of the start of the First World War, has seen many programmes about the appalling circumstances faced by the soldiers in the trenches of the Western Front in Belgium and France.  However, there has been little clear analysis of the campaigns fought to win the war, and that is something that Professor David Reynolds sets out to put straight in a new series on BBC2.

The Long Shadow, at 9pm, aims to provide a dispassionate look at the war itself, its effect upon those who took part, and what it actually achieved, as well as how attitudes towards it have changed over time.

The programme comes from Clear Story, the company behind other provocative documentary titles, including the ward-winning Gypsy Blood, and Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life, in which Richard Dawkins looked at how science and reason might take the place of religion in modern life.

The first of three episodes of The Long Shadow, up against the almighty Great British Bake Off, drew a creditable audience of 1.8m (8.1%), which gave it an above-average Performance Index, indicating that it outperformed the benchmark for factual programmes in that particular slot on BBC2.

Tuesday 23rd September 2014


Two new dramas launched on the former terrestrial channels last night.  The first of these, The Driver, at 9pm on BBC1, is a three-parter from Red Productions, starring the reliable David Morrissey (recently seen in the US in Walking Dead)as a minicab driver trying to find his way out of a rut, who takes an escape route that leads down a dark road.  The cast also features other names that will be recognisable to many: Colm Meaney is the shady businessman with whom Morrissey’s character, Vince, becomes ensnared; and Ian hart is the friend who introduces Vince to the dark side.  The first episode attracted a slot-winning 4.4m (20.9%)

Channel 5 launched a new six-part Australian psychological thriller at 10pm, Secrets & Lies. Produced by Hoodlum Entertainment for Network Ten, the series had support from Screen Australia.  The story follows a family man who discovers a child’s body, and finds himself becoming the chief suspect.  The series, which launched in Australia in March, has also been aired in Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands.  (A US remake has been commissioned by ABC, and is slated to star Ryan Phillippe.)  The UK launch was watched by a meagre 527,220 (3.5%) at 10pm, with just 44,100 (0.6%) on C5+1.  Hopefully the figures will pick up with the inclusion of recordings viewed over the next few days.  It probably deserves to do better.

Monday 22nd September 2014


Derren Brown returned to Channel 4 with his most recent stage show, infamous.  This latest show, nominated for an Olivier Award, was recorded at the Leeds Grand Theatre.  As usual, Brown used extraordinary tricks to debunk the existence of real psychics, guessing very specific family histories while saying it is just a trick.

Brown’s shows have been regulars on Channel 4, with previous premieres attracting more than 2m.  Svengali, broadcast in 2012, was watched by 2.3m (10.6%).  Apocalypse, in October 2012, an even more impressive 2.8m (12.8%).  In December 2013, The Great Art Robbery drew a somewhat lesser 1.9m (9.5%).  Last night’s transmission saw another drop, to 1.6m (7.8%).  However, the audience profile reveals that the composition of the audience featured an above-average proportion of viewers in the younger age ranges 16-24, and 25-34.

US SCREENWATCH 12th - 18th September 2014

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Utopia (FOX) Up 11% in A18-49

America’s Got Talent (NBC) Performance finale up 32% in A18-49

Under the Dome (CBS) Increase of 14% in A18-49

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The Mindy Project (FOX) Season premiere down 32% in A18-49  

Dancing with the Stars (ABC) Down 13% in A18-49

New Girl (FOX) Season premiere falls by 44% in A18-49

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On Friday 12th September at 10pm, Syfy launched their new scripted series, Z Nation.  From production company The Asylum (Sharknado), the show follows a group of survivalists, led by a former soldier, who transport the only known survivor of a zombie virus across post-Apocalyptic America to a lab so that they can try to develop a cure. However, the survivor has a dark secret that could be a huge threat to those around him.  The new show achieved a decent 1.6m viewers for its premiere and 695,000 viewers in A18-49.

On Wednesday 17th September at 9pm, FOX premiered a new drama,  Red Band Society.  The show is based on the Catalan series “Polseres Vermelles” and the experiences of Margaret Nagle, who developed the original series and wrote the pilot.  Described as a dramedy, the show centers around a group of patients in the pediatrics’ ward of a Los Angeles hospital. The new show stars Octavia Spencer as the nurse who runs the ward, and it is executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

Also premiering that night on NBC, but at 10pm, is another new dramedy, Mysteries of Laura.  Again based on a Spanish series, “Los Misterious De Laura”, the show stars Debra Messing as a New York Police Department homicide detective who raises unruly twin sons, and whose soon-to-be ex-husband (Josh Lucas) becomes her boss. The launch will follow the season finale of America’s Got Talent, but will normally air on Wednesdays at 8pm.

Another premiere this Wednesday 17th at 9pm was National Geographic’s new documentary series, Southern Justice. Produced by Electus, the show follows Sheriff Deputies in North Carolina, as they work to keep the peace in the Blue Grass Mountains. The show gives a look into crime in Appalachia, where guns, drugs and alcohol are a constant challenge.

Following that at 10pm, is National Geographic’s other new reality series, Smoky Mountain Money. The show will follow four teams of mountain folk who strike out into the Smokies every September searching high and low for wild American Ginseng. Ginseng is a federally protected endangered species, making the Ginseng harvest incredibly territorial and competitive.

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In development…

ABC has a new drama, Sex, Lies and Handwriting. Produced by Lionsgate, the show follows the exploits of Leslie Bold, an accomplished artist and handwriting expert — with her own newspaper column on the subject — who is unexpectedly drawn into the world of crime-solving because of her extraordinary skills. The series is based on the book by Michelle Dresbold.

