The Programming Insider: Fox Dominates; CBS a Distant No. 2

Idol almost doubles a night of repeats on CBS

PRIME-TIME METERED MARKET THURSDAY RATINGS:  Idol Fueled Fox Wins; The Office the Only Bight Spot on NBC

Thursday 4/21/11

Yesterday's Winners:
American Idol (Fox), The Office (NBC), Bones (Fox), The Mentalist R (CBS)

Yesterday's Losers:
Community (NBC), The Paul Reiser Show (NBC), Parks and Recreation (NBC), 30 Rock (NBC)

Ratings Breakdown:
Fox led the Thursday overnight troops, almost doubling second-place CBS.  And that impressive victory is a result, of course, of mega-hit American Idol.  In the distant No. 3 spot was NBC, followed by ABC and, of course, The CW.

The live American Idol Results Show kicked-off the evening for Fox with a 13.6 rating/23 share in the overnights from 8-9 p.m., building from a 12.6/22 to a 14.5/24.  That led into Bones at a dominant 7.2/12 at 9 p.m. (and retention out of the 8:30 p.m. portion of American Idol of 50 percent).  Bones, however, is not a show that needs lead-in support.  It can clearly stand on its own and has for years.

In an entire evening of encore telecasts (as the old saying goes, “April repeats brings May originals”), CBS had nothing unusual to report with its combination of The Big Bang Theory (#2: 5.1/ 9), Rules of Engagement (#2: 3.7/ 6), CSI (#2: 5.3/ 9) and The Mentalist (#1: 7.0/12).  Next season, look for CBS to schedule a new comedy at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, while finding something else for 9 p.m.  My prediction is CSI will move into the Friday 9 p.m. hour (in place of CSI: NY) for what will probably be its final season in 2011-12.

In week two news, embarrassing The Paul Reiser Show on NBC dipped to last at 8:30 p.m., with a mere 2.0/ 3 in the overnights.  Compared to its anemic opener on April 14 (2.5/ 4), that was a loss of 20 percent.  Unfortunately, viewers are not “mad about” Paul Reiser, which dipped by 20 percent from modest lead-in Community (#4: 2.5/ 4 at 8 p.m.).  Next on NBC was demo friendly The Office (#3: 4.7/ 8), which deserves accolades for building by a whopping 135 percent out of The Paul Reiser Show, followed by Parks and Recreation (#3: 3.4/ 5) and the hour-long 100th episode of wacky 30 Rock (#2: 3.2/ 5), which still performed marginally despite facing repeats of Private Practice on ABC and aforementioned The Mentalist on CBS.

What NBC desperately needs on Thursday is a mass appeal hit sitcom (translation: a comedy taped in front of a live audience).

Mirroring CBS, ABC populated the evening with all repeats – Wipeout (#3: 2.8/ 5), Grey’s Anatomy (#4: 3.0/ 5) and Private Practice (#3: 2.0/ 3).  And The CW aired its most-watched series, The Vampire Diaries (#5: 2.1/ 4), followed by on-the-fence Nikita (#5: 1.4/ 2).  Given The CW’s current rating woes, chances are Nikita will be back next season.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

What’s Hot/What’s Not

Freshman Wednesday Report Card:
Two recent sitcom entries aired on Wednesday, Breaking In on Fox and two episodes of Happy Endings on ABC, and both left little to be desired.  On paper, 7.46 million viewers (#2) and a dominant 2.5 rating/6 share among adults 18-49 looks positive for Breaking In at 9:30 p.m.  But retention out of mega-hit American Idol (Viewers: 22.54 million; A18-49: 7.1/20 from 8-9:30 p.m.) was lacking at 33 percent in total viewers and 35 percent in the demo.  While nothing can hold the Idol lead-in, erosion of this magnitude is too severe.

