Night-by-Night Ratings Fights

Sep 25, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Each of the networks had something to celebrate last week.

NBC won the first night of the season on Monday, Sept. 18, in adults 18 to 49 thanks to the two-hour season premiere of its “Deal or No Deal” game show.

The program scored a 5.0 rating in adults 18 to 49, a number that includes live viewing plus same-day viewing via digital video recorders, according to Nielsen Media Research. NBC’s 10 p.m. (ET) premiere of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” also scored a 5.0, though the show suffered an 18 percent decline in ratings during its second half-hour. The season premiere of CBS’s “CSI: Miami” won the 10 p.m. time period with a 5.8, which helped CBS take second place for the night.

On Tuesday, ABC and Fox tied for first place in adults 18 to 49 with a 4.6 rating. ABC scored on the strength of its two-hour “Dancing With the Stars” (5.2 rating), while Fox’s medical drama “House” was the highest-performing show for the night with a 5.9. ABC’s season premiere of “Boston Legal” was third in the 10 p.m. time period with a 3.4 (matching its 2005 season premiere), behind NBC’s season premiere of “Law & Order” (5.2) and the debut of crime drama “Smith” on CBS (3.6).

Wednesday belonged to CBS, which premiered its new drama “Jericho” at 8 p.m. to a 3.4 rating. That wasn’t enough to overcome the “Dancing” results show (3.7) on ABC. The season premiere of “Criminal Minds” at 9 p.m. (4.5) and the return of “CSI: NY” at 10 p.m. (5.0) won their respective time periods, with “CSI:NY” beating NBC’s new drama “Kidnapped” (2.8).

The CW also got off to a strong start Wednesday with a two-hour premiere of reality veteran and UPN transplant “America’s Next Top Model.” The seventh cycle of “Model” scored a 2.6 in adults 18 to 49, outperforming its own September 2005 debut (2.3) and March 2006 debut (2.5), plus improving on The WB’s year-ago time period average with the premieres of the dramas “One Tree Hill” and “Related” (an average 1.5).

Aside from eclipsing Fox in adults 18 to 49 for the night, The CW was also the top network on Thursday in its target demographic of adults 18 to 34, plus the women 18 to 34 demo.

“We were pleasantly surprised” with the “Model” debut, said Dawn Ostroff, The CW’s president of entertainment, noting that 71 percent of the old UPN audience had to migrate to a new station to watch “Model” this season.

The CW still has to get the remaining 29 percent of former WB watchers to migrate over to new stations, and the network has to introduce a wide range of programming on its new lineup through October.

“It still is going to be a night-by-night basis,” she said. “It’s a great start, but I don’t expect to see this every night.”

“Grey’s” was the story on Thursday, scoring an 11.0 rating and 25.4 million viewers at 9 p.m. That more than tripled the ratings from the network’s time period premiere last year. That gave ABC its strongest Thursday season opener in adults 18 to 49 and total viewers since the dawn of Nielsen’s People Meters in 1991.

Despite “Grey’s” performance CBS won the 8 p.m. hour with the second episode of “Survivor: Cook Islands” (6.5), which eclipsed a “Grey’s” clip show on ABC (5.0), the season premieres of NBC comedies “My Name Is Earl” (3.8) and “The Office” (4.3), and original episodes of Fox’s `”Til Death” (2.2) and “Happy Hour” (1.7).

At 10 p.m., NBC’s “ER” won the hour with its 13thseason premiere, garnering a 6.8 rating, outperforming the debuts of ABC’s relationship drama “Six Degrees” (5.4) and CBS’s legal series “Shark” (4.1).

MyNetworkTV ratings were not available at press time.