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Ratings Chart Attack! is the TV industry’s destination for a daily dose of prime-time ratings. Delivering the daily scoop on which shows are scoring. TVWeek’s Sergio Ibarra calls the winners and losers, and what it means to broadcast network programmers. From day-in, day-out ratings to long-view trends and noteworthy performances, Ratings Chart Attack! delivers.

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November 2008 Archives

‘Rosie Live’ Ties as Lowest-Rated Original of Night

November 27, 2008 2:14 PM

On the night before Thanksgiving, NBC’s variety show “Rosie Live” ended the night as one of the lowest-rated programs of the evening, tying ABC’s “Pushing Daisies” for third-place in the hour.

“Rosie” drew a 1.2 rating/4 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic and 5 million viewers turned out for the special, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

The holiday-eve ratings make for difficult comparisons because ratings company Nielsen’s households using televisions (or HUT) levels are generally fairly low during this time of year. Nearly every other show on the schedule, as expected, declined significantly week-to-week.

Compared against the rest of the night, “Rosie” tied “Daisies” as the lowest-rated original program for the evening.

But let’s not dwell on numbers. Maybe the critics were kinder. Let’s see what they had to say:

- TV Guide’s Matt Roush: “If the TV variety format weren't already dead, the ghastly ego trip of NBC's Thanksgiving-eve turkey ‘Rosie Live’ would surely have killed it. Like the pie Alec Baldwin predictably pushed into Conan O'Brien's face that fell to the floor without sticking, the entire hour landed with a sickening, sad, ill-conceived thud.”

- The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley: “Rosie O'Donnell's Wednesday night special on NBC, "Rosie Live," was supposed to be a tribute to the variety shows of the 1970s, but she added a Nixonian twist: Christmas songs, tap-dancing twins and an enemies list. In between skits, celebrity cameos and hokey novelty acts, the legendarily thin-skinned Ms. O'Donnell found time to take potshots at some of her favorite targets, including Donald Trump, Nancy Grace and Bill O'Reilly.”

- The Los Angeles Times’ Mary McNamara: “Rosie, Rosie, what on earth were you thinking? Were you thinking camp? Were you thinking this will be big and brassy and so-over-the-top even the dancing cupcakes will be irresistible? … ‘Rosie Live’ may enter the realm of unsolved mysteries, along with the fate of Amelia Earhart and the design team of the pyramids.”

NBC took fourth for the night with a 1.5/5, as CBS captured the night overall with a 2.9/9. Fox placed second with a 2.2/7, while ABC took third with a 2.0/6. The CW was fifth with a 0.4/1.

‘Dancing’ Finale Dips but Still Wins the Night

November 26, 2008 12:32 PM

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” which Tuesday crowned Brooke Burke as the latest celebrity champion, pulled in its lowest finale rating ever, as ABC barely beat Fox to win the night.

Dancing With the Stars

“Stars” drew a 5.1 rating/13 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data. Year-to-year, the show tumbled 20% from last fall’s concluding episode. “Stars” was off 6% from the spring edition’s finale, too.

Leading into “Stars,” “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (3.4/9) improved one-tenth of a ratings point from its performance last year.

ABC was first in viewers with 17.4 million and first in adults 18-49 with a 4.5/12.

A supersized (by eight minutes) “House” declined 11% from last week’s showing to a 5.0/14. “Fringe” also dipped, moving down 7% to a 3.8/10. But “House’s” runover will affect ratings for both shows, and it will change when nationals are released. Fox finished second with a 4.4/12.

CBS’ Tuesday finished in line with the previous week, as all of its shows gained one-tenth of a ratings point. It ended the night with a 3.2/9.

Facing stronger competition from the finale of “Stars,” “The Biggest Loser” (2.6/7) posted a season low, dipping 19% week-to-week. The declines spread to “Law & Order: SVU” (3.2/9), which was the show’s lowest-rated episode to date. NBC took fourth with a 2.8/7.

The CW aired the movie “How to Deal” to end the night with a fifth-place 0.4/1.

CBS Gets ‘Big Bang’ for Its Buck; ‘Dancing’ Draws Mixed Results

November 25, 2008 1:03 PM

It was a big night for CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” which drew its largest audience to date. ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” meanwhile, is winding down with a week-to-week increase but a year-on-year decline.

Dancing With the Stars

“Bang” posted a 3.9 rating/10 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data, tying its series high. “Bang” also reeled in 10.2 million viewers.

“How I Met Your Mother” (4.3/11, 10 million), “Two and a Half Men” (5.3/12, 14.9 million) and “Worst Week” (3.3/8, 10.4 million) stayed consistent with last week’s draw, which is on the high side of their season averages.

“CSI: Miami” (3.9/10, 14.1 million) declined 7% in adults 18-49 from last week.

CBS won its third straight Monday in 18-49 with a 4.1/10 nightly average; it was second in viewers with 12.3 million.

On ABC, “Dancing” rolled out its last performance show of the year to a 4.8/12 and 21.3 million viewers. The show, while increasing 13% week-to-week in adults 18-49, was down 21% compared with last year’s final performance show.

“Samantha Who?” (3.2/8, 11.9 million) also climbed 14% from last week, hitting its highest performance since last year’s season finale. But overrun from “Stars” may affect “Samantha” once final data is released later today.

“Boston Legal” (2.3/6, 8.7 million) grew 10% from last week for its best showing since its September premiere.

ABC placed first in viewers with 15.5 million and second in adults 18-49 with a 3.7/9.

NBC’s “Chuck” (2.5/6, 6.6 million) stayed on par with last week’s data, while “Heroes” (3.6/9, 7.8 million) continues to stay in a holding pattern with its series low. “My Own Worst Enemy” (1.9/5, 4.2 million) improved one-tenth of a ratings point from last week. NBC took third with a 2.7/7.

Fox took fourth with a 1.9/5, with both “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (1.8/5, 4.6 million) and “Prison Break” (2.1/5, 5.2 million) dipping a tenth of a ratings point from last week.

The CW was fifth with a 0.8/2. “One Tree Hill” (1.0/2, 2.2 million) lost a large amount of ground in The CW’s key demographic of women 18-34 without a “Gossip Girl” lead-in, dipping 36% week-to-week to a 2.1/5.

‘24’ Movie Offers Fox Ratings Redemption

November 24, 2008 1:17 PM

After an 18-month hiatus due to the writers strike, Jack Bauer and “24” returned to Fox in a special two-hour season-seven prequel. The special beat “24’s” last telecast in May 2007 in terms of ratings and viewers, but was down considerably from season six’s premiere.

24

“24: Redemption”—which sets up season seven, set to premiere in January—pulled in a 4.0 rating/9 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

“Redemption” grew 3% in adults 18-49 versus its season-six finale in May 2007, but dipped 34% from the season premiere in January 2007. The program also brought in 12 million viewers, up 15% from “24’s” last episode.

The writers strike forced a halt to production of season seven, which led Fox to scrap its standard January launch of “24,” pushing it until January 2009.

Coupled with NFL overrun (6.5/18) and “The OT” (4.9/13), Fox placed first for Sunday night with a 4.6/11.

“The American Music Awards” (5.1/12) on ABC enjoyed year-to-year growth, up 6% in adults 18-49, and posted its best numbers in four years.

ABC took second with a 4.3/10.

Lacking the historic rivalry of last week’s Dallas Cowboys/Washington Redskins game, Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts/San Diego Chargers matchup on NBC declined 24% to a 4.7/11 in the fast nationals. NBC placed third with a 4.0/10.

CBS’ “60 Minutes” (2.8/7, 14.6 million) was on par with Sundays with minimal football overrun. “The Amazing Race” (2.7/6, 10.2 million) hit its lowest Sunday telecast ever, while “Cold Case” (2.6/6, 12.1 million) and “The Unit” (2.5/6, 10 million) were on the level with last week.

CBS placed fourth with a 2.6/6 and second in viewers with 11.7 million.

The CW placed fifth with its soon-to-be-expired MRC lineup, drawing a 0.2/1.

CBS (2.5/8, 11.4 million) captured the night Friday with “Ghost Whisperer” (2.7/9, 11.4 million) and “Numb3rs” (2.5/8, 11.2 million) leading the way. ABC placed second with a 2.0/6, Fox placed third with a 1.5/5, NBC landed in fourth with a 1.1/3 and The CW was fifth with a 0.6/2.

For Saturday, Texas Tech versus Oklahoma (3.4/10) lifted ABC 183% over last week’s weak college football showings, giving the network the nightly win. Fox was second with a 1.9/6, CBS third with a 1.5/4 and NBC last with a 1.0/3.

‘Anatomy’ Hits Season High, Lifts ABC to 2nd Place on Night

November 21, 2008 1:26 PM

ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” reached its best ratings since its season premiere.

Grey's Anatomy

The medical drama posted a 6.1 rating/15 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic on Thursday, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

The show increased 7% from last week. “Ugly Betty” (2.5/7) and “Life on Mars” (2.5/7) were on par with last week’s numbers. ABC took second with a 3.7/10.

Leading the night, CBS drew a 3.9/10 and 13.9 million viewers. “Survivor” stayed flat from last week with a 4.0/11 and 12.6 million viewers. “CSI” dipped two-tenths of a percentage point from last week with a 4.9/12, and also pulled in 18.4 million viewers.

