Thumbnail image for American-Horror-Story-Connie-Britton-Dylan-McDermott.jpgNielsen has released a few year-end lists showing the most-watched series of the year, the top single programs and more — and for once, it doesn’t segregate broadcast and cable offerings.

And that means the list of the calendar year’s most DVR’d shows, in terms of percentage growth, are almost all on cable. In fact, nine of the Top 10 shows on that list, which measures the growth between Nielsen’s live ratings and Live +7 ratings, are cable series, headed by “American Horror Story.” The first-year FX drama nearly doubled its live audience with DVR viewership, growing by 95.3 percent. USA’s “Covert Affairs” (95.1 percent growth) and “Suits” (94.5 percent) were almost as high.

We should also note that none of these shows would likely be in the Top 10 for number of viewers added, not when broadcast hits like “Modern Family,” “The Mentalist” and “Two and a Half Men” regularly add more than 3 million viewers per week. Additionally, a show that draws, say, 3 million live viewers will have a bigger percentage gain by adding a couple million more through DVR use than a series that draws 10 million people.

If nothing else, though, the huge percentage gains by the shows on this list are proof that people find ways to watch shows they like regardless of when they air initially. The 10 most time-shifted shows of 2011 (percentage gain from live to Live +7) are:

1. “American Horror Story” (FX), +95.3%
2. “Covert Affairs” (USA), +95.1%
3. “Suits” (USA), +94.5%
4. “Franklin & Bash” (TNT), +92%
5. “Psych” (USA), +90.3%
6. “Sons of Anarchy” (FX), +85.8%
7. “White Collar” (USA), +85.6%
8. “Justified” (FX), +83.9%
9. “Fringe” (FOX), +80.3%
10. “The Glades” (A&E), +78.8%

Another Nielsen list that caught our eye was one featuring the most “engaging” shows in primetime — which has nothing necessarily to do with the quality of the shows but apparently with how intently people watch them. Per Nielsen, engagement is measured by “the percentage of viewers who can recall within 24 hours the network content they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing TV” — network promos and the like. (The list also includes something called “buzz volume,” but how that’s measured isn’t explained, nor does it correlate with the engagement rankings.)

At any rate, the list is headed by two new shows, NBC’s “Grimm” and ABC’s “Suburgatory,” and it includes a handful of current cult favorites. The full list:

1. “Grimm” (NBC)
2. “Suburgatory” (ABC)
3. “Desperate Housewives” (ABC)
4. “Parenthood” (NBC)
5. “Royal Pains” (USA)
6. “Chuck” (NBC)
7. “Revenge” (ABC)
8. “White Collar” (USA)
9. “Rescue Me” (FX)
10. “Covert Affairs” (USA)

You can see more Nielsen Top 10s for 2011 here

Posted by:Rick Porter