Improved Start for NCAA Basketball on CBS

Friday, March 20, 2009
ABC Wins; Improved Results for Basketball 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:

The Other Laverne

Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:

ABC Wins; Improved Results for Basketball on CBS

Thursday 3/19/09


ABC 7.1/11

CBS   6.5/10

Fox    5.4/ 9

NBC 4.9/ 8

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, March 20, 2008):

ABC: +27, CBS: +10, Fox: + 8, CW: no change, NBC: -17

-Yesterday’s Winners:
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), ER (NBC)
-Honorable Mention:
Bones (Fox)

-Keep a Positive Eye on Among Adults 18-49:

The Office (NBC), 30 Rock (NBC), Hell’s Kitchen (Fox)


-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

My Name is Earl (NBC)

-Ratings Breakdown:

Before I crunch the numbers in prime-time, let me move to late night, with President Obama’s unprecedented appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at a whopping 11.2 rating/26 share in the overnights. Comparably, that was the veteran late night talker’s best overnight performance since Monday, Jan. 15, 2005 (11.2/26). The last time The Tonight Show scored a higher metered market rating was on Thursday, May 14, 1998 (12.4), the night of the Seinfeld series-finale. For more on NBC’s late night highlights, see Ratings Box below.  


Minus CBS’ regularly scheduled Thursday line-up (which was pre-empted for basketball), ABC took center stage in the overnights, outdelivering the Eye net by nine percent. Third overall was Fox, followed by NBC and the CW.


Ugly Betty, which is heading on a short hiatus, opened the evening for ABC with a third-place 5.5/ 9 in the overnights from 8-9 p.m. Considering Ugly Betty is nearing the end of season three, shouldn’t Betty’s braces be off already? And shouldn’t her fashion sense be…um…somewhat better? Next week, ABC is scheduled to debut sitcoms In the Motherhood and returning Samantha Who? in the 8 p.m. hour. But since Fox’s American Idol is now competing (because President Obama is addressing the country on Tuesday), the network may want to push it back one week. 


Ugly Betty led into Grey’s Anatomy, which dominated the 9 p.m. hour with a 9.3/15, followed by spin-off Private Practice at a 6.5/10. Comparably, Private Practice was tied for first in the 10 p.m. hour with ER on NBC, but the retention out of the second-half of lead-in Grey’s Anatomy (9.5/15 at 9:30 p.m.) was just 68 percent.


Over at CBS, day one of 2009 NCAA Basketball: First Round averaged an approximate 6.5/11 in the overnights from 8-11 p.m. Comparably, that built from the year-ago competition (5.9/10 on March 20, 2008) by 10 percent. Keep in mind, of course, that results for any live sporting event are always approximate.


Fox opened the evening with Bones (#2: 6.2/10), which does not get the credit it deserves, followed by the loud Hell’s Kitchen (#3: 4.6/ 7), which always manages to score among adults 18-49. And NBC had a typical Thursday with its line-up of depressed My Name is Earl (#4: 4.0/ 7), which is on-the-fence for renewal in 2009-10, a repeat of The Office (#4: 3.3/ 5), an original installment of The Office (#3: 4.7/ 7), 30 Rock (#4: 4.5/ 7), and soon-to-conclude ER (#1t: 6.5/10). Some points to note about NBC:

  1. My Name is Earl could get a reprieve because it debuts in off-network syndication next fall.
  2. Retention for 30 Rock out of The Office was an impressive 96 percent.
  3. The Office is always, of course, on the map among adults 18-49.
  4. ER built by a noticeable 44 percent out of 30 Rock.
  5. New drama Southland will be replacing ER effective on April 9.

As for Michael Scott quitting on The Office, maybe now Dunder-Mifflin can bring someone in who actually does some work!


The CW capped off Thursday with original installments of the already renewed Smallville (#5: 2.4/ 4) and Supernatural (#5: 2.3/ 4). Worth noting for Supernatural was the almost full retention out of Smallville.


Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
-President Obama Ignites NBC in Late Night:

NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, featuring an interview with President Barack Obama, rose to a hefty 11.2 rating/26 share in the metered markets on Thursday, March 19. Comparably, that was the veteran late night talker’s best overnight performance since Monday, Jan. 15, 2005 (11.2/26). The last time The Tonight Show scored a higher metered market rating was on Thursday, May 14, 1998 (12.4), the night of the Seinfeld series-finale. 


Overall, this was fourth strongest performance for The Tonight Show in the overnights since Jay Leno took over as host 16 years ago. And, versus the 3.9 season to-date rating average, this is an increase of a whopping 187 percent. 


Ignited by The Tonight Show, lead-out Late Night with Jimmy Fallon scored a series-high 3.9/13 in the overnights at 12:35 a.m. — 105 percent above its series to-date average. Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35 a.m. also benefited, with a 1.8/ 7 — its highest metered-market household rating since May 17, 2005.

-Lackluster Start for ABC’s Better Off Ted:

ABC is reporting that new Wednesday sitcom Better Off Ted generated the network’s best performance with regularly scheduled programming in the 8:30 p.m. time period since Oct. 29, 2008. Even so, it only debuted with 5.50 million viewers and a 2.1 rating/6 share among adults 18-49. And that placed it third in the half hour behind Fox’s Lie to Me (Viewers: 10.26 million; A18-49: 3.1/10) and CBS’ Gary Unmarried (Viewers: 7.37 million; A18-49: 2.2/ 6). Buried in fourth, meanwhile, was week two of NBC’s The Chopping Block at a mere 3.40 million viewers and a 1.2/ 4 in the demo. 

-Speaking of Wednesday, March 18:

Here are the final national ratings based on households, total viewers and adults 18-49:


Fox: 10.0 rating/16 share, CBS: 7.1/12, ABC: 4.1/ 7, NBC: 3.4/ 5, CW: 1.7/ 3, MNTV: 1.0/ 2

Total Viewers:

Fox: 17.09 million, CBS: 11.27, ABC: 6.69, NBC: 4.95, CW: 2.33, MNTV: 1.72

Adults 18-49:

Fox: 5.9 rating/16 share, CBS: 2.9/ 8, ABC: 2.8/ 8, NBC: 1.6/ 4, CW: 1.1/ 3, MNTV: 0.6/ 1

-Season to-Date Prime Time Ranking Update:

Wondering what series in prime time are dominating? Here are the top 30 rated programs this season to-date (though March 15, 2009) based on total viewers and adults 18-49. All freshman shows (and there are very few) are bolded. 

Total Viewers:

American Idol – Wednesday (Fox): 26.04 million, American Idol – Tuesday (Fox): 25.97, Dancing With the Stars – Monday (ABC): 19.55, CSI (CBS): 18.13, Dancing With the Stars – Tuesday (ABC): 17.41, NCIS (CBS): 16.92, Sunday Night Football (NBC): 16.83, The Mentalist (CBS): 16.31, Desperate Housewives (ABC): 15.26, 60 Minutes (CBS): 14.76, Two and a Half Men (CBS): 14.23, Criminal Minds (CBS): 14.22, Grey’s Anatomy (ABC): 13.19, CSI: Miami (CBS): 13.07, Survivor: Gabon (CBS): 12.91, Survivor: Tocantins (CBS): 12.79, CSI: NY (CBS): 12.62, House (Fox): 12.02, Without a Trace (CBS): 11.94, 24 (Fox): 11.77, Lie to Me (Fox): 11.71, Cold Case (CBS): 11.60, Sunday Night Pre-Kick (NBC): 11.35, Eleventh Hour (CBS): 11.27, The OT (Fox): 11.14, The Bachelor (ABC): 11.12, Rules of Engagement (CBS): 10.88, Castle (ABC): 10.76, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC): 10.52, Ghost Whisperer (CBS): 10.27

Adults 18-49:

American Idol – Tuesday (Fox): 9.8 rating/25 share, American Idol – Wednesday (Fox): 9.7/25, Sunday Night Football (NBC): 6.5/16, Desperate Housewives (ABC): 5.6/13, Grey’s Anatomy (ABC): 5.0/12, CSI (CBS): 4.9/12, House (Fox): 4.7/13, Two and a Half Men (CBS): 4.7/11, Dancing With the Stars – Monday (ABC): 4.6/11, Lost (ABC): 4.5/11, The OT (Fox): 4.4/13, Survivor: Gabon (CBS), Lie to Me (Fox) and Sunday Night Pre-Kick (NBC): 4.2/11 each, Survivor: Tocantins (CBS): 4.1/12, Dancing With the Stars – Tuesday (ABC): 4.1/10, The Bachelor (ABC), Hell’s Kitchen (Fox) and The Office (NBC): 4.0/10 each, Heroes (NBC): 3.9/ 9, The Biggest Loser 7 (NBC): 3.8/10, 24 (Fox) and Rules of Engagement (CBS): 3.8/ 9 each, How I Met Your Mother (CBS): 3.7/ 9, Criminal Minds (CBS), CSI: Miami (CBS) and Brothers & Sisters (ABC): 3.6/ 9 each, The Big Bang Theory (CBS), The Mentalist (CBS), Fringe (Fox) and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC): 3.5/ 9 each, Family Guy (Fox): 3.5/ 8

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Friday 3/20/09

 8:00 p.m. Wife Swap

 9:00 p.m. Supernanny

10:00 p.m. 20/20

 8:00 p.m. 2009 NCAA Basketball: First Round – 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 (part one)

 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 3/21/09
 8:00 p.m. Movie: Flight Plan (R)
10:00 p.m. Castle (R)
 8:00 p.m. 2009 NCAA Basketball: Second Round – Day 1
10:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery

 8:00 p.m. Celebrity Apprentice (R, two hours)

10:00 p.m. Law & Order (R)

 8:00 p.m.  Cops

 9:00 p.m. America’s Most Wanted


 8:00 p.m. Movie: The Bangor Sisters (R)

Sunday 3/22/09

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

 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 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. King of the Hill

 9:00 p.m. Family Guy

 9:30 p.m. American Dad


 7:00 p.m. Jericho (R)

 8:00 p.m. Sunday Movie: The Mod Squad (R)


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest


-Mark Your Calendars:

The second season of HBO’s Emmy winning In Treatment kicks-off on Sunday, April 5 at 9 p.m. ET. Joining Gabriel Byrne and Dianne Wiest will be new regulars Hope Davis (American Splendor), Russell Hornsby (Lincoln Heights), former Frasier star John Mahoney, Alison Pill (Milk), Rescue Me’s Sherri Saum and Aaron Shaw (Dirty Laundry).


-Here Comes the Bride:

It looks like comedienne and talk show host Joy Behar, who vowed she would never marry again, will be stepping down the aisle with her boyfriend of 26 years, Steve Janowitz. Maybe her former The View co-host Star Jones can give her some wedding tips!


-Record Traffic for Access Hollywood Website:, the official website for the veteran NBC Universal magazine strip, rose to approximately 4 million visits, 3.3 million video streams and 2.8 million unique users in February 2009. Compared to one year earlier, that was an increase of a whopping 656 percent in page views and 286 percent in unique visitors. 


-DVD Alert:

Season 11 of NBC’s soon-to-conclude ER will be released by Warner Home Video in a six-disc collector’s set on July 14 for $49.98. 


-Speaking of DVDs:

Wouldn’t it be great if classics like Batman, Eight is Enough, Apple’s Way, Mannix and My Three Sons (the color episodes) were put on DVD?


TV Trivia Time:


Where was Nurse Laverne Todd from on sitcom Empty Nest?


a)      Arkansas

b)      Missouri

c)      South Carolina

d)      Tennessee

e)      Wyoming


The answer to yesterday’s trivia question…


What was the color of Jeannie’s bottle on sitcom I Dream of Jeannie?


Is: d) purple. Click here for a look. Considering Jeannie (Barbara Eden) was 2,000 years old, she held up quite well!

-Current kudos goes to:
Barbara Berman, Gerry Bixenspan, Lillian Buchman, Paul Certo, Tom Condosta, Annie Courtney, Reid Davis, Denise Dyson, John Ferlazzo, Arleen Fong, Ellen Foust, Jan Frazier, Gina Giaccardo, Adam Giagni, Harold Goetz, Maureen Goldman, Martha Gonzalez, Michelle Harrington, Carolyn Becker Hayes, Barb Hemberger, Kerry Hughes (1/2), Bob Ingersoll, Mary Kalnin, Tom Kilgallon, Roberta Lee, Howard Lieboff, John Merrill, Bob Meyer, Rick Millikan, Debbie Mirr, Anne Moynihan, Cindy O’Connor, Amy Preisendefer, Gordon Purcell, David Ruckman, Marilyn Rutkowski, Ron Salmon, Barry Schiffer, Michelle Stanton, Joe Swaney, Ronnie Tallant, Melissa Toyofuku, Trenna Underhill, Jeanne Yonkers, Belynda Zarina, Ted Zawislak