“Eleventh Hour” also slid, dropping 10% in adults 18-49 to a 2.8/8 and losing 8% of its viewership with 10.7 million viewers.

NBC stayed even with last week with its nightly 3.3/9 average, with “The Office” leading Thursday with a 4.3/10.

Fox, pulling in a 1.9/5, took fourth with a new episode of “Kitchen Nightmares” (2.0/5) and a “Nightmares” repeat at 9 p.m.

The CW’s “Smallville” (1.9/5) and “Supernatural” (1.6/4) saw big gains week-to-week, moving the needle upwards 36% and 33%, respectively. But preemptions occurred in Pittsburgh due to a Steelers/Bengals game, which more than likely will affect the final data and bring those numbers down.

‘Daisies,’ ABC Hit Wednesday Lows

November 20, 2008 1:11 PM

“Pushing Daisies” continues to tread in cancellation territory as the show, along with the rest of ABC’s Wednesday night lineup, hit series ratings lows, while “America’s Next Top Model” crowned its champion to a yearly high.

Pushing Daisies

“Daisies” pulled in a 1.7 rating/5 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data. The show declined 26% from its airing three weeks ago, in which it partially ran against Barack Obama’s half-hour campaign commercial on Fox, CBS and NBC.

“Private Practice” (2.4/6) dipped 23% from its last airing two weeks ago, while “Dirty Sexy Money” (1.7/5) dropped by 15%.

ABC placed third with a 2.0/5.

Not to add insult to injury, “Daisies” fans, NBC’s “Knight Rider” (1.5/4) was on par with its last airing and was beaten in the ratings by “Daisies” for the first time in the time period.

You remember “Rider,” right? That show that was given a full-season order almost a month ago while your show languishes in limbo? Ah, good times.

“Life” (1.7/4) declined one-tenth of a ratings point week-to-week, while “Law & Order” (2.1/6) posted its lowest Wednesday showing. NBC placed fourth with a 1.8/5.

The CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” ended its 11th cycle to a 2.3/6, as well as a 4.3/13 in the network’s key demographic of women 18-34.

This was the best showing of “Model” in women 18-34 since cycle nine’s finale in December 2007.

“Stylista” (1.0/3) enjoyed a bump as well, hitting its highest numbers since its premiere, drawing in a 1.7/5 in women 18-34. The CW took fifth in adults 18-49 with a 1.7/4.

First-place CBS, with a 3.5/10 rating and 12.8 million viewership, lifted considerably over last week. “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (2.5/7, 8.1 million) bounced up 25% in adults 18-49. “Gary Unmarried” (2.7/7, 8.1 milllion) achieved its best performance to date. “Criminal Minds” (4.3/11, 16.4 million) and “CSI: NY” (3.8/10, 14 million) also improved week-to-week by 13% and 27%, respectively.

Fox took second with a 2.6/7, as “Bones” (3.1/9) dipped 11% from its season high last week.

Tuesday Regulars Give Fox the Win

November 19, 2008 12:12 PM

Fox’s “Fringe” and “House” dominated the night, with “Fringe” gaining week-to-week while “House” held steady in the ratings.

Fringe

Brining in a 4.1 rating/10 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, “Fringe” increased 8% versus last week, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

“House” held fast at a 5.5/15 from last week. Fox walked away the clear winner Tuesday night with a 4.8/12 average.

NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” lost a little steam from last week, declining 9% to a 3.2/8. “Law and Order: SVU” gained 6%, up to a 3.8/10. NBC took a second with a 3.4/8.

Moving in tandem, “NCIS” (3.5/9, 18 million) and “The Mentalist” (3.5/8, 15.8 million) dipped 13% from last week. “Without a Trace” declined two-tenths of a ratings point to a 2.6/7, and brought in 11.9 million viewers. For the night, CBS placed third in adults 18-49 with a 3.2/8, while taking first in total viewers with 15.2 million.

Hitting the home stretch, “Dancing With the Stars” (4.0/10) saw an 11% increase over last Tuesday, while “Eli Stone” (1.8/5) stayed flat. ABC placed fourth with a 2.7/7.

For its second straight week, The CW’s “90210” (1.5/4) moved the needle upwards in the network’s key demo of women 18-34, taking in a 3.0/8, up a tenth of a ratings point from last week.

“Privileged” (0.8/2) declined the same amount, one-tenth of a ratings point, in the women 18-34 demo, pulling in a 1.9/5.

Odds and Ends:

—Over at MyNetworkTV, “WWE Friday Night Smackdown” set yet more records in the network’s key demographics of males, drawing a 1.7 rating in men 18-49 and a 1.9 in men 25-54 on Friday. And a horrible, scary thought for NBC: MyNet beat NBC in adults 18-49 on Friday by 8%. For the third week in a row.

