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CBS and Fox Dominate the Week of March 30

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THE PROGRAMMING INSIDER
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
 
Prime-Time Metered Market Tuesday Ratings:
 
National Ratings in Prime-Time:

Week of March 30, 2009

 
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
 

On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options 

 
TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
 
TV Trivia Time:

Happy Passover!

 
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Fox Wins; CBS Solid
 
Tuesday 4/07/09
 

              HH
          Rtg/Shr

Fox 10.0/16
CBS   9.6/15
ABC 5.4/ 9
NBC 5.4/ 8

CW   1.4/ 2

 
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-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Tuesday, April 8, 2008):

CBS: +88, Fox: - 6, CW: - 7, NBC: - 8, ABC: -25

 
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Note: The fast affiliate results for Tuesday will be posted at PIFeedback by 12 p.m. ET. Go to the website, click on Ratings Box (the first category), then Last Night’s Results, and Tuesday, April 7, 2009.   

 
 

-Yesterday’s Winners:

American Idol (Fox), NCIS (CBS), The Mentalist (CBS), Dancing With the Stars (ABC)

 

-Yesterday’s Losers (Excluding Repeats):

Reaper (CW), 90210 (CW), Cupid (ABC)

 
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-Ratings Breakdown:

Ignited by American Idol, Fox led this first Tuesday in April in the overnights, but its lead over second–place CBS was only four-tenths of a rating point. And that puts the two networks in a horse race for dominance in total viewers. Tied for the distant No. 3 spot -- in rating -- was ABC and NBC, followed by a typically non-competitive the CW. 

 

American Idol opened the evening for Fox with a healthy 12.3 rating/20 share in the overnights from 8-9 p.m. But as good as that is, last year it averaged a beefier 14.4/22 (on Tuesday, April 8, 2008). Since about eight additional minutes of American Idol bled into the 9 p.m. half-hour, the second-place 7.7/12 for the return of Fringe from 9-10 p.m. is an overly optimistic approximation. As for American Idol, here are my picks for the bottom three: Lil Rounds (its time overrated Lil), Scott MacIntyre and 16 going on 50 Allison Iraheta. Although Allison was much better than deadly dull Kris, past triumphs will likely keep Kris safe for at least one more week. Most likely to bid adieu: Scott. 

 

Second-place CBS was on the map with its combination of NCIS (#2: 10.3/17), bona fide freshman hit The Mentalist (#1: 10.3/16) and on-the-fence Without a Trace (#1: 8.3/14), which could be facing extinction because it skews…um…too old.   What a shame that is, isn’t it?

 

ABC got off to a sluggish start last night care of animated holiday repeats It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (#3: 3.0/ 5) and Charlie Brown All-Stars (#4: 2.8/ 4) from 8-9 p.m. But the live Dancing With the Stars Results Show (so long, David Alan Grier) perked up to a second-place 9.4/14 in the overnights from 9-10 p.m. Even so, week two of Cupid sunk to a last-place 3.9/ 7 in the 10 p.m. hour, dipping by 24 percent at 10:30 p.m. (4.5/ 7 to 3.4/ 6). One week earlier, Cupid opened with a 5.0/ 8. Do the math, and that’s a loss of a significant 22 percent.  Why ABC needed to remake this loser to begin with is beyond me. 

 

NBC was on the map care of another two-hour edition of The Biggest Loser (4.9/ 8 from 8-10 p.m.), which always manages to score among adults 18-49, and deteriorating Law & Order: SVU (#2: 6.3/11), which is still poised for victory among adults 18-49. Take a look at the half-hour breakdown for The Biggest Loser:

 

The Biggest Loser (NBC)

8:00 p.m.: 4.2/ 7 (#3)

8:30 p.m.: 4.4/ 7 (#3)

9:00 p.m.: 5.2/ 8 (#4)

9:30 p.m.: 5.8/ 9 (#3)

 

The CW capped off the evening with lackluster performances for Reaper (#5: 1.4/ 2) and 90210 (#5: 1.5/ 2). Last year on this night a repeat of Reaper actually did better in the overnights, with a 1.5/ 2 on April 8, 2008. When the overnights are this low, the demographic performance cannot be all that good.

