CBS and Fox Dominate Week of March 8

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Fox Wins; CBS Rock Solid  

National Ratings in Prime-Time:

Week of March 8, 2010
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not

On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options 

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
TV Trivia Time:
Don’t Be a Dingbat
Prime-Time Metered Market Tuesday Ratings:
Fox Wins; CBS Rock Solid 
Tuesday 3/16/10


Fox   14.9/22
CBS 10.3/16
NBC   4.8/ 7
ABC   4.0/ 6
CW    1.1/ 2

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Tuesday, March 17, 2009):

Fox: +25, CBS: +12, CW: +10, NBC: -13, ABC: -37

-Yesterday’s Winners:

American Idol (Fox), NCIS (CBS), NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), Lost (ABC), The Good Wife (CBS)


-Inching Closer to Being Labeled a Loser:

Parenthood (NBC)

-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

90210 (CW), Melrose Place (CW), FlashForward: What Did You See? (ABC)


-Ratings Breakdown:

A two-hour edition of American Idol led Fox to Tuesday victory, but there was plenty of audience left over for second-place CBS. American Idol, featuring the top 12 contestants, averaged a 14.9 rating/22 share in the overnights, building by half-hour as follows:


American Idol (Fox)

8:00 p.m.: 14.0/22 (#1)

8:30 p.m.: 15.1/23 (#1)

9:00 p.m.: 15.2/22 (#1)

9:30 p.m.: 15.5/23 (#1)


My picks for the bottom two in tonight’s live voting show are Lacey Brown and Paige Miles. Most likely to bid adieu: Lacey Brown. Although Tim Urban was certainly not extraordinary last night, his newfound confidence (and Ken doll looks) should serve him well.


Rock-solid CBS had another eventful Tuesday care of scripted dramas NCIS (#2: 11.7/18), NCIS: Los Angeles (#2: 9.7/14) and The Good Wife (#1: 9.4/16), the best 1-2-3 punch in prime-time. 


In the distant No. 3 spot in the overnights was NBC care of another two-hour edition of The Biggest Loser (5.1/ 8 from 8-10 p.m.) and week three of drama Parenthood (#2: 4.3/ 7), which dipped seven percent from one week earlier. Take a look at Parenthood’s three-week overnight track:

3/02/10: 5.5/ 9
3/09/10: 4.5/ 8
3/16/10: 4.3/ 7

As for The Biggest Loser, which always resonates among adults 18-49, here is the half-hour breakdown:


The Biggest Loser (NBC)

8:00 p.m.: 4.6/ 7 (#3)

8:30 p.m.: 4.9/ 7 (#3)

9:00 p.m.: 5.3/ 8 (#4)

9:30 p.m.: 5.6/ 8 (#4)


Next up was ABC care of a repeat of Lost (#4: 2.6/ 4), the original installment of Lost (#3: 6.4/ 9) and clips special FlashForward: What Did You See? (#3: 3.1/ 5), which certainly did not see much in the ratings. If this is any indication, the two-episode return of FlashForward is likely to fall flat tomorrow. As I have said on numerous occasions, putting a freshman series on hiatus for three months is not a wise programming maneuver. As for Lost, the expected victory among adults 18-49 at 9 p.m. lands it back in the winner’s circle. But, with only eight original episodes left, how many more new people are going to show up on the very crowded island? At first glance, I thought Tina Fey was one of them last night!


The CW capped off the night with 90210 (#5: 1.5/ 2), which the network may want to reconsider its early renewal on, and Melrose Place (#5: 0.9/ 1), which sunk to a series low and is begging to be cut loose. For updated rating news on the network’s Life Unexpected, see Ratings Box two sections below. 


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)


National Ratings in Prime-Time:

Week of March 8, 2010

There were no Winter Olympics or Academy Awards telecast this week…nothing out of the ordinary. With that in mind, it was back to normal with CBS first overall in households and total viewers and the home of American Idol, Fox, No. 1 in the three key demos…adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and adults 18-34. CBS was at levels virtually identical to one year earlier, while Fox dipped by margins of 14 to 17 percent in the five surveyed categories. 


ABC and NBC shared the No. 3 and 4 spots for the week of March 8, with ABC dropping by double-digit percentages and NBC on par from the year-ago week. Last-place The CW was on the plus side in adults 18-49 and adults 18-34. 


