Entertainment Industry

Category: TV Ratings

CBS withstands tougher competition; CW gets `Unexpected' boost

CBS withstood new challenges to its Monday night dominance, taking the night in viewers and the 18-49 demographic.

LUX The network's sitcom hits "How I Met Your Mother," "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory" all won their time periods in viewers. The only weak link for the network was "Accidentally on Purpose" (it's 30 minutes, so it must be a sitcom, right?), which could not hold on to the first place lead-in that "How I Met Your Mother" provided. Overall, CBS averaged 12.9 million viewers and a 4.2 rating in adults 18-49. Each rating in that category equals 1.3 million people.

The CW finally got some good news as its well-reviewed drama, "Life Unexpected," averaged almost 2.75 million viewers, which is the network's best number in the Monday 9-10 p.m. time period in a year. More important, the numbers went up in the second half-hour, which is a good sign. Its 1.2 rating in adults 18-49 is on par with what "Gossip Girl" has been averaging, and it didn't need a threesome to do it! 

ABC had a solid night with "The Bachelor" and "Castle." The network was up in viewers and adults 18-49 compared with the same night a year ago. ABC finished third in viewers with 10.2 million and second in 18-49, with a 3.5 rating.

Fox's two-hour "24" averaged 11 million viewers and a 3.4 in adults 18-49.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: The CW's "Life Unexpected." Credit: Michael Courtney

Ratings: Heather Locklear's return boosts 'Melrose Place' -- just a bit

It's not much of a comeback story, yet.

Heather Locklear's heavily hyped return to The CW's remake of "Melrose Place" did provide a bump in the ratings -- but it was nowhere near as big a bump as the flailing series needs.

Tuesday's episode drew 1.54 million total viewers, according to overnight estimates -- and indeed, as small as that tally is, it's up 20% from the week prior and the show's best delivery since Oct. 6. "Melrose" also saw upticks in women 18-34 (1.6/4) and women 18-49 (1.1/3).

By way of comparison, lead-in "90210" delivered 2.1 million total viewers and far better demos in women 18-34 (2.3/6) and women 18-49 (1.5/4).

-- Denise Martin

Photo credit: The CW

Aliens still here but some of us have moved on as `V' takes tumble and 'NCIS' rules

The aliens are still among us. We're apparently just not as interested as we were a week ago.

Ratings for the second episode of ABC's "V" took a tumble Tuesday. About 10.6 million viewers tuned in to the remake of the 1980s classic, marking a 24% drop from the premiere, which landed almost 14 million viewers. In the 18-49 demographic, "V" averaged a 3.7 rating, a 26% drop from week one. (Each rating in that category represents 1.3 million people.)

The big winner of the night was CBS, which was powered by "NCIS" and its spinoff, "NCIS: Los Angeles. (Can "NCIS: Tacoma Park" be far behind?)

NBC's lone bright spot, appropriately enough, continued to be "The Biggest Loser," which won the 9-10 p.m. hour in the 18-49 demographic with a 4.1 rating.

Overall, CBS won in viewers with 16.4 million and adults 18-49 with a 3.5 rating. ABC was second with 11.9 million viewers and a 3.2 rating in 18-49. NBC averaged 8.3 million viewers and a 3.1 rating while Fox averaged 5.7 million and a 3.5 rating in 18-49.

-- Joe Flint

'Mad Men,' Kardashian wedding hit ratings highs


Sunday's Season 3 finale of "Mad Men" drew 2.3 million viewers, the series' biggest audience since its debut. AMC said that's up 33% versus the second-season ender.

Across all three airings (at 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and 1 a.m), the show drew 3.4 million viewers.

And while that crowd watched Don Draper's marriage crumble, others watched a new union start: More than 3.2 million viewers tuned in to watch Los Angeles Lakers' Lamar Odom marry Khloé Kardashian during E!'s two-hour special, "The Wedding: Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

E! said the event ranks as the channel's most-watched telecast among women 18-34 (3.92 rating). 

-- Denise Martin

Photo credit: AMC

ABC's 'V' lands with big bang


They came. They saw. They sort of conquered.

ABC's remake of "V" got off to a strong start Tuesday night. The series, which will run through November and then return in March, came in second to CBS's juggernaut "NCIS" in viewers with 13.9 million tuning in, but easily won the 8-9 p.m. hour in the 18-49 demographic with a 5.0 rating, which translates to about 6.6 million people. (Each rating point in the 18-49 demographic equals 1.3 million people.)

The audience and the 18-49 demographic performance for "V" almost tripled from what ABC usually averages with the reality show "Shark Tank" in that time slot. The show, about aliens who seem friendly when they come to Earth seeking water but actually have ulterior motives, built its audience in the second half-hour, which is generally a good sign that interest in the show held throughout the episode.

