Playoffs Take Bite Out of Big 3 Nets

Oct 13, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Week-to-week ratings declines were rampant on most networks three weeks into the new season, amid lower television usage by young adults and the best performance Fox has seen in years for Major League Baseball playoff games.
True standout new series were hard to come by, but several networks have added shows that could shape up to be solid performers. NBC’s “Las Vegas” grew last week in adults 18 to 49, pulling a 4.5/11 in a very competitive Monday 9 p.m. time slot. ABC’s “I’m With Her” (5.2/14) continued to win its time slot, but the true test will be this week when its “8 Simple Rules” lead-in goes into reruns.
Numbers for CBS’s “Two and a Half Men,” 4.8/11 in adults 18 to 49 and 14.8 million viewers, and NBC’s “Coupling,” 5.6/13 in the demo and 10.7 million viewers, look decent, but both follow top 10 shows, so expectations for them are higher. “Men” held onto 75 percent of its “Everybody Loves Raymond” audience in adults 18 to 49, and “Coupling” held about 75 percent of its “Friends” lead-in.
UPN appears to have keepers in “Eve” (1.9/5), which has fit nicely into UPN’s Monday comedy block, and “All of Us” (1.7/5), which has been anchoring Tuesday nights. Both grew the adults 18 to 49 audience from their lead-ins.
The WB’s highly hyped “Tarzan” premiered Sunday, Oct. 5, to mediocre ratings with a 2.1/5 in adults 18 to 49 and 5.5 million viewers. It lost 16 percent of “Charmed’s” 18 to 49 audience.
CBS’s new Friday dramas have performed well, with “Joan of Arcadia,” 3.1/11 in adults 18 to 49 and 12.5 million viewers, and “The Handler,” 2.7/9 and 12.6 million viewers, winning their time slots in both measures in their last outing.
NBC, which dominated Fridays last year, has fallen to third place on the night, prompting the network to make scheduling changes for at least the next few weeks. NBC pulled the critically acclaimed Peabody-winning sophomore drama “Boomtown” from Fridays at 10 p.m. and replaced it with repeats of “Law & Order: SVU.”
While NBC is calling “Boomtown’s” leave of absence a hiatus, the series’ future looks murky. In its two Friday night airings it averaged a 2.6/8 in adults 18 to 49 and 7.21 million viewers. While “Boomtown” has always received rave reviews from the critics, the network has never seemed to be in love with it.
An NBC spokesman said the move was partly designed to protect “Boomtown” against strong Major League Baseball postseason games, and the network has every intention of bringing the drama back to the schedule at some point.
NBC also moved freshman drama “Miss Match” to 9 p.m. That takes it out of head-to-head competition with CBS”s “Joan of Arcadia,” which has beaten “Match” the past two weeks in adults 18 to 49 and total viewers. The network is probably hoping that “Match” will have a better shot picking up young female viewers against CBS”s “JAG” than “Joan,” which appeals to the same audience.
At 8 p.m. NBC was scheduled to run a “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” repeat last Friday and then move “Dateline” there.
Other highlights from last week:
Nothing appears to be working against NBC’s Wednesday 10 p.m. juggernaut “Law & Order.” The second episode of ABC’s “Karen Sisco” (3.0/8 in adults 18 to 49 and 8 million viewers) was down 9 percent in adults 18 to 49 and dropped about a million viewers from its premiere. Faring even worse is CBS’s “Brotherhood of Poland, N.H.,” which sunk to lows of a 2.1/5 in adults 18 to 49 and 6.8 million viewers in three airings.
Two shows have seen big jumps in adults 18 to 49 since their premieres, but both had pretty bad ratings to begin with. ABC’s “10-8” grew 23 percent in the demo in its second outing. However, it did lose about 200,000 total viewers. The WB’s “One Tree Hill” (1.4/3 last week) has grown 75 percent in adults 18 to 49 since its premiere, but it started with only a 0.8 rating/2 share.
The season premiere of CBS’s “Becker” finished fourth in its new time slot Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. after “King of Queens” with a 3.2/8 in adults 18 to 49 and 10.4 million total viewers.
The final episode of “8 Simple Rules” in which John Ritter appeared before his death scored a 7.1/21 in adults 18 to 49 and 17.7 million total viewers, easily winning its 8 p.m.-to-8:30 p.m. time slot.