/// Battle Royale: ‘Voice’ and ‘DWTS’ Square Off

March 20, 2012  |  Media Week

Already packed like a rush-hour subway car, Monday night became even more dangerously overcrowded with the return of Dancing With the Stars . Back for its 14th cycle, ABC’s competition series averaged 18.5 million viewers and a 3.5 in the adults 18-to-49 demo, marking a significant 34 percent drop versus last spring’s opener. Per Nielsen fast affiliate ratings, DWTS grew steadily from start to finish, improving 9 percent from 17.4 million viewers at 9 p.m. to 19.1 million in the final half-hour episode. The demo grew proportionately, starting at a 3.3 rating before ending with a 3.6. While DWTS beat NBC’s powerhouse The Voice in total viewers, ABC lagged well behind its rival in the all-important demographic. After averaging 11.8 million total viewers, The Voice won the night with a season-low 4.5 in the dollar demo––down 13 percent from last week’s 5.2. As was the case with the DWTS premiere, The Voice continued to build up steam as the night wore on, growing 11 percent in total viewers (11.2 million to 12.3 million). More importantly, The Voice enjoyed a 23 percent lift in the 18-to-49 demo, swelling from a 4.0 in the first half-hour to a 4.9 in the final 30 minutes. The disparity between ABC’s huge deliveries and its relatively modest demo performance is a function of the older-skewing, less hip

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