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.


Ratings Chart Attack!

'Idol,' 'Loser' Show Gains After Inauguration Week

January 28, 2009 12:18 PM

Reality shows on Fox and NBC posted ratings bumps after last week's inauguration coverage.

The Biggest Loser

Fox finished first for the night with a 7.2 rating/18 share among viewers 18-49 and 18.6 million average viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research numbers. "Idol" had a 7% increase in the demographic as well as an 11% bump in viewership compared with last week's inauguration Tuesday. With an "Idol" lead-in, "Fringe" had its second-highest rating ever (after the show's second telecast last September). Fox had both the No. 1 and the No. 2 shows for the night.

NBC placed second (3.5/9, 9.7 million) with a strong performance by "The Biggest Loser," which scored its second-highest rating ever when up against "Idol" (coming in behind the show's season-five finale from last April). Tuesday night's episode was the show's biggest rating in the demographic for a non-premiere/non-finale episode since last January. Over its last three weeks' showings against "Idol," "Loser" has shown a 15% increase compared with its performance last year. In the 9 p.m. hour, "Loser" had a 53% increase over its first hour to score a 4.9/12, edging out "Fringe" for the time period.

CBS's "The Mentalist" was the second most-watched show for the night, despite being a repeat. The network finished third with a 3.2/8 (15.6 million) with new episodes of "NCIS" and "Without a Trace."

ABC returned to regular programming after last week's inauguration-themed night and landed in fourth place, averaging a 2.0/5 (5.7 million).

Airing repeats of "90210" and "Privileged," The CW fnished fifth with an average 0.3/1 (0.9 million), and a 0.5 rating among women 18-34.

Prime Time Preliminary Tuesday Ratings









2.0 / 5

Homeland Security U.S.A.

1.6 / 4

5.6 million


2.2 / 5

5.1 mil


2.3 / 5

5 mil

Primetime: What Would You Do?

2.3 / 6

6.3 million


3.2 / 8


3.9 / 10

19 mil

The Mentalist

2.9 / 7

15.1 mil

Without a Trace

2.7 / 7

12.8 mil


7.2 / 18

American Idol

9.6 / 24

25.2 mil


4.8 / 11

12.1 mil

No Programming


3.5 / 9

The Biggest Loser

4.1 / 10

11 mil

Law & Order: SVU

2.4 / 6

7.1 mil


0.3 / 1


0.4 / 1

1.1 mil


0.3 / 1

0.8 mil

No Programming

Source: Nielsen Media Research

*Ratings are specified in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic and viewership in P2+.

A note about ratings: Ratings are expressed as percentages of Nielsen's estimated 114.5 million U.S. television households. The first number, the rating, is a percentage of households tuned into a specific program at a specific time.

The second number, the share, is a percentage of households with televisions in use tuned into that same program. For example, if a show obtains a 10.2/16, this means that 10.2% of all U.S. households tuned into the program at some point during the broadcast. Meanwhile, 16% of all households watching television during the time period viewed the program at some point. Ratings are broken down further by demographic, as networks sell advertising time based on the makeup of the audience.


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