Rare Thursday Overnight Victory for Fox

Friday, February 27, 2009
American Idol Lifts Fox to an Atypical Victory
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:

John Boy Is Here!

American Idol Lifts Fox to an Atypical Victory
Thursday 2/26/09


Fox    8.7/14

CBS   8.4/14

ABC 4.3/ 7
NBC 4.0/ 6

CW    1.6/ 3


-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008):

CBS: +11, CW: no change, NBC: – 5, Fox: -22, ABC: -25


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

-Yesterday’s Winners:
American Idol (Fox), CSI (CBS)

-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five (NBC), Kath & Kim (NBC)

-Ratings Breakdown:

Led by a Thursday edition of American Idol, Fox snuck past normally dominant CBS in the overnights, with a three-tenth of a rating point advantage. With Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice repeats, ABC dipped into the distant No. 3 three spot, followed by NBC and the CW. 


American Idol kicked-off the evening for Fox with an 11.5 rating/18 share in the overnights from 8-9 p.m., beating normally top-rated Survivor: Tocantins on CBS (6.3/10) by 83 percent. As good as this sounds for American Idol, keep in mind that the year-ago live voting results edition (also on Thursday) was considerably stronger at a 14.2/22 on Feb. 28, 2008. Do the math, and last night was down by 19 percent. Survivor: Tocantins, meanwhile, decreased by 11 percent from the year-ago edition set in Micronesia (7.1/11). For more on Survivor, see TV Tidbits below. 


The next three American Idol contestants moving on are Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta and, of course, Adam Lambert. But I don’t think this is the last we will see of Megan Joy Corkrey, who I predict will be a Wild Card pick. As for the bickering between Kara and Simon, you go Kara. Don’t let him bully you!


Third in the 8 p.m. hour was ABC’s hiatus-bound Ugly Betty (4.8/ 8), followed by animated NBC special Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five (2.6/ 4) and the soon-to-depart Kath & Kim (2.3/ 4), and a repeat of Smallville on the CW (1.7/ 3). Upcoming Amy Poehler NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation is scheduled to debut in place of Kath & Kim on April 9.


CBS moved into the 9 p.m. winner’s circle care of CSI, which averaged an 11.0/17 in the overnights. As predicted, the CSI franchise lives on without William Petersen. In the distant No. 2 spot was Hell’s Kitchen on Fox (6.0/10), which of course benefited by airing out of American Idol (but held only 49 percent of the 8:30 p.m. portion). Next in the 9 p.m. hour was a repeat of Grey’s Anatomy on ABC (4.7/ 7), followed by a repeat of NBC’s The Office (3.7/ 6) and an original installment of 30 Rock (3.9/ 6), and a repeat of Supernatural on the CW (1.6/ 2). While a 3.9 in the overnights is nothing to boast about, I will give 30 Rock credit for fully maintaining the encore Office lead-in. 


As for the CW on Thursday, don’t forget that Smallville and Supernatural have already been renewed for next season. There is no reason to think they will move off the night. 


CBS remained the dominant network at 10 p.m. care of hiatus-bound Eleventh Hour at an 8.0/13 in the overnights. But retention of 72 percent out of the second half of lead-in CSI (11.1/17 at 9:30 p.m.) could be better. Coming up on CBS in the time period: mystery Harper’s Island on April 9. 


Second in the 10 p.m. hour was NBC’s soon-to-depart ER (5.8/10), which built by 49 percent from lead-in 30 Rock, followed by a repeat of Private Practice on ABC (3.3/ 6). Does anyone even care that George Clooney and Julianna Margulies are coming back for the ER series-finale on April 2? And, speaking of the ER ender, isn’t it odd for NBC to be airing it one night after the delayed February sweeps concludes?


Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Conan Departs on a High Note:

The final telecast of NBC’s The Late Show with Conan O’Brien on Friday, Feb. 20 averaged a hefty 3.4 million viewers — its biggest audience since Monday, Jan. 24, 2005. The performance among adults 18-49 (1.4/ 7) was its best since Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006, and it tied lead-in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for the first time ever in the demo. For the week of Feb. 16, Conan averaged 2.4 million viewers and a 1.0/ 6 in the demo — its best since the week of Dec. 31, 2007. 

-Season High Top Chef:

The fifth season-finale of Bravo’s Top Chef on Wednesday, Feb. 25 rose to a season-high in both households (2.1/ 6) and total viewers (3.7 million). Comparably, this was the reality/competition’s second highest rating ever — just one-tenth of a rating point behind the season two-ender on Jan. 31, 2007.

-Four Year High for CBS’ Face the Nation:

Based on the Sunday, Feb. 22 telecast, veteran CBS public affairs weekly Face the Nation rose to its largest audience (3.64 million) since Jan. 23, 2005. Compared to the year ago telecast, that was an increase of 14 percent in households (2.2/ 6 to 2.5/ 7), 670,000 viewers (2.97 to 3.64 million) and 22 percent among adults 25-54 (0.9/ 4 to 1.1/ 5). 


