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!

Swayze Scores, but ‘People’s Choice’ Gives CBS Wednesday Win

January 8, 2009 12:48 PM

The “Barbara Walters Special” interview with Patrick Swayze was the most-watched program on Wednesday night, drawing 12.6 million viewers and a 3.0 rating/8 share among viewers 18-49, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research information. Barbara Walters Special

Opening the night with encore presentations of “Scrubs” and followed by a “Special Edition 20/20: Vanished: Missing in Milwaukee,” ABC posted its strongest Wednesday since mid-November in both the demographic (2.3/6) and in total viewers (8.4 million).

Overall, ABC tied with NBC for second place for the night, both trailing CBS’ night of comedy repeats and “The 35th Annual People’s Choice Awards” telecast. CBS placed first in both the demographic (2.7/7) and among total viewers (8.8 million). The “People’s Choice Awards” dropped 17% in the ratings from its last full telecast in 2007, but was up 81% from last year’s writers strike-affected presentation.

On NBC, “Knight Rider” returned to a 33% ratings increase since its last original telecast in December, but was off 20% compared with its season-to-date average. After an encore “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” an original “Law & Order” tied its season-high rating in the demographic and delivered its second-best viewership for the season to date.

The CW premiered its new reality series “13 Fear Is Real” to an on-par performance with last fall’s “Stylista,” a solid feat considering “Fear” led off the night and thus did not have a lead-in from an established program, as “Stylista” did with “America’s Next Top Model.” “Fear’s” debut also did better than the premieres of “Farmer Wants a Wife,” “Girlicious” and last spring’s “Beauty and the Geek.”

The CW finished the night fifth, behind Fox and its block of “Bones” repeats.

Prime Time Preliminary Wednesday Ratings









2.3 / 6


1.5 / 4

4.6 mil


1.7 / 5

4.4 mil

Special Edition 20/20

2.3 / 6

8 mil

Barbara Walters Special

3.0 / 8

12.6 mil


2.7 / 7

New Adventures of Old Christine

2.3 / 7

8.2 mil

Gary Unmarried

2.3 / 6

7.4 mil

People's Choice Awards

2.9 / 8

9.3 mil


1.8 / 5


1.7 / 5

6.6 mil


1.9 / 5

6.5 mil

No Programming


2.3 / 6

Knight Rider

1.6 / 5

5.7 mil

Law & Order: SVU

2.2 / 6

7.4 mil

Law & Order

3.0 / 8

10.1 mil


0.8 / 2

13-Fear Is Real

1.1 / 3

2.4 mil


0.5 / 1

1.1 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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