There was not much of a trickle-down effect from "V" for the rest of ABC's lineup. "Dancing With the Stars" averaged 14.5 million viewers and finished third in adults 18-49 with a 3.1 rating, and "The Forgotten" was forgotten about, drawing 7.6 million viewers and tied NBC's "Jay Leno" with a 2.0 in adults 18-49. 

Thanks to the "NCIS" franchise, CBS won the night in viewers with 15.6 million and 18-49 with a 3.4 rating. ABC was second with 12 million viewers and a 3.0 rating. NBC averaged 8 million viewers and a 3.0 rating, while a baseball-less Fox came crashing back down to Earth with 6 million viewers and 2.4 in adults 18-49.

For history buffs: We did a little digging (actually, we called ratings guru Tom Bierbaum at NBC) and found that the premiere episode of the original on NBC in 1983 scored a 25.4 rating, which translates to about 21.2 million households. That would, we're guessing probably translate to more than 40 million viewers but we're not scientists. Keep in mind, this was before people meters and demographic information and even cable. Ah, those were the days.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: ABC's "V." Credit: David Gray / ABC

Jay Leno has a bad night against weak competition

Monday night's "Jay Leno Show" on NBC matched its series low in the 18-49 demographic and hit its second-smallest audience ever, attracting just 4.62 million viewers

This is noteworthy because last night CBS was in reruns at 10 p.m. against Leno and ESPN had a particularly weak (and dull) Monday Night Football game in the Eagles-Redskins matchup. In other words, Leno wasn't exactly going up against top-notch competition. Part of NBC's pitch in making the Leno move was that he would perform well against reruns. Of course, if your big guest is Dr. Phil, a big audience might be hard to come by.

To be fair, it's not as if we are in rerun season yet and audiences are looking for alternatives. Networks don't exactly publicize when a show is in repeats, and in fact even TV listings rarely say anymore whether a show is a rerun or not. December, when most shows are in repeats, will be more revealing regarding the Leno move.

For those wondering when Leno had his smallest audience ever, that was on Oct. 5, when he drew 4.45 million viewers going against the Packers-Vikings game on ESPN.

-- Joe Flint

Friday night fight is going to cable, but does it have to?


Since it's Friday, we thought we'd take a look at Friday night television.

For years, Friday has been a tough night for the broadcast networks. If a show starts to do well on Friday, the first instinct is to move it to another night where the potential audience is bigger. CBS' "CSI" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" both started on Friday.

Conversely, when a show starts to fade it often ends up on Friday (ABC's "Ugly Betty") before disappearing entirely.

Over the past five years, the combined audience for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox on Friday nights has fallen about 15% to 22.2 million, and in the 18-49 demographic the drop is over 20% to about 8.2 million people. 

"We have consistently allowed our audience to leave us on Friday night just like we did on Saturday night," said Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Universal Entertainment. "This is where cable took advantage of our weakness of not having as many hit shows."

UGLYBETTY Fortunately, for Gaspin, one of the cable networks that has managed to take the most advantage of Friday night is NBC Universal's USA Network, first with "Monk" and then with "Psych." Tonight USA will go for the threepeat with the premiere of its well-reviewed offbeat crime drama "White Collar."

"Friday is one great opportunity; broadcast networks don't put much effort into it," said Ted Linhart, USA's vice president of program research. It's his job to crunch numbers and figure out where the best chances for success lie. While it's true that the households using television (HUTs in industry lingo) is lower on Friday night, Linhart said, "There are still 100 million people watching TV."

And while USA tends to attract an adult crowd, there is youth to he had on the night too, as Disney Channel has proven with "High School Musical 2," "Hannah Montana" and "Wizards of Waverly Place."

Besides cable, video game play is on the rise on Fridays, and more people use the night to catch up on what they have recorded throughout the week.

Interestingly, this season Friday has not been a total disaster for the broadcast networks. CBS is flat in viewers while NBC and ABC are each up. But all three are down in adults 18-49, and Fox is completely tanking.

Not to get all field of dreams on the broadcast networks, but if you build it, they just might come.

-- Joe Flint

Photos: Top: USA's "White Collar." Credit: USA Network. Bottom: "Ugly Betty." Credit: David Giesbrecht / ABC

Did Favre lead cable to a new first? [Updated]

UPDATED: So we have heard from our friends at Nielsen and are amending our post yesterday about the Vikings and Packers games. While it did beat all the competition. It was not the first time that a cable telecast had done that to broadcast during the TV season. In 2007, the game between the Patriots and Ravens also beat all the broadcast competition. HOWEVER, that game was in December when the broadcast networks were in post-November sweeps rerun mode so there was still something of a first last week in that the game beat fresh new broadcast programming.

It may be time to add one more record to Brett Favre's resume.

FAVRE The Minnesota Vikings' defeat of the Green Bay Packers last Monday not only set a record for a cable program with 21.8 million viewers watching Brett Favre beat his old team, but also beat all the broadcast television competition last week in viewers and adults 18-49.

