NBC will win sweeps, but UPN sees big gains

Feb 25, 2002  •  Post A Comment

While NBC is guaranteed the gold in February sweeps, UPN is closing in on the silver for year-to-year sweeps growth.
Fox is still second-ranked in adults 18 to 49, thanks in large part to its ratings spike from Super Bowl XXXVI, but it may have to settle for bronze when it comes to actual year-to-year growth.
Against the Olympics, UPN stuck with its regular series lineup, which posted a 2.0 rating/5 share average in adults 18 to 49 for the sweeps to date (Jan. 31 to Feb. 21). That’s a 25 percent gain over its year-ago sweeps average (1.6/4), according to Nielsen Media Research.
Much of UPN’s upswing in the adults 18 to 49 demo has been attributed to the addition of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the “Star Trek” prequel “Enterprise.” On Feb. 12, “Buffy’s” last original airing narrowly beat The WB’s frequent time-period winner “Gilmore Girls” (2.5/6 vs. 2.4/6), while “Enterprise” trounced The WB’s sagging “Dawson’s Creek” by a hefty 53 percent margin (2.9/8 vs. 1.9/5) in the demo.
UPN is also up 25 percent in adults 18 to 34 (2.0/6), 17 percent in persons 12 to 34 (2.1/6), 8 percent in households (2.8/4) and 18 percent in total viewers (4.56 million) vs. last year for the sweeps to date.
Nevertheless, it has been the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics that has spiked NBC to the biggest percentage increases for the sweeps. With the Peacock Network up 61 percent in adults 18 to 49 (9.2/23), 71 percent in households (15.2/24) and 88 percent in total viewers (24.7 million), NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker should be able to back up his preseason claim that NBC would win the season in those three categories.
Fox’s second-ranked 6.0/15 average among adults 18 to 49 has it up 20 percent year to year. CBS’s sweeps lineup bore a 36 percent loss in adults 18 to 49 (3.0/8), a 28 percent drop in total viewers (10.2 million) and a 27 percent drop in households (7.0/11). As of press time Friday, ABC held the No. 3 ranking in adults 18 to 49 (3.1/8) and was off 30 percent from its year-ago sweeps average. The WB, though minimizing its year-to-year loss in adults 18 to 49 (1.6/4) to 6 percent, still dipped 11 percent in adults 18 to 34 (1.7/5) and 18 percent in persons 12 to 34 (1.8/5).