CBS Dominates the Wednesday Overnights; ABC and NBC Continue to Struggle

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Prime-Time Metered Market Wednesday Ratings:
CBS Wins; ABC and NBC Continue to Struggle
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options 
TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
Remembering Matthew Rodriguez
TV Trivia Time:
A Designing Actress
Prime-Time Metered Market Wednesday Ratings:
CBS Wins; ABC and NBC Continue to Struggle
Wednesday 11/19/08
CBS   8.2/13
Fox    5.5/ 9
ABC 4.4/ 7
NBC 4.1/ 7
CW    2.7/ 4

Note: Year-to-year overnight comparisons were not available.


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, November 20, 2008.   

-Yesterday’s Winners:
Bones (Fox), Criminal Minds (CBS), CSI: NY (CBS)
-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

Pushing Daisies (ABC), Knight Rider (NBC), Life (NBC), Stylista (CW), Dirty Sexy Money (ABC)

-Ratings Breakdown:

CBS led this third Wednesday of the Nov. 2008 sweeps, beating second-place Fox by 3.7 rating points in the overnights. In the distant No. 3 spot was a very disappointing ABC, followed by lagging NBC and the CW, which featured the season-finale of America’s Next Top Model. Amazing how quickly the seasons pass for all these reality/competitions.


First in the 8 p.m. hour was Fox’s always reliable Bones, with a 6.9 rating/11 share in the overnights. As a reminder, Bones will be moving to Thursday at 8 p.m. (into returning Hell’s Kitchen) in first quarter 2009. Next were CBS sitcoms The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried, each with a respectable 5.1/ 8, followed by the aforementioned season-finale of America’s Next Top Model on the CW (3.7/ 6), NBC’s failing Knight Rider (3.4/ 5), and ABC’s waiting-to-be axed Pushing Daisies (series-low 3.4/ 6). From a ratings perspective, this was not the best season for Top Model. But versus one week earlier, both The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried were each up by 16 percent (5.1 vs. 4.4/ 7).


CBS moved into the overnight winner’s circle at 9 p.m., care of Criminal Minds at a 10.4/16. Second was ABC’s Private Practice (5.4/ 9), which built from the second half of lead-in Pushing Daisies (3.2/ 5 at 8:30 p.m.) by 69 percent and is wisely moving into the Thursday 10 p.m. hour (out of parent Grey’s Anatomy) in first quarter. 


Also airing from 9-10 p.m. was a repeat of Fox’s House (4.2/ 7), NBC’s failing Life (3.4/ 5), which received a full season order despite the anemic ratings, and the CW’s lackluster Stylista (1.7/ 2).


Episode No. 100 of CBS’ CSI: NY (time flies, doesn’t it?) won the 10 p.m. hour, with a 9.1/15 in the overnights. Next was NBC’s veteran Law & Order (5.6/10), which remains down year-to-year but did grow from the second half of lead-in Life (3.3/ 5 at 9:30 p.m.) by 70 percent. And ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money, which has yet to be picked-up for the full season, capped off the time period with a last-place 4.3/ 7. Too bad more viewers have not discovered this addictive pleasure.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Season to-Date Ratings Update:

Based on national ratings in prime-time through the first eight weeks of the season (Sept. 22 – Nov. 16, 2008), here is how the five broadcast networks are faring in households and adults 18-49 (with change versus the comparable year-ago period in parentheses). CBS is first in households, while ABC and CBS are tied for dominance among adults 18-49. The five networks, on average, are down by 10 percent in households and 12 percent among adults 18-49, with female-driven the CW posting the biggest losses.


CBS: 7.2 rating/12 share (- 4), ABC: 6.5/11 (-11), NBC: 4.8/ 8 (- 9), Fox: 4.8/ 8 (-16), CW: 1.5/ 2 (-21)

Adults 18-49:

CBS: 3.1/ 8 (- 6), ABC: 3.1/ 8 (-14), Fox: 2.9/ 8 (-15), NBC: 2.8/ 8 (-13), CW: 1.0/ 3 (-17)

-The Two Mr. Kissels Scores on Lifetime:

Lifetime original movie, The Two Mr. Kissels, debuted on Saturday, Nov. 15 with an above-average 3.3 household rating, 4.2 million viewers, and 1.3 million viewers in both the women 18-49 and women 25-54 demographics. Comparably, that placed it second among all original movies on Lifetime in 2008 (behind The Memory Keeper’s Daughter) in both female demos.

-Strong Start for Legend of the Seeker:

Based on national ratings for the weekend of Nov. 1 and 2, new Disney-ABC first-run weekly Legend of the Seeker debuted as the top-rated scripted hour in first-run syndication with a 4.1 household rating (GAA – gross average audience) and 5.8 million viewers. Comparably, this was the strongest debut for any first-run scripted weekly since Andromeda in 2000.