Personally, I think more people would start watching “Crusoe” if there was a crossover with Umaga, the Samoan Bulldozer.

CBS Wins as Viewers Look for Laughs

November 18, 2008 12:00 PM

CBS grabbed audiences on Monday, setting or matching season highs in viewership and ratings with “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men.”

How I Met Your Mother

“Mother” drew a season-high 4.3 rating/10 share in the adults 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

The show also brought in a season-high 9.8 million viewers.

“Men” also met a season high with 15.2 million viewers, and tied its season high in adults 18-49 with a 5.3/12. “Worst Week” (3.2/7, 10.4 million) and “CSI: Miami” (4.2/11, 15.4 million) delivered their best numbers since their premieres in late September. “The Big Bang Theory” (3.7/10, 9.7 million) was average.

CBS placed first in adults 18-49 with a 4.1/10 and second in total viewership with 12.7 million viewers.

NBC’s “Heroes” (3.6/8) remains in a holding pattern, tying its lowest original rating ever. “Chuck” increased 8% week-to-week to a 2.6/7, giving the show its highest rating since its season premiere. Recently canned “My Own Worst Enemy” increased one-tenth of a ratings point to a 1.9/5. NBC took third place for Monday night with a 2.7/7.

“Dancing With the Stars” (4.3/11), “Samantha Who?” (3.0/7) and “Boston Legal” (2.2/6) were on par with last week’s performance. ABC placed second in adults 18-49 with a 3.4/8 and first in viewers with 14.5 million.

Fox also held steady from last week, taking fourth with “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (2.0/5) and “Prison Break” (2.3/5) holding near last week’s results. Fox drew a 2.1/5.

“One Tree Hill” (1.3/3) appears to have cooled its hot streak in women 18-34 after a big draw last week, declining 14% to a 3.2/8 in the demo. “Gossip Girl” (1.4/4) increased one-tenth of a ratings point to a 3.5/9. Despite the ups and down, The CW grabbed its 10th Monday victory in women 18-34, the network’s target demographic. The CW scored a 1.4/3 for the night in adults 18-49.

Obama Works Ratings Magic on 'Minutes'

November 17, 2008 12:30 PM

CBS' “60 Minutes,” which featured President-elect Barack Obama’s first post-election interview, drew 24.5 million viewers, its highest audience turnout since 1999.

60 Minutes.jpg

“Minutes” also gathered a 6.4 rating/16 share in the adults 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

“Minutes” could conceivable boost those numbers once national data is released tomorrow, as a half-hour of NFL overrun (7.7/21, 25.3 million) has made all of CBS’ data tentative and subject to change.

The last time “60 Minutes” delivered more than 24 million viewers was on Jan. 17, 1999, when its lead-in was the NFL AFC championship game between the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets that turned out to be John Elway’s final home game.

“The Amazing Race” (3.4/8, 12.2 million), “Cold Case” (2.9/7, 12 million) and “The Unit” (2.5/6, 9.8 million) rounded out the night.

CBS placed second in adults 18-49 with a 4.4/11 and was first in viewers with 16.6 million.

NBC’s “NFL Sunday Night Football” (6.5/15) matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins scored 14% better than the preliminary numbers of last week’s Giants/Eagles game.

NBC placed first for the night with a 5.3/13.

ABC placed third with a 3.9/9, with NASCAR overrun (2.4/6) at 7 p.m. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” dipped one-tenth of a ratings point week-to-week, while “Desperate Housewives” improved 3%. “Brothers and Sisters” (3.7/9) stayed flat.

Fourth-place Fox landed steady from last week with a 3.1/7, with little movement for its animation block. The CW was fifth with a 0.2/0.

CBS led the way on Friday with a 2.2/7 average, propped up by a big “Ghost Whisperer” (2.9/10, 11.7 million), the show’s best performance in 18 months. ABC followed with a 1.7/5, then Fox with a 1.4/4, NBC with a 1.2/4 and The CW with a 0.6/2.

Fox took the Saturday crown with a 2.1/6 on the back of its crime reality block. A weak college football lineup tied ABC for third with NBC, both chalking up a 1.1/3. CBS was in second with a 1.5/5.

Dr. Greene’s Return Gives ‘ER’ a Ratings Jolt

November 14, 2008 1:51 PM

Anthony Edwards’ special appearance on “ER” lifted the show, in its 15th season, to its best performance in more than a year on Thursday.

ER

“ER” took in a 3.7 rating/10 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

The appearance of the late Dr. Greene via flashback lifted the show 17% week-to-week.

