Substantial Gains for Fox’s American Idol

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Prime-Time Metered Market Tuesday Ratings:

Idol Ignited Fox Wins; Repeat 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:
No Modern Family Here
Prime-Time Metered Market Tuesday Ratings:
Idol Ignited Fox Wins; Repeat CBS a Respectable Second
Tuesday 1/19/10


Fox   11.1/16
CBS    8.0/12
NBC   5.8/ 9
ABC   2.1/ 3
CW     0.6/ 1

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Tuesday, January 20, 2009):

CBS: +25, Fox: +14, NBC: + 7, CW: -57, ABC: -76


-Yesterday’s Winners:
American Idol (Fox), NCIS R (CBS), The Biggest Loser (NBC), NCIS: Los Angeles R (CBS), The Good Wife R (CBS)


-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

Scrubs (ABC), Better Off Ted (ABC), The Jay Leno Show (NBC)


-Ratings Breakdown:

In what will, no doubt, be the pattern for the remainder of the season, Fox led the Tuesday overnights on the strength of American Idol. Second overall was a night of repeats on CBS, followed by NBC, almost invisible ABC, and more non-originals on The CW.


A one-hour version of American Idol stood well above the competition, with a 16.6 rating/24 share at 8 p.m. Comparably, and completely unprecedented, was growth for Idol over the year-ago telecast (12.5/18 on Jan. 20, 2009) of 33 percent. Never in the history of television has a veteran season nine series posted gains this large from the year-ago period. That led into a repeat of the pilot of Human Target, which finished third at 9 p.m. with a 5.8/ 9.


Despite airing all repeats, CBS had a very respectable overnight Tuesday showing care of NCIS (#2: 9.2/13), spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles (#1: 8.2/12) and The Good Wife (#1: 6.6/11), featuring just crowned Golden Globe winner Julianna Margulies.


NBC’s The Biggest Loser, one of the few Peacock shows warranting any interest, was on the map, with a 6.4/9 in the overnights at 8-10 p.m., which should translate into more solid results among adults 18-49. Here is the half-hour breakdown:


The Biggest Loser (NBC)

8:00 p.m.: 5.7/ 8 (#3)

8:30 p.m.: 5.7/ 8 (#3)

9:00 p.m.: 7.0/10 (#2)

9:30 p.m.: 7.3/11 (#2)


Also on NBC was canceled The Jay Leno Show at a second-place 4.6/ 8 at 10 p.m. Despite the ample lead-in support from The Biggest Loser, Leno could not even beat a repeat of CBS’ The Good Wife. What a disaster!


Over at ABC, the network slipped into what could be its weakest Tuesday in the history of the network with its combination of repeats of Scrubs (#4: 1.8/ 3) and Better Off Ted (#4: 1.4/ 2) from 8-9 p.m., original episodes of Scrubs (#4: 2.3/ 3) and Better Off Ted (#4: 2.0/ 3) from 9-10 p.m., and a repeat of crime drama The Forgotten (#3: 2.5/ 4). At this point it is time to officially cancel Scrubs, ABC.


Capping off the evening were repeats of The CW’s 90210 (#5: 0.6/ 1) and Melrose Place (#5: 0.6/ 1), which never play well in non-originals. 


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Good Sampling for The CW’s Life Unexpected:

Based on the fast affiliate results, Critically acclaimed CW drama Life Unexpected opened with 2.74 million viewers on January 18 — the most-watched performance in the Monday 9 p.m. hour since One Tree Hill on Jan. 12, 2009. The Life Unexpected debut equaled the season to-date average for regularly scheduled Gossip Girl in adults 18-34 (1.7/ 4) and adults 18-49 (1.2/ 3), while building from its One Tree Hill lead-in by as much as 25 percent among persons 12-34 (1.5/ 4). 

-Nickelodeon’s iCarly Continues to Soar:

Nickelodeon sensation iCarly smashed the record books again with a whopping 11.2 million viewers for the 8 p.m. telecast on Monday, Jan. 18. Comparably, that bested the previous high (8.9 million) by 2.3 million viewers. The kid’s phenomenon also reached new highs among kids 2-11, kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14. Thanks to iCarly, the preview of lead-out Big Time Rush kicked-off with 6.8 million viewers at 8:30 p.m. – Nickelodeon’s most-watched live-action series premiere ever. But the retention for Big Time Rush out of iCarly was only 61 percent. Big Time Rush premieres in its regularly scheduled Friday 8:30 p.m. time period this week.

-Record MyNetworkTV:

Based on the metered market (overnight) results, Friday Night Smackdown! rose to a 2.6 rating — MyNetworkTV’s best performance to-date on the evening. Back-to-back repeats of Law & Order: Criminal on Monday, January 11 also led MyNetworkTV to a new zenith, with an average 2.0 in the overnights. 


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)


On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Wednesday 1/20/10

 8:00 p.m. Modern Family (R)

 8:30 p.m. The Middle (R)

 9:00 p.m. Modern Family

 9:30 p.m. Cougar Town

10:00 p.m. Ugly Betty

 8:00 p.m. The New Adventures of Old Christine

 8:30 p.m. Gary Unmarried

 9:00 p.m. Criminal Minds

10:00 p.m. CSI: NY

 8:00 p.m. Mercy

 9:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU

10:00 p.m. The Jay Leno Show

 8:00 p.m. American Idol

 9:00 p.m. Human Target


 8:00 p.m. Life Unexpected (R)

 9:00 p.m. Gossip Girl (R)

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest

-More Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?:

Twentieth Television has renewed first-run game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? for a second season in the top five markets, including the Tribune stations in New York and Philadelphia and the Fox Television Stations in Los Angeles and Chicago. Other confirmed renewals include KDFW and KDFI/Dallas, WDCA/Washington, D.C., KRIV and KTXH/Houston, WUTB/Baltimore, KCPQ and KMYQ/Seattle, KTXL/Sacramento, WPMT/Harrisburg, WDAF/Kansas City and KPLR/St. Louis. 