-Record The Real Housewives of Atlanta:

Based on national ratings for Tuesday, November 18, Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta closed the season with a record high 2.21 million total viewers and 1.11 million adults 18-49, finishing first for the day on basic cable in the demo. Comparably, that was up by 48 percent and 51 percent, respectively, from the prior week’s telecast.


-Top 10 Rated Ad-Supported Cable Networks – Week of Nov. 10:

What follows is the top tier in ad-supported cable broken out by total viewers, adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and adults 18-34.

Total Viewers:

ESPN: 3.42 million, USA: 2.61, Fox News: 2.49, TBS: 2.06, TNT: 1.76, Comedy Central: 1.65, Nick at Nite: 1.64, Lifetime: 1.57, Cartoon Network: 1.41, CNN: 1.38

Adults 18-49:

ESPN: 1.74 million, USA: 1.36 million, TBS: 1.13 million, Comedy Central: 923,000, TNT: 801,000, FX: 675,000, Lifetime: 665,000, Discovery: 653,000, TLC: 638,000, A&E: 603,000

Adults 25-54:

ESPN: 1.70 million, USA: 1.36 million, TBS: 1.04 million, TNT: 836,000, Comedy Central: 786,000, Lifetime: 697,000, A&E: 659,000, Discovery: 643,000, FX: 619,000, TLC: 584,000

Adults 18-34:

ESPN: 831,000, USA: 650,000, TBS: 594,000, Comedy Central: 541,000, MTV: 361,000, TNT: 351,000, VH1: 349,000, FX: 336,000, Nick at Nite: 327,000, TLC: 320,000

Source: Nielsen Media Research data
On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options
Thursday 11/20/08
Night 22 of the Nov. 2008 Sweeps

 8:00 p.m. Ugly Betty

 9:00 p.m. Grey’s Anatomy

10:00 p.m. Life On Mars


 8:00 p.m. Survivor: Gabon

 9:00 p.m. CSI
10:00 p.m. Eleventh Hour

 8:00 p.m. My Name is Earl

 8:30 p.m. Kath & Kim

 9:00 p.m. The Office

 9:30 p.m. 30 Rock
10:00 p.m. ER

 8:00 p.m. Kitchen Nightmares

 9:00 p.m. Kitchen Nightmares (R)


 8:00 p.m. Smallville 

 9:00 p.m. Supernatural 


 8:00 p.m. Movie: Men in Black 2 (R)


 8:00 p.m. Boston Legal (R)

 9:00 p.m. Movie: AntiTrust

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; no official replacement announced yet

Eleventh Hour: continues to lose about one-third of its CSI lead-in

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: cancellation is inevitable

Kath & Kim: full season pick-up despite anemic ratings

Knight Rider: full season pick-up; in the process of being revamped for first quarter

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 will give it a boost

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


Easy Money (MRC): production halted; repeats filling the time period

In Harm’s Way (MRC): production halted; repeats filling the time period

90210: full season pick-up

Privileged: five more episodes ordered, bringing total to 18

Stylista: no chance of surviving past season one

Valentine (MRC): production halted; repeats filling the time period

Remembering Matthew Rodriguez

It is with great sadness to report the passing of Twentieth Television marketing executive Matthew Rodriguez, who died on Nov. 14 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a brief battle with cancer. Rodriguez, 39, who joined Twentieth in 1994 and was most recently senior vice president, marketing and creative, was responsible for overseeing all consumer and corporate marketing and promotional activities for the distributor’s entire library of first-run and off-net programs. He also managed all marketing activities for MyNetworkTV.


In memory, the life of Matthew Rodriguez will be celebrated in an event on Friday, Nov. 21 at 10:30 a.m. PT at the Zanuck Theater on the Fox Studios Lot in Los Angeles. Please RSVP to by noon on Thursday November 20th.


In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations for the Downtown Dog Rescue at



TV Trivia Time:
A Designing Actress

Who played Consuela, Suzanne’s housekeeper on Designing Women?

a) Alice Ghostley
b) Shelley Morrison
c) Betsy Palmer
d) Tessie Santiago

e) No one did. She was never seen.

The answer to yesterday’s question…

Which one of the following actors did not appear in the pilot of NBC’s long running Law & Order?

a) Dann Florek
b) Steven Hill
c) Michael Moriarty
d) Chris Noth
e) Paul Sorvino

Is: e) Paul Sorvino (Mira’s Dad), who joined Law & Order as Det. Phil Profaci in the second season and only stayed for one year.

-Current kudos goes to:

Gerry Bixenspan, Harold Cooper, Bob Eisenstaedt, Adam Giagni, Maureen Goldman, Bob Ingersoll, Deb Kainer, Synda Kollman, Kathy McClung, Jim Moore, Michael Natale, Gordon Purcell, Joe Rubi, Neal Sabin, Michelle Stanton, Larry Winstock