 
Source: Nielsen Media Research data
 
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National Ratings in Prime-Time:

Week of March 30, 2009

 

It was another week of split leadership between CBS and Fox, but Fox did not have a clean sweep in the demos. CBS finished first in households, total viewers and adults 25-54 (one-tenth of a rating point ahead of Fox). Fox was No. 1 among adults 18-49 and adults 18-34. And both networks were close to year-ago levels. 

 

NBC moved ahead of ABC in the three key demos, building year-to-year by as much as 21 percent among adults 25-54 and adults 18-34. Beneficial to NBC this week was a night of ER – the final installment – on Thursday (keep reading). Fifth-place the CW, which aired more originals this week, also perked up in the demos, while last-place MyNetworkTV continues to benefit by the fall arrival of Friday Night Smackdown!

 

There were two series premieres this week: ABC’s unnecessary remake of Cupid (out of the live Dancing With the Stars results show on Tuesday); and Fox catastrophe The Osbournes: Reloaded, which is so bad the network trimmed the first-episode from one hour to 30 minutes out of American Idol on Tuesday (and has yet to schedule the remaining five episodes). Cupid finished third in the Tuesday 10 p.m. hour, with 7.22 million viewers and a 2.3 rating/6 share among adults 18-49 (with retention out of DWTS of 53 percent in total viewers and 74 percent in the demo). The Osbournes: Reloaded out of American Idol, meanwhile, maintained only 34 percent of the total viewers (8.40 vs. 24.41 million) and 42 percent of the adult 18-49 rating (3.7/ 9 vs. 8.9/23). Don’t be surprised if you never see another episode of this nightmare again.

 

In series-finale news, NBC’s veteran ER closed with 16.38 million viewers and a 6.0/16 among adults 18-49 on Thursday from 9-11 p.m. Comparably, that makes ER the most-watched dramatic series-ender since CBS’ Murder, She Wrote concluded with 16.50 million viewers on May 19, 1996; and the highest rated among adults 18-49 since The X-Files on May 19, 2002. And it was NBC’s best performance in the Thursday 9-11 p.m. block since Will & Grace ended on May 18, 2006. All things considered, however, this was not spectacular. 

 

Also on a series-ending note was ABC’s freshman Life on Mars, which earned its cancellation stripes at just 5.64 million viewers and a 2.0/ 6 among adults 18-49 out of Lost on Wednesday. And CBS billed Thursday 10 p.m. drama Eleventh Hour (Viewers: 10.37 million; A18-49: 2.5/ 7) as a season-finale, but not enough retention out of CSI and an older skew means this was probably the last we will ever see of it. Up next in the hour: mystery Harper’s Island.

 

In the specials department was CBS’ comical I Get That a Lot, which won the Wednesday 8 p.m. hour with 10.35 million viewers and a 3.4/10 among adults 18-49 (and was a considerable improvement over regularly scheduled occupants The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried). In other words, expect CBS to order more installments. And there was one night of NCAA Basketball this week, Saturday, and it lifted the Eye net to a hefty 14.80 million viewers and a 5.0 rating/17 share among adults 18-49 on the evening. As I always say, viewers will respond on Saturday if there is something worth watching.

 

Here are the final national ratings for the week of March 30, 2009 (with percent change versus the comparable year-ago week in parentheses), followed by the new midseason series report card and the top 30 rated programs of the week.  

 
-Households:

CBS: 7.6 rating/13 share (+ 6), Fox: 5.7/ 9 (- 3), ABC: 4.6/ 8 (- 6), NBC: 4.5/ 7 (+ 7), CW: 1.4/ 2 (no change), MNTV: 1.0/ 2 (+43)

  
-Total Viewers:

CBS: 12.45 million (+ 8), Fox: 9.66 (no change), ABC: 7.17 (- 6), NBC: 6.88 (+ 9), CW: 2.11 (- 2), MNTV: 1.61 (+68)

 
-Adults 18-49:

Fox: 3.6 rating/10 share (+ 3), CBS: 3.4/10 (no change), NBC: 2.4/ 7 (+20), ABC: 2.1/ 6 (- 5), CW: 1.0/ 3 (+25), MNTV: 0.6/ 2 (+100)

 
-Adults 25-54:

CBS: 4.2/11 (- 2), Fox: 4.1/10 (+ 2), NBC: 2.9/ 7 (+21), ABC: 2.5/ 6 (- 7), CW: 0.9/ 2 (+12), MNTV: 0.6/ 2 (+50)

 
-Adults 18-34:

Fox: 3.1/10 (no change), CBS: 2.4/ 8 (no change), NBC: 1.7/ 6 (+21), ABC: 1.6/ 5 (- 6), CW: 1.1/ 3 (+37), MNT: 0.6/ 2 (+100)

 
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New Midseason Series Scorecard (excluding repeats)

 

Lie to Me (Fox) – Wednesday 8 p.m.  

Viewers: 9.18 million (#30), A18-49: 2.6/ 8 (#35)

 

Castle (ABC) – Monday 10 p.m.  

Viewers: 9.09 million (#31), A18-49: 2.4/ 6 (#38)

 

The Osbournes - Reloaded (Fox) – Tuesday 9:30 p.m. (premiere/preview)

Viewers: 8.40 million (#34), A18-49: 3.7/ 9 (#17t)

 

Cupid (ABC) – Tuesday 10 p.m. (premiere)

Viewers: 7.22 million (#38), A18-49: 2.3/ 6 (#39t)

 

In the Motherhood (ABC) – Thursday 8 p.m.

Viewers: 5.01 million (#57t), A18-49: 1.6/ 5 (#55t)

 

Better Off Ted (ABC) – Wednesday 8:30 p.m.

Viewers: 4.67 million (#64), A18-49: 1.9/ 5 (#46t)

 

Kings (NBC) – Sunday 8 p.m.  

Viewers: 3.62 million (#73), A18-49: 1.1/ 3 (#77t)

 

Dollhouse (Fox) – Friday 9 p.m. 

Viewers: 3.44 million (#76), A18-49: 1.5/ 5 (#61t)

 

Howie Do It (NBC) – Friday 8:30 p.m. 

Viewers: 3.32 million (#77), A18-49: 1.0/ 4 (#80t)

 

Howie Do It (NBC) – Friday 8 p.m. 

Viewers: 3.20 million (#79), A18-49: 0.9/ 3 (#84t)

 
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Top 30 Rankings
 
-Total Viewers:

American Idol – Tuesday (Fox): 24.41 million, American Idol – Wednesday (Fox): 24.34, Dancing With the Stars – Monday (ABC): 20.48, NCIS (CBS): 17.23, The Mentalist (CBS): 16.96, ER (NBC, series finale): 16.38, The 44th Annual ACM Awards (CBS): 14.78, CSI (CBS): 14.63, Two and a Half Men (CBS): 14.56, NCAA Basketball – Saturday (CBS): 14.45, NCAA Basketball – Saturday, Bridge (CBS): 12.95, Dancing With the Stars – Tuesday (ABC): 13.51, CSI: Miami (CBS): 13.46, Without a Trace (CBS): 12.53, House (Fox): 12.51, 60 Minutes (CBS): 12.27, Survivor: Tocantins (CBS): 11.27, 24 (Fox): 11.26, Rules of Engagement (CBS): 11.02, ER Retrospective (NBC): 10.63, Eleventh Hour (CBS, season or series finale): 10.37, I Get That a Lot (CBS): 10.35, CSI: NY R (CBS): 10.06, Criminal Minds R (CBS); 10.03, The Big Bang Theory (CBS): 9.74, Lost (ABC): 9.57, Law & Order: SVU (NBC): 9.37, Bones (Fox): 9.25, How I Met Your Mother (CBS): 9.20, Lie to Me (Fox): 9.18

 
-Adults 18-49:

American Idol – Tuesday (Fox): 8.9 rating/23 share, American Idol – Wednesday (Fox): 8.4/21, ER (NBC, series finale: 6.0/16), Two and a Half Men (CBS): 5.2/13, NCAA Basketball – Saturday (CBS): 5.1/17, Dancing With the Stars – Monday (ABC): 4.9/12, House (Fox): 4.8/13, NCAA Basketball – Saturday, Bridge (CBS): 4.4/16, Lost (ABC): 4.3/11, Rules of Engagement (CBS): 4.1/10, How I Met Your Mother (CBS) and CSI: Miami (CBS): 3.9/10 each, The Big Bang Theory (CBS): 3.8/11, The 44th Annual ACM Awards (CBS) and CSI (CBS): 3.8/10 each, The Mentalist (CBS): 3.8/ 9, 24 (Fox) and The Osbournes: Reloaded (Fox, premiere/preview): 3.7/ 9, Survivor: Tocantins (CBS): 3.6/11, ER Retrospective (NBC): 3.5/10, NCIS (CBS) and The Biggest Loser (NBC): 3.5/ 9 each, I Get That A Lot (CBS): 3.4/10, Law & Order: SVU (NBC): 3.4/ 9, Hell’s Kitchen (Fox): 3.3/ 8, The Simpsons (Fox): 3.1/ 9, Dancing With the Stars – Tuesday (ABC) and Family Guy R (Fox): 3.1/ 8 each, Heroes (NBC): 3.1/ 7

 

Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

______________________________________________________________________________
 

Ratings Box:

What’s Hot/What’s Not
 
-Top Rated Basic Cable Networks – Week of March 30, 2009:

What follows are the top rated basic cable networks in prime-time based on total viewers, adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and adults 18-34 for the week of March 30:

 
Total Viewers:

USA: 2.88 million, Fox News: 2.36, TBS: 1.89, Nick at Nite and ESPN: 1.54 each, TNT: 1.48, FX and A&E: 1.39 each, Spike: 1.25, Lifetime: 1.23

 
Adults 18-49:

USA: 1.29 million, TBS: 1.05 million, FX: 820,000, Spike: 717,000, TNT: 706,000, VH1: 655,000, ESPN: 648,000, Comedy Central: 615,000, A&E: 600,000, Sci Fi: 583,000

 
Adults 25-54:

USA: 1.35 million, TBS: 907,000, TNT: 747,000, FX: 725,000, Spike: 683,000, ESPN: 656,000, Sci Fi: 646,000, A&E: 616,000, Discovery: 566,000, Fox News: 539,000

 
Adults 18-34:

TBS: 598,000, USA: 576,000, FX: 422,000, MTV: 401,000, VH1: 392,000, Comedy Central: 379,000, Spike TV: 377,000, TNT: 319,000, Nick at Nite: 307,000, ESPN: 306,000

 

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

_______________________________________________________________________________
 

On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options

 
Wednesday 4/08/09
 
ABC:
 8:00 p.m. Scrubs
 8:30 p.m. Better Off Ted
 9:00 p.m. Lost

10:00 p.m. The Unusuals (premiere)

  
CBS:

 8:00 p.m. The New Adventures of Old Christine

 8:30 p.m. Gary Unmarried  

 9:00 p.m. Criminal Minds
10:00 p.m. CSI: NY
 
NBC:
 8:00 p.m. Law & Order (R)
 9:00 p.m. Life (season or series finale)

10:00 p.m. Law & Order (R)

 
Fox:
 8:00 p.m. Lie to Me

 9:00 p.m. American Idol

 
CW:

 8:00 p.m. America’s Next Top Model

 9:00 p.m. America’s Next Top Model Clips Show

 
MTNV

 8:00 p.m. World’s Funniest Moments (R)

 9:00 p.m. Comics Unleashed

 9:30 p.m. Comics Unleashed

 
New Series Descriptions
 
The Unusuals (ABC)
 
-The Scoop:

Described as M*A*S*H meets Hill Street Blues, frantic life at NYPD’s 2nd Precinct is the focus of this new ensemble dramedy. Amber Tamblyn, Adam Goldberg and Terry Kinney star.

 
-The Reality:

ABC certainly struck gold with the similarly sounding NYPD Blue, which aired for 12 seasons. And what could work for The Unusuals is taking a lighter approach to the more traditionally grittier sounding crime dramas. But recent occupant Life on Mars, which is also crime-themed, came and quickly went. The competition -- CBS’ CSI: NY and NBC’s veteran Law & Order -- are also crime solvers. And Hill Street Blues was never exactly a ratings hit. While leading out of Lost brings an ample number of young adults 18-49 into the time period, ABC may have to exercise some patience if it wants The Unusuals to succeed. 