As far as we can tell, this is the first time that a cable network has the most-viewed program in viewers and adults 18-49 during the TV season. (While Disney Channel's "High School Musical" beat the broadcast networks in viewers in 2007, that was during the summer when competition was light.)

We have done some digging, and this does appear to be the case. ESPN wasn't sure nor were the broadcast networks, but after some checking no one came up with any other example of a cable show finishing first among all TV shows during the TV season.

Of course, that it was a big sporting event might mean an asterisk in the record books. It's not like an episode of "The Closer" beat everything on broadcast during the regular season, but is that day far behind? What this really says is not how far cable has come as much as how far broadcast has fallen. Like the NFL, it's all about parity.

But if we're wrong, let us know. If there was an MTV Awards that beat everything, shoot us a note. If that special prime time episode of "Sponge Bob" finished first (yes, I made that one up), we want to hear about it.

Until then, kudos to ESPN.

Meanwhile, for week three of the broadcast season, CBS won in viewers and 18-49. ABC was second in viewers and fourth in 18-49. NBC was third in viewers and tied Fox for third in adults 18-49.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Brett Favre. Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

'Hank' is not hammering for ABC

Although it's been on for only two weeks, it might be time for ABC to rethink its Wednesday night leadoff hitter, "Hank." 

In its second airing, "Hank," which stars Kelsey Grammer as an out-of-work big shot who moves to a small town (let the hilarity ensue), saw its audience fall 13% to 6.8 million and its rating in the key adults 18-49 demographic drop by 24% to a 1.6, barely beating the CW's "America's Next Top Model." Each rating in the 18-49 demographic represents 1.3 million people. 

HANK The poor start of "Hank" at 8 p.m. is hurting the rest of ABC's promising lineup. "The Middle," which follows "Hank," built on its 18-49 rating by 31% to a 2.1 rating, but it still finished third in 18-49. At 9, ABC critical darling "Modern Family" built on "The Middle," scoring 8.4 million viewers and a 3.2 rating in adults 18-49. At 9:30, "Cougar Town's" audience dipped, but it pretty much retained the 18-49 feed it got from "Modern Family." Both finished in a virtual tie for second in that demographic with Fox's hot "Glee." The No. 1 show in the time period remains CBS' low-key "Criminal Minds," which has quietly -- meaning critics don't fawn over it -- become a juggernaut for the network.

While it may seem harsh to pin a network's woes on one show, if your leadoff batter (forgive all the baseball analogies, but it's playoff time) doesn't get on base, it makes it harder for everyone else to get momentum going. "Hank" already has the stigma of having its pilot redone, meaning there has already been a lot of concern about the creative viability of the show. 

For the night, CBS won in viewers with 10.9 million, followed by NBC (no, that's not a mistake; "Mercy" and the veteran "Law & Order SVU" did OK with viewers) with 7 million, Fox nipped ABC with 6.74 million to 6.72 million and the CW averaged 2.2 million. In 18-49, it was CBS and Fox tied with a 2.8, followed by ABC with a 2.3, NBC with a 2.0 and the CW with a 1.0. Keep in mind that TBS had some baseball that ran into prime time and that also probably took a little bite out of the numbers.

In late night, ABC's "Nightline" has now beaten NBC's "Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" in viewers for 15 weeks in a row. For the week of Sept. 28, "Nightline" averaged almost 4 million viewers while "Tonight Show" averaged 2.7 million. Both were trailing CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," which averaged 4.4 million viewers.

Got a feeling Letterman's numbers may be even higher this week.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Kelsey Grammer in ABC's "Hank." Credit: Patrick Wymore/ABC

Favre leads Vikings and ESPN to big win

Beating every team in the NFL wasn't the only record Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre set. He also led ESPN's "Monday Night Football" to record ratings for a cable telecast.

FAVRE Favre's victory over his old team not only kept the Minnesota Vikings under undefeated, it also drove Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN to its strongest night ever. The game, which has been heavily anticipated since Favre came out of retirement (for a second time) in August, drew 21.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched cable television program in history. Needless to say, it also totally crushed the broadcast competition, whose top show Monday night was CBS' "CSI Miami," which attracted 13.4 million viewers ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" with 16.3 million viewers. Among adults ages 18 to 49, the game -- which the Vikings won by a score of 30 to 23 (it wasn't that close) -- scored a 9.0 rating. Each rating point in that demographic equals 1.3 million adults, which translates to almost 12 million people.

Last night's game beat the previous best for a cable show, which was also an ESPN football telecast. Last year's Philadephia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys match attracted 18.6 million viewers. The most-watched non-sports cable show was Disney Channel's 2007 telecast of "High School Musical 2," which averaged 17.2 million viewers.

-- Joe Flint


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