ABC and CBS Tie for Thursday Overnight Dominance

THE PROGRAMMING INSIDER
Friday, May 8, 2009
  

ABC and CBS Tie for First; Hefty Yearly Losses for CBS, NBC and the CW

 
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:

Damn It, Alexis!

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Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:

ABC and CBS Tie for First; Hefty Yearly Losses for CBS, NBC and the CW

 
Thursday 5/07/09
 

               HH
          Rtg/Shr

ABC 7.2/12

CBS   7.2/12

Fox    4.8/ 8

NBC   3.8/ 6

CW   2.1/ 3

   
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-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, May 8, 2008):

Fox: + 9, ABC: – 4, CW: -16, NBC: -19, CBS: -23

 
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-Yesterday’s Winners:

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (ABC)

 
-Down but Certainly Not Out:

Survivor: Tocantins (CBS), CSI (CBS)

 
-Honorable Mention:
Bones (Fox)
 
-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

My Name is Earl (NBC), Parks and Recreation (NBC)

 
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-Ratings Breakdown:

It was a night of split overnight Thursday leadership, with normally dominant CBS tied with ABC for first. In the distant No. 3 spot was Fox, followed by NBC and the CW. Expect ABC to finish first overall among key adults 18-49.

 

Potentially alarming was the considerable erosion for CBS veteran CSI, which dipped to second behind Grey’s Anatomy on ABC in the metered markets as follows:

 
Thursday 9 p.m.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC): 9.4/15
CSI (CBS): 8.9/14
 

While that 8.9/14 was up a significant 39 percent from the second half of lead-in Survivor: Tocantins (6.4/11 at 8:30 p.m.), comparably CSI dropped by a concerning 23 percent from the year-ago telecast (11.5/18 on May 8, 2008). Grey’s Anatomy, which will have no trouble winning the hour among adults 18-49, dipped by just 4 percent (9.8/15). It looks like the absence of William Petersen has negatively impacted CSI.

 

Earlier in the evening on CBS was Survivor: Tocantins at a diluted but still dominant 6.2/11 in the overnights from 8-9 p.m. (down by 13 percent from Survivor: Micronesia one year earlier: 7.1/12). Capping off the night for CBS was a repeat of CSI at a second-place 6.6/11. As for Survivor: Tocantins…SPOILER ALERT…all I can say is “adios Debbie.” While I still would have preferred to see insane Coach bid adieu, this was still very satisfying. 

 

ABC’s already renewed Ugly Betty finished third behind Survivor at 8 p.m., with a so-so 4.9/ 9. Next was the aforementioned Grey’s Anatomy (9.4/15), followed by 10 p.m. special, Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist at a first-place 7.3/12. Comparably, Michael J. Fox outdelivered the season-finale of week-ago occupant Private Practice (6.3/10 on April 30) by 16 percent.

 

NBC had nothing of note in the overnights with its below-average rated combination of expected-to-be canceled My Name is Earl (#4: 3.0/ 5), just renewed Parks and Recreation (#4: 3.0/ 5), always demographic savvy The Office (#4: 3.9/ 6), compatible 30 Rock (#4: 3.7/ 6), and the also just picked-up Southland (#3: 4.7/ 8). Southland may no longer look all that positive, but it did manage to build from 30 Rock by 27 percent. As for The Office, why does poor Phyllis always seem to be suffering? That was a top-notch installment of The Office last night, wasn’t it?

 

Elsewhere, Fox remained on the Thursday map care of underrated Bones (#2: 5.6/10 and demographically comfortable Hell’s Kitchen (#3: 4.1/ 6). But, like CBS and NBC last night, the CW dipped by double-digit percentages from one year earlier with its combination of veteran Smallville (#5: 2.2/ 4) and compatible Supernatural (#5: 2.0/ 3). Had the CW been in better shape, Smallville may not have been returning next season.

 

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

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Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
 
-Final Monday and Tuesday Nationals:

The delayed delivery of the ratings should, hopefully, be a thing of the past after today. And to keep you up-to-date, here are the final national rating results for Monday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 5: