The Programming Insider: ABC Bounces With NBA Finals

CBS' Flashpoint has modest return

In Today's Issue:

Prime-Time Ratings: Weekend Results
Ratings Box: What’s Hot/What’s Not
On the Air Tonight: Prime-Time Programming Options
TV Tidbits: Notes of Interest
TV Trivia Time: Fresh Air, Times Square


Friday 5/06/11
Note: The following results are based on the fast affiliate ratings (Live Plus Same Day data)

Household Rating/Share:
CBS: 5.6/10, ABC: 3.6/ 6, NBC: 3.3/ 6, Fox: 2.2/ 4, CW: 1.3/ 2

Total Viewers:
CBS: 8.77 million, ABC: 4.87, NBC: 4.83, Fox: 3.48, CW: 2.04

Adults 18-49:
CBS, ABC and Fox: 1.4 rating/ 5 share each, NBC: 1.3/ 4, CW: 0.9/ 3

Note: Any prior rating results are based on the final nationals.  Since the level of DVR penetration has increased from 33 percent at this same point last year to approximately 38 percent at present, the overall results may be negatively impacted.

Friday’s Winners:

Flashpoint (CBS)

Friday’s Losers (excluding repeats):
Shark Tank (ABC), Friday Night Lights (NBC), Smallville (CW), Fringe (Fox), Supernatural (CW), Primetime: What Would You Do? (ABC)

Ratings Breakdown:
The networks shared leadership on this typically fading Friday, with CBS the most-watched network (at under 9-million viewers) and ABC, CBS and Fox tied for first among adults 18-49, each with a 1.4 rating/5 share.

In season-premiere news, Canadian drama Flashpoint on CBS got off to a modest return with 6.89 million viewers (#1) and a third-place 1.1/ 4 among adults 18-49 at 8 p.m.  While this is an improvement over recent occupant Chaos, it is below year-ago levels.  Next on CBS was on-the-fence CSI: NY (Viewers: #1, 9.31 million; A18-49: #1, 1.5/ 5 at 9 p.m.), which would not be a question mark had it aired on another network, followed by Blue Bloods at a dominant 10.12 million viewers and a third-place 1.5/ 4 in the demo at 10 p.m.  Although Blue Bloods did finish last among adults 18-49, it was the most-watched show of the evening (and it is a shoo-in for renewal).

In season-finale news, year three of Fox’s already renewed Fringe was uneventful at 3.30 million viewers (#4) and a 1.2/ 4 among adults 18-49 (#3t) at 9 p.m.  Comparably, that dipped by lead-in Kitchen Nightmares (Viewers: #3, 3.65 million; A18-49: #1, 1.6/ 6 at 8 p.m.) by 350,000 viewers and 25 percent in the demo.

Elsewhere, ABC opened the evening with Mr. TV favorite Shark Tank (Viewers: #2, 4.48 million; A18-49: #2, 1.2/ 5 at 8 p.m.), which is a better show when Mark Cuban is one of the “sharks,” followed by Primetime: What Would You Do? (Viewers: #3, 4.04 million; A18-49: #3t, 1.2/ 4 at 9 p.m.) and 20/20 (Viewers: #3, 6.09 million; A18-49: #2, 1.7/ 5 at 10 p.m.), which featured a behind-the-scenes report on the death of Osama bin Laden.  NBC aired the next installment of the final season of Friday Night Lights (Viewers: #4, 2.72 million; A18-49: #4t, 0.8/ 3 at 8 p.m.), which remains barely on the map, followed by another two-hour edition of Dateline (Viewers: #2, 5.88 million; A18-49: #1, 1.6/ 5 from 9-11 p.m.).

The CW capped off the evening with veteran Smallville (Viewers: #5, 2.00 million; A18-49: #4t, 0.8/ 3), which concludes with a two-hour installment next week, and Supernatural (Viewers: #5, 2.08 million; A18-49: #5, 0.9/ 3), which is likely to take over the Friday 8 p.m. hour next fall.  Needless to say, the networks have plenty of work ahead trying to fix this increasingly difficult evening.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Saturday 5/07/11
Note: The following results are based on the fast affiliate ratings (Live Plus Same Day data).

Household Rating/Share
ABC: 4.3/ 8, CBS and Fox: 3.7/ 7 each, NBC: 2.7/ 5

Total Viewers:
ABC: 7.08 million, Fox: 6.37, CBS: 5.43, NBC: 4.09

Adults 18-49:
ABC: 2.9 rating/10 share, Fox: 1.8/ 6, CBS and NBC: 0.9/ 3 each

Note: Any prior rating results are based on the final nationals.  Since the level of DVR penetration has increased from 33 percent at this same point last year to approximately 38 percent at present, the overall results may be negatively impacted.