There were three series premieres this week – CW docudrama High Society, two episodes of NBC game show Minute to Win It and Fox sitcom Sons of Tucson — and they performed as follows (in the order of total viewers):


Minute to Win It (NBC) – Sunday 8 p.m. (time period premiere)

Viewers: 7.47 million (#41), A18-49: 2.4/ 7 (#40t)

Grade: C+


Minute to Win It (NBC) – Sunday 7 p.m. (preview)

Viewers: 4.67 million (#69), A18-49: 1.5/ 5 (#67t)


Sons of Tucson (Fox) – Sunday 9:30 p.m. (premiere)

Viewers: 4.47 million (#73), A18-49: 2.1/ 5 (#51t)

Grade: F


High Society (CW) – Wednesday 9:30 p.m. (premiere)

Viewers: 1.26 million (#96), A18-49: 0.5/ 1 (#91t)

Grade: F


In week two news, NBC’s Parenthood and The Marriage Ref each lost steam, rating as follows:


Parenthood (NBC) – Tuesday 10 p.m.

Viewers: 6.09 million (#57), A18-49: 2.8/ 6 (#29t)

Grade: D


The Marriage Ref (NBC) – Thursday 10 p.m.

Viewers: 6.01 million (#58), A18-49: 2.6/ 8 (#33t)

Grade: C


The morale of the story: no one ever said launching a new series is easy. But there was one recent exception. In their third head-to-head battle, CBS midseason entry Undercover Boss continues to outdeliver ABC’s veteran Desperate Housewives as follows:


Sunday 9 p.m.

Undercover Boss (CBS)

Viewers: 13.51 million (#11), A18-49: 3.9/10 (#8t)


Desperate Housewives (ABC)

Viewers: 12.01 million (#15), A18-49: 3.7/ 9 (#14)


In season-premiere news, cycle 14 of America’s Next Top Model on The CW, which led into High Society, was on par with year-ago levels at a respectable 3.66 million viewers (#81) and a 1.6/ 5 among adults 18-49 (#62t) in the Wednesday 8-9:30 p.m. block. Four nights later, Celebrity Apprentice on NBC was on the Sunday 9-11 p.m. map with 8.27 million viewers (#33) and a 3.2/ 8 in the demo (#23).


In the specials department, ABC continues to milk suddenly hot The Bachelor franchise, with two-hour Jason and Molly’s Wedding a viable option at 9.30 million viewers (#25) and a 2.8/ 7 among adults 18-49 (#29t) in the Monday 8-10 p.m. block. 


Here are the final national ratings for the week of March 8, 2010 (with percent change versus the comparable year-ago week in parentheses), followed by the top 30 rated programs of the week and the top rated networks on basic cable.  


CBS: 6.9 rating/12 share (no change), Fox: 5.5/ 9 (-14), ABC: 4.2/ 7 (-21), NBC: 4.0/ 7 (+ 3), CW: 1.2/ 2 (no change)

-Total Viewers:

CBS: 11.26 million (+ 1), Fox: 9.40 (-14), ABC: 6.48 (-22), NBC: 6.30 (+ 3), CW: 1.76 (- 2)

-Adults 18-49:

Fox: 3.4 rating/10 share (-15), CBS: 2.8/ 8 (no change), NBC: 2.1/ 6 (- 5), ABC: 2.1/ 6 (-19), CW: 0.8/ 2 (+14)

-Adults 25-54:

Fox: 3.9/10 (-17), CBS: 3.7/10 (no change), NBC: 2.5/ 7 (- 4), ABC: 2.5/ 7 (-19), CW: 0.7/ 2 (no change)

-Adults 18-34:

Fox: 2.9/10 (-17), CBS: 1.8/ 6 (no change), ABC: 1.7/ 6 (-15), NBC: 1.6/ 5 (- 6), CW: 0.9/ 3 (+12)


 Top 30 Rankings

-Total Viewers:

