Mixed Leadership on Night One of May 2009 Sweeps

Monday, April 27, 2009
Prime-Time Ratings:
Weekend Highlights
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options
Remembering Bea Arthur
TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest

TV Trivia Time:

In Memory of Bea Arthur


Prime-Time Ratings:

Weekend Highlights

Friday 4/24/09

Note: The following results are based on the fast affiliate ratings (Live Plus Same Day data).  



ABC 3.9/ 7
NBC 2.9/ 5
Fox    2.2/ 4
CW    1.0/ 2

-Total Viewers:

CBS: 8.72 million, ABC: 5.65, NBC: 4.30, Fox: 3.33, CW: 1.43

-Adults 18-49:

CBS: 1.8 rating/6 share, ABC: 1.7/ 6, NBC and Fox: 1.2/ 4 each, CW: 0.6/ 2


Note: Any prior rating results are based on the final nationals. Since the level of DVR penetration has increased from 20 percent at this same point last year to approximately 28 percent at present, the overall results may be negatively impacted.


-Friday’s Winners:

Ghost Whisperer (CBS)

-Friday’s Losers (excluding repeats):
Wife Swap (ABC), Howie Do It (NBC), Prison Break (Fox), Everybody Hates Chris (CW), Dateline (NBC), Dollhouse (Fox)


-Ratings Breakdown:

CBS finished at the head of the class on this first Friday of the May 2009 sweeps, but under nine million viewers and under a 2-rating among adults 18-49 overall is really nothing to boast about. Ghost Whisperer opened the evening for the Eye net with a dominant 9.15 million viewers and a 2.1 rating/8 share among adults 18-49 at 8 p.m., which comparably was the most-watched show of the evening. Next on CBS was Flashpoint at an also first-place 8.18 million viewers and a 1.6/ 5 in the demo at 9 p.m. That’s right — just a 1.6 rating in the demo was still enough to win the time period. CBS’ on-the-fence Numb3rs at 10 p.m. split leadership with the second-half of an expanded version of ABC’s 20/20 as follows:


Friday 10 p.m.

Numb3rs (CBS)

Viewers: 8.84 million (#1), A18-49: 1.8/ 6 (#2)


20/20 (ABC)

Viewers: 7.73 million (#2), A18-49: 2.2/ 7 (#1)


Second-place ABC kicked-off the evening with just-renewed Wife Swap at a distant second-place 3.95 million viewers and a 1.3/ 5 among adults 18-49 at 8 p.m. If anything, fading Wife Swap should be treated as a temporary benchwarmer and not a fall starter. That led into a two-hour edition of ABC’s 20/20 at 6.63 million viewers and a 1.8/ 6 among adults 18-49 from 9-11 p.m., which built in every half hour as follows:


20/20 (ABC)

 9:00 p.m. – Viewers: 4.82 million (#2), A18-49: 1.3/ 5 (#2t)

 9:30 p.m. – Viewers: 5.70 million (#2), A18-49: 1.6/ 5 (#1t)

10:00 p.m. – Viewers: 7.39 million (#2), A18-49: 2.1/ 7 (#1)

10:30 p.m. – Viewers: 8.08 million (#2), A18-49: 2.3/ 7 (#1)


A two-hour edition of NBC’s competing Dateline paled in comparison, with just 4.80 million viewers and a 1.3/ 4 among adults 18-49 from 9-11 p.m. Here is the half-hour breakdown:


Dateline (NBC)

 9:00 p.m. – Viewers: 4.54 million (#3), A18-49: 1.3/ 5 (#3t)

 9:30 p.m. – Viewers: 4.67 million (#3), A18-49: 1.3/ 4 (#3)

10:00 p.m. – Viewers: 5.00 million (#3), A18-49: 1.4/ 4 (#3)

10:30 p.m. – Viewers: 5.00 million (#3), A18-49: 1.3/ 4 (#3)


Earlier in the evening on NBC were two episodes of struggling Howie Do It at an average 3.29 million viewers (#3) and a 1.0/ 4 among adults 18-49 from 8-9 p.m.


Fox was barely on the map on this lackluster Friday, with its combination of soon-to-depart Prison Break (Viewers: #4, 3.05 million; A18-49: #3t, 1.0/ 4) and deserves-to-be canceled Dollhouse (Viewers: #4, 2.99 million; A18-49: #4, 1.2/ 4 — smallest audience to-date). And the CW capped off the evening with expected to depart sitcoms Everybody Hates Chris (Viewers: 1.79 million; A18-49: 0.6/ 3) and The Game (Viewers: 1.89 million; A18-49: 0.9/ 3), and a repeat of America’s Next Top Model (Viewers: 1.28 million; A18-49: 0.5/ 2), which all finished last in their half-hours. The only positive worth noting for the CW was growth for The Game out of Everybody Hates Chris of 50 percent in the demo. Regardless, there is no reason to think either comedy will be back on the network next season. If The Game does notch a renewal, it is only because it needs a fourth season worth of episodes for off-network syndication.


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Saturday 4/25/09

Note: The following results are based on the fast affiliate ratings (Live Plus Same Day data).  



Fox    3.0/ 6
NBC 2.3/ 5
ABC 2.1/ 4
CBS: 5.17 million, Fox: 4.60, NBC: 3.52, ABC: 3.22
-Adults 18-49:

Fox: 1.4 rating/5 share, ABC: 1.2/ 4, CBS and NBC: 0.8/ each


Note: Any prior rating results are based on the final nationals. Since the level of DVR penetration has increased from 20 percent at this same point last year to approximately 28 percent at present, the overall results may be negatively impacted.


-Saturday’s Winners:

Nothing, as usual.  


-Saturday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

Streisand: In Concert (CBS) and the night overall


-Ratings Breakdown:

It was a typically bland Saturday of mixed leadership, with CBS the most-watched network and Fox No. 1 among adults 18-49. But what can you possibly say when the top-rated network averages just 5.17 million viewers and a 1.4 rating/5 share among adults 18-49?    


That funny lady, Barbra Streisand, tanked in the 8 p.m. hour with special Streisand in Concert at a mere 4.98 million viewers (#1) and a 0.6/ 2 among adults 18-49 (#4). Since CBS buried the hour in the Saturday anchor spot, it obviously did not expect much. Streisand: In Concert led into a repeat of CSI: Miami at 9 p.m. (Viewers: #1, 4.56 million; A18-48: #3, 0.7/ 2), followed by 48 Hours Mystery on the Craig’s List murderer at 5.95 million viewers (#1) and a 1.3/ 4 in the demo (#2) at 10 p.m.


Fox, of course, aired its perennial combination of Cops (Viewers: #2, avg. 4.66 million; A18-49: #1, avg. 1.5/ 6) and America’s Most Wanted (Viewers: #2, 4.50 million; A18-49: #1, 1.4/ 5), which both continue to lose steam. 


Repeats of NBC’s Law & Order: SVU (Viewers: #3, 3.22 million; A18-49: #3, 0.7/ 3), Southland (Viewers: #4, 2.79 million; A18-49: #4, 0.6/ 2) and Law & Order (Viewers: #3, 4.55 million; A18-49: #4, 1.0/ 3) were barely on the map from 8-11 p.m. And the same was true with repeat theatrical Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on ABC, which averaged just 3.22 million viewers (#4) and a 1.2/ 5 among adults 18-49 (#4) from 8-11 p.m. What a horrible night of network TV!


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Sunday 4/26/09


ABC 6.1/10
NBC 4.6/ 8
Fox    3.1/ 5
CW    0.8/ 1

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Sunday, April 27, 2008):

CBS: +12, NBC: +10, ABC and Fox: -16 each, CW: -27

Note: The fast affiliate results for Sunday will be posted at PIFeedback.com by 12 p.m. ET. Go to the website, click on Ratings Box (the first category), then Last Night’s Results, and Sunday, April 26, 2009.   


-Yesterday’s Winners:

60 Minutes (CBS), The Amazing Race (CBS), Desperate Housewives (ABC), Brothers & Sisters (ABC)


-Honorable Mention:

Celebrity Apprentice (NBC)


-Yesterday’s Losers:

Dateline (NBC), King of the Hill (Fox), Sit Down, Shut Up (Fox)


-Ratings Breakdown:

CBS led the overnight troops on this first Sunday of the May 2009 sweeps, followed by ABC, NBC, Fox and struggling the CW. But even a diluted performance for ABC is still likely to warrant a nightly victory among adults 18-49.


If you missed NBC guilty pleasure Celebrity Apprentice last night, you failed to see the best moment in reality television all season as coattail-rider Melissa Rivers was fired in the boardroom and Mama Joan went absolutely ballistic, storming out with her. Didn’t the producers explain to Joan and spoiled brat “Missy” that someone gets fired every week? To view this now classic clip, go to www.nbc.com. Who says comedy on the small screen is dead?


As for the ratings, Celebrity Apprentice averaged a 5.5 rating/9 share in the overnights, building by half-hour as follows:

Celebrity Apprentice (NBC)

 9:00 p.m.: 4.8/ 7 (#3)

 9:30 p.m.: 5.1/ 8 (#3)

10:00 p.m.: 5.8/ 9 (#2)
10:30 p.m.: 6.2/11 (#2)

While this may not seem all that impressive, it will be enough for Donald Trump and company to win the 10:30 p.m. half-hour among adults 18-49 (and perhaps the 10 p.m. half-hour as well). Earlier in the evening on NBC was a two hour edition of Dateline at a weak 3.8/ 7 from 7-9 p.m. Here is the half-hour breakdown:

Dateline (NBC)
7:00 p.m.: 3.7/ 7 (#3)
7:30 p.m.: 3.3/ 6 (#3)
8:00 p.m.: 3.9/ 7 (#3t)
8:30 p.m.: 4.3/ 7 (#3)

CBS opened the evening with granddaddy 60 Minutes at a dominant 7.6/15 in the overnights from 7-8 p.m. That led into The Amazing Race at an also first-place 6.2/10 at 8 p.m., followed by on-the-fence dramas Cold Case (#2: 7.0/11) and The Unit (#3: 5.5/ 9) from 9-11 p.m. Although the strength of 60 Minutes stems from the 50+ audience, this is still a “winning” performance. 


Next was ABC care of its weakening combination of America’s Funniest Home Videos (#2: 4.3/ 8), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (#2: 5.5/ 9), Desperate Housewives (#1: 8.2/13) and Brothers & Sisters (#1: 6.6/11). Retention for Brothers & Sisters out of the second-half of lead-in Desperate Housewives (8.1/12 at 9:30 p.m.) was an acceptable 80 percent. As for Desperate Housewives, this ongoing storyline with Dave versus Susan and Mike is just too long already. 


In week two news, animated Fox sitcom Sit Down, Shut Up sunk to a 2.8/ 5 (#4) in the overnights at 8:30 p.m. — 20 percent below its series-opener on April 19 (3.5/ 5). Retention out of lead-in The Simpsons (#3t, 3.9/ 7 at 8 p.m.) was a disappointing 72 percent. Family Guy, which led out of Sit Down, Shut Up, perked up to a 4.3/ 7 at 9 p.m. (#4), followed by American Dad at an also fourth-place 3.5/ 5 at 9:30 p.m. Earlier in the evening on Fox was a repeat of American Dad (#4: 1.9/ 4) and the 250th episode of veteran King of the Hill (#4: 2.2/ 4) from 7-8 p.m. 


The CW capped off Sunday with its barely seen combination of a repeat of Jericho (#5: 0.5/ 1) and repeat theatrical Four Weddings and a Funeral (#5: 1.0/2 from 8-10 p.m.). 

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box:

What’s Hot/What’s Not

-Mixed Leadership on First Night of May 2009 Sweeps:

If anyone still cares about the sweeps periods, Thursday, April 23 marked the first night of the May 2009 sweeps. CBS finished first for the night in households and total viewers; ABC was No. 1 among adults 18-49. But the five networks overall were significantly below average. Here were the results:


CBS: 6.9 rating/12 share, ABC: 6.2/10, Fox: 4.8/ 8, NBC: 4.3/ 7, CW: 1.9/ 3

Total Viewers:

CBS: 11.03 million, ABC: 9.24, Fox: 7.62, NBC: 6.76, CW: 2.90

Adults 18-49:

ABC: 3.3 rating/9 share, CBS: 3.0/ 9, NBC: 2.7/ 8, Fox: 2.6/ 7, CW: 1.2/ 3

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Monday 4/27/09

Night 5 of the May 2009 Sweeps

 8:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars (90-minutes)
 9:30 p.m. Surviving Suburbia  
10:00 p.m. Castle
 8:00 p.m. The Big Bang Theory
 8:30 p.m. How I Met Your Mother
 9:00 p.m. Two and a Half Men
 9:30 p.m. Rules of Engagement
10:00 p.m. CSI: Miami
 8:00 p.m. Chuck (season or series finale)
 9:00 p.m. Heroes (season finale)

10:00 p.m. Medium (part two)

 8:00 p.m. House
 9:00 p.m. 24
 8:00 p.m. Gossip Girl
 9:00 p.m. One Tree Hill
 8:00 p.m. Masters of Illusions

 9:00 p.m. Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed

Remembering Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur, the two-time Emmy winning star of sitcoms Maude and The Golden Girls passed away of cancer in her home in Los Angeles on Saturday. She was 86. 


Remembered, of course, for playing two of the most beloved characters in the history of the small screen (abrasive multi-married liberal Maude Findlay on Maude and sensible and outspoken Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls), Arthur was born Bernice Frankel in New York City on May 13, 1922. She was raised in Maryland and trained as a medical technologist, but ended up as a prominent force on the Broadway stage where she gained early notoriety while appearing in musical The Threepenny Opera. Later roles on stage included Yente the Matchmaker on Fiddler on the Roof in 1964 and her Tony winning role as Vera Charles in Mame in 1966, which she revised opposite Lucille Ball for the 1974 theatrical movie.


Eventually peppering her resume with appearances on television, Arthur honed her comedic skills as a regular player on the comedy/variety-driven Caesar’s Hour, headlined by Sid Caesar, in the 1956-57 season. She also appeared opposite the legendary comedian in The Sid Caesar Show, which came and quickly went in the 1963-64 season. After guest starring as Edith Bunker’s cousin on All in the Family, CBS commissioned a spin-off and Maude was officially born on Sept. 12, 1972. Six years into its run, Arthur announced she was leaving the series instead of the proposed new Washington, D.C. set-up. Shortly after Maude ended, Arthur made a guest appearance on the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978. Could our beloved Maude have been a “Trekkie?”


In between Maude and The Golden Girls, Arthur briefly returned to the world of sitcoms in Amanda’s, a carbon copy of British series Fawlty Towers, which aired in early 1983. In 2000, she received her tenth, and final, Emmy nomination for a guest spot on Fox comedy Malcolm in the Middle. And most recently, Arthur appeared as Larry David’s mother in a 2005 episode of HBO sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm. 


The twice divorced Arthur is survived by her two sons, Matthew, 47, and Daniel, 44. 


For more on my thoughts on the wonderful Bea Arthur, please click here for today’s PIPodcast. 


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest


-Hallmark Channel Remembers Bea Arthur:

Hallmark Channel will pay tribute to the late, and great, Bea Arthur with a Golden Girls Memorial Day marathon on Monday, May 25 from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Each episode will focus on Arthur’s Dorothy Zbornak. In honor of Bea Arthur…


Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true your a pal and a confidant.

And if you through a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.


-NBC’s The Chopping Block Burns Off Run on Friday:

Recent NBC reality/competition The Chopping Block, which was pulled after three low-rated Wednesday telecasts in March, will return to air its final five episodes on Friday, June 19 at 8 p.m. ET. The Chopping Block will replace current occupant Howie Do It, which will have concluded its season (or series) run by then.


-Coming Up This Summer on Sci Fi Channel:

Following a Land of the Lost marathon on Memorial Day and its traditional Twilight Zone marathon on July 4th weekend, Sci Fi Channel will launch new scripted drama Warehouse 13 with a two-hour pilot from 9-11 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7. Warehouse 13 follows two Secret Service agents who are abruptly transferred to a mysterious top-secret storage facility in South Dakota. Other original options on soon-to-be-re-titled Syfy include new seasons of Ghost Hunters International (beginning on Wednesday, July 8, 9 p.m. ET), Eureka (Friday, July 10, 9 p.m. ET) and Ghost Hunters (Wednesday, August 19, 9 p.m. ET). Original summer movies will include Malibu Shark Attack, High Plains Invaders, Hellhounds, and Sand Serpents. For more information, click on www.scifi.com.


TV Trivia Time:

In Memory of Bea Arthur


How old was Maude Findlay when she found out she was pregnant in middle age?


The answer to Friday’s question…


How many episodes will Fox’s animated King of the Hill be reaching this Sunday?


Is:  c) 250. King of the Hill, which is no longer in original production, premiered on Fox on Jan. 12, 1997. 


-Current kudos goes to:
Barbara Berman, Gerry Bixenspan, John Brooker, Larry Collins, Shelia Collins, Arleen Fong, Maureen Goldman, Scott Groneman, Carla Snell-Hatfeld, Bob Ingersoll, David Jackino, Deb Kainer, Tony Naldrett, Tillie Nutter, Jim O’Heir, Gordon Purcell, Michelle Stanton, Joel Wolk