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‘Once Upon A Time’ New Network Genre Leader

Rest of science-fiction, however, struggled a bit this year

At the beginning of the 2011-12 television season, it was almost impossible to declare who would be the No. 1 genre show when all the dust settled.

But probably the one show that was not on anyone’s radar is the surprise ABC hit “Once Upon a Time,” the fairy tale series that not only led Sundays for the network, but led all genre network programs this year.

“Once” finished the season with a 5.7 rating/9 share, according to Fast National average overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co. That was a full ratings point ahead of “Touch” on Fox, which fizzled toward the end of its season, and well ahead of other shows like “Alcatraz” on Fox and “The River” on ABC, both of which are not returning.

In fact, of the 12 genre shows that aired this season, only six of them are coming back. Fox pulled the plug on “Terra Nova” and “Alcatraz,” ABC dried up “The River,” NBC put “Awake” to sleep and ended “Chuck,” while The CW didn’t like what it saw from “The Secret Circle.”

On average, genre shows earned a 3.0/5, that’s up 11 percent from the 2.7/4 last year where only four of nine genre shows returned.

Even new shows are staying steady, which is a good sign for the genre, despite networks going just 50-50 in the programming subgroup. New shows averaged a 3.6 household rating this year, compared to the 3.6 last year. None of the new genre shows returned last year, however, while three of the new shows this year — “Once,” “Touch” and “Grimm” — will.

Of the returning shows, “Chuck” lost nearly 30 percent of its audience and finished No. 25 at NBC and No. 98 overall. “Fringe” lost 27 percent of its audience last year and finished No. 22 at Fox, and No. 104 overall.

“Vampire Diaries” lost just 7 percent of its audience to remain The CW’s top-rated program (and No. 107 overall), while “Supernatural” lost 26 percent of its audience to finish No, 5 for the network and No. 112 overall.

NBC has given “Grimm” some good confidence on Friday nights while The CW is going to take “Supernatural” out of Fridays and pair it up with the new comic book series “Arrow” on Wednesdays.

“Fringe” will enter its final season this coming year, leaving the door open for returning shows like “Once” and “Touch” to hopefully improve on their audiences, especially late-season dips that both shows suffered.

To see how all the network shows did in the 2011-12 season, click here.

Top Network Genre Shows, 2011-12 Season — [Audience Loyalty Index rating]

1.    Once Upon a Time (ABC)    5.7/9    [77.6]
2.   Touch (Fox)    4.7/7    [74.1]
2.   Terra Nova (Fox)    4.7/7    [74.1]
4.   Alcatraz (Fox)    4.0/6    [67.4]
5.   The River (ABC)    3.3/5    [64.0]
6.   Grimm (NBC)    3.1/5    [76.5]
7.   Awake (NBC)    2.2/4    [54.6]
7.   Chuck (NBC)    2.2/4    [90.7]
9.   Fringe (Fox)    2.0/3    [81.9]
10.   Vampire Diaries (CW)    1.8/3    [84.4]
11.   The Secret Circle (CW)    1.2/2    [63.4]
12.   Supernatural (CW)    1.0/2    [86.7]

Fast Nationals usually provide a snapshot of what Americans are watching by pulling numbers from the top urban markets that include both live viewing and same-day timeshifted viewing. A rating point generally represents more than 1.1 million households while the share indicates the percentage of televisions turned on that was tuned to the specific program. These numbers typically shift when final ratings are issued.

Data collected from The Nielsen Co., as distributed by Zap2it. GenreNexus tracks non-news, non-event programming, and figures for this story reflect airing of new episodes only. For more information on the Audience Loyalty Index, click here.

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