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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Nielsen reveals most of top watched TV programs in 2009 were sports or reality shows

11

December

Angrysimon2The Nielsen Company released its annual list of top media products for 2009, and the results for television-related categories were eye opening.

 Just three scripted series cracked the top 10 shows of the year, with the rest divided between sports and editions of American Idol or Dancing With the Stars. No scripted series appears in the top 10 highest-rated individual broadcasts of the year, where every slot was taken by a sports program except one: The Academy Awards.

But look at the list of time-shifted programs and you see a much different dynamic (these are shows recorded by videotape or digital video recorder for later viewing). Among the top 10 most time-shifted shows were Battlestar Galactica, Mad Men, Damages and Heroes -- with two shows, Fox's Terminator series and Dollhouse, already canceled.

The lesson here: sports and reality TV competitions are increasingly the only television events to draw big crowds, while people are using technology to watch scripted shows when it is convenient. And TV's system for making money off TV broadcasts hasn't yet caught up.

Here's a few lists:

2009's Top Rated TV Series

Judgestiedup  1 American Idol-Wednesday  FOX    14.4% of homes with TV
2 American Idol-Tuesday FOX   13.8
3 Dancing with the Stars ABC    12.0
4 NBC Sunday Night Football NBC    11.7
5 Dancing with the Stars - Results Show ABC    9.9
6 NCIS: Los Angeles CBS    9.8
7 NCIS   CBS    9.4
8 NFL Regular Season L ESPN     8.8
8 Sunday Night NFL Pre-kick NBC   8.8
10 The Good Wife   8.5

2009's Top Rated TV Single Broadcast

Lombardi-trophy 1 Super Bowl XLIII NBC           02/01/2009            42.0% of homes
2 Super Bowl Pre-Kick NBC      02/01/2009          35.2
3 Super Bowl Kick-Off NBC       02/01/2009          29.6
4 Super Bowl Post NBC            02/01/2009          25.7
5 AFC Champ. CBS                  01/18/2009         22.0
6 Fox NFC Champ. FOX            01/18/2009         21.9
7 Academy Awards ABC            02/22/2009        20.6
8 AFC Divisional Playoff CBS      01/11/2009       19.6
9 Fox NFC Playoff FOX               01/11/2009      18.7
10 Fox NFC Wildcard FOX          01/04/2009       17.6

2009 Top Timeshifted Prime Time Shows

Trueblood 1 Battlestar Galactica SYFY             59.4% of audience gained
2 Mad Men AMC                              57.7
3 Damages FX                                 56.3
4 Rescue Me FX                              53.2
5 True Blood HBOM                         46.9
5 Stargate Universe SYFY                46.9
7 Sanctuary SYFY                           45.9
7 Heroes NBC                                 45.9
9 Terminator: Sarah Connor FOX      45.5
10 10 Things I Hate About U FAM    44.9
10 Dollhouse FOX                          44.9
10 Melrose Place CW                     44.9

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:03pm]

    

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