Saturday’s Winners:
The NBA Finals (ABC)

Saturday’s Losers (excluding repeats):
Chase (NBC) and the night overall

Ratings Breakdown:
In the battle of the sporting events, dominant ABC was above-average on the first Saturday in May care of The NBA Finals (Conference Semi-Finale: Miami at Boston) at an approximate 7.08 million viewers and a 2.9 rating/10 share among adults 18-49 in primetime.  As always, results for any live sporting event are estimated, and for a Saturday consider this a “winning” performance.

Fox was also on the Saturday map thanks to Nascar (Sprint Cup in Darlington) with 6.37 million viewers and a 1.8/ 6 in the demo from 8-10 p.m., which was an improvement from regularly scheduled occupants Cops and America’s Most Wanted.

Elsewhere, there was little of note.  CBS aired repeats of NCIS (Viewers: #3, 5.24 million; A18-49: #4, 0.7/ 2) and CSI: Miami (Viewers: #3, 5.10 million; A18-49: #3, 0.9/ 3) from 8-10 p.m., followed by veteran 48 Hours second behind basketball in both total viewers (5.93 million) and adults 18-49 (#2t, 1.2/ 4) at 10 p.m.  NBC capped off the evening with another burn-off installment of Chase (Viewers: #4, 3.62 million; A18-49: #3, 0.8/ 3 at 8 p.m.), followed by repeats of Law & Order: Los Angeles (Viewers: #4, 3.65 million; A18-49: #4, 0.6/ 2) and Law & Order: SVU (Viewers: #3, 4.99 million; A18-49: #2t, 1.2/ 4) from 9-11 p.m.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Sunday 5/08/11
Note: The following results are based on the metered markets.

Household Rating/Share
CBS: 6.9/12, ABC: 5.1/ 9, NBC: 4.7/ 8, Fox: 2.6/ 5

Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Sunday, May 9, 2010):
NBC: +12, CBS: – 5, ABC: – 9, Fox: -19

Note: The fast affiliate results for Sunday will be posted at by 12 p.m. ET. Go to the website, click on Ratings Box (the first category), then Last Night’s Results, and Sunday, May 8, 2011.

Yesterday’s Winners:
60 Minutes (CBS), Desperate Housewives (ABC)

Honorable Mention:
The Amazing Race (CBS), Celebrity Apprentice (NBC), CSI: Miami (CBS)

Yesterday’s Losers:
Dateline (NBC), American Dad (Fox), Bob’s Burgers (Fox)

Ratings Breakdown:
CBS led the Sunday overnight troops, beating No. 2 ABC (which was once unstoppable on the evening) by 35 percent.  Third overall was NBC, following by Fox, which never resonates in the metered markets on Sunday.

CBS granddaddy 60 Minutes opened on a winning overnight note, with an above-average 9.8 rating/19 share at 7 p.m.  Next was the two-hour season-finale of The Amazing Race with a 5.9/ 11 from 8-10 p.m., and the half-hour breakdown as follows:

The Amazing Race (CBS)
8:00 p.m.: 6.2/11 (#1)
8:30 p.m.: 5.9/10 (#1)
9:00 p.m.: 5.7/ 9 (#2)
9:30 p.m.: 6.0/ 9 (#2)

The Amazing Race led into the season-finale of CSI: Miami at a dominant 6.1/11 at 10 p.m.  Although CSI: Miami lost plenty of steam this season by moving from Monday to Sunday, results were still strong enough to warrant a 10th season renewal.

Over at ABC, veteran America’s Funniest Home Videos, which is poised to outlive us all, finished second at 7 p.m. with a 3.6/ 7 in the overnights.  That led into the network's aging combination of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (#2: 5.7/ 8), Desperate Housewives (#1: 6.9/11) and the season finale of five-year-old Brother’s & Sisters (#3: 5.3/ 9) from 8-11 p.m.  Rumor has it ABC will order a reduced number of episodes for one final season of Brothers & Sisters in 2011-12.  While Desperate Housewives deserves positive mention for winning the 9 p.m. hour, year-to-year it dipped by 15 percent in the metered markets.  So, you have to wonder if it is strong enough to remain in the pivotal Sunday 9 p.m. time period.

NBC kicked off the evening with minimal interest, as usual, care of Dateline like a third-place 3.0/ 6 at 7 p.m.  With America’s Next Great Restaurant concluding last week, a three-hour edition of Celebrity Apprentice scored a 5.3/ 9 from 8-11 p.m., which was below average due to the 4.7/ 8 in the 8 p.m. hour.  Here is the half-hour breakdown:

Celebrity Apprentice (NBC)
8:00 p.m.: 4.4/ 8 (#2t)
8:30 p.m.: 4.9/ 8 (#3)
9:00 p.m.: 5.6/ 9 (#3)
9:30 p.m.: 5.2/ 8 (#3)
10:00 p.m.: 5.7/ 9 (#2)
10:30 p.m.: 6.0/10 (#2)

Fox finished last in each half hour with its animated rotation of a repeat of The Simpsons (1.5/ 3), American Dad (1.9/ 4), an original installment of The Simpsons (3.3/ 6), Bob’s Burger’s (2.5/ 4), Family Guy (3.9/ 6) and The Cleveland Show (2.8/ 4) from 7-10 p.m.  Worth noting for Family Guy was the overnight growth of 56 percent out of Bob’s Burgers, which Fox might have thought twice about renewing.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data


RATINGS BOX: What’s Hot/What’s Not

Week of May 2 to Date:
Based on results from Monday. May 2 through Thursday, May 5, Fox is leading the week in both total viewers and adults 18-49.  And its advantage stems from American Idol, of course.  But once Friday through Sunday are factored in, look for a potential neck-and-neck finish for CBS and ABC in total viewers, with ABC benefiting by the 2011 NBA Conference Semi-Finals on Saturday.  Fox, no doubt, will win the week in the demo.

Here are the results in prime time through Thursday:

Total Viewers:
Fox: 11.79 million, CBS: 11.24, ABC: 10.85, NBC: 6.17, CW: 1.61

Adults 18-49:
Fox: 3.8 rating/10 share, ABC and CBS: 2.7 4 each, NBC: 2.4/ 7, CW: 0.7/ 2

Source: Nielsen Media Research data


ON THE AIR TONIGHT: Prime-Time Programming Options

Monday 5/09/11
Day 12 of the May 2011 Sweep

8:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars
10:00 p.m. Castle

8:00 p.m. How I Met Your Mother
8:30 p.m. Mad Love
9:00 p.m. Two and a Half Men (R)
9:30 p.m. Mike & Molly
10:00 p.m. Hawaii Five-O

8:00 p.m. Chuck
9:00 p.m. The Event
10:00 p.m. Law & Order: Los Angeles

8:00 p.m. House
9:00 p.m. The Chicago Code

8:00 p.m. 90210
9:00 p.m. Gossip Girl


TV TIDBITS: Notes of Interest

Meredith Vieira to Officially Exit from Today:
After months of speculation, Today Show co-host announced this morning she will officially depart from NBC’s The Today Show in June.  Ann Curry will fill Vieira's chair while NBC correspondent Natalie Morales will take over Curry's news desk position.

Fox Staffs Up The X Factor:
Recent Dancing With the Stars winner Nicole Scherzinger and British TV personality Steve Jones have been named hosts of upcoming Fox singing competition The X Factor, which debuts in the fall.  Paula Abdul, meanwhile, has been officially confirmed as the fourth judge opposite Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

OWN Executive Shake-Up:
In the wake of the disappointing rating results at cable network OWN, its head, Christina Norman, has abruptly departed.  Stepping in until a permanent replacement is found will be Peter Liguori, the chief operating officer for Discovery Communications.  Norman, formerly president of MTV, arrived at OWN in January 2009.

Sad News:
Sada Thompson, who is remembered as matriarch Kate Lawrence on 1976-80 ABC drama Family, died last Wednesday of a lung disease at Danbury Hospital.  She was 81.  In a career spanning more than 60 years, Thompson made her stage debut in 1945 in play The Time of Your Life, honing her onstage presence in later productions like Pygmalion, The Misanthrope, The Effect of the Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Tartuffe, The Show-Off, and Twigs, which she won a Tony and a New York Drama Critics Award for.  Thompson was nominated for nine Emmy Awards, including a win in 1978 for Family, and a nomination in 1991 as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for playing Carla’s mother on Cheers.


TV TRIVIA TIME: Fresh Air, Times Square

Note: To respond to the trivia, please click HERE. Do not click Reply

What was Oliver Douglas’ profession on Green Acres before he moved to Hooterville to become a farmer?

a) accountant
b) bus driver
c) clothing store owner
d) doctor
e) lawyer

The answer to Friday’s question…

Remember classic high drama The White Shadow, which featured a character named Warren Coolidge as one of the students?  What other series did the same character show up on in a recurring basis?

a) The Bronx Zoo
b) Hill Street Blues
c) Night Court
d) N.Y.P.D. Blue
e) St. Elsewhere

Is: e)  St. Elsewhere, which never explained how Coolidge went from a rising basketball wannabe in Los Angeles to an orderly at St. Eligius Hospital in Boston.  Given the finale of St. Elsewhere, I guess this was all a dream!

Current kudos goes to:
Gerry Bixenspan, Andrew Bradner, Jordan Breslow, Larry Collins, Charlie Conner, Maureen Goldman, Todd Goldsbie, Bob Ingersoll, David Jackino, Steven Kurtzer, Michael Murphy, Gordon Purcell, Colleen Roth, David Ruckman, David Skinner, Michelle Stanton, Carol Teichman,