CBS and Fox Dominate in Primetime

Thursday, February 19, 2009

National Ratings in Prime-Time:

Week of February 9, 2009

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not

On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options 

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
TV Trivia Time:

At Home With the Cleavers


Note: All overnight data for Tuesday, Feb. 17, Wednesday, Feb. 18, and Thursday, Feb. 19 will be held by Nielsen until Friday due to stations making the digital transition.  Although a small percentage of stations transitioned yesterday, the purpose of the three-day hold is to ensure that all necessary changes have been made in Nielsen’s internal systems to properly credit the stations that transition. Overnight data for Tuesday through Thursday is expected to be released on Friday morning.


Make sure you go to at approximately 12 p.m. ET, however, for a look at the fast affiliate results for Wednesday, Feb. 18.


National Ratings in Prime-Time:

Week of February 9, 2009


It was another week of mixed leadership, with CBS dominant in households and total viewers and the home of American Idol, Fox, first in the three key demos — adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and adults 18-34. CBS was on the year-to-year plus side, building by margins of 21 to 41 percent. And Fox was just the opposite, dipping by as much as 21 percent among adults 18-34. 


ABC also gained traction from one year earlier, with a third-place ranking in four of the surveyed categories (excluding a second-place finish among adults 18-34). Fading NBC was one notch below ABC, with yearly losses of 25 to 30 percent, followed by the CW and growing MyNetworkTV, which will lose any momentum it currently has (as a result of Friday Night Smackdown!) by relying on repeats next season. That is no way to plan for the future. 


In series-premiere news, Fox drama Dollhouse, from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Joss Whedon, opened with 4.76 million viewers (#60) and a 2.0/ 6 among adults 18-49 (#46t) in the Friday 9 p.m. hour. Comparably, that placed it third in the time period in total viewers (behind CBS’ Flashpoint and ABC’s Supernanny) and second among adults 18-49 (behind Supernanny). While that may not sound impressive, it did build from relocated lead-in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Viewers: 3.71 million; A18-49: 1.4/ 5 at 8 p.m.) by 1.05 million viewers and 43 percent in the demo. And it was Fox’s highest rated Friday series premiere since drama Jonny Zero on Jan. 14, 2005.


In season-premiere news, cycle No. 18 of CBS’ veteran Survivor, now themed Tocantins, and cycle No. 14 of The Amazing Race dominated their time periods, but The Amazing Race was actually below average among adults 18-49. Take a look:

Survivor: Tocantins (CBS) – Thursday 8 p.m. (season premiere)

Viewers: 13.63 million (#12), A18-49: 4.4/13 (#10t)


The Amazing Race (CBS) – Sunday 8 p.m. (season premiere)

Viewers: 9.20 million (#27), A18-49: 2.6/ 7 (#31t)


In the specials department, The 40th Annual NAACP Awards on Fox Thursday was far from impressive, with 4.20 million viewers (#68) and a 1.4/ 4 in the demo (#63t). And part two of NBC miniseries XIII was a complete bust at a mere 4.26 million viewers (#66) and a 1.0/ 2 among adults 18-49 (#77t) in the Sunday 9-11 p.m. block. In other words, the once potent miniseries formula is not poised for a comeback anytime soon.


Here are the final national ratings for the week of February 9, 2009 (with percent change versus the comparable year-ago week in parentheses), followed by the new midseason series report card and the top 30 rated programs of the week.   


CBS: 7.1 rating/12 share (+37), Fox: 5.8/ 9 (-13), ABC: 4.8/ 8 (+ 9), NBC: 4.1/ 7 (-25), CW: 1.1/ 2 (-27), MNTV: 0.9/ 2 (+12)