American Idol – Tuesday (Fox): 22.75, American Idol – Wednesday (Fox): 20.70, American Idol – Thursday (Fox): 19.34, NCIS (CBS): 19.58, Two and a Half Men (CBS): 17.61, NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS): 16.99, The Big Bang Theory (CBS): 16.32, The Mentalist (CBS): 16.02, CSI (CBS): 15.25, The Good Wife (CBS): 13.95, Undercover Boss (CBS): 13.51, Criminal Minds (CBS): 13.29, House (Fox): 12.81, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (CBS): 12.12, Desperate Housewives (ABC): 12.01, 60 Minutes (CBS): 11.98, CSI: Miami (CBS): 11.93, CSI: NY (CBS): 11.07, Grey’s Anatomy (ABC): 10.94, Cold Case (CBS): 10.23, The Amazing Race (CBS): 10.10, Rules of Engagement (CBS): 10.07, How I Met Your Mother (CBS): 10.06, Lost (ABC): 9.49, Jason and Molly’s Wedding (ABC): 9.30, Castle (ABC): 9.11, Modern Family (ABC): 9.02, 24 (Fox): 8.86, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC): 8.66, Law & Order: SVU (NBC): 8.53

-Adults 18-49:

American Idol – Tuesday (Fox): 8.2 rating/23 share, , American Idol – Wednesday (Fox): 7.5/20, American Idol – Thursday (Fox): 6.3/19, The Big Bang Theory (CBS): 5.9/15, Two and a Half Men (CBS): 5.8/15, House (Fox): 4.8/13, Lost (ABC): 4.2/11, How I Met Your Mother (CBS) and Grey’s Anatomy (ABC): 3.9/11 each, Undercover Boss (CBS): 3.9/10, NCIS (CBS) and The Office (NBC): 3.8/11 each, Modern Family (ABC): 3.8/10, Desperate Housewives (ABC): 3.7/ 9, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (CBS): 3.6/11, Rules of Engagement (CBS): 3.6/ 9, NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS): 3.5/10, Family Guy (Fox): 3.5/ 9, The Mentalist (CBS): 3.4/10, Criminal Minds (CBS): 3.4/ 9, CSI: Miami (CBS): 3.3/10, CSI (CBS): 3.3/ 9,  The Apprentice 9 (NBC, season premiere): 3.2/ 8, The Amazing Race (CBS): 3.0/ 9, The Biggest Loser (NBC) and Kitchen Nightmares – Thursday (Fox): 3.0/ 8 each, 30 Rock (NBC) and Glee R (Fox): 2.9/ 8 each, The Good Wife (CBS): 2.8/ 9, Private Practice (ABC): 2.8/ 8, Jason and Molly’s Wedding (ABC) and 24 (Fox): 2.8/ 7 each


What follows are the top 10 rated networks on cable in prime-time for the week of Feb 22 based on total viewers and the three key demos:

Total Viewers:

USA: 2.48 million, Fox News: 2.25, TBS: 1.92, TNT: 1.68, History: 1.67, Nick at Nite: 1.62, ESPN: 1.60, ABC Family: 1.55, A&E: 1.50, FX: 1.33

Adults 18-49:

USA: 1.10 million, TBS: 1.09 million, History: 808,000, FX: 716,000, TNT: 705,000, ESPN: 704,000, A&E: 691,000, ABC Family: 650,000, Comedy Central: 599,000, Tru TV: 589,000

Adults 25-54:

USA: 1.15 million, TBS: 928,000, History: 866,000, TNT: 741,000, A&E: 726,000, ESPN: 694,000, FX: 647,000, Tru: 612,000, Food Network: 597,000, ABC Family: 593,000

Adults 18-34:

TBS: 615,000, USA: 510,000, FX: 392,000, Comedy Central: 380,000, MTV: 377,000, History: 360,000, ESPN: 357,000, TNT: 315,000, ABC Family: 314,000, Bravo: 298,000

Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
-The Pacific Scores on HBO:

The premiere of HBO miniseries The Pacific delivered an above average 3.1 million viewers in the 9-11 p.m. block on Sunday, March 14. Comparably, that was 22 percent above the debut of John Adams, HBO’s last miniseries (2.5 million on March 16, 2008).

-Above Average Life Unexpected:

Based on the Live Plus Same Day ratings for Monday, March 15, recent CW entry Life Unexpected rose to its best performance in total viewers (2.1 million), women 18-34 (1.9 rating/6 share), adults 18-34 (1.3/ 4) and women 18-49 (1.4/ 4) since Jan. 25. Growth from one week earlier was as much as 36 percent among women 18-34.