-Updated Clearances for Nancy Grace:

Upcoming CBS Television Distribution court strip Swift Justice with Nancy Grace, one of the two new first-run strips announced as a firm go for fall 2010, has been cleared in all top 50 markets, representing 90 percent of the country. Sold for an initial two seasons, stations from the following groups are the latest to sign on: Freedom Communications, Mission Broadcasting, Grant Communications, New Vision Group, Communications Corp. of America, Cordillera Communications and Gray Television.


Other new court strips vying for clearances (but with no announced activity) are America’s Court with Judge Ross (Entertainment Studios, Inc.), Judge Brian Superior Court (All Media Partners) and Judge Heck from Trifecta Entertainment. Judge Karen’s Court from Litton Entertainment, a revival of the year-ago court strip from Sony Pictures Television, is the other new first-run strip moving forward next season. 


In the fragmented world of television, there is something for everyone. But not everything, of course, is suitable to young eyes and ears. With that in mind, there is a resource available to parents with teens and young children called, which will cut out the clutter and tell you what exactly is suitable for the non-adult crowd. Created by my TCA colleague Anne Louise Bannon, offers a truckload of information, including reviews of the shows you can watch as a family unit. For a glimpse, click on


-Freshman Series Scorecard:

With several announced changes at The Winter Press Tour, here is an updated status of the primetime freshman class of 2009-10 by network, in order of airing.


-V (Tuesday 8:00 p.m. ET): on hiatus until Tuesday, March 30. 

-The Forgotten (Tuesday 10 p.m. ET): five additional episodes ordered, bringing total to 18.

-Hank (Wednesday 8:00 p.m. ET): canceled. Unaired episodes not expected to return.

-The Middle (Wednesday 8:30 p.m. ET): renewed for season two.

-Modern Family (Wednesday 9:00 p.m. ET): renewed for season two.

-Cougar Town (Wednesday 9:30 p.m. ET): renewed for season two. 

-Eastwick (Wednesday 10:00 p.m. ET): canceled. Replacement Ugly Betty only a slight improvement.

-FlashForward (Thursday 8:00 p.m. ET): on hiatus until Tuesday, March 4. New drama The Deep steps in on Jan. 21.


-Accidentally on Purpose (Monday 8:30 p.m. ET): moving to Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. out of The New Adventures of Old Christine effective on March 31.

-NCIS: Los Angeles (Tuesday 9:00 p.m. ET): renewed for season two.

-The Good Wife (Tuesday 10:00 p.m. ET): renewed or season two.

-Three Rivers (Sunday 9:00 p.m.): canceled after 8 episodes. Cold Case has moved up to 9 p.m., with drama repeats airing at 10 p.m.


-Trauma (Monday 9:00 p.m. ET): three additional episodes ordered (despite initially announcing it was canceled), bringing the total order to 16. 

-The Jay Leno Show (Monday to Friday 10:00 p.m. ET): canceled; Jay Leno moving back to The Tonight Show in place of Conan O’Brien after the Olympics. Stepping in the week of March 1 is Law & Order (Monday), Parenthood (Tuesday), Law & Order: SVU (Wednesday), The Marriage Ref (Thursday) and a second hour of Dateline on Friday.


-Glee (Wednesday 9:00 p.m. ET): second season renewal; on hiatus until the spring. 

-Brothers (Sunday 7:00 p.m. ET): canceled. 

-The Cleveland Show (Sunday 8:30 p.m. ET): renewed for two full seasons, builds regularly from The Simpsons lead-in.

The CW

-Melrose Place (Tuesday 9:00 p.m. ET): No shot at a second season despite the return of Heather Locklear. 

-The Beautiful Life (Wednesday 9:00 p.m. ET): first cancellation of the season.

-The Vampire Diaries (Thursday 8:00 p.m. ET): full season renewal; solid performer among young females.

TV Trivia Time:
No Modern Family Here

Which one of the following series did not feature an actor or actress from current ABC hit Modern Family?

Back to You
Big Apple
Do Not Disturb

Good Morning, Miami

The answer to yesterday’s question…

What kind of car did Tod Stiles and Buzz Murdock drive around in on 1960s drama Route 66?


Is: a) Corvette. The duo (Martin Milner and George Maharis) traveled around in Tod’s Corvette in search of action and adventure in the 1960-64 drama.


-Current kudos goes to:

Mark Amato, Gerry Bixenspan (2x), Barbara Bloomfield, Michael Bobble, John Brooker, Paul Certo, Larry Collins, Tom Condosta, Reid Davis, James Davison, Bob Eisenstaedt, Miss Josh Emmett, Phyllis Epstein, Pam Euper, John Ferlazzo (2x), Arleen Fong, Paul Fox, Maureen Goldman, Jerry Hermes, Brad Hight, David Hiltbrand, David Jackino, Deb Kainer, Mary Kalnin, Synda Kollman, Mark Krause, Steve Kurtzer, Stephen La Rue, Rick Locke, Patty Lynch, Bill Nuss, Tad O’Rourke, Pat Patton, Alan Perris, Peter Poore, Gordon Purcell, Bruce Robinson, Colleen Roth, Joe Rubi, Ron Salmon, Maxine Schulman, Mark Simmons, Michelle Stanton, Ronnie Tallant, Carol Teichman, Abbott Wool, Ed Yergeau, Ted Zavales