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ABC's 'Private Practice:' Prognosis brightens as ratings climb

Last year, some of us who cover TV were ready to write off "Private Practice," the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff starring Kate Walsh. The network had sandwiched the show between two struggling dramas, "Pushing Daisies" and "Dirty Sexy Money." Early ratings were disappointing, and then the writers strike ended up kicking the series off the air for nearly a year. Not the best start for any show.

But "Private Practice" has been on the mend since ABC moved the show to 10 p.m. Thursdays this season, right behind "Grey's," where it seemed to belong in the first place. This week, the show zoomed to its best-ever ratings in the ad-friendly adults ages 18 to 49 demographic (5.3 rating/14 share; 13 million viewers overall), according to early data from Nielsen Media Research, dominating the slot against NBC's soon-to-end "ER" (7.3 million) and a repeat of CBS' "Eleventh Hour" (7.7 million). In fact, "Practice's" demo rating was only half a rating point less than "Grey's" this week. 

Some of the momentum is due to intertwined storylines that for the next few episodes will see cast members traveling back and forth beween the two medical dramas.

"The show on our schedule it was most compatible with was 'Grey's Anatomy,' obviously," ABC scheduling chief Jeff Bader said of "Private Practice." "And we're starting to see this in the ratings.

"We just need to get people to come sample the show again," he added. "The show has changed. We feel it's gotten better."

The stakes are high because TV programmers are chasing ad dollars from movie studios and other heavy spenders on Thursday nights. NBC and CBS have mostly dominated the night for years, but this week ABC and Fox won in both young adults and among all viewers. It may be a sign of things to come.

-- Scott Collins 

 
Comments () | Archives (4)

People watched cause of Greys crossing over what happens when it's down?

Private Practice has been vastly better than Greys all this season. It's still the only show from the 07 season that was off air for 10 months due to the writer's strike to be sticking around.

ABC should have launched it behind Greys in the beginning, and then moved it to a different night if it held, like they did with Greys behind Desperate Housewives for it's first 2 seasons.
Instead it was sandwiched between two shows that were dead-on-arrival, and then was off air for 10 months because of the strike.

The show is to be congratulated for surving the odds. Even the press criticism hasn't killed it, most of which should have been aimed at the mothership and it's dead people walking.

Its an O.K. show. The cast is first rate and is really the only reason why its worth watching in the first place...they all do a good job breathing life (and credibility) into rather hackneyed and cliche plotlines and rom com situations. Its not the best show, and indeed ABC has had a number of shows better then it even in this timeslot that i wish were still on instead (MEN IN TREES is the one i'm thinkin' of of course, but ELI STONE could've worked just as well and was way more of a thought provoking show in genreral.) Private Practice is by comparison oft repetitive and rather bland and formulaic at times---easy to forget from week to week,

BUT IT IS (each time i've seen it at least) very watchable and quite easy to take, and surprisingly pretty enjoyable for the most part and I should credit not just the actors, but the various writers, and showrunners for that as well. It really couldn't have been easy to get this thing off and running given the start and stop scedulue and the complete yo-yo stretch and release nature of the characters themselves... i don't know how their gonna get 5 plus years outta this show to be honest, but then again i've thought the same of a lot of shows that have been on the air for several already.

Perhaps Private Practice's ratings will drop after their ghastly and shameful coverage of postpartum depression, or actually postpartum psychosis, in this week's episode. Lots of women are writing me pledging never to watch again.
Like here (Google it):
Katherine Stone at the Postpartum Progress blog with "ABC Should be Ashamed ..."
Lauren at the Sharing the Journey blog with "ABC's Private Practice Misses the Mark"
Amber at the Beyond Postpartum blog with "Does ABC Care?"
Depressed (But Not Unhappy) Mormon Mommy blog with "Private Practice is Put to Shame!"
Susan at the Perinatal Pro blog with "ABC's Private (Mal)Practice Fails to Present the Facts in Botched Opportunity to Raise PPD Awareness"
Tara at Out of the Valley blog with "Private Out-of-Practice"


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