 
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TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest

 

-NBC Downgrades Kings to Saturday:

Mirroring early season freshman entry Crusoe, which started on Friday and ended up finishing its run on Saturday, NBC will move recently introduced drama Kings from Sunday at 8 p.m. to Saturday at 8 p.m. beginning on April 18. Season to-date, Kings is averaging a mere 5.28 million viewers with a 1.5 rating/4 share among adults 18-49 (and those results will only get worse once Kings relocates to low-HUT level Saturday). Sunday 7 p.m. occupant Dateline will expand two-hours in place of Kings. 

 

-The Daytime Emmy Awards Heads to the CW:

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) has announced that the CW will be home of The 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, which will air from the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, Aug. 30. The annual event is a collaboration between Associated Television International (ATI), NATAS and MGM Worldwide Television, which is responsible for the worldwide distribution of the program. Nominations for The Daytime Emmy Awards will be announced on Thursday, May 14. 

 

-Are You Kidding Me?

Fox has ordered a new reality/competition called Someone’s Gotta Go, which will feature employees at a downsizing firm competing to see who is fired. They will be given access to salaries, budgets and HR files, and each episode will focus on one small company. No official air-date has been announced yet. For my thoughts on this show (and, no, it is not positive), click on www.marcberman.tv for today’s PIPodcast.

 

-More High School Reunion:

TV Land has renewed addictive reality series High School Reunion for a third season, with eight new episodes scheduled for third quarter 2009.

 

-A&E Renewals:

A&E has ordered a second season of forensic crime solving Crime 360, which returns on Thursday, May 21 at 10 p.m. ET; and a seventh installment of the Intervention franchise, which opens on Monday, May 25 at 9 p.m. ET.

 

-Coming Up on ABC Family:

ABC Family, which rose to its highest rated quarter ever in the just completed 1Q 2009, has unveiled its upcoming programming initiatives for this summer and next season. Three new scripted series will join the growing roster of regularly scheduled programs: drama Make It Or Break It, which follows a group of teen Olympic hopefuls as they train; 10 Things I Hate About You, which is based on the 1999 theatrical about two very different high school aged sisters; and Ruby & the Rockits, a comedy about a former teen idol who has chosen to live a quiet life with his wife and two sons. The launch dates are as follows:

 

Make It Or Break It: Monday, June 22, 9 p.m. ET

10 Things I Hate About You: Tuesday, July 7, 8 p.m. ET

Ruby & the Rockits: Tuesday, July 21, 8:30 p.m. ET

 

On the original movie front at ABC Family is Labor Pains with Lindsay Lohan (Sunday, July 19, 9 p.m. ET); and Santa Baby with Jenny McCarthy (which will air during the cable net’s 12th Annual 25 Days of Christmas themed programming in December). The first 10 days in August will be themed “Campus Crush,” which will feature the latest installment from the Legally Blonde movie franchise. And returning series will consist of The Secret Life of the American Teenager (Monday, June 22, 8 p.m. ET), Lincoln Heights (Tuesday, August 14, 9 p.m. ET) and Greek (Monday, Sept. 14, 9 p.m. ET).

 
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TV Trivia Time:

Happy Passover!

 

Which TV character would be the least likely to be leaving early for a Passover Seder tonight?

 
Joel Fleishman
Ellenor Frutkin
Greg Maxwell
Hesh Rabkin
Andrea Zuckerman
 
 

The answer to yesterday’s question…

 

Remember the episode of I Love Lucy when the Ricardos and Mertzes are on the road en route to Cincinnati? What food item did they see advertised on billboards for miles on end?

 
Caramel apples
Jelly beans
Pecan pralines
Pretzels
Salt water taffy
 

Is: c) Pecan pralines. Not only did they not get to sample any of these tasty treats, the gang of four ended up at Mr. Skinner’s rickety motel.  Remember that moving bed?

 

-Current kudos goes to:
Gerry Bixenspan, Kimay Bloch, Larry Collins, Ellen Foust, Adam Goldberg, Maureen Goldman, Michael Grewe, Kerry Hughes (2x), Bob Ingersoll, Deb Kainer, Debbie Mirr, Kristen Signore, Robyn Swart, Laura Velazquez