Idol Lifts Fox to Thursday Victory; Above Average March Madness on CBS

Friday, March 27, 2009

Idol Lifts Fox to Victory; Above-Average March Madness on CBS

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not

On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options 

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
TV Trivia Time:

Favorites From the Past

Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:

Idol Lifts Fox to Victory; Above-Average March Madness on CBS

Thursday 3/26/09


Fox    9.6/15

CBS   7.1/12

ABC 7.1/11
NBC 4.8/ 8

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, March 27, 2008):

Fox: +78, ABC: +69, CBS: + 6, CW: no change, NBC: -38

-Yesterday’s Winners:

American Idol (Fox), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)

-On the Plus Side:

2009 NCAA Basketball: Regional Semi-Finals, Day One (CBS)


-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

My Name is Earl (NBC)

-Ratings Breakdown:

Fox dominated this final Thursday in March (and the first night after the February 2009 sweeps) care of the live American Idol Results Show, which was pushed back one night due to President Obama in prime-time on Tuesday. Tied for the No. 2 spot (in household rating) was ABC and CBS, followed by NBC and the CW.


American Idol stood well above the competition, with a 12.7 rating/20 share in the overnights from 8-9 p.m. That led into loud Hell’s Kitchen, which finished third in the overnights with an above-average 6.6/10 at 9 p.m. Ignited by American Idol, look for Hell’s Kitchen to spark some interest among key adults 18-49. As for Idol, Michael Sarver was sent packing, as predicted. But lucky Megan Joy (who is no joy on the ears) is not long for this competition.


In series-premiere news, ABC sitcom In the Motherhood was nothing to boast about in the overnights, with a third-place 4.8/ 8. But before I pass any judgment, let’s wait and see what the demos look like. Personally, I actually thought the initial overnight results would be lower. It’s good to have Megan Mullally back in prime-time, isn’t it? In the Motherhood led into the return of Samantha Who?, which debuted in the Thursday 8:30 p.m. time period with a compatible (and also third-place) 4.6/ 7. Next on ABC was Grey’s Anatomy (#1: 9.9/16), which according to posters at PIFeedback was an amazing episode, followed by spin-off Private Practice (#2t: 6.8/11 at 10 p.m.). Retention for Private Practice out of the second half of Grey’s Anatomy (10.3/16 at 9:30 p.m.) was an acceptable 66 percent.


Over at CBS was day one of the 2009 NCAA Basketball: Regional Semi-Finals at an estimated 7.1/12 in the overnights in prime-time. Comparably, that was an increase of six percent from one year earlier (6.7/11 on March 27, 2008). As a reminder, results for any live sporting event are always approximate.


NBC was at typical lackluster Thursday overnight levels with its combination of My Name is Earl (#4: 3.7/ 6), a repeat of The Office (#4: 3.2/ 5), an original installment of The Office (#4: 4.7/ 7), which always generates interest among adults 18-49, silly 30 Rock (#4: 4.1/ 6) and veteran ER (#2t: 6.8/11), which officially concludes next Thursday. To anyone expecting huge results for the ER-ender, this will be no M*A*S*H. As for The Office, I missed it last night. Is Michael back at Dunder-Mifflin yet?


The CW capped off the evening with original episodes of the already renewed Smallville (2.5/ 4), which heads into season nine next fall (time flies!) and the very compatible Supernatural (2.3/ 4), which enters season five. 


Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Lackluster Better Off Ted on ABC:

Week two of ABC sitcom Better Off Ted finished a distant third in the Wednesday 8:30 p.m. half hour on March 25, with just 4.60 million viewers and a 1.8 rating/5 share among adults 18-49. Compared to its debut, that was a loss of 900,000 viewers (5.50 to 4.60 million) and 14 percent among adults 18-49 (2.1/ 6 to 1.8/ 5). Just what we all needed…a show set in the workplace with unlikable people!

-Season High Reaper on the CW:

Okay, it is still not much. But opposite President Obama’s address to the country on the competing networks on Tuesday, the CW’s Reaper rose to 2.5 million viewers, with a 1.0/ 3 among adults 18-34, women 18-34 and adults 18-49. Compared to one week earlier, that was an increase of 540,000 viewers and as much as 43 percent among women 18-34.

-Sci Fi Dominates Wednesday:

Led by Ghost Hunters (and despite facing American Idol on Fox), Sci Fi finished first on Wednesday among all basic cable networks in adults 18-49 in prime-time, with an average 1.05 million viewers in the demo.  

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Friday 3/27/09

 8:00 p.m. Wife Swap

 9:00 p.m. Supernanny

10:00 p.m. 20/20

 8:00 p.m. 2009 NCAA Basketball: Regional Semi-Finals, Day 2


 8:00 p.m. Howie Do It (original and repeat)

 9:00 p.m. Friday Night Lights  

10:00 p.m. Dateline

 8:00 p.m. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

 9:00 p.m. Dollhouse


 8:00 p.m. Everybody Hates Chris

 8:30 p.m. The Game

 9:00 p.m. America’s Next Top Model (R)

 8:00 p.m. Friday Night Smackdown!
Saturday 3/28/09
 8:00 p.m. Movie: Just Like Heaven (R)
10:00 p.m. Castle (R)

 8:00 p.m. 2009 NCAA Basketball: Regional Finals – Day 1 (From 4:30 p.m.)

