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Jan 23, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Posted Thursday, Jan. 23.

America ‘Idol’-izing Fox’s hit series

“American Idol” followed its Tuesday night smash debut with an equally impressive performance Wednesday night, retaining 95 percent of its adults 18 to 49 audience from its premiere episode. From 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (ET) “Idol” scored an 11.8 rating and 28 share in adults 18 to 49, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. “Idol”gave Fox its highest ratings ever (excluding sports) in the Wednesday 8:30 p.m.-to-10 p.m. time slot among adults 18 to 49 and total viewers.

Lead-in “That ’70s Show”on its new night had its highest numbers in more than a year in adults 18 to 49 and total viewers. It won its time slot with a 6.1/17 in adults 18 to 49 and came in second to CBS’s “Star Search” with 12.2 million viewers. “Star Search”held up fairly well, placing second in the 8 p.m. hour in adults 18 to 49 with a 4.3/11. It did experience a drop-off in the second half-hour when it was up against “Idol” and “Bachelorette.” “Bachelorette” edged out “Star Search”from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in adults 18 to 49, 4.2/10 vs. 4.0/10, but in total viewers “Star Search” was second with 13.1 million while “Bachelorette” took fourth place with 10.1 million.

“Idol” beat ABC’s expanded 11/2-hour edition of usual time-slot winner “The Bachelorette” by 97 percent. “The Bachelorette” scored a 6.0 rating in the demo. “Idol” also beat “Bachelorette” head to head in total viewers, 24.9 million vs. 13.4 million. From 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. last night, “Bachelorette” scored a 6.9/16 in adults 18 and 49 and 15.1 million viewers. That’s down from the 8.5/20 in adults 18 to 49 (down 23 percent) and 17.3 million viewers (down 15 percent) it pulled last week.

For the night in adults 18 to 49, Fox won with a 10.4/25, followed by ABC (5.4/13), NBC (4.3/11) and CBS (2.8/7).

‘Gilmore Girls’ to run on ABC Family: “The Gilmore Girls,” The WB’s family-friendly demo hit, is heading for ABC Family, the Disney cable network, in an exclusive multiyear deal that begins in fall 2004. “Girls,” from Warner Bros. Television, The WB’s sister company, will garner approximately $750,000 per episode from ABC Family under provisions of the back-end deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution that will give Warner a cut of the ABC cable network’s ad revenue, according to insiders. “Girls” was originally developed by Warner Bros. and The WB with script seed money from the Family Friendly Programming Forum.

Wife forgot gun was in purse, Dobbs tells Imus: CNN “Moneyline” anchor Lou Dobbs explained that the handgun found in his wife Debi’s purse at Newark Liberty International Airport Wednesday was something she “completely forgot about” being in her purse since a trip to Vermont last fall. In a phone call this morning during Don Imus’ radio-MSNBC show, Mr. Dobbs said the .25 caliber gun is unlicensed, was purchased “more than two decades ago” and is “just one of those things laying around the farm” for security because he is frequently on the road.

Mrs. Dobbs was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and released on her own recognizance. He said his wife, who later joined him on vacation in Florida, is “embarrassed” and “regrets the inconvenience caused [to] all of the enforcement officers.” He described it as a “tough experience” for his wife, who he said was accompanied by the kids, but praised the behavior of the police officers involved. Mr. Dobbs’ nightly “Moneyline” commands top dollar for commercials.

A spokeswoman Wednesday night said CNN would have no comment about the Newark incident because “We can only comment on our employees.” This morning, Mr. Dobbs, a frequent guest on “Imus in the Morning,” managed to make a couple of jokes about the incident, which moved the “Imus” crew to wonder aloud whether Mr. Dobbs had strayed from his marriage vows. Mr. Dobbs said, “When you do have a wife who knows how to use a handgun,” a man is not going to stray. He also said, “At our house, all guns point out.”BBC America slates garden makeover show: BBC America has commissioned Endemol UK to produce U.S.-based original episodes of “Ground Force,” the garden makeover show currently airing on the network and in the United Kingdom. Endemol UK is the British arm of the production company best known for its reality formats, particularly the “Big Brother” franchise. “Ground Force America,” a one-hour series, will be BBCA’s first major independent production venture. The show is expected to debut this summer.