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!

'American Idol' Wins in Rare Thursday Appearance

January 30, 2009 1:40 PM

A special Thursday edition of Fox's "American Idol" was the highest-rated Thursday-night entertainment telecast of the broadcast season, while repeats on ABC for most of the night affected ratings for a new "Private Practice."American Idol

Last night's "Idol" performed significantly better than the network's season-to-date time-period average, increasing more than four-fold to a 9.2 rating/25 share among viewers 18-49, according to Nielsen Media Research numbers. However, the episode comes in with the second-lowest rating in the demographic for this season. The night's No.3 show was the season premiere of "Hell's Kitchen," which debuted 11% lower than last year's season opener but still improved 123% over the average for the previous timeslot occupant, "Kitchen Nightmares." Fox averaged a 7.0/18 in the demo and 17.7 million viewers.

After a repeat special of "Criminal Minds," new episodes of "CSI" and "Eleventh Hour" gave CBS a second-place finish with a 3.5/9 (13.9 million).

NBC finished third with a 1.9/5 (4.7 million) with a lineup of repeats.

On ABC, a new episode of "Private Practice" was down 18% from its previous time-period average, losing its usual lead-in due to "Ugly Betty" and "Grey's Anatomy" being repeats. Overall the network finished fourth in the demographic with a 1.8/5 (5.7 million).

Despite heavy competition from "Idol," The CW's "Smallville" saw a 6% bump from last week in the demo, while "Supernatural" jumped 23% to post its second-best rating this season. Overall the network finished fifth with a 1.7/4 (3.9 million), and averaged a 1.5 rating among women 18-34.

Primetime Preliminary Thursday Ratings









1.8 / 5

Ugly Betty

1.0 / 3

4 million

Grey's Anatomy

1.7 / 4

5.5 mil

Private Practice

2.8 / 7

7.7 million


3.5 / 9

Criminal Minds

2.0 / 5

9 mil


5.3 / 13

20.1 mil

Eleventh Hour

3.1 / 8

12.7 mil


7.0 / 18

American Idol

9.2 / 25

24.3 mil

Hell's Kitchen

4.9 / 12

11.1 mil

No Programming


1.9 / 5

My Name Is Earl

1.8 / 5

4.8 mil

Kath & Kim

1.4 / 4

3.3 mil

The Office

2.7 / 7

5.8 mil

30 Rock

2.2 / 5

5 mil


1.7 / 5

4.5 mil


1.7 / 4


1.7 / 5

4.2 mil


1.6 / 4

3.6 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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