The Shows and Ads That Captured Attention in September 2021

September traditionally marks the return of many favorite shows on Primetime TV. While the popularity of streaming apps, and their ongoing release schedules, and a shift to more frequent mid-season and summer premieres for linear programming has subdued some of the impact of the Fall premiere season on cultural relevance, in September 2021, we still saw significant interest for the family sitcoms and situational dramas that dominate Primetime broadcast TV.

ABC was the big winner with three shows in the top 5 and six in the top ten for Attention, including reliable top performers like "The Goldbergs" and "The Conners", and new entries like "Holey Moley in 3D".

It’s worth noting that as streaming TV gains in popularity linear TV still represents about 80% of all TV viewership, and the shows that capture attention and reach large audiences on linear TV can provide good value to advertisers who are creating their mixed media strategies - incorporating both linear and CTV investments, perhaps for the first time in 2021. 

This report highlights the shows that capture the most attention across broadcast, cable, and CTV, and we dig in further to CTV performance with our co-viewing, binging and share of time spent reports. See the full CTV report for September 2021, here.

All of the information we include in this monthly report is helpful to marketers and media sellers as they react to an evolving media landscape and new ways to measure and benchmark media strategies.  

Looking to explore how advertising performs in the busy Fall and Winter seasons? Check out our recent look at Halloween creative and Winter holiday advertising.

For more on how TVision is using innovative technology and data analysis to reveal second-by-second engagement metrics for both programming and advertising, in both linear and CTV, contact us.

Top CTV Programs, by Share Time of Spent

Share Time of Spent ranks shows by the proportion of time viewers spent tuned to the content. For this report, we are specifically looking at time spent with new, original, episodic CTV programming.

Attention to visible measures how attentive viewers are while in the room when content is being streamed. The list of top CTV shows for Attention in September 2021 is a who’s who of top quality content, and a few surprises that are driving high engagement from dedicated fans. 

The action-packed, edge-of-your-seat intrigue of the thriller “Hit and Run” on Netflix had viewers engaged best in September. The highly promoted “Reservoir Dogs” and “Only Murders in the Building” on Hulu also captured attention. Emmy darling Ted Lasso on Apple TV also engaged viewers.


See the full list
Turning Point 911

Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror (S1)

Squid Game

Squid Game (S1)

Only Murders in the Building (S1).jpg

Only Murders in the Building (S1)

Nine Perfect Strangers (S1).jpg

Nine Perfect Strangers (S1)

Ted Lasso (S2)

Ted Lasso (S2)

Top Linear TV Shows, by TV Ad Attention

TV Ad Attention measures how effectively an ad or ads held viewers’ Attention while they aired. It is measured as the percentage of all ad impressions in which the viewer was looking at the TV screen for two or more seconds.

Kicking off the Fall TV lineup we saw new episodes from The Goldbergs (ABC), The Resident (Fox), The Conners (ABC), FBI (CBS) make the list as well as some new (old) programming like The Wonder Years crack our top ten for TV ad attention. These are the shows that keep viewers' attention best through the ad breaks.

Cable television programming typically delivers higher attention given its lower overall audience size and the more intentional aspect of viewing - people need to seek out cable television programming more than they do the broadcast networks. That held true in September as well. “Say Yes to the Dress” on TLC captured the highest ad attention across all networks - broadcast and cable, and in fact, five of the top six overall programs for ad attention were on Cable. ESPN delivered attention with its Monday Night Football lineup, with both the pre-game and post-game shows making the list. 

See the full list
Top Programs by TV Ad Attention, BROADCAST, September 2021

The Goldbergs

The Resident

The Resident



Holey Moley

Holey Moley 3D in 2D

The Conners

The Conners

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Top Programs by TV Ad Attention, CABLE, September 2021
Say Yes to the Dress.jpg

Say Yes to the Dress

Monday Night Kickoff.jpg

Monday Night Postgame

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.jpg

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta

My Lottery Dream Home

My Lottery Dream Home

College Football Scoreboard.jpg

College Football Scoreboard

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Top Ads for Creative Attention Score

TVision's Creative Attention Score measures how well an ad breaks through to capture attention compared to other ads in the same pod. Our second-by-second analysis helps marketers understand the content and audio sounds that drive engagement. 

Below, we examined how Halloween ads captured viewer attention.  Different creative elements  - spooky music, tricky surprises, and famous imagery - can grab viewers' attention and keep audiences looking at the screen. Read more about creative elements that help drive attention in our Haloween ad review here, and check out the Halloween ads that worked best, below. 

M&M - 'Ghosted'


Progressive - 'Flo Meets the Addams - The Addams Family 2'


Reese's - 'Just Like Last Year'


Reese's - 'Halloween Trick'



For more information on Ad Attention, or TV or CTV Performance, contact us.

TV and CTV Attention Report
The TV and CTV Attention Report