A majority of the NBC comedies, save for “My Name Is Earl” (2.8/8), bottomed out with their lowest ratings of the season. “Kath & Kim” (2.1/5), “The Office” (4.0/9) and “30 Rock” (3.6/8) declined 13%, 7% and 8%, respectively, week-to-week.

NBC took third place for Thursday night with a 3.3/8.

CBS placed first for the night with a 4.1/10 average and 14.5 million. “CSI” (5.1/12, 18.9 million) and “Eleventh Hour” (3.1/8, 11.7 million) were flat from last week, while “Survivor” (4.1/11, 13 million) gained slightly, up 8%.

ABC followed in second with a 3.9/10, virtually unchanged from last week with “Ugly Betty” (2.8/7), “Grey’s Anatomy” (5.9/14) and “Life on Mars” (2.9/8) on par with last Thursday.

Fox took fourth with a 2.2/6 with “Kitchen Nightmares” (2.1/6, 2.3/5), followed by The CW with a 1.6/4. “Smallville” declined 11% from last week’s yearly high, while “Supernatural” (1.6/4) gained 14%.

Ratings Rise as Viewers Seem Keen on Entertainment Post-Election

November 12, 2008 1:50 PM

Coming off a much-watched Tuesday last week due to election coverage, several shows last night set ratings or viewership benchmarks, including the most-watched episode of CBS’ “NCIS” and a season high for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.”

ncis

“NCIS” brought in a 4.0 rating/10 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

The show rose 18% from its last original episode two weeks ago, and drew its highest audience ever with 18.8 million viewers. It’s also the highest rating in over a year for “NCIS,” now in its sixth season.

CBS freshman “The Mentalist” (3.9/9) also drew its largest audience with 16.5 million viewers and tied its highest showing in adults 18-49.

“Without a Trace” (2.7/7, 12.2 million) was down two-tenths of a ratings point from its last showing.

CBS won the night in total viewers with 15.8 million, and tied NBC for second in adults 18-49 with a 3.5/9.

NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” (3.4/8) hit a season high last night, improving 6% from its last original episode two weeks ago. “Loser” showed some muscle last night, beating the results hour of “Dancing With the Stars” head-to-head, and held its own in its second hour, coming close to tying “Fringe” and “The Mentalist” in adults 18-49.

“Law & Order: SVU” was on par with a 3.6/10.

Fox captured first place for the night with “House” (5.5/14) and “Fringe” (3.9/9). “House” grew one-tenth of a point from its last original episode two weeks prior, while “Fringe” tied its last original three weeks ago. Fox was first in adults 18-49 with a 4.7/12.

The CW was about even with last week’s programming, which ran opposite election coverage. “90210” (1.4/4) held steady in the network’s key demo of women 18-34 with a 2.8/8. “Privileged” (0.9/2) grew two-tenths of a ratings point in the same demo to a 2.0/5.

Monday Gets NBC Off to Bad Start for Week

November 11, 2008 12:23 PM

NBC stumbled Monday, with each of its shows, including the embattled “Heroes,” posting or matching ratings lows for original episodes.

Heroes

“Chuck” ended the night with a 2.3 rating/6 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data. The show declined 12% from its last original episode two weeks ago.

“Heroes” continues its slow descent with a 3.6/8, down 7% from two weeks ago to a series low. NBC is quick to point out that “Heroes” does see a 20% increase with the release of live-plus-7 data, which factors in a week’s worth of DVR views.

“My Own Worst Enemy” (1.8/5) took the biggest tumble, dropping off by 22%. “Enemy” has lost ground and has held a smaller amount of its “Heroes” lead-in with each airing, keeping just half of the audience yesterday.

NBC ended the night with a 2.6/6, putting it in third.

CBS returned as king of the hill in adults 18-49 on Monday with its comedy block, as “The Big Bang Theory” (3.9/10, 10 million), “Two and a Half Men” (4.9/11, 14.6 million) and “Worst Week” (2.9/7, 9.6 million) crept up slightly from last week, showing 8%, 7% and 12% week-to-week improvements. “How I Met Your Mother” (4.1/10, 9.7 million) held steady, while “CSI: Miami” (3.7/10, 13.7 million) ticked up one tenth of a ratings point.

CBS took first in 18-49 with a 3.9/10 and second in total viewers with 11.9 million.

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (4.2/10, 18.8 million) was in line with recent telecasts, but down 19% from last year at this time.

Both “Samantha Who?” (3.0/7) and “Boston Legal” (2.3/6) gained considerably from last week, growing a respective 25% and 28% from last week. ABC was second in 18-49 with a 3.4/8 and first in viewers with 14.1 million for the night.

There wasn’t much activity for Fox’s “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (2.0/5) and “Prison Break” (2.2/5), with both falling near last week’s showing. Fox took fourth place for Monday with a 2.1/5.

The CW saw declines across the board, but the network was preempted in San Francisco for football, which contributed to the slips. “Gossip Girl” (1.5/4) dipped 13% in women 18-34, the network’s key demographic, ending with a 3.4/9. “One Tree Hill” (1.6/4) also declined, slipping 5% to a 3.6/9 in women 18-34.

Despite the declines, The CW brought in its ninth seasonal win on Monday in the women 18- to 34-year-old demographic.

NBC Leads the Way With Sunday Football

November 10, 2008 12:45 PM

Sports scored the top ratings Sunday night, while the death of a major character on Friday’s “Ghost Whisperer” lifted the episode to tie its highest ratings in nearly a year.

Ghost Whisperer

Live programming means ratings for CBS, NBC and the 7 p.m. half-hour on ABC are approximate. NBC captured the night with “Sunday Night Football” featuring the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles, which gathered a 6.0 rating/14 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research.

Last night’s game gained 18% in preliminary ratings over last week’s New England Patriots/Indianapolis Colts matchup, which moved up to a 6.2/15 when final data was released.

NBC drew a 4.9/12 for the night.

CBS and ABC tied for second with a 3.8/9. CBS had NFL overrun (7.3/20, 24.2 million) to boost it, bumping up the rest of the night over last week, including “60 Minutes” (4.2/11, 17.7 million) and “The Amazing Race” (3.3/8, 11.7 million). CBS was the most-watched network of the night with 14.6 million viewers.

ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” (5.9/13) and “Brothers & Sisters” (3.7/9) were average, while “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.9/5) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (3.5/8) declined 10% from last week. The night also included NASCAR overrun (2.2/6) at 7 p.m.

After a big high last week from “The Simpsons’” “Treehouse of Horror” special, Fox’s entire animation block slipped back to average numbers, with “Family Guy” (4.3/10, down 16% from last week) and “The Simpsons” (3.9/10, down 37%) leading the night.

Fox scored a 3.2/8 for the night.

The CW skimmed along with its lineup, taking in a 0.2/0, tying last week’s all-repeat lineup, despite Sunday’s episodes being brand-new.

On Friday, “Ghost Whisperer” killed off a major character during Friday’s episode, drawing a 2.8/9 and 11.1 million viewers, improving 27% in the demo week-to-week. The episode’s shocking twist also gained some powerful enemies, as my mother angrily called me from the East Coast to ask why “Whisperer” took this turn.

I told her I assumed it was to increase the amount of ghost whispering per episode.

“Numb3rs” (2.6/8) also increased 13% week-to-week, giving CBS an easy victory with an average 2.6/8.

ABC placed second with a 1.9/6, followed by Fox with a 1.6/5, NBC with a 1.1/3 and The CW with a 0.7/2.

College football led the way Saturday, with ABC’s 2.5/8 winning the night. Fox took second with a 2.0/6, followed by a third-place tie between CBS (1.5/4) and NBC (1.5/5).

‘Rock’ Solid Thanks to Oprah Appearance

November 7, 2008 2:13 PM

NBC’s “30 Rock” welcomed guest star Oprah Winfrey last night, giving the show its second-highest rating ever and its best audience retention from lead-in “The Office” to date.

Rock

While avoiding “sleep crime,” “30 Rock” garnered a 3.9 rating/9 share in the adults 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data, declining 5% from last week’s series high.

“Rock” held on to 93% of its “Office” lead-in (4.2/10), which matched its season low.

“My Name Is Earl” (2.6/7), “Kath and Kim” 2.4/6) and “ER” (3.3/9) were around average. NBC placed third for Thursday with a 3.3/8.

CBS’ “Survivor” declined 7% week-to-week, holding at a 3.8 rating/10 share and drawing 12.2 million viewers.

It’s the show’s lowest Thursday numbers in the 18-49 demo, minus Thanksgiving and clip shows.

“CSI” (5.1/12, 18.1 million) grew 6% in adults 18-49, while “Eleventh Hour” (3.1/8, 11 million) increased 11%.

CBS won the night with a 4.0/10 and 13.8 million.

ABC’s “Ugly Betty” (2.7/7) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (5.9/14) were on par with last week’s numbers, but in their second week in sweeps, both shows are off substantially (“Betty” by 23% and “Grey’s” by 28%) from this time last year. “Life on Mars” (2.9/8) also fell from its average. ABC landed second for the night with a 3.9/10.

Fox (2.1/5) took fourth with two episodes of “Kitchen Nightmares” (2.0/5, 2.2/5), with its regularly scheduled 9 p.m. episode up 29% from last week.