Happy Endings also ranked first among adults 18-49 in its regularly scheduled Wednesday 10 p.m. half-hour.  But just 4.59 million viewers (#3) and a 1.8/ 5 in the demo opposite repeats of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior on CBS (Viewers: #1, 7.19 million; A18-49: #1t, 1.7/ 4) and Law & Order: SVU on NBC (Viewers: #2, 4.96 million; A18-49: #3, 1.4/ 4) is not impressive.  And nor was dipping to 3.88 million viewers (#3) and a 1.6/ 4 among adults 18-49 (#2) with a second telecast at 10:30 p.m.

Breaking In (Fox): D-
Happy Endings (ABC): F

Speaking of Wednesday:
Here were the overall results by network for Wednesday, April 20:

Total Viewers:
Fox: 18.77 million, CBS: 8.98, ABC: 6.13, NBC: 3.69, CW: 1.38

Adults 18-49:
Fox: 5.9 rating/16 share, ABC and CBS: 2.2/ 6 each, NBC: 1.0/ 3, CW: 0.6/ 2


Syndicated Talk Show Ratings Update:
Based on results through April 4, what follows is a syndicated talk show ratings update in households, women 25-54 and adults 25-54 (with change versus the comparable year-ago period in parentheses).

Oprah, needless to say, will be sorely missed by CBS Television Distribution (and the entire community) next season, but it does offer time period opportunities for other talkers (Dr. Oz from Sony Pictures Television, Ellen DeGeneres from Warner Bros. and upcoming Anderson, also from Warner Bros., in particular).  Over at NBC Universal, consistency is the observation with its trio of talkers – Maury, Steve Wilkos and Jerry Springer.  Ditto for Dr. Phil and The Doctors, both from CBS.  But sophomore Wendy Williams from Debmar-Mercury is on the downside, freshman entry Nate Berkus from SPT remains in the cellar, and Disney-ABC, of course, is in search for someone to replace Regis Philbin on its still potent Life with Regis & Kelly.

Oprah (CBS Television Distribution): 4.8 rating (no change), Dr. Phil (CBS): 2.8 (no change), Live with Regis & Kelly (Disney-ABC): 2.6 (no change), Dr. Oz (Sony Pictures Television): 2.4 (-11), Ellen DeGeneres (Warner Bros.): 2.2 (- 4), Maury (NBC Universal): 2.0 (+ 5), The Doctors (CBS): 1.8 (- 5), Rachael Ray (CBS): 1.6 (- 6), Steve Wilkos (NBCU): 1.4 (+17), Jerry Springer (NBCU): 1.4 (+ 8), Wendy Williams (Debmar-Mercury): 1.1 (- 8), Nate Berkus (SPT): 1.0

Women 25-54:
Oprah (CBS Television Distribution): 3.0 (- 3), Dr. Phil (CBS): 1.5 (no change), Ellen DeGeneres Show (Warner Bros.): 1.5 (- 6), Live with Regis & Kelly (Disney-ABC) and Maury (NBCU): 1.4 (no change each), Dr. Oz (SPT): 1.3 (-13), Rachael Ray (CBS): 1.0 (- 9), Steve Wilkos (NBCU): 0.9 (+13), The Doctors (CBS): 0.9 (no change), Jerry Springer (NBC): 0.8 (no change), Wendy Williams (Debmar-Mercury): 0.8 (-11), Nate Berkus (SPT): 0.6

Adults 25-54:
Oprah (CBS Television Distribution): 2.0 (no change), Maury (NBCU): 1.1 (no change), Dr. Phil (CBS) and Live with Regis & Kelly (Disney-ABC): 1.0 (no change each), Dr. Oz (SPT) and Ellen DeGeneres (Warner Bros.): 1.0 (- 9 each), Jerry Springer (NBCU): 0.8 (no change), The Doctors (CBS), Rachael Ray (CBS) and Steve Wilkos (NBCU): 0.7 (no change each), Wendy Williams (Debmar-Mercury): 0.6 (-14), Nate Berkus (SPT): 0.4

Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Prime-Time Programming Options

Friday 4/22/11

ABC: 8:00 p.m. Shark Tank, 9:00 p.m. Primetime: What Would You Do?, 10:00 p.m. 20/20
CBS: 8:00 p.m. CSI:  NY (R), 9:00 p.m. Girls Night Out – Superstar Women of Country (two hours)
NBC:  8:00 p.m. Friday Night Lights, 9:00 p.m.  Dateline (two hours)
Fox:  8:00 p.m. Kitchen Nightmares (R), 9:00 p.m. Fringe
CW:  8:00 p.m. Smallville, 9:00 p.m. Supernatural

Saturday 4/23/11

ABC: 8:00 p.m. Movie: The Ten Commandments (R)
CBS: 8:00 p.m. CSI: NY (R), 9:00 p.m. CSI: Miami (R), 10:00 p.m. 48 Hours
NBC: 8:00 p.m. Chase (return), 9:00 p.m. Law & Order: Los Angeles (R), 10:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (R)
Fox: 8:00 p.m. Cops (original and repeat), 9:00 p.m. America’s Most Wanted

Sunday 4/24/11

ABC: 7:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos (R), 8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, 9:00 p.m. Desperate Housewives, 10:00 p.m. Brothers & Sisters
CBS: 7:00 p.m. 60 Minutes , 8:00 p.m. The Amazing Race, 9:00 p.m. Hallmark Hall of Fame – Beyond the Blackboard
NBC: 7:00 p.m. Dateline , 8:00 p.m. America’s Next Great Restaurant, 9:00 p.m. Celebrity Apprentice
Fox: 7:00 p.m. The Simpsons (R), 7:30 p.m. The Simpsons (R), 8:00 p.m. Movie: The Simpsons Movie (R)

Notes of Interest

A&E Announces Return Date for The Glades:
Season two of scripted drama The Glades, featuring Matt Passmore, Kiele Sanchez, Carlos Gomez and Michelle Hurd, will open on A&E on Sunday, June 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.  The inaugural season finished as the most-watched drama in the cable net’s history, with 3.1 million viewers.

ABC Pulls Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Next Week:
It is not officially canceled.  But next Tuesday’s installment of sophomore Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC, which stepped in for No Ordinary Family, will be replaced for a recap episode of Dancing with the Stars.  Jamie Oliver this week averaged a mere 4.72 million viewers (#4), with a 1.1 rating/3 share among adults 18-49.

Production Begins on Excused from CBS in Syndication:
Excused, the upcoming first-run game show strip from CBS Television Distribution has begun production this week in Los Angeles.  The half-hour, hosted by season six Last Comic Standing winner Iliza Shlesinger, is described as “Blind Date Meets the Bachelor” and will feature two single women and four single men (or vice versa) who are whittled down to a final winning couple.

Happy Easter

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

What happened to the clan called Walton during the Easter-themed episode of classic family drama The Waltons?

a) Elizabeth runs away from home
b) Grandma has a stroke
c) Grandpa has a heart attack
d) Mary Ellen’s baby is kidnapped
e) Olivia is diagnosed with polio

The answer to yesterday’s question…

Which one of the following series did not feature an actor from long-running serial Knots Landing?

a) Beverly Hills, 90210
b) Jericho
c) Murphy Brown
d) Phenom
e) 2000 Malibu Road

Is: b) Jericho, which is one of the few primetime series to be brought back after cancellation.  As for the others:

-Beverly Hills, 90210 (Fox): Michelle Phillips (1997-98)
-Murphy Brown (CBS): Joe Regalbuto (1988-98)
-Phenom (ABC): William Devane (1993-04)
-2000 Malibu Road (CBS): Lisa Hartman (1992)

Current kudos goes to:
Gerry Bixenspan, Tom Condosta, Bob Ingersoll, James Maxim, Tom Kilgallon, Anthony Salerno