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Jenner ratings here aren't "massive"; "Grey's" episode stays true to roots

I mentioned Friday morning it was surprising that Diane Sawyer’s interview with Bruce Jenner was airing on a night that is one of the lowest viewing nights of the week.

I added that ABC might be running it then to get some people to stay home and watch.

The strategy worked big time nationally as ratings for the Jenner interview were described as “massive.” It reportedly was the highest-rated rating “20/20” episode in 15 years and four times the usual rating for the program this year.

It also did very well on Channel 7, the local ABC affiliate, but it might be a stretch to say ratings were “massive."

The riveting two-hour interview in which Jenner revealed that he is a transgender averaged an impressive 9.7 rating on Channel 7. That is much higher here than almost every entertainment program ABC airs in prime time.

The interview with the Olympic champion and reality show star won the 9 p.m. hour locally. But at 10 p.m., more people in WNY watched “Blue Bloods,” the popular CBS police drama headlined by Tom Selleck. “Blue Bloods,” which has always been a WNY favorite, averaged a 10.9 at 10 p.m. on Channel 4 compared to the 9.7 for the Jenner interview.

Nationally, the Jenner interview had an 11.6 rating in 56 metered markets. Buffalo was the 13th lowest-rated, meaning it was 44th out of the 56 markets.

Each rating point in Western New York is equivalent to 6,120 households, which means more than 59,000 households here were tuned into the Jenner interview.

By comparison, the one-hour episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” that aired at 8 p.m. Thursday and featured the death of Derek Shepherd, the doctor played by Patrick Dempsey who has been nicknamed McDreamy, had an 8.8 rating on Channel 7.

Of course, these are ratings taken live and the same day. They are bound to increase substantially for both shows  thanks to DVR and On Demand viewing. That should especially be true of the Jenner interview since it has inspired so much enlightening conversation and aired on a night that many people go out.

Speaking of Derek’s death, I haven’t watched “Grey’s” all season but the series has a special place in my heart because it was partly responsible for my decision to write an independent blog during my time away from this newspaper.

The independent blog was inspired by a Facebook debate with former Channel 4 anchor Lisa Flynn about the 2010 season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy.” She thought it was the best finale ever, I hated it. That led to her suggestion that I start a blog.

I will say Thursday’s episode that ended with Derek’s death – his car was hit by a tractor trailer after he saved several people from an earlier automobile accident -- was an incredibly tense and poetic hour that included an encore of one of the show’s memorable tunes, “How to Save a Life.” The episode managed to stay true to the roots of the show about the leaning curve of doctors who have lives in their hands and also true to the love story between Derek and his wife, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo).

It was especially powerful hearing Derek’s thoughts as the doctors treating him made several wrong calls that led to his death.

Although I can’t say I support the idea of killing a beloved character on a show after 11 seasons, it certainly should lead to some compelling stories as Meredith deals with being a widow with young children. From the promos, the compelling stories start this Thursday with Derek’s funeral.


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