Fox’s Idol Juggernaut Continues

Thursday, February 5, 2009
Prime-Time Metered Market Wednesday Ratings:
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not

On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options 


Remembering David Waldon

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
TV Trivia Time:

A Fine TV Tune

Hefty Victory for the Home of American Idol
Wednesday 2/04/09


Fox   11.3/18
CBS    5.3/ 9
ABC   4.5/ 7
NBC   4.4/ 7

CW    0.8/ 1


-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008):
ABC: + 2, Fox: -10, CBS: -15, NBC: -28, CW: -43


Note: The fast affiliate results for Wednesday will be posted at PIFeedback by 12 p.m. ET (if there are no further delays). Go to the website, click on Ratings Box (the first category), then Last Night’s Results, and Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009.   

-Yesterday’s Winners:

American Idol (Fox), Lie to Me (Fox), Law & Order (NBC)

-Down But Far From Out:
Lost (ABC)

-Yesterday’s Losers (Excluding Repeats):

Knight Rider (NBC), Katie Couric: All Access Grammy Special (CBS), Life (NBC), Life on Mars (ABC)

-Ratings Breakdown:

Fox, of course, got over the Wednesday “hump” in winning fashion care of old faithful American Idol, which was just chock full of silly drama last night. In the distant No. 2 spot in the overnights was CBS, followed by ABC, NBC and miniscule the CW. 


American Idol kicked-off the evening with a hefty 14.5 rating/23 share from 8-9 p.m. Compared to one year earlier (15.2/24 on Feb. 6, 2008), that was a decline of just five percent. Comparably, in fact, American Idol beat the four competing networks combined by 10 percent in the overnights. Take a look:

-Wednesday 8 p.m.
American Idol (Fox): 14.5/23
Criminal Minds R (CBS): 6.0/10
Lost R (ABC): 3.2/ 5
Knight Rider (NBC): 3.1/ 5
Privileged R (CW): 0.9/ 2

Fox remained in the overnight winner’s circle at 9 p.m., with recently introduced drama Lie to Me at an 8.0/13. As good as that sounds, keep in mind that retention out of the second half of lead-in American Idol (15.6/24 at 8:30 p.m.) was just 51 percent. But the dominance still qualifies it as a “winner.” Let’s see how it stacks up opposite ABC’s Lost in the demo. 


Second in the overnights from 9-10 p.m. was Lost (6.3/10), which is down year-to-year but still a draw among adults 18-49. Next was CBS’ Katie Couric: All Access Grammy Special at a 4.9/ 8, followed by NBC’s Life (4.0/ 6), which could be facing eventual death, and a repeat of 90210 on the CW (0.9/ 1). Although CBS is trying to morph Katie Couric into its own version of Barbara Walters, let’s be honest: outside of her more established morning personality there is just something missing. 


NBC moved into the overnight winner’s circle at 10 p.m. care of granddaddy Law & Order (6.1/11), which built from lead-in Life by a hefty 52 percent. Keep in mind that CBS’ competing CSI: NY (5.2/ 8) was a repeat. Third was ABC’s relocated Life on Mars (4.0/ 7), which dipped by a considerable 37 percent from lead-in Lost. Needless to say, Life on Mars is just not working. 

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box:

What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Soft Results for NBC’s Revamped Monday:

Based on the final national ratings for Monday, Feb. 2, the return of NBC’s Chuck, Heroes and Medium

were all particularly disappointing given the mass promotion on Super Bowl XLIII just one night earlier. Overall, the network finished fourth for the evening in both total viewers (8.52 million) and adults 18-49 (3.3/ 8). Here were the individual program results:

8:00 p.m. Chuck (Return)

Viewers: 8.45 million (#4), A18-49: 3.0/ 7 (#4)

9:00 p.m. Heroes (Return)

Viewers: 8.55 million (#4), A18-49: 4.0/ 9 (#3)


8:00 p.m. Medium (Season Premiere)

Viewers: 8.56 million (#2), A18-49: 2.9/ 7 (#3)

-Final Tuesday Nationals:

Led by juggernaut American Idol, it was another easy victory for Fox on Tuesday. But repeats of NCIS and The Mentalist kept CBS afloat and NBC continues to benefit by an above-average rated season of The Biggest Loser. Here are the final national rating results for Tuesday, Feb. 3:


Fox: 11.1 rating/17 share, CBS: 8.5/13, NBC: 6.5/10, ABC: 3.4/ 5, CW: 1.4/ 2, MNTV: 0.8/ 1

Total Viewers:

Fox: 19.81 million, CBS: 13.48, NBC: 10.35, ABC: 5.41, CW: 2.07, MNTV: 1.18

Adults 18-49:

Fox: 7.5 rating/19 share, NBC: 3.9/10, CBS: 2.8/ 7, ABC: 2.0/ 5, CW: 1.0/ 2, MNTV: 0.5/ 1

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Thursday 2/05/09
 8:00 p.m. Ugly Betty

 9:00 p.m. Grey’s Anatomy (crossover with Private Practice)

10:00 p.m. Private Practice (crossover with Grey’s Anatomy)


 8:00 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (R)

 8:30 p.m. How I Met Your Mother (R)

 9:00 p.m. CSI (R)

10:00 p.m. Eleventh Hour (R)

 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. Bones
 9:00 p.m. Hell’s Kitchen

 8:00 p.m. Smallville

 9:00 p.m. Supernatural


 8:00 p.m. Movie: Honeydripper (R)

 8:00 p.m. Movie: Sphere (R)

Remembering David Waldon


It is tremendous sadness to report on the death of freelance journalist David Waldon, who passed away this week. Unfortunately, I have no details at present on his untimely demise and the pending funeral arrangements, but I can tell you that I was proud and honored to call David my friend. I got to know David over the years through my association with the Television Critics Association, a bi-annual gathering of TV critics across the country who gather en masse in Los Angeles. 


For more on David, please visit click on Thank you for the beautiful words, Anne Louise Bannon. And thank you for the friendship, Dave Waldon. You will be truly missed. 


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest


-Surviving Suburbia on ABC:

Remember Surviving Suburbia, the Bob Saget/Cynthia Stevenson sitcom produced by Media Rights Capital that was supposed to air on the CW on Sundays? Well, Media Rights Capital collapsed on the CW care of clinkers In Harm’s Way, Easy Money and Valentine. And the family-driven Surviving Suburbia has been picked-up by ABC. It debuts in the coveted Monday 9:30 p.m. time period (out of Dancing With the Stars) effective on April 6. 


-NCIS Spin-Off Pilot Staffs Up:

The pilot of the proposed NCIS spin-off, which will air in an episode of the red-hot drama this spring, will featured Chris O’Donnell as an undercover agent and LL Cool J as a former U.S. Navy Seal. O’Donnell’s last regularly scheduled series, Head Cases on Fox, lasted for just two episodes in the fall of 2005. LL Cool J headlined sitcom In the House, which began on NBC in the spring of 1995 and concluded on UPN in the fall of 1998.


-At the Movies Reveals its Academy Award Choices:

Veteran Disney-ABC weekly At the Movies, now hosted by Ben Mankiewicz and Ben Lyons, will air it’s annul “If We Picked the Winners” Academy Awards special this weekend. The co-hosts, in addition, will do a live online Oscar chat on Monday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. ET at


-More DietTribe:

Lifetime Television has renewed reality/competition DietTribe for a second season, with the next batch of original episodes expected later in the year. The current season will be repeated in its regularly scheduled Monday 10 p.m. time period beginning on Feb. 9.


-ATAS Expands Field of Nominees:

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced it will expand the field of nominees from five to six beginning with the 2009 Emmys. But, given the shortage of hit comedies, is their really six people worth nominating? And, why even bother? 30 Rock will win everything again. Right?


-AMW All-Star Contest:

Nominations are now open for the fifth annual America’s Most Wanted (AMW) Contest, which honors the police officers, firefighters, EMTs and others who dedicate themselves to protecting us. Voters will select eight weekly finalists, and each finalist will be profiled on America’s Most Wanted. Through the online votes, the public will choose the grand prize winner, who will be unveiled in May. For more information, go to


TV Trivia Time:

A Fine TV Tune


Who sung the theme song for sitcom Chico and the Man?

Tony Bennett
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Jose Feliciano
Dean Martin
Lionel Richie

The answer to yesterday’s question…


Which one of the following classic TV kids once appeared in an episode of The Donna Reed Show?

Kathy “Kitten” Anderson
Harold Baxter
Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver
Dennis Mitchell
“Little” Ricky Ricardo

Is:  d) Dennis Mitchell, who never gave poor Mr. Wilson a moment of peace on sitcom Dennis the Menace. The Mitchells and Donna and her brood all lived in Hillsdale, USA.

-Current kudos goes to:

Gerry Bixenspan, Larry Collins, Phyllis Epstein, Adam Giagni, Jerry Gibbons, Maureen Goldman, Bob Ingersoll, David Jackino, Deb Kainer