 9:00 p.m. NCIS (R)

10:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery

 8:00 p.m. Law & Order: Criminal Intent (R)

 9:00 p.m. World Figure Skating Championships


 8:00 p.m.  Cops

 9:00 p.m. America’s Most Wanted


 8:00 p.m. Movie: Slums of Beverly Hills (R)

Sunday 3/29/09

 7:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos

 8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (two hours)

10:00 p.m. Desperate Housewives (R)

 7:00 p.m. 60 Minutes

 8:00 p.m. The Amazing Race 14  

 9:00 p.m. Cold Case

10:00 p.m. The Unit

 7:00 p.m. Dateline

 8:00 p.m. Kings

 9:00 p.m. Celebrity Apprentice (two hours)


 7:00 p.m. American Dad (R)

 7:30 p.m. King of the Hill (R)

 8:00 p.m. The Simpsons

 8:30 p.m. The Simpsons (R)

 9:00 p.m. Family Guy

 9:30 p.m. American Dad


 7:00 p.m. Jericho (R)

 8:00 p.m. Sunday Movie: War Games (R)


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest


-NBC Cancels The Chopping Block:

Three episodes into its run, NBC has swung the axe on Wednesday 8 p.m. reality/competition The Chopping Block, which sunk to a mere 2.58 million viewers and a 0.9 rating/2 share among adults 18-49 in its final telecast on March 25. Repeats of Law & Order: Criminal Intent will step into the 8 p.m. time period on April 1. There are no plans at present to air the remaining episodes. 


-New Version of Ben-Hur to Air on ABC:

Ben-Hur, the 1959 Academy Award winning tale of an ancient hero in Rome, will be remade as a four-hour miniseries on ABC. David Wyler, son of original director William Wyler, is one of the executive producers. Not airdate has been announced yet.


-Pilot Alert:

The other day I focused on pilots in the works spun-off from current and past prime-time series. Today’s focus in the world of pilots vying for a series order is the growing number of projects based on the current questionable economic conditions. They include Canned, a sitcom for ABC about a group of people who all get fired on the same day; Little Piggy, another comedy for ABC about a man who returns to the home he grew up in after losing all his money; Two Dollar Beers, a Fox sitcom about a group of young people living in depressed Detroit; and an untitled ABC comedy with Kelsey Grammer as a former Wall Street executive who loses his job and also returns home. Depressing, isn’t it?


-DirecTV Picks Up Canceled Trio:

To the few fans of dramas Smith (CBS, 2006), The Nine (ABC, 2006) and Eyes (ABC, 2005) who were irked they never got to see the remaining episodes, DirecTV has acquired the rights to all the episodes for its 101 Network. 


TV Trivia Time:


Which one of the following five long-running dramas was on the air the shortest amount of time?


a)      Hawaii Five-O

b)      Mannix

c)      Melrose Place

d)      NYPD Blue

e)      The Virginian


The answer to yesterday’s trivia question…


Which one of the following series featured a character named Osgood P. Conklin?

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
Our Miss Brooks
Petticoat Junction
The White Shadow

Is: b) Our Miss Brooks, the 1952 to 56 sitcom with Eve Arden as Madison High English teacher Connie Brooks. Principal Osgood P. Conkin was played by Gale Gordon, pre his long-running days as blustery Mr. Mooney on The Lucy Show or Harry Carter on Here’s Lucy.


-Current kudos goes to:
David Ballarotto, Mikki Beno, Gerry Bixenspan, Jim Brams, Lillian Buchman, Larry Collins, Tom Condosta, Annie Courtney, Fabrizio Danova, Reid Davis, John Ferlazzo, Serri Ferrante, Arleen Fong, Rosalie Fox, Bob Goldman, Maureen Goldman, Peter Grad, Sharron Harmenning, Jerry Hermes, Brad Hight, Bob Ingersoll, Mary Kalnin, Marie Lefevre Karp, Rick Locke, Mary Ann McAleer, Betty McIntyre, Sharon Merritt, Richard Millhiser, Tony Naldrett, John O’Sullivan, Phil Oldham, Alan Perris, Francine Purcell, Gordon Purcell, Con Rigg, Deanna Rosolen, Colleen Roth, Joe Rubi, Marilyn Rutkowski, Ron Salmon, Maxine Schulman, Mindy Staley, Michelle Stanton, Mickie Steinmann, Jan Stewart, Ronnie Tallant, Don Webb, Joel Wolk, Edgar Yergeau, Ted Zawislak