The Programming Insider: Idol-Ignited Fox Crushes Rivals

Bests No. 2 CBS by 5.3 rating points

In Today's Issue:

Prime-Time Metered Market Wednesday Ratings: Fox Wins; CBS a Respectable Second
Ratings Box: What’s Hot/What’s Not
On the Air Tonight: Prime-Time Programming Options
TV Tidbits: Notes of Interest
TV Trivia Time: Missing Florida

Wednesday 5/11/11
Note: The overnight data now includes DVR playback until 3 a.m. local time. One year earlier it was based on Live data only.  All times are ET/PT.

Household Rating/Share
Fox: 12.2/19, CBS: 6.9/11, ABC: 4.3/ 7, NBC: 3.4/ 5, CW: 1.3/ 2

Percent Change from the Year-Ago Evening (Wednesday 5/12/10):
Fox: +45, ABC: + 2, CBS: no change, NBC: -23, CW: -59

Yesterday’s Winners:
American Idol (CBS), Modern Family (ABC), Criminal Minds (CBS), Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

Honorable Mention:
Survivor: Redemption Island (CBS)

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (CBS)

Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):
Minute to Win It (NBC), Better With You (ABC), America’s Next Top Model (CW), Cougar Town (ABC), Breaking In (Fox), Happy Endings (ABC)

Ratings Breakdown:
It was another American Idol-ignited victory for Fox, which bested No. 2 CBS in the Wednesday overnights by a considerable 5.3 rating points.  In the distant No. 3 spot was ABC, which continues to house one bona fide midweek hit, Modern Family, followed by NBC and lowly The CW.

American Idol scored a hefty 14.7 rating/23 share from 8-9:30 p.m., building by half hour as follows: 13.7/22 – 14.8/23 – 15.6/23.  But recently introduced lead-out comedy Breaking In earned its cancelation stripes with a second-place 4.8/ 8 at 9:30 p.m. (and retention out of the 9 p.m. portion of a mere 31 percent).

As for American Idol, tonight is the night that Haley Reinhart is likely to finally be sent packing.

Over at CBS, Survivor: Redemption Island was on the map with a respectable second-place 6.5/10 in the overnights from 8-9 p.m.  But considering the season ends this Sunday with a two-hour installment (followed by the traditional reunion show), personally I think it is absurd to still have eight contestants (including four on Redemption Island).  The concept of Redemption Island might have gone too far.

Leading out of Survivor was underrated Criminal Minds (#2: 8.3/13 at 9 p.m.), which perked up to a dominant 9.0/14 at 9:30 p.m., and spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (#2: 5.9/10 at 10 p.m.), which is unlikely to return due to the ongoing erosion out of its parent series.  Last night, Suspect Behavior dipped from the 9:30 p.m. portion of Criminal Minds by 34 percent, and it's trailed competing Law & Order: SVU on NBC (#1: 6.1/10) by 3 percent.

In season (or series) finale news, freshman Better With You finished third at 8:30 p.m. with a lackluster 3.8/ 6 in the overnights and retention out of lead-in The Middle (#3: 4.8/ 8 at 8 p.m.) of 79 percent.  Given the HUT levels are higher at 8:30 p.m., the noticeable erosion all season will lead to its ultimate demise.  Next on ABC was standout Modern Family (#2: 7.7/12 at 9 p.m.), which will finish second in the half hour among adults 18-49, followed by already renewed Cougar Town (#3: 4.3/ 7 at 9:30 p.m.), which did not deserve its early pick-up, and two episodes of on-the-fence Happy Endings (10 p.m.: #3, 3.0/ 5; 10:30 p.m.: #3, 2.6/ 5).  At a time when Happy Endings really needs to prove itself, the average 2.8/ 5 from 10-11 p.m. certainly does not bode well.

NBC had no traction in the Wednesday 8-10 p.m., as usual, with back-to-back episodes (original and repeat) of game show Minute to Win It as follows:

8:00 p.m.: 2.0/ 3 (#4)
9:00 p.m.: 2.2/ 3 (#4)

But aforementioned Law & Order: SVU perked up to a first-place 6.1/10 at 10 p.m.—126 percent above the 9:30 p.m. portion of Minute to Win It (2.7/ 4).  Growth that significant lands SVU on the “winners” listing.

