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James Hibberd

February 2008 Archives

In Conclusion...

February 14, 2008 9:00 AM

As some of you already know, I'm moving on to another publication.

Thanks again to all those who supported the blog during its tenure at TVWeek. Check the TVWeek.com homepage for Andrew Krukowski's ongoing daily ratings coverage. For my latest work, please see THR.com starting Feb. 19.

‘Idol’ Steady Amid Super Tuesday Coverage

February 6, 2008 11:14 AM

American Idol (Fox)Fox’s “American Idol” reigned supreme again Tuesday night, with competition from Super Tuesday primary coverage seeming to matter not a bit. In fact, “Idol” was up a tick from last week to an 11.2 rating among adults 18 to 49, according to preliminary Nielsen returns.

Fox followed “Idol” with an original “House” (9.0), and the medical drama posted its highest regular-time-period rating in more than eight months.

NBC was the runner-up with “The Biggest Loser: Couples” (3.1), followed by Super Tuesday coverage (2.1).

CBS was third with an “NCIS” repeat (1.8) and election coverage (1.3).

ABC came in fourth with election coverage (1.4).

The CW aired a “Reaper” repeat (0.7) and “One Tree Hill” (1.3).

Nielsen returns for Monday night were delayed a full day, which cost NBC a headline. Matching its rating from last week, “American Gladiators” may finally have stabilized (3.7), although it’s tough to be certain since the previous episode was pushed until 10 p.m. on the West Coast, preventing an apples-to-apples comparison. “Deal or No Deal” continues to perform well (4.4) and was the highest-rated show of the night.

ABC came in a rare second place for the evening thanks to a 90-minute “20/20” (4.3) that aired hidden-camera footage providing new information regarding the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. Lead-in “Dance Wars” (2.5) was on par.

Fox came in third with “Prison Break” (2.9) and an on-par “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (3.5).

Fourth-place CBS aired a mix of originals and repeats, punctuated by the premieres of new sitcom “Welcome to the Captain” (2.6) and the return of “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (3.1). “Captain” matched its “How I Met Your Mother” repeat lead-in, but underperformed for the time period. “Old Christine” was 16% below its average for the time period last year, but that’s to be expected given its repeat lead-in of “Two and a Half Men” (3.8). The network aired a repeat of “CSI: Miami” (2.4) at 10 p.m.

The CW aired a “Gossip Girl” repeat (0.6), “Girlfriends” (0.8) and “The Game” (1.0).

Most-Watched Super Bowl Ever

February 4, 2008 11:02 AM

Fox says it's official: Sunday's suspenseful matchup between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants was the most-watched Super Bowl in history, according to time-zone-adjusted fast national Nielsen estimates provided by the network.

An estimated 97.5 million viewers, up 5% from last year, tuned in to watch the Giants achieve a last-minute upset of the previously undefeated Patriots to make Super Bowl history.

The show was the second-most watched television program of all time, behind the 1983 finale of "M*A*S*H," which was viewed by 106 million people. The previous most-watched Bowl, with 94.1 million viewers, was Dallas vs. Pittsburgh in 1996.

Sunday’s game scored a 37.6 rating among adults 18 to 49, making it the highest-rated Super Bowl in the demo in eight years. The 1996 Super Bowl remains the highest rated with a 41.2 rating.

This year’s Super Bowl was followed by an original episode of “House,” which earned a record-setting 12.8. "House" was the highest-rated scripted program on any network in two years and was up 29% from last year's post-game airing of "Criminal Minds" on CBS.

Overall, Fox enjoyed its highest-rated night ever in the demo and in total viewers, as well as posting the highest-rated night on any broadcast network in at least 17 years.

Some of the headlines this morning: "Super Bowl Headlines Tell Tale of Two Cities," "Giants Stun Perfect Pats in Super Bowl" and "An Idol and an Icon Entertain Super Bowl Revelers." Plus: USA Today's annual ad-meter rates the Super Bowl commercials. Review: "America's national celebration of advertising gluttony for once couldn't overshadow the game."

Competition was scarce.

ABC was a distant second, averaging a 1.2 rating for the night, led by an airing of the movie “Meet the Fockers” (1.4). CBS and NBC tied with a 0.8 average, CBS led by a “Cold Case” repeat (1.3) and NBC airing a marathon of “The Biggest Loser: Couples” repeats (0.6 and 1.0).

More to come.

NBC Orders Canadian ‘Listener’

February 1, 2008 12:40 PM

Following through on NBC Universal President-CEO Jeff Zucker’s mandate to order shows direct to series, NBC has picked up 13 episodes of “The Listener.”

The drama, about a young man who can hear people’s thoughts, was greenlit by Canadian broadcaster CTV last month and is produced by Toronto’s Shaftesbury Films.

“We’re delighted that ‘The Listener’ will broadcast on NBC in the U.S. and on CTV in Canada,” said Christina Jennings, chairman-CEO of Shaftesbury Films. “There seems to be a new pattern emerging at American TV networks, which have lately become more open to working with production companies outside the U.S.”

That “new pattern” is due, of course, to the writers strike, which has caused network programmers to search beyond U.S. borders for original content. Earlier this week, CBS acquired 13 episodes of CTV’s upcoming drama series “Flashpoint.”

‘Lost’ Premiere Wins Thursday

February 1, 2008 10:41 AM

Lost (ABC)The fourth-season premiere of ABC’s “Lost” led Thursday night, although it was down marginally from its previous season debut in October 2006.

“Lost” earned a 6.7 preliminary Nielsen rating among adults 18 to 49, down 13% from the season-three premiere.

ABC pointed out that it’s the show’s first original episode to air in eight months, the show premiered on a new night and time, and the rating was well above last season’s average.

Critics have been full of praise, with USA Today’s Robert Bianco saying the premiere was “a heart-stopping, perfectly pitched episode” and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Tim Goodman calling the first two episodes “roller coasters of fast action and revelation.”

The show was heavily advertised as a two-hour premiere, but the first hour was actually a backstory clip show (psych!) that earned the second-highest rating of the night (4.9).

The debut of ABC’s “Eli Stone” in the 10 p.m. slot won the hour (4.2), but was down slightly from the premiere of “Big Shots” in the time period earlier this season and lost 17% of its demo rating in the second half-hour.

Fox came in second, with “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” (3.1) and “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” (3.3) continuing to perform above average now that “American Idol” is boosting Fox’s viewership levels.

NBC was third, with comedy repeats leading into a two-hour “Celebrity Apprentice” (3.2). The return of “Lost” helped knocked “The Apprentice” to its lowest Thursday night rating ever (excluding Thanksgiving).

CBS was fourth with repeats of “CSI: NY” (1.9), “CSI” (2.8) and “Without a Trace” (2.4).
In fifth place, The CW had its best “Smallville” rating in a couple of months (1.6), followed by “Supernatural” (1.3).