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Apr 26, 2002  •  Post A Comment

ABC’s ‘Bachelor’ takes bite out of competitors

NBC’s powerhouse Must-See TV lineup took Thursday in adults 18 to 49 in typical fashion, but ABC’s “The Bachelor” and Fox’s replay of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” took a bite out of the network competition on the first night of the May sweeps (April 25-May 22).

The big story came out of “The Bachelor’s” 9 p.m. (ET) series finale, where it scored a series-best 7.3 rating/17 share average among adults 18 to 49 and 18.1 million total viewers for the hour, according to final Nielsen Media Research national data. In moving from its Monday to Thursday for its fifth and final week on the air, “The Bachelor” grew by 28 percent in adults 18 to 49 (5.7/14) and 38 percent in total viewers (13.1 million) from its previous April 22 airing. Some ad buying sources suggested that ABC used the move as a litmus test to see if “The Bachelor” will play on another night in light of “Monday Night Football” returning next fall.

Additionally, “The Bachelor,” which is producer by Warner Bros.’ Telepictures Productions, won the hour outright in adults 18 to 34 (8.0/20), scoring the network’s highest demo ratings since a celebrity “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” aired on May 4, 2000. Unlike other reality series that have attracted male demos, “The Bachelor” also won the hour in women 18 to 49 (10.2/22), women 18 to 34 (11.2/25) and teens (4.4/13).

“The Bachelor” tied NBC’s comedy hour (7.3/17) in adults 18 to 49, with the first half-hour of “Will & Grace” (8.0/19) coming out ahead, only to see “Just Shoot Me” (6.6/15) drop 18 percent of it lead-in and slip to a third-place position in the demo. Even though it won the hour, CBS’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” dropped to its lowest levels in adults 18 to 49 (8.3/19) since Jan. 31 and total viewers (23.5 million) since Nov. 22, 2001.

In the opening 8 p.m. hour, “The Bachelor: Women Tell All” special scored a third-ranked 3.6/9 in adults 18 to 49, but it improved ABC’s position by 157 percent in the time slot from what double-runs of “Whose Line Is It Anway” (1.4/4) scored the previous week.

An original episode of “Friends” in the 8 p.m. slot scored a winning 10.7/29 among adults 18 to 49, but it was its third lowest number for a fresh episode this season. A repeat episode of “Friends” (8.5/21) in the lead-out 8:30 p.m. slot dropped 21 percent of its lead-in. CBS’s “Survivor: Marquesas” posted its second lowest score in adults 18 to 49 (7.8/20) and drew 19.4 million total viewers.

Meanwhile, Fox’s special three-hour run of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” which also included sneak-previews of “Episode II,” which opens in theaters next month, turned in a 2.8/7 average for the night. It was Fox’s highest adults 18 to 49 score since “The Glutton Bowl” on Feb. 21.

NBC closed out the night with “ER” easily winning the 10 p.m. hour among adults 18 to 49 (10.9/27), although it was down 21 percent from its last original airing (13.8/34) on April 4.

NBC won the night in adults 18 to 49 (9.2/22), followed by CBS (6.6/16) and ABC (5.1/12) — the last of which was up 113 percent from its previous Thursday score (2.4/7).

Kent named chairman and CEO of Universal McCann: Robin Kent has been promoted to chairman and CEO of Universal McCann Worldwide. The appointment was announced by Jim Heekin, chairman and CEO of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup. Mr. Kent has been worldwide president of Universal McCann for the last year and a half. And since January of this year he also has served as regional director of Universal McCann North America. Earlier he led Universal McCann Europe/Africa/Middle East, UM’s largest region.

Mr. Kent joined Universal McCann Europe from Carat in April 1996, and became regional director in January 1997. He succeeds Ira Carlin, who moves to Magna Global Worldwide, the Interpublic media negotiations unit founded in 2001.

Universal McCann, which was formally launched in October 1999, operates in over 130 countries and has worldwide billings of $17.9 billion.

Final ‘Bachelor’ hour is most-watched show in L.A. market: The second hour of Thursday night’s finale of “The Bachelor” on KABC-TV, Los Angeles, at 9 p.m. made it the most watched show in the market, with a 17.96/24, outperforming “ER,” which got a 14.01/21. Other top five ABC-owned markets also did surprisingly well for the show’s second hour, with powerhouse WLS-TV, Chicago, getting a 16.6/23, while KGO-TV, San Francisco, got a 17.0/25. WPVI-TV, Philadelphia, got a 15.0/20 and WABC-TV, News York, got a 10.8/15.

Writers Guild, ABC reach settlement: After four months of negotiations, the Writers Guild of America, East, and ABC reached an agreement Friday, with a proposed three-year contract that calls for across the board salary increases of 3 percent each year. It also includes increases in certain fees, improvement in scheduling provisions, personnel benefits, and a number of other items benefiting both parties. The agreement reached redefines Guild jurisdiction in the NewsOne affiliate service area to include writing for broadcast only, covering some 180 news writers, editors, promotion writers, graphic artists, researchers, production assistants and desk assistants. The deal must still be ratified by the WGAE/ABC membership in New York and Washington. The Writers Guild will submit the new contract to its membership for ratification by May 13.

‘Nova,’ ScienCentral to provide science news segments to ABC affils: Beginning Friday, PBS’s documentary series “Nova” will begin providing science and technology news content to ABC affiliates through “Nova News Minutes,” produced by ScienCentral. The National Science Foundation awarded a $2.2 million dollar grant to ScienCentral to develop the project, which will allow 200 ABC affiliates across the country to access science news shorts via satellite through ABC’s NewsOne Service. Topics will range from Friday’s story on engineering perspectives of the World Trade Towers’ collapse to tobacco’s effects on the body and the universe’s expansion. Segments, which will be designed to coincide with each week’s Nova broadcast, will be sent to to stations via satellite every Friday.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications