TV networks dismayed at low ratings early in the season are getting a ray of hope in the form of the once-feared DVR. Sure, ad buyers won’t pay out when a viewer watches Grey’s Anatomy on TiVo, but that and other shows are gaining a massive audience days after the broadcast. Execs think they will migrate back to primetime once the herd of new and returning shows thins.
Unlike last fall, “there are a lot more new shows bumping up against each other,” an analyst tells USA Today. DVR owners allowed 36 shows to belatedly pad their Nielsen stats by 1 million viewers or more. “It helps us to feel comfortable that if we're patient, we can start to see growth” in primetime, an exec says. Grey's got the biggest bump, with 3 million new viewers, with the Mentalist and House close. The biggest new-series winner was FlashForward, with 2 million additional viewers.