CBS also has a new drama, The Town. Produced by Warner Bros., the show centers around a young man who starts investigating his parents’ suicide, as he suspects they were murdered, with the entire town being culpable.

A second drama being developed by CBS is The Colony. Produced by CBS Television Studios, the show is about a group of explorers sent to colonize Mars, willing to leave their lives behind to brave the dangers of another planet, and the terrifying reality they discover.

FOX has a new comedic drama in development, Lucifer. Produced by Warner Bros. the show follows a bored and unhappy Lord of Hell. Lucifer resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the glamour of Los Angeles, where he opens an exclusive piano bar called Lux.

Tuesday 16th September 2014


As the clock ticks towards the Scottish referendum, BBC1 at 9pm aired an interview with two key figures, Alex Salmond and Gordon Brown, conducted by David Dimbleby.  With only two days until the vote, and the polls suggesting that the result will be very close, one might think interest would be high.  However, the programme only attracted 2.1m viewers in total (10.6%) – 454,400 of whom were in Scotland, where the programme attracted a 25.3% Share.

Perhaps it is because the arguments have been made, and the decision is out of our hands.  All we can do now is wait for the result.

Sunday 14th September 2014


ITV has revived one of its oldest entertainment formats – Sunday Night at the London Palladium.  First aired in 1955, when it was hosted by Tommy Trinder.  The show featured top comedy and music acts, as well as variety acts of all kinds.  Revivals occurred in 1973-74, with Jim Dale as host, and then again in the 1980s, when Jimmy Tarbuck hosted from a number of different venues. More recently, there was a single-season revival hosted by Bruce Forsyth in 2000.

The format hasn’t changed for the latest update, apart from having a different guest host each time.  Stephen Mulhern took up the reins for the first show, and guests included Bryan Adams, Little Mix, Alan Davies and American quick-change artistes David & Dania.

Sunday Night at the London Palladium, at 7pm on ITV, attracted an audience of 4.3m 21.4%, with a further 185.1k (0.8%) on ITV+1. 

US SCREENWATCH Week 4th-10th September 2014

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Big Brother (CBS) Increases to a 2.3 in A18-49

Extreme Weight Loss  (ABC) Up to a 1.0 in A18-49

Under The Dome (CBS) Up two tenths in A18-49

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Food Fighters (NBC) Down a tenth in A18-49

Reckless (CBS) Falls to a 0.7 in A18-49

Dateline (NBC) Down 18% in A18-49

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On Thursday 2nd September at 8pm, ABC had the premiere of their special The Story of Frozen. Produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Lincoln Square Productions, the special gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of its Oscar-winning hit CG fairy tale, Frozen.  The show had a respectable airing, with 4.9m viewers and a 1.1 in A18-49.

On Monday 8th September at 10pm, A&E launched their new original reality series, Love Prison. The show selects couples who are dating online, but have yet to meet in person. These couples then finally meet face-to-face while living in a house on a deserted island for one week.  With all comforts and distractions taken from one another, the reality show tests whether or not they are able to last the week and leave the island together.

On Tuesday 9th September at 9pm, FOX premiered their new, hyped up reality series, Utopia. Based on a Dutch format, the U.S. version is a 365-day-long social experiment where 15 people have been selected to live and work together on a plot of land while being filmed by 130 cameras. There’s no host, competition or prize, but there is a small stable stocked with a chicken coop, two dairy cows, and a large open-air barn where the cast can sleep. This second premiere was very disappointing and considerably lower than its original preview airing on Sunday which obtained a 2.0 in A18-49, whereas Tuesday’s premiere fell all the way to a 0.9 in the demo. In total viewership, the show did moderately with 4.6m viewers.  Its competition was not too strong either, with Extreme Weight Loss, Big Brother, Food Fighters and an Arrow repeat in its first hour.  NBC’s long-running America’s Got Talent however, stole the 10pm timeslot with 9.7m viewers.

Also that night at 9pm CBS had a 2-hour long programme - their special live event, Fashion Rocks. The concert, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, combines fashion and music, and featured performances by Afrojack, The Band Perry, Duran Duran, KISS, Miranda Lambert, Jennifer Lopez, Usher and others. The special didn’t generate much interest, with 2.4m viewers tuning in and a 0.6 rating in A18-49.

On cable that night at 9pm, OWN Network had the premiere of their new Tyler Perry soap, If Loving You is Wrong. The show follows a group of husbands, wives and friends who live and love in the same middle class neighborhood. On the surface they appear to happy – raising children, working jobs, finding and maintaining romances – but below, their lives are linked by deceit and lies that threaten to destroy everything. The network aired two new back-to-back hour-long episodes and made a very strong start, becoming the most watched series premiere in the channel’s history. Episode 1 drew 1.93m viewers and Episode 2 maintained 1.92m. 

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Coming up in development…

ABC has a new drama in development, Marvel’s Agent Carter. The show follows Peggy Carter, who finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy has to balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark, while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America. The show is produced by ABC Studios.

ABC also has another drama in development, Las Reinas. Produced by ABC Studios and the Mark Gordon Company, the show centers around Alex Della Reina, Miami PD’s premiere detective. Alex is a woman caught between two families - the police force itself, and her hated real family - who run Florida’s most powerful and dangerous criminal syndicate.

CBS have a new drama in development, Last Hour. The show centers on the premise that, during an undercover operation, the most dangerous and critical time comes in the last sixty minutes. The series follows a female FBI Agent’s journey through the final hour of a sting operation, which plays in real time. The series is produced by Universal Television.