-Solid Growth for TV Land’s High School Reunion:

Episode two of the current season of TV Land’s addictive High School Reunion averaged an improved 692,000 total viewers, with a median age of 43 on Wednesday, Feb. 25. Growth from last week’s season opener was 17 percent in adults 25-54 (450,000) and 17 percent in the network’s target 40-54 demo.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Friday 2/27/09

 8:00 p.m. Wife Swap

 9:00 p.m. Supernanny

10:00 p.m. 20/20

 8:00 p.m. Ghost Whisperer

 9:00 p.m. Flashpoint

10:00 p.m. Numb3rs

 8:00 p.m. Howie Do It (two repeats)

 9:00 p.m. Friday Night Lights  

10:00 p.m. Dateline

 8:00 p.m. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

 9:00 p.m. Dollhouse


 8:00 p.m. Everybody Hates Chris (R)

 8:30 p.m. The Game (R)

 9:00 p.m. Everybody Hates Chris (R)

 9:30 p.m. The Game (R)

 8:00 p.m. Friday Night Smackdown!
Saturday 2/28/09
 8:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos (R)

 9:00 p.m. Movie: Bewitched (R)

 8:00 p.m. Cold Case (R)

 9:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery  

10:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery

 8:00 p.m. Law & Order: Criminal Intent (R)

 9:00 p.m. Law & Order (R)

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

 8:00 p.m.  Cops

 9:00 p.m. America’s Most Wanted


 8:00 p.m. Movie: Girl 6 (R)

Sunday 2/29/09

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

 8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

 9:00 p.m. Brothers & Sisters (part one)

10:00 p.m. Brothers & Sisters (part two)

 7:00 p.m. 60 Minutes

 8:00 p.m. The Amazing Race 14  

 9:00 p.m. Movie – Jessie Stone: Thin Ice


 7:00 p.m. Saturday Night Live Short Films (two hours)

 9:00 p.m. Celebrity Apprentice (season premiere, two hours – see below)


 7:00 p.m. NASCAR

 8:00 p.m. The Simpsons

 8:30 p.m. King of the Hill

 9:00 p.m. Family Guy (R)

 9:30 p.m. American Dad


 7:00 p.m. Jericho (R, from 6:30 p.m.)

 7:30 p.m. Sunday Movie: Rain Man (R)


-This Year’s Contestants on Celebrity Apprentice:

Country star Clint Black, poker pro Annie Duke, comedians Andrew Dice Clay and Tom Green, professional golfer Natalie Gulbis, ice skating legend Scott Hamilton, Deal or No Deal model Claudia Jordan, reality star Khloe Kardashian, singer Brian McKnight, Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick, former NBA star Dennis Rodman, West Coast Choppers boss Jesse James, former NFL star Herschel Walker, singer Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and Joan and Melissa Rivers.


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest


-More Survivor:

CBS has ordered two more editions of its veteran Survivor franchise, with the 19th and 20th installments slated for the 2009-10 season. The current edition, Survivor: Tocantins, remains right on par with the ratings for the year-ago season set in Micronesia.


-Tori Spelling Fans, Take Note:

The return of Tori Spelling as Donna Martin will take place on the CW’s 90210 on Tuesday, April 14. Rumor has it Donna is now a famous clothing designer living in Japan. But there could be trouble in paradise with hubby David. Stay tuned. 


-Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter Reunite:

Former Conan O’Brien sidekick Andy Richter, who exited NBC’s Late Night franchise in 2000 in search of sitcom fame, will rejoin O’Brien when he takes over The Tonight Show franchise in June. Richter has been hired as new Tonight Show announcer, and he will also take part in the comedy pieces. 


-The CW Goes After Scripted Models:

After the failure of Stylista last fall, you might think the CW would give up on new model based series. But, the network has ordered a pilot for a drama called The Beautiful Life, which focuses on models living together in New York. It is produced by Ashton Kutcher. 


-Two More Years of The Simpsons:

Fox has renewed animated sitcom The Simpsons for another two seasons, taking it though 2010-11. Historically, this will make The Simpsons, which debuted on Dec. 17, 1989 (and originated from a sketch on The Tracey Ullman Show) the longest running regularly scheduled prime-time scripted series in the history of television. Current leader Gunsmoke (1955-75) still leads the pack of scripted dramas, but NBC’s Law & Order is just one year shy of tying that record. 


Here are the 10 longest running scripted series to grace the prime-time airwaves:

  1. Gunsmoke (CBS): 1955-75
  2. The Simpsons (Fox): 1989 – present
  3. Law & Order (NBC): 1990 – present
  4. Lassie (CBS): 1954-71 (not including first-run syndication from 1971-74)
  5. ER (NBC): 1994-2009 (series-finale on April 2)
  6. The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (ABC): 1952-66
  7. Knots Landing (CBS); 1979-1993
  8. Dallas (CBS): 1978-91
  9. Bonanza (NBC): 1959-73
  10. The Danny Thomas Show (a.k.a. Make From for Daddy): (ABC) and (CBS): 1953-65

TV Trivia Time:

John Boy Is Here!


When The Waltons debuted in the fall of 1972 it faced two heavy opponents in the Thursday 8 p.m. hour. One was The Flip Wilson Show on NBC. And what was the other on ABC?

Love, American Style
Marcus Welby, M.D.
The Mod Squad
The Rookies

The Six Million Dollar Man


The answer to yesterday’s trivia question…


Which one of the following failed series lasted only one episode?

Checking In
Public Morals
Viva Laughlin

Is:  c) Public Morals, a CBS comedy from Steven Bochco that was yanked after its sole Oct. 30, 1996 telecast. As for the rest:


-Checking In: 4 episodes

-Costello: 5

-Roxie: 2

-Viva Laughlin: 2

-Current kudos goes to:
Michelle Amundson, Carolyn Bisson, Gerry Bixenspan, Mark Binda, Brian Carney, Larry Collins, Tom Condosta, Annie Courtney, Josh Emmett, Maureen Goldman, Deirdre Hanssen, Bob Ingersoll, Kelly Lindley, Synda Kollman, Aaron Paquette, Alan Perris, Greg Phelan, Colleen Roth, David Shearer, Ted Zawislak