The CW was fifth with “Smallville” (2.0/5, up 18%) and “Supernatural” (1.6/4, up one-tenth of a ratings point), putting in a nightly average of 1.8/4.

Now a word from ComaNaprasil:

Wednesday Shakeup Has Little Effect for NBC

November 6, 2008 1:44 PM

Despite some extensive scheduling movement, NBC didn’t do much to improve its Wednesday night situation, tying its last regular Wednesday nightly ratings average.

Life

“Life” moved from Friday to Wednesday, pulling in a 2.0 rating/5 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data. The move improved “Life’s” ratings from its Friday average by 33%.

On the flip side, “Law & Order” premiered to a 2.2/6, its lowest Wednesday showing ever. The show declined 42% from its winter premiere in January. However, the show was bolstered during the winter thanks to a lack of original scripted material during the writers strike.

“Knight Rider” also bottomed out with a 1.6/4, its lowest rating to date. NBC drew a 1.9/5, matching its Wednesday two weeks ago (last week featured unusual scheduling from Barack Obama’s prime-time political ad).

ABC’s “Pushing Daisies” sat this week out as a special “Dancing With the Stars” aired on Wednesday to a 3.2/9, a nearly three-year low. “Private Practice” (3.2/8) and “Dirty Sexy Money” (2.0/5) were average.

ABC placed second with a 2.8/7.

Fox captured first as “Bones” (3.2/9) returned to the air in original episodes after nearly a month off, slipping 6% from its last new showing. Despite being a repeat, “House” (2.7/7) improved the time period against Fox’s Wednesday night comedies by 80%. The network gathered a 3.0/8 for the night.

CBS fell to a season low with its Wednesday, delivering season lows in adults 18-49 with “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (1.9/5, 6.6 million), “Gary Unmarried” (2.1/6, 6.4 million), “Criminal Minds” (3.5/9, 14.3 million) and “CSI: NY” (3.3/9, 11.7 million). CBS was second in adults 18-49 with a 2.9/8, and first in total viewers with 10.8 million.

The CW’s Wednesdays “America’s Next Top Model” (2.0/6) matched its highest rating in the network’s key women 18- to 34-year-old demographic with a 3.8/11. “Stylista” (1.0/2) improved itself by 15% in the same demo to a 1.5/3.

ABC Wins in Key Demos on Election Night

November 5, 2008 12:07 PM

Election coverage dominated the prime-time arena last night, as ABC walked away with a win in all key demos.

ABC

ABC led the night in all demos, drawing a 4.4 rating in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, and took the night in total viewers with 13.1 million viewers, according to time-adjusted preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research.

Due to the time adjustment, share data is not available at this time.

NBC, a close second, brought in a 4.2 rating in adults 18-49, with 12 million tuning in to see Sen. Barack Obama handily capture the presidency of the United States.

Compared to 2004, NBC declined 18% in adults 18-49 while ABC gained 7% from the 2004 presidential election. Total viewers also grew for ABC, up by 9%, while NBC dipped by 18%. This marks the first time since 1996 that ABC has won the night of presidential election coverage.

A distant third, CBS’ prime-time coverage brought in 7.8 million viewers and a 2.4 in adults 18-49.

In the adults 18-49 demo, CBS dipped 25% from 2004 and dropped 14% in total viewers.

Fox placed fourth with 5.3 million viewers and a 2.2 in adults 18-49.

Fox gained nicely from 2004, increasing 22% in adults 18-49.

In terms of history, we’ll need to wait for cable numbers to be released later in the day to determine the absolute scope of viewership. The high-water mark currently is 1960 with a combined 65.7 household rating. In more recent elections, the 2000 race managed to wrangle a combined 40.2 rating, with coverage airing on the Big Three networks as well as Fox, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN.

For contrast, the lowest-rated election was the 1996 re-election run of Bill Clinton against Bob Dole, which drew a combined 25.8 household rating.

And yes, The CW did have programming last night, but due to local news election coverage preemptions, the data should be considered incredibly tentative.

“90210” (1.4/3 in adults 18-49) declined 9% from last week in the network’s key women 18-34 demographic, pulling in a 2.8/6. “Privileged” (1.1/2 in adults 18-49) managed to stay on par in the same demographic with its 2.0/4.

Oh, and history was made at 11 p.m. EST last night:

(1:45 p.m.: Updated throughout with time-zone-adjusted data)

Enjoy the Magic of Television on CNN

November 5, 2008 10:51 AM

Extended election coverage threw Nielsen into a tizzy, which has indefinitely delayed today's fast and final nationals ratings.

While we're waiting, let's look into THE FUTURE with the hologram reporter CNN busted out during its election coverage last night. The obvious joke is about Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I'm going to go with a "Jem" reference: Jessica Yellin is outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous.

