CBS Dominates Week of Jan. 11

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Prime-Time Metered Market Wednesday Ratings:

Idol Roars to the Winning Finish Line; Disappointing Human Target

National Ratings in Prime-Time:

Week of January 11, 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:
Welcome Fonzie

Prime-Time Metered Market Wednesday Ratings:
Idol Roars to the Winning Finish Line; Disappointing Human Target

Wednesday 1/20/10

Note: Sacramento and Birmingham are excluded from the following averages.



Fox   11.8/18
CBS   7.8/12
ABC   4.5/ 7
NBC   3.9/ 6
CW    0.9/ 1

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Wednesday, January 21, 2009):
CW: +12, CBS and Fox: +10 each, NBC: – 7, ABC: -29

-Yesterday’s Winners:

American Idol (Fox), Criminal Minds (CBS), Modern Family (ABC), CSI: NY (CBS)

Human Target (Fox)
-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):
Mercy (NBC), Ugly Betty (ABC), The Jay Leno Show (NBC)
-Ratings Breakdown:

Led by American Idol, Fox got over the Wednesday “hump” in winning fashion, with a 4.0 metered market rating point advantage over second-place CBS. In the distant No. 3 spot was ABC, followed by NBC and The CW. 


Blockbuster American Idol opened the evening with a whopping 16.8 rating/26 share in the overnights from 8-9 p.m. — 21 percent above the 13.9/21 it scored on the year-ago evening. Growth of this nature for a nine-year old series is absolutely unprecedented. American Idol beat the four competing networks combined by 28 percent. Take a look:

Wednesday 8-9 p.m.
Fox – American Idol: 16.8/26

CBS – The New Adventures of Old Christine: 4.6/ 7 (#2) and Gary Unmarried: 4.3/ 6 (#2)

NBC – Mercy: 3.9/ 6 (#3)

ABC – Modern Family R: 3.8/ 6 (#4) and The Middle R: 3.5/ 5 (#4)

CW – Life Unexpected: 1.2/ 2 (#5)

Based on the final nationals, the debut of Life Unexpected on Monday perked up to 2.83 million viewers — The CW’s largest audience in the Monday 9 p.m. hour since One Tree Hill on Jan. 12, 2009. The Life Unexpected debut outperformed the Gossip Girl original season average by six percent among adults 18-34 (1.8/ 5). As for American Idol, does anyone even notice Paula Abdul is missing?


CBS moved into the overnight winners circle at 9 p.m. care of underrated Criminal Minds, which averaged a 10.2/16. Comparably, that built by a significant 137 percent out of Gary Unmarried. Second in the hour was episode two of Fox’s Human Target at a 6.8/10. Comparably, retention out of the second half of lead-in American Idol (17.8/27 at 8:30 p.m.) was a mere 38 percent, with erosion at 9:30 p.m. of 16 percent (7.4/11 to 6.2/ 9). Next Wednesday, unproven Human Target moves into the 8 p.m. anchor spot, followed by American Idol at 9 p.m. Not a smart move, Fox. 


Also worth positively noting at 9 p.m. was ABC’s critically acclaimed and already renewed Modern Family, which was on the map with a 7.1/11 in the overnights (#3) and always scores among adults 18-49. Comparably, Modern Family built from The Middle encore by a whopping 103 percent. Congratulations, Steven Levitan and company. See you at the NATPE panel next Monday. (


At 9:30 on ABC was the also renewed Cougar Town at a 5.5/ 8 in the overnights — 23 percent below Modern Family. 


Capping off the 9 p.m. hour was a repeat of NBC’s Law & Order: SVU (#4: 4.0/ 6), which is moving to Wednesdays at 10 p.m. out of a repeat of SVU on March 3, and a repeat of The CW’s Gossip Girl (#5: 0.6/ 1). 


CBS remains the network to beat at 10 p.m., care of CSI: NY at a 9.0/15. Next was NBC’s canceled The Jay Leno Show (3.8/ 7), no doubt the embarrassment of the season, followed by relocated Ugly Betty on ABC at a mere 3.6/ 6. It looks like it could be curtains for Ugly Betty this spring.