Over at The CW, once prosperous America’s Next Top Model dipped to a very last-place 1.7/ 3 at 9 p.m., which was off by 47 percent from the year-ago two-hour season ender (3.2/ 5 on May 12, 2010).  Earlier in the evening was a repeat of Top Model at a 0.9/ 1 at 8 p.m. (#5).  Needless to say, the network had better hope its all-star edition ignites interest next fall.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data


RATINGS BOX: What’s Hot/What’s Not

Becoming Chaz Scores on OWN:
Becoming Chaz, the 90-minute look at the transformation of Chaz Bono, launched the OWN Documentary Club on Tuesday with a fifth-place finish among all ad-supported cable in the 9-10:30 p.m. block among key women 25-54 (.68 rating).  Comparably, that built by a hefty 162 percent in the demo from year-ago Discovery Health levels, with across the board triple-digit gains elsewhere.  Lead-out The Doc Club with Rosie O’Donnell, featuring Chaz taking questions from the audience, scored a .45 rating in the demo at 10:30 p.m., with growth of 96 percent from one year earlier.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data


ON THE AIR TONIGHT: Prime-Time Programming Options

Thursday 5/12/11

8:00 p.m. Wipeout
9:00 p.m. Grey’s Anatomy
10:00 p.m. Private Practice

8:00 p.m. The Big Bang Theory
8:30 p.m. Rules of Engagement
9:00 p.m. CSI (season finale)
10:00 p.m. The Mentalist

8:00 p.m. Community (season finale)
8:30 p.m. The Office (R)
9:00 p.m. The Office
9:30 p.m. Parks and Recreation
10:00 p.m. Parks and Recreation
10:30 p.m. Outsourced (series finale)

8:00 p.m. American Idol Results Show
9:00 p.m. Bones

8:00 p.m. The Vampire Diaries (season finale)
9:00 p.m. Nikita (season finale)


TV TIDBITS: Notes of Interest

NBC Fall 2011 Pick-Ups:
NBC, which will announces its fall 2011 schedule to the press on Sunday, has committed to at least four new series (two comedies and two dramas).  The sitcoms are Whitney, which is based on the stand-up comedy of Whitney Cummings and focuses on a young couple; and Up All Night, with Christina Applegate as an acerbic working mother who never thought she would be a parent with her stay-at-home husband and her opinionated parents.  The dramas are Prime Suspect, an adaptation of the British series with Maria Bello as a skilled, top-class female detective who battles to prove herself in a tough New York precinct; and music-driven Smash from executive producer Steven Spielberg about a diversified group of characters who come together to put on a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.  Debra Messing, Christian Borle, and American Idol’s Katharine McPhee star.

Other pilots vying for a spot on NBC’s lineup are sitcom Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea, dramas Awake and The Playboy Club, and a revival of camp classic Wonder Woman.

The O’Neals on OWN:
The O’Neals, an upcoming original docudrama featuring Ryan and Tatum ONeal, will launch on cable net OWN on Sunday, June 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.  The episode-episode series will take viewers inside the lives and the often tumultuous relationship of the famous father and daughter.

Spike TV Pilot Pick-Ups:
Male-driven Spike TV has picked-up six nonscripted pilots.  The proposed projects are a game show called Repo Games that gives contestants a chance to win back items they already pawned; The Sherriff, which follows law-enforcement expert Tony Schiena; Hungry Men at Work, which focuses on the people who feed men in dangerous jobs; World’s Worst Tenants, which follows Los Angeles-evictor Todd Howard; The Hustler, which follows a salesman named Josh T. Ryan; and a project called Auction in My House.

Sad News:
Norma Zimmer, best remembered for her 22-year tenure as Lawrence Welk's "Champagne Lady" on The Lawrence Welk Show from 1960-82, has passed away.  She was 87 and died on Tuesday at her Brea, Calif., home.


TV TRIVIA TIME: Missing Florida

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

What state was unseen Florida Evans supposed to in at the year Esther Rolle did not appear on sitcom Good Times?

a) Arizona
b) California
c) Florida
d) Georgia
e) New Mexico

The answer to yesterday’s question…

Four of the following comedies were set in New York.  Which was wasn’t?

a) Car 54, Where Are You?
b) Friends
c) The John Larroquette Show
d) Kate & Allie
e) My Little Margie

Is: c) The John Larroquette Show, which was set at a seedy bus terminal in St. Louis

Current kudos goes to:
Steve Albright, Gerry Bixenspan, Jordan Breslow, Dennis Burton, Larry Collins, Larry Corsa, Maureen Goldman, Kevin Harlan, Bob Ingersoll, David Jackino, Deb Kainer, Marie Lefevre Karp, Steven Kurtzer, Aaron Paquette, Gordon Purcell, Colleen Roth, Maxine Shulman, Barry Singer, David Skinner, Michelle Stanton, Meredith Wayne, Abbott Wool, Ted Zavales