- - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DVR viewers giving shows boost in Nielsen ratings

ABC’s “Modern Family” may not be the top-rated comedy on television, but it’s the one most viewers catch up with on their digital video recorders.

According to the Associated Press, through the first two weeks of the season, the Nielsen Co. said an average of 4.5 million viewers watched a recording of “Modern Family” after it first appeared on the air. That lifted the show’s viewership from nearly 14 million people who watched it live to 18.5 million.

It was the prime-time program that got the biggest lift when Nielsen’s measurement of who watches shows on a DVR within seven days is added in. Networks are increasingly watching this new ratings measurement as DVR penetration increases.

Eight shows besides “Modern Family” saw their audiences grow by more than 3 million when the DVR statistics were added. Six are on CBS, led by “Two and a Half Men.” ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and Fox’s “Terra Nova” also picked up significant time-shifted viewing.

By percentage, the two-week champ was Fox’s “Fringe.” It airs live on Fox on Friday night, when many of the network’s young viewers are out, and saw its viewership increase by 45 percent from 3.3 million to 5 million with DVRs added in.

NBC’s ratings this season are abysmal, but one ray of light is that the network’s “Parenthood,” “Prime Suspect” and “Up All Night” increased their audiences by more than 30 percent through DVRs, Nielsen said.

The DVR numbers could be the difference between life and death for marginal series. ABC’s just-canceled “Charlie’s Angels” had virtually the same live audience as its new episode of “Pan Am” last week, but during the first two weeks of the season the percentage of people who watched “Pan Am” on DVR was more than twice that of “Charlie’s Angels.”

AMC’s ‘Walking Dead’ delivers in season premiere

AMC network says “The Walking Dead” began its second season with a vengeance, delivering 7.3 million viewers for Sunday’s premiere telecast.

According to the Associated Press, AMC reported Monday that the zombie drama went on to boost its total viewership to 11 million viewers for the night’s three airings of the episode.

This eclipsed the year-ago audience for the series, which emerged as a surprise hit by averaging 5.2 million viewers weekly during that first season.

Based on the popular comic book of the same name, “The Walking Dead” depicts the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse confronted by a group of survivors outside Atlanta. Its cast includes Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal and Sarah Wayne Callies.

‘Today’ reviving Lauer’s globe-trotting feature

Matt Lauer is going MIA again.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, NBC announced Monday that the “Today show’s once-annual “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” segment will return Nov. 7.

The feature puts the host in exotic and remote locales and then has him report from them daily - not even Mr. Lauer’s co-hosts Ann Curry, Al Roker and Natalie Morales will know where he’s reporting from.

The first “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” aired in 1998 and continued annually through 2008, with one break in 2003. The segment has taken the 53-year-old to 46 different destinations, traveling a total of 248,166 miles to places like Laos, Bhutan, Easter Island and the Great Wall of China.

In 2009, with the country under economic turmoil, the “Today” co-hosts instead went on a tour of the United States, unceremoniously putting an end to the franchise.

The revived segment, Mr. Lauer’s 10th trek around the world for the series, now includes a social media component. Viewers will be encouraged to log into special Facebook and Twitter pages to guess where Mr. Lauer will head next.

Selena Gomez granted restraining order against fan

A judge has granted Selena Gomez a temporary restraining order against a man with a history of mental illness who police say threatened the singer-actress, the Associated Press reports.

Court records show the “Wizards of Waverly Place” star was granted the order Thursday in Burbank, Calif. Thomas Brodnicki is required to stay 100 yards away from Miss Gomez and her workplace until a Nov. 4 hearing, when the order may be extended for three years.

Miss Gomez wrote in a sworn declaration that she is in “extreme fear” of Mr. Brodnicki.

The filings, first reported Monday by celebrity website TMZ, state police were notified by mental health workers that the 46-year-old had threatened to harm or kill the actress while on a psychiatric hold.

Stone, Day, Segel tapped to host ‘SNL’

NBC has announced headliners and musical guests for the three new “Saturday Night Live” episodes slated for November, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

At only 23, actress Emma Stone will already be a two-time “SNL” host. The “Help” star will make her second appearance on the series in just over a year this November.

Alongside Miss Stone, NBC also announced that Charlie Day and Jason Segel will join the series as first-time hosts during the month.

First up is Mr. Day, star of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Horrible Bosses,” who will make his “SNL” debut during the Nov. 5 outing. Maroon 5 will appear as the night’s musical guest.

On Nov. 12, a week after her 23rd birthday, Miss Stone will return to “SNL” after spoofing Lindsay Lohan last October. The episode also marks Coldplay’s first appearance as musical guest since 2008.

Before the show goes quiet for Thanksgiving, Jason Segel will host the Nov. 19 episode as part of his promotion for the upcoming “Muppets” movie. The “How I Met Your Mother” star will be joined by Florence + the Machine.

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