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)


On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Wednesday 3/17/10

 8:00 p.m. Scrubs (season or series finale)

 8:30 p.m. The Middle (R)

 9:00 p.m. Modern Family (R)

 9:30 p.m. Cougar Town (R)

10:00 p.m.  Ugly Betty

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

 8:30 p.m. Gary Unmarried (season or series finale)

 9:00 p.m. Criminal Minds (R)

10:00 p.m. CSI: NY (R)

 8:00 p.m. Mercy

 9:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (R)

10:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU  

 8:00 p.m  Human Target

 9:00 p.m. American Idol  


 8:00 p.m. America’s Next Top Model  

 9:30 p.m. High Society  

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest

-More Kitchen Nightmares:

Fox has ordered a third season of non-scripted Kitchen Nightmares, featuring Chef Gordon Ramsay, with an unspecified number of new episodes for 2010-11. 


-Updated Wendy Williams Clearances:

Debmar-Mercury has renewed freshman talker The Wendy Williams Show for the 2010-11 season in 80 percent of the country, representing 18 of the top 20 markets and 37 of the top 40. In additional to the Fox Television Stations, various affiliates within the Granite, Lin, Local TV, Raycom, Sinclair and Tribune groups have already picked up Wendy through 2012.


-Syfy Beefs Up Reality Sked:

Prompted by Wednesday occupants Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth, cable net Syfy will create a second night of reality programming on Thursday, July 15 care of new series Mary Knows Best and Paranormal Investigators from 9-11 p.m. ET. Mary Knows Best is a docudrama focused on Mary Occhino, the successful radio host, psychic and mother of three; while Paranormal Investigators follows a six-person team who go in search of the most intriguing and unusual images, videos and unnatural phenomenon found online and around the world. Both are working titles. 


A third reality pick-up, Best Legends, which has not been scheduled yet, is an investigative adventure series that will bring legendary creatures to life through state-of-the-art computer graphics. Other reality series in development at SyFy include Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen, featuring Chef Marcel Vigneron; Force of Nature, which follows Feng Shui master Ariel Towne; The Latimer Project, featuring illusionist Jason Latimer; Mr. Impossible, a docu-soap that follows the travels and travails of an inventor; Paranormal Files, which explores the stories of people who have lived through paranormal experiences; competition/elimination series Face Off; The Dome Experiment, which tests the boundaries of human nature; and an untitled action-adventure artifact search series. 

TV Trivia Time:
Don’t Be a Dingbat

Who starred opposite Jean Stapleton in short-lived 1990 CBS sitcom Bagdad Cafe? 

Loni Anderson
Susan Dey
Whoopi Goldberg
Alfre Woodard  
The answer to yesterday’s question…

Prior to Designing Women, Delta Burke and Dixie Carter appeared together on a short-lived sitcom. What was the name of it?


a)      Easy Street

b)      Filthy Rich

c)      Gun Shy

d)      My Sister Sam

e)      On Our Own


Is:  b) Filthy Rich, which aired sporadically on CBS between the period of August 9, 1982 and June 15, 1983. Fifteen episodes were produced. 


-Current kudos goes to:

Steve Albright, Mark Amato, Barbara Berman, Gerry Bixenspan, Kimay Bloch, Barbara Bloomfield, Jim Brams, John Brooker, Larry Collins, Jim Colucci, Mark Cosenza, Reid Davis, Scott Dickson, Holly Escobar, Arleen Fong, Jerry Gibbons, Maureen Goldman, Robert Gori, Barb Hemberger, Bob Ingersoll, David Jackino, Deb Kainer, Kathryn Kieser, Tom Kilgallon, Synda Kollman, Mark Krause, Steve Kurtzer, Charmaine Leary, Patty Lynch, Jim Moore, Michael Murphy, Aaron Paquette, Ken Penney, Alan Perris, Sandra Pettway, Greg Phelan, Gordon Purcell, Michael Ratliffe, Con Rigg, Lisa Tatum-Roehrig, Joe Rubi, Ron Salmon, Serri Ferrante, Maxine Shulman, Mindy Staley, Andrew Stearn, Ronnie Tallant, Carol Teichman, Jodi Titkin, Myndi Weinraub, Larry Weinstock, Tammy Wiard, Meg Williamson, John Wood, Ged Young


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