Barbara Walters Lifts ABC to Thursday Victory

Friday, December 5, 2008
Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:
Barbara Walters Lifts ABC to Victory
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options 
TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
Executive Shuffle
TV Trivia Time:
From Network to Syndication
Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:
Barbara Walters Lifts ABC to Victory
Thursday 12/04/08
ABC 8.5/14
CBS   8.4/13
NBC 4.6/ 7
Fox    2.9/ 4
CW    1.7/ 3

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, December 6, 2007):

ABC: – 3, NBC: – 8, CW: -11, CBS: -13, Fox: -41

Note: The fast affiliate results for Thursday 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 Thursday, December 4, 2008.   

-Yesterday’s Winners:

Survivor: Gabon (CBS), CSI (CBS), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008 (ABC)

-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):
My Name is Earl (NBC), Kath & Kim (NBC)
-Ratings Breakdown:

Ignited by annual special Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008, ABC inched past CBS for Thursday overnight dominance. In the distant No. 3 spot was NBC, followed by Fox and the CW.


CBS’ veteran Survivor: Gabon won the 8 p.m. hour, with a 7.0 rating/11 share in the overnights. But compared to the year-ago edition set in China (8.0/13 on Dec. 6, 2007), that was down by 12 percent. Even so, this is still a winning performance. 


Second at 8 p.m. was ABC’s Ugly Betty (6.2/10: down 13 percent from one year earlier), followed by NBC sitcoms My Name is Earl (4.3/ 7) and Kath & Kim (3.5/ 5), which dipped by 19 percent from Earl despite the higher HUT levels at 8:30 p.m. As long as NBC just trimmed the episode order for Knight Rider, why not use the scissors on the abysmal Kath & Kim? Do we really need 22-episodes? Fourth in the hour was a repeat of Fox’s uneventful Kitchen Nightmares (2.8/ 4), followed by a repeat of the CW’s Smallville (1.9/ 3). Get used to the word repeat…its December.


First at 9 p.m., of course, was CBS’ CSI at a 10.8/17 (down 10 percent from one year earlier), followed by Grey’s Anatomy on ABC at a 9.8/15 (down 13 percent). In the distant No. 3 spot, as usual, were NBC sitcoms The Office (4.8/ 7) and 30 Rock (4.3/ 7), which always generate some interest among adults 18-49, followed by another repeat of Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares (3.0/ 5) and a repeat of the CW’s Supernatural (1.5/ 2). As for 30 Rock last night, I have to be honest…I laughed my head off! Liz Lemon in that flashback was a riot!


ABC moved into the 10 p.m. overnight winner’s circle care of Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008 at a solid 9.5/16. Comparably, that built from the year-ago telecast (8.1/13 on Dec. 6, 2007) by 17 percent. Just curious…what did Tom Cruise do this year that was so fascinating?


Second at 10 p.m. was CBS’ Eleventh Hour (7.6/12), which held 65 percent of the 9:30 p.m. portion of CSI (11.0/17), followed by NBC’s soon-to-conclude ER (5.5/ 9). As announced yesterday, upcoming Ian McShane drama Kings will move into ER’s time period on March 12.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Series-High for Paris Hilton’s My New BFF:

The season-finale of Paris Hilton’s My New BFF on MTV rose to a series-high 1.8 rating among key persons 12-34 on Tuesday, Dec. 2. Comparably, that built from its prior four-week average by 54 percent in the demo.

-Top 10 Rated Programs in Syndication – Week of Nov. 17:

What follows is the top tier in syndication nationally for the week of Nov. 17 based on households (AA – average audience), followed by any highlights of note:


Wheel of Fortune (CBS Television Distribution): 7.7 rating

Jeopardy (CBS): 6.1
Oprah (CBS): 5.8
Two and a Half Men (Warner Bros.): 5.5

Entertainment Tonight (CBS) and Judge Judy (CBS): 4.5 each

Family Guy (Twentieth Television): 4.3
CSI: NY (CBS): 3.8

Dr. Phil (CBS) and Seinfeld (Sony Pictures Television): 3.6 each


-CBS Television Distribution’s freshman The Doctors (a Mr. TV favorite) rose to a record 1.9 rating in households — its third consecutive weekly high. Comparably, that was up by 12 percent from one week earlier and a massive 46 percent from the series-premiere in September. That makes The Doctors the fastest growing first-run strip in all of syndication. 


-Inside Edition and The Insider, also from CBS, both hit season highs. Inside Edition, hosted by Deborah Norville (another Mr. TV favorite) increased to a 3.1 in households – up three percent from one week earlier. And The Insider scored a 2.0, a jump of five percent.


-Two and a Half Men extended its dominance in the off-net sitcom category to 57 consecutive weeks in households, with a season-high 5.5; and 61 straight weeks among adults 25-54, with a 3.6 in the demo. 


-Warner Bros.’ sophomore TMZ scored a 2.1 in households – up 24 percent from the year-ago week. Demographic growth was as much as 40 percent among adults 18-49 (1.0 to 1.4).

Source: Nielsen Media Research data
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On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options
Friday 12/05/08

 8:00 p.m. Movie: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (R)

10:00 p.m. 20/20

 8:00 p.m. Ghost Whisperer

 9:00 p.m. Numb3rs (R)

10:00 p.m. Numb3rs

 8:00 p.m. Greatest Holiday Moments: TV & Film Countdown 

 9:00 p.m. Crusoe
10:00 p.m. Dateline (season premiere)

 8:00 p.m. Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

 9:00 p.m. Don’t Forget the Lyrics


 8:00 p.m. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer (R)

 9:00 p.m. The Story of Santa Claus (R) 


 8:00 p.m. Friday Night Smackdown!

7:00 p.m. Movie – Prey of the Jaguar (R, from 7 p.m.)

 9:00 p.m. Movie – Bloodknot (R)

Saturday 12/06/08
8:00 p.m. Saturday Night Football: Big XII Championship

 8:00 p.m. Eleventh Hour (R)

 9:00 p.m. Criminal Minds (R)

10:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery

 8:00 p.m. Knight Rider (R)

 9:00 p.m. Law & Order (R)

10:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (R)
 8:00 p.m. Cops
 9:00 p.m. America’s Most Wanted

 8:00 p.m. Movie: Miracle on 34th Street (R)


 8:00 p.m. Movie – Lonesome Dove (R, part one – from 7 p.m.)

 9:00 p.m. Movie – Lonesome Dove (R, part two)

Sunday 12/07/08

 7:00 p.m. Ty Pennington: Behind the Scenes

 8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

 9:00 p.m. Desperate Housewives

10:00 p.m. Brothers & Sisters

 7:00 p.m. 60 Minutes

 8:00 p.m. The Amazing Race (season finale)

 9:00 p.m. Movie – Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Front of the Class


 7:00 p.m. Football Night in America 

 8:25 p.m. Sunday Night Football: New England at Seattle

 7:00 p.m. NFL Football Prime-time Overrun
 7:30 p.m. The OT

 8:00 p.m. All-State BCS Selection Show

 8:30 p.m. The Simpsons

 9:00 p.m. Family Guy (R)

 9:30 p.m. American Dad (R)


 7:00 p.m. Jericho (R)

 8:00 p.m. Sunday Movie: The Cutting Edge

7:00 p.m. Movie – Prey of the Jaguar (R, from 7 p.m.)

 9:00 p.m. Movie – Bloodknot (R)

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
-Freshman Series Update:

Here is an updated status report of the freshman 2008 entries:


Life on Mars: moving to Wednesday at 10 p.m. out of Lost in January

Opportunity Knocks: pulled from the schedule and not expected back


The Ex List: canceled; Canadian drama Flashpoint will fill the Friday 9 p.m. hour in January

Eleventh Hour: five additional episodes ordered, bringing the total to 18

Gary Unmarried: renewed for seven additional episodes, plus two more scripts

The Mentalist: full season pick-up; the new hit of the season

Worst Week: three additional episodes ordered, bringing the total to 16

America’s Toughest Jobs: gone and quickly forgotten
Crusoe: moving to Saturday to burn off the final episodes
Kath & Kim: full season pick-up despite anemic ratings
Knight Rider: episode order trimmed from 22 to 17

My Own Worst Enemy: canceled; final episode scheduled for Dec. 15

Do Not Disturb: first freshman cancellation of the season

Fringe: full season pick-up; airing out of American Idol in first quarter 2009 will give it a boost

Hole in the Wall: moving into the Sunday 7 p.m. hour on Jan. 18


Easy Money (MRC): canceled and replaced with a repeat of Jericho

In Harm’s Way (MRC): canceled and replaced with a Sunday movie

90210: full season pick-up

Privileged: five more episodes ordered, bringing total to 18

Stylista: no chance of surviving past season one

Valentine (MRC): canceled and replaced with a Sunday movie

-More Californication:

Showtime has renewed David Duchovny sitcom Californication for a third season, with an order for 12 additional episodes. Production will begin next spring.

-Brady Bunch Marathon on TV Land:

TV Land will ring in the New Year with The Jan First Brady Marathon, a six-hour (12-episode) block of episodes from classic The Brady Bunch focused on troubled middle daughter Jan (Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!). In other TV Land news, the new season of non-scripted High School Reunion will return on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 10 p.m. ET.

-On a Sad Note:

Paul Benedict, the actor who played wacky neighbor Harry Bentley on sitcom The Jeffersons has passed away. He was 70 years-old. Benedict began his acting career in the 1960s in the Theatre Company of Boston and was most recently seen in 2008 comedy Side by Each. 

Executive Shuffle

Bernie Young has been promoted to EVP and General Manager of Broadcasting for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. In his new role, Young will be responsible for the company’s television programming and operations, including NBC Universal’s Martha; Everyday Food and Everyday Baking from Everyday Food on PBS; and Whatever, Martha! on Fine Living Network. MSLO, in addition, has promoted Liz Aiello to SVP Broadcasting and Omnimedia Content Strategy. Her new responsibilities will include maximizing cross-platform opportunities, while continuing to oversee all aspects of Martha Stewart Living Radio.

TV Trivia Time:
From Network to Syndication

Which one of the following short-lived network crime dramas continued in first-run syndication for one season?

a) Get Christie Love
b) Joe Forrester
c) Martial Law
d) Private Eye
e) Sirens
The answer to yesterday’s trivia question…

Which Academy Award winning actress played an early love interest for John Boy on The Waltons?

a) Sally Field
b) Jodie Foster
c) Holly Hunter
d) Marlee Matlin
e) Sissy Spacek

Is: e) Sissy Spacek, who appeared as troubled Sarah Jane Simmons in two episodes. 

-Current kudos goes to:

Mark Amato, Michelle Bergen, Barbara Berman, Sheila Berman, Gerry Bixenspan, Lisa Brause, Paul Certo, Larry Collins (2x), Sue Doron, Maureen Goldman, Bob Ingersoll, David Jackino, Synda Kollman, Charmaine Leary, Gordon Purcell, Lisa Tatum-Roehrig, Colleen Roth, Neal Sabin, Ted Zawislak