NBC Tops Sweeps Week 1 in Demo

Nov 10, 2003  •  Post A Comment

NBC’s scheduling scramble to fill weak time slots paid off as the network finished first in adults 18 to 49 for the first week of November sweeps ending last Wednesday.
Moving the drama “Third Watch” to Friday night helped NBC win the night in adults 18 to 49 for the first time this season. “Third Watch” scored a 3.2 Nielsen Media Research rating and 11 share, beating its closest competitor, ABC’s “20/20,” by 28 percent.
The debut of reality series “Average Joe” (5.8/15) on Monday at 10 p.m. shored up that night for NBC. NBC just edged out CBS 5.6/14 to 5.5/14 for its first Monday nightly win in the demo since the first week of the season.
Despite finishing first, NBC was down 8 percent in adults 18 to 49 compared with the same time period last year and down 8 percent in total viewers. Compared with last year, every network was down in the demo and total viewers except CBS, which was up 11 percent in total viewers.
CBS is easily winning the total viewers race, averaging 15.1 million after one week of sweeps. CBS has a 30 percent advantage over second-place NBC (11.6 million) in total viewers. While CBS did get boosts from specials “CBS at 75” (18.2 million viewers) and the “Country Music Awards” (20.8 million viewers), the network benefited from the strength of its regular series “CSI” (27.4 million), “Survivor” (20.8 million), “CSI: Miami” (19.5 million) and “Everybody Loves Raymond” (18.6 million).
CBS is down the least among the six networks in adults 18 to 49. Its 4.1/11 average is down 5 percent from last year and puts the network in second place in that demo race.
Fox continues to be dragged down by the poor performance of “Joe Millionaire” (2.6/7 in adults 18 to 49), a sagging Friday lineup (1.7/6) and disappointing ratings for its new series “Skin” (1.8/4), which was canceled last week, and “Tru Calling” (1.9/5).
ABC got a boost last Tuesday from the return of “8 Simple Rules.” The hour-long episode, which dealt with the death of John Ritter’s character, trounced the competition with an 8.1/21 in adults 18 to 49 and 20.5 million viewers. It helped lift ABC to a nightly victory in the demo (5.8/15).
With 51/2 weeks of ratings information in hand, the broadcast networks made a slew of pickups and cancellations last week during the first week of sweeps.
* NBC axed the critically acclaimed drama “Boomtown” and put new Sunday drama “The Lyon’s Den” on hiatus for the rest of November sweeps. The show is still in production. “Coupling,” which also was pulled for sweeps, also was canceled.
* The WB ordered a full season of Tuesday drama “One Tree Hill” and put its Sunday drama “Tarzan” on a production hiatus. “Tarzan” will air three more episodes throughout November sweeps. Five episodes have already aired and eight have been produced.
* UPN picked up the back-nine episodes of Wednesday night drama “Jake 2.0.”
* ABC canceled “L.A. Dragnet,” which has been languishing on Saturday night at 10 p.m., following its incompatible “Wonderful World of Disney” movie lead-in. “Dragnet” was pulled from sweeps immediately, but the network has five more episodes produced that will air later.