Big Boost for ‘Big Bang Theory’

November 4, 2008 12:16 PM

“The Big Bang Theory” received a big bump last night, as the CBS sitcom posted its highest ratings of the season and its largest audience ever, while “Saturday Night Live’s” pre-election special lifted NBC to a nightly win.

Big Bang Theory

“Theory” drew a 3.8 rating/10 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data. The show grew 9% from its last original episode, tying its high in the demo.

“Theory” also brought in 9.9 million, a series high.

“How I Met Your Mother” (4.1/10, 9.6 million) also brought home a season high, increasing one-tenth of a percentage point from its last original episode.

While the front end of CBS’ lineup enjoyed gains, the rest of the night declined as “Two and a Half Men” (4.6/10, 12.8 million), “Worst Week” (2.7/6, 8.4 million) and “CSI: Miami” (3.6/9, 12.7 million) dipped 10%, 16% and 5%, respectively.

This is the sixth weekly decline for “Miami.” The show hasn’t posted a gain in original telecasts this season.

CBS took second place for the night with a 3.7/9; it was third in total viewers with 11 million.

NBC stayed afloat on Monday with its two-hour “Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash 2008” (5.6/13). Despite declining 5% from “SNL’s” 2004 election special, the show was the highest-rated program of the night.

“Deal or No Deal” (2.0/5) celebrated its 200th episode last night. “Deal’s” performance dropped 23% from “Chuck’s” last week in the time period, while “SNL” improved ratings by 81% versus “Heroes” and “My Own Worst Enemy” last Monday.

NBC ended the night with a 4.4/10.

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (3.9/9) tripped 7% from last week, posting its lowest regularly scheduled performance show ever. “Samantha Who?” (2.7/6) and “Boston Legal” (2.0/5) were on par.

ABC placed third with a 3.1/7 for the night.

“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (2.0/5) and “Prison Break” (2.1/5) were essentially flat with their previous showings. Fox took fourth with a 2.0/5.

The CW placed fifth with a 1.6/4, as “Gossip Girl” (1.6/4) rose 11% in the network’s key demo of women 18-34 with a 3.9/10. “One Tree Hill” (1.6/4) declined slightly from last week, moving down one-tenth of a ratings point.

Spooky ‘Simpsons’ Lifts Fox’s Animation Block to New High

November 3, 2008 2:19 PM

“The Simpsons’” 19th annual “Treehouse of Horror” special grabbed its highest rating in more than three years, while the rest of Fox’s animation block also hit recent high-ratings watermarks, giving Fox the win Sunday night.

Simpsons

Carving up a 6.2 rating/15 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data, “The Simpsons’” hit a high not seen since a post-Super Bowl episode in February 2005. Take away that unusual airing, and last night’s showing hadn’t reached ratings like that since January 2004.

“King of the Hill” (4.3/10) also grabbed a yearly high, despite being recently earmarked for cancellation after the end of this season. “Family Guy” (5.0/11) and “American Dad” (3.7/8) brought in their best showing since January.

Coupled with some NFL overrun, Fox scored first place on Sunday with a 4.9/12.

The Patriots and the Colts (5.3/13) posted a solid 36% gain over NBC’s last Sunday night football game two weeks ago between the Seahawks and the Bucs. Despite that, NBC placed second with a 4.5/11, but due to the nature of fast nationals, that could rise.

Third-place ABC (3.9/9) was in line with its Sunday averages, while CBS (2.6/6, 11.2 million) had “The Amazing Race” (9.8 million) hitting a season low, declining 7% week-to-week to a 2.8/7. “60 Minutes” (2.7/7, 14.4 million) gained ground by 23% in its ratings, a high showing on a night not including NFL overrun.

The CW continued to show little pulse on Sunday, drawing a 0.2/0 for the night.

On Friday, NBC wandered significantly away from its previous week’s ratings, with “Deal or No Deal” (0.9/4), “Crusoe” (0.8/3) and the night’s premiere of “Lipstick Jungle” (0.9/3) declining 40%, 38% and 44% from last week’s time-period deliveries.

NBC placed fourth with a 0.9/3. CBS took the night with a 2.2/8 and 10.4 million average as a repeat of “NCIS” (2.3/8, 11.2 million) improved the time period of recently yanked “The Ex List” by 53%.

ABC nabbed second with a 1.4/5, followed by Fox with a 1.1/4, while The CW placed last with a 0.5/2.

For Saturday, ABC’s coverage of Texas Tech-Texas college football (3.8/12) lifted the network 6% over its solid numbers from last week’s Ohio State-Penn State game. ABC was first, followed by Fox (1.7/5), CBS (1.4/4) and NBC (1.0/3).