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The Programming Insider: Thursday 4/14/11

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Prime-Time Metered Market Wednesday Ratings: Fox Wins; Mixed Results for Two-Episode Happy Endings Debut on ABC. Wednesday 4/13/11 - Household Rating/Share: Fox: 12.4/19, CBS: 7.1/11, ABC: 4.6/ 7, NBC: 2.7/ 4, CW: 1.5/ 2.

Yesterday’s Winners: American Idol (Fox), Criminal Minds (CBS), Modern Family (ABC); Honorable Mention: Survivor: Redemption Island (CBS); Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats): Minute to Win It (NBC), America’s Next Top Model (CW), Better With You (ABC), Shedding for the Wedding (CW), Breaking In (Fox), Happy Endings – 10 p.m. (ABC).

Ratings Breakdown: In what will remain a pattern through the end of the traditional TV season in May, American Idol-ignited Fox led the overnight midweek troops, with a hefty 5.3 rating point advantage over second-place CBS.  In the distant No. 3 spot was ABC, followed by NBC and The CW.

A 90-minute edition of American Idol earned its blockbuster stripes with a 14.8 rating/23 share in the overnights from 8-9:30 p.m., building by half-hour as follows: 13.9/22 -- 15.0/23 -- 15.6/23.  That led into week two of sitcom Breaking In, which dipped to third, with a 5.1/ 8 at 9:30 p.m.  Comparably, that was a loss of 20 percent for Breaking Out from it’s week-ago opener (6.4/10 on April 6).  And retention out of the 9 p.m. portion of American Idol was only 33 percent.

Second-place CBS kicked-off the evening with a double eviction episode of Survivor: Redemption Island at a still respectable 6.5/10 in the overnights at 8 p.m.  Although I won’t say who is now sitting at Redemption Island with Matt, it may take a couple of more episodes for things to really get interesting.

Survivor led into underrated Criminal Minds at a second-place 8.5/13 at 9 p.m., followed by recently introduced spin-off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior at a dominant 6.3/10.  While victory is, of course, a positive worth noting, retention for Suspect Behavior out of the 9:30 p.m. portion of Criminal Minds (9.2/14) was lacking at 68 percent.  Needless to say, CBS can do better here next season and my suggestion is to move crime solver Blue Bloods back into the hour.

In series-premiere news, a 9:30 p.m. preview edition of ABC sitcom Happy Endings got sampled with a second-place 5.3/ 8 in the overnights.  And that held a respectable 75 percent of the Modern Family lead-in (#3: 7.1/11 at 9 p.m.), which will finish second in the time period among adults 18-49.  But the problem was the regularly scheduled 10 p.m. edition of Happy Endings, which dipped to a distant second-place 4.1/ 7.  And that led into a repeat of Modern Family at a third-place 3.3/ 6 at 10:30 p.m.  As I have said all along, there is no need for any network to be running a three-hour sitcom block. 

Next Wednesday, Cougar Town returns to the 9:30 p.m. half-hour, followed by Happy Endings and the Modern Family encore.

Earlier in the evening on ABC was The Middle (#3: 4.5/ 7) and on-the-fence Better With You (#3: 3.4/ 5) from 8-9 p.m., which dipped by 24 percent despite the higher HUT level at 8:30 p.m.

Over at NBC, game show Minute to Win It continues to get squashed at 8 p.m., with a fourth-place 2.3/ 4 in the overnights.  Next was an unnecessary repeat of Minute to Win It (#4: 2.1/ 4 at 9 p.m.), followed by a repeat of Law & Order: SVU at a second-place 3.7/ 6 at 10 p.m.

The CW’s once reliable America’s Next Top Model has sprung a leak, with a last-place 1.9/ 3 in the overnights at 8 p.m.  Comparably, that was down by 32 percent from one year earlier (2.8/ 5 on April 14, 2010).  That led into the series-finale of colossal dud Shedding for the Wedding at a 1.1/ 2 (#5) at 9 p.m.  Effective next Wednesday, America’s Next Top Model moves to 9 p.m., leading out of an encore telecast of the reality/competition.  Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box: What’s Hot/What’s Not

Absence Does Not Make the Ratings Heart Grow Fonder: Two episodes of NBC’s retooled Law & Order: Los Angeles fell flat on Monday, with just 6.10 million viewers (#3) and a 1.5 rating/4 share among adults 18-49 (#4 at 9 p.m., #3 at 10 p.m.) in the Monday 9-11 p.m. block.  Beginning next week, Law & Order: Los Angeles will air Mondays at 10 p.m. out of The Event. 

Also on Monday:  The 9 p.m. test of CBS freshman sitcom Mike & Molly was not successful, with a series-low 7.90 million viewers (#2) and a 2.5/ 6 among adults 18-49 (#2).  Whole that did build by double-digits out of failing lead-in Mad Love (Viewers: #3, 5.48 million; A18-49: #3, 1.9/ 5 at 8:30 p.m.), one year earlier Two and a Half Men averaged 13.71 million viewers with a 4.7/13 in the demo in the time period.

Lackluster Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC: Although ABC is billing the second season-premiere of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on Tuesday (at 8 p.m. ET/PT) as the second most-watched episode ever, it only finished third in total viewers (5.36 million) and adults 18-49 (1.5/ 5) in the time period.  And that happened to be opposite a repeat of Fox’s Glee, which returns in an original next week. Source: Nielsen Media Research data

TV Tidbits: Notes of Interest

Jane By Design on ABC Family: ABC Family has picked-up an additional one-hour scripted drama called Jane By Design, which will follow a teenager named Jane who lands a job at a hip retail company after being mistaken for an adult.  Jane soon finds herself juggling her newfound career with life as a high school student.  It is set to premiere in early 2012.  The previously announced new product at ABC Family are one-hour dramas The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Switched at Birth and The Lying Game; and half-hour sitcom State of Georgia. 

Heartland on GMC: Uplifting music and entertainment-driven Gospel Music Channel (GMC) has acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to Canadian drama Heartland, which is described as a “modern-day Little House on the Prairie.”  It premieres on GMC tonight with back-to-back episodes beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

HGTV Beefs Up Original Programming Slate: Guilty pleasure cable net HGTV has announced an aggressive slate of new programming for 2011-12.  If you are a fan of House Hunters (and, come on now, who isn’t?), upcoming House Hunters on Vacation will feature one family per episode as they go on a trip of a lifetime to tour three homes.  And if you happen to enjoy Selling New York, a Mr. TV, favorite, Selling LA will feature the crème of the high-end real estate crop in sunny California.  Also upcoming at HGTV is Room Crashers; My Yard Goes Disney, with backyard makeovers inspired by Disney characters; makeover series HGTV’d with host Tanika Ray; Home by Novogratz, which follows the husband and wife design team of Robert and Courtney Novogratz; interactive series Run My Makeover; Dina’s Party, hosted by Real Housewive of New Jersey Dina Manzo; competition series All American Handyman; and The High Low Project, with Sabrina Soto.

Premiering on NBC Tonight – The Paul Resier Show: In what sounds like NBC’s version of Curb Your Enthusiasm, former Mad About You star Paul Reiser plays Paul Reiser – a former television star who feels he needs something more to do than just spending quality time with his family.