Fox Wins Sunday’s 18-49 Crowd, but ‘Arrested’ Doesn’t Deliver
The premiere of Fox’s Sunday lineup gave Fox a big nightly victory in adults 18 to 49, but the news wasn’t so good for Fox’s new sitcom “Arrested Development,” which finished fourth in its time slot and dropped 28 percent of “Malcolm in the Middle’s” audience.
“Arrested” scored a 3.6/8 in the demo and 8.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. “Arrested” also dropped 3.1 million viewers from its lead-in.
Fox had the highest-rated show of the night in adults 18 to 49 with “The Simpsons'” annual “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween episode pulling a 7.2/17.
CBS won in total viewers for the night with a three-hour “CBS at 75” anniversary special, which drew 18.5 million viewers. From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., CBS finished second in adults 18 to 49 with a 3.9/10.
At 10 p.m., a repeat of NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”-which has replaced “The Lyon’s Den” during sweeps-won the time slot with a 4.3/11 in adults 18 to 49, just beating out an original “The Practice” ( 4.0/11) on ABC.
For the night, Fox won in adults 18 to 49 with a 6.0/15, followed by NBC (3.7/9), CBS (3.5/9) and ABC (3.5/9), and The WB (1.4/4). In total viewers, CBS won the night with 17.1 million, followed by Fox (13.7 million), NBC (10 million), ABC (9.6 million) and The WB (3.6 million).
Other weekend highlights included NBC winning Friday night (2.9/10) and Saturday night (2.4/8) in adults 18 to 49. NBC won total viewers on Friday night (11 million), while CBS won total viewers on Saturday night (8.1 million).
NBC was boosted Friday night by a two-hour “Dateline” special and the move of “Third Watch” to its new time slot at 10 p.m. “Third Watch” won the 10 p.m. time slot with a 3.2/11 in adults 18 to 49 and 10.5 million total viewers.
Olson Retires from NCC: Longtime cable and TV national spot sales executive Tom Olson is retiring at the end of this year as CEO of National Cable Communications, the large national cable spot sales rep firm. He will be replaced by NCC Chief Operating Officer Greg Schaefer. Mr. Olson joined NCC a little less than five years ago, coming over from Katz Media Group, the major broadcast station TV rep firm, where he was CEO.
At NCC Mr. Olson helped pushed most of the top 100 markets to be “interconnected” so major advertisers would have an easier time buying cable with just one phone call. Previously, national advertisers had to ink separate deals with scores of cable systems for one particular market. NCC estimates 95 of the top 100 markets will be interconnected by the end of 2004.
Under Mr. Olson’s leadership, NCC’s revenues increased at an annual average of about 30 percent. Mr. Schaefer joined NCC last November following more than 25 years in different broadcast advertising sales executive positions. He currently oversees NCC’s spot sales division, as well as its technology and operations divisions.
‘Bernie’ Move Gets Pushed to After Sweeps: Fox will premiere “The Bernie Mac Show” on Sunday, Nov. 30, from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The show was originally slated to move to Sundays on Nov. 9, but Fox has decided to wait until after the November sweeps to air it. Throughout November sweeps, Fox will instead air repeats of “The Simpsons” from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. “King of the Hill” repeats will air from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the West Coast only, replacing the previously scheduled “Simpsons” repeats. East Coast viewers will see NFL football overruns in that time period.
Lifetime to Run V-Day Documentary: Lifetime plans to televise the first documentary from its “V-Day” initiative to stop violence against women. The documentary, “Until the Violence Stops,” will appear in February.
Trio Orders Doc. for Awards Mania Month: Trio has ordered an original documentary, “The Golden Globes: Hollywood’s Dirty Little Secret,” which will air during the network’s Awards Mania month in December. For Awards Mania month, the network has also acquired 18 awards-themed programs, including all three versions of “A Star is Born” and two Miss America Pageants.
Charter Reports Q3 Profit: Charter Communications swung to a third-quarter profit Monday, buoyed by growth in subscriptions to the cable operator’s high-speed data service as well as a 57 percent cut in capital expenditures.
The St. Louis-based cable company, which is controlled by Microsoft co-founder Carl Vogel, generated a profit of $36 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $167 million, or 57 cents a share. Revenue rose 4 percent to $1.2 billion, while adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization climbed 5 percent to $488 million.
The company attributed the improved results to its cutting of capital expenditures by 57 percent in the quarter to $239 million and nearly 141,000 new high-speed data customers. Both helped offset a sharp drop in advertising revenue and a surge in marketing costs associated with attracting new customers, including a promotional campaign that provided new subscribers with two months’ free service.
Company officials said the free-service offer signaled a stepping up of Charter’s marketing push as cable operator faces competition from satellite operators as well as deep discounting for high-speed data services offered by telephone companies. The company promised more aggressive promotional campaigns in the fourth quarter.
Charter saw its programming costs rise just 6 percent in the quarter, thanks to several contract renegotiations and the collection of some outstanding liabilities. Sports programming fees weren’t among the costs renegotiated, however; Charter’s contract with ESPN doesn’t expire until the end of 2004.