The arrival of March held a pleasant surprise for a number of shows during the first full week out of sweeps, a period that traditionally proves to be a ratings free-fall.
Newsmagazines, the top-tiered off-net sitcoms and “Live With Regis & Kelly” all found themselves scoring higher numbers, according to Nielsen Media Research, for the week ending March 11.
On the heels of the important February sweeps, the traditional drop-off in local promotion as well as a slew of reruns benefited day-and-date series such as Buena Vista’s “Live With Regis & Kelly.” The strip grew 5 percent in households to a 4.4 rating, the only talk show to post an increase over the previous week. Among the key female 18 to 49 crowd, the traditionally older-skewing talk show pinned a 2.2 rating, a rise of 10 percent for the series and good enough for third place in the demographic.
By contrast, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” continued to struggle with a household rating of 2.8, tying for sixth place in the genre. However, the show slid 15 percent from the previous week to a 1.7 in the women 18 to 49 category, a tie for seventh place.
The top three newsmagazine series saw increases in households. Paramount Domestic Television’s “Entertainment Tonight” led with a 6.8 rating, up 3 percent. King World Productions’ “Inside Edition” landed at second with a 3 percent jump to a 3.4, while “Extra” also rose 3 percent to a 3.1.
Off-net series were lifted through the week, with Warner Bros.’ “Friends” once again taking households and the women 18 to 49 category. The series was up 2 percent in households to a 6.2 (5.2 in women 18 to 49) and landed at second for men 18 to 49 with a 3.7. The series dipped to third in the older demographics with a 2.5 in women 50-plus and a 1.9 in men 50-plus.
Columbia TriStar Television Distribution’s “Seinfeld” edged out “Friends” among males 18 to 49 with a 3.9 but suffered almost a full rating point in households despite rising 4 percent to a 5.3. Among women 18 to 49, the series dropped to third (behind “Frasier’s” 3.5) with a 3.4.
Warner Bros.’ clearly younger-skewing “Drew Carey” took fourth place across the board in households and younger demos, despite falling 3 percent to a 3.6 for the week (with a 2.5 among women 18 to 49 and a 2.6 in men 18 to 49). The sophomore, however, had less appeal to older audiences, posting a 10th-place finish in women 50-plus at a 0.8.
Paramount’s off-net freshman “Spin City” took a hit that week, dipping to a 2.6, its lowest rating ever in households and a 10 percent slip. That figure was good enough for sixth place in households as well as the younger demos (with scores of 1.7 for women 18 to 49 and 1.8 for men 18 to 49).