ER Dominates, but Series-Ender Results Are Nothing Spectacular

THE PROGRAMMING INSIDER
Friday, April 3, 2009
  
NBC Wins, but ER Finale Nothing Spectacular
  
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:

Oh, My Nose!

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Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:
NBC Wins, but ER Finale Nothing Spectacular
 
Thursday 4/02/09
 

               HH
          Rtg/Shr

NBC 9.4/15

CBS   7.6/12

Fox    5.0/ 8

ABC   3.2/ 8

   
———-
 

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, April 3, 2008):

NBC: +84, CBS: +10, CW: + 5, ABC: -14, Fox: -54

 
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-Yesterday’s Winners:
ER (NBC), CSI (CBS)
 
-Expected Victory Among Adults 18-49:

Survivor: Tocantins (CBS)

 
-Not Expected Back Next Season:
Eleventh Hour (CBS)
 

-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

In the Motherhood (ABC), Samantha Who? (ABC)

 
———-
 
-Ratings Breakdown:

A night of all ER led NBC to a Thursday overnight victory, with a 24 percent advantage over second-place CBS. But the long awaited two-hour ER season-ender was certainly not enormous at a dominant 10.6 rating/17 share from 9-11 p.m. Take a look at the half-hour breakdown:

 

ER (NBC) – series finale

 9:00 p.m.: 9.6/15 (#1)
 9:30 p.m.: 10.2/16 (#1)

10:00 p.m.: 11.3/18 (#1)

10:30 p.m.: 11.2/19 (#1)

 

While this was ER’s best metered market performance since Oct. 5, 2006, take another look at the household rating track (in order of rating – top to bottom) for other long-running series-enders