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Oct 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Friday, October 11

Banfield show canceled

MSNBC announced Friday afternoon the immediate cancellation of “Ashleigh Banfield on Location” and other changes at the third-ranked cable news channel.

The changes-which were being announced at the same time GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt was telling Fox News Channel’s Neal Cavuto during an interview that MSNBC’s ratings “are not nearly what we’d like them to be” and that the GE-owned channel has to be “more interesting and edgier”-include the assigning of “Dateline NBC” Executive Producer Marc Rosenwasser to temporarily supervise MSNBC’s 7-11 p.m. prime time. Also, Phil Griffin will become VP of perspective programming (“Imus in the Morning” and “The Abrams Report”) and will continue as executive producer of “Hardball With Chris Matthews.”

Ms. Banfield will continue to do reporting overseas and inside the U.S. and will share duties as host of “MSNBC Investigates,” which will air at 10 weeknights and marks a return of repurposed material to the MSNBC primetime lineup. Some “On Location” staffers will continue to work with Ms. Banfield, said MSNBC President Erik Sorenson in a memo to his staff late Friday. “We’ll try to reassign the rest to other units at MSNBC,” Mr. Sorenson said.

‘CSI’ pushes CBS past NBC: Fueled by continued growth for “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS’s third-year drama — and its Thursday lineup overall — overtook NBC’s “Must See TV” in total viewers for the first time since last April (with first-run programming).

“CSI” came out of the 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. (ET) Thursday time slot setting highs for the night in total viewers (30.2 million) and households (19.0 rating/29 share), according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research fast national data. For the first time this season, “CSI” surpassed NBC’s “Friends” (25.9 million) as the most-watched program in total viewers .

In addition to growing 7 percent from its previous week’s head count (28.0 million), “CSI” saw its third-ranked 11.3/27 in the key adults 18 to 49 demo rise 8 percent week to week. During the 9 p.m. hour, NBC’s “Will & Grace” (10.6/25) and “Good Morning, Miami” (8.5/10) came in second in adults 18 to 49. ABC’s “Push, Nevada,” which will be ending its run prematurely on Oct. 24, dropped 20 percent to a record-low 1.2/3 score in adults 18 to 49 with just 3.7 million total viewers.

“CSI’s” strength was evident in its jump of 36 percent from its 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. lead-in “Survivor: Thailand,” which had a second-ranked 8.3/21 score in adults 18 to 49. “Friends” won the 8 p.m.-to-8:30 p.m. frame in adults 18 to 49 (12.3/32) but was down 14 percent from its previous week’s score (14.3/37). “Survivor: Thailand” held even week to week in total viewers (20.7 million vs. 20.6 million). “Survivor” jumped 39 percent from its first to second half-hour in adults 18 to 49 (7.0/18 vs. 9.7/24), beating NBC’s “Scrubs” by a 9 percent margin at 8:30 p.m. (8.9/22).

Although “Scrubs” was down 10 percent from its previous week’s score in adults 18 to 49 (9.9/24), the sophomore comedy’s latest demo score had 73 percent retention from “Friends.” NBC officials are hoping “Scrubs” can maintain 70 percent or higher retention of “Friends'” adults 18 to 49 demo score.

In the 10 p.m. hour, NBC’s long-running “ER” reclaimed some momentum, moving up 2 percent in adults 18 to 49 (12.1/31) from the previous week. While a distant second, CBS’s freshman “Without A Trace” drama posted a 5.6/14 in adults 18 to 49, up 3 percent from its week-ago average. “ER” still holds a 116 percent margin of victory in adults 18 to 49.

For the night, CBS’s winning tally in total viewers (22.4 million) gave it a 4 percent margin of victory over NBC (21.6 million). Since CBS’s premiere week (beginning Sept. 26), CBS has turned what was a 2.08 million-viewer deficit into an 810,000-viewer winning margin over NBC-a swing of 140 percent in viewers over the first three weeks of the season.

NBC still won adults 18 to 49 over CBS by a handsome 27 percent margin (10.7/27 vs. 8.4/21), but the Peacock was down 5 percent week to week while CBS inched up 2 percent. CBS is also tracking a narrow win over NBC in households (14.1/22 vs. 14.0//22), but that could change once final Nielsen national data comes in this afternoon.

ABC trailed at a distant fourth-ranked average in adults 18 to 49 (1.7/4). Fox, which aired a live National League Championship Series Game 2 matchup (San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals) and could see its final national ratings differ greatly from the preliminary score, came in with third-ranked scores in households (5.5/9) and adults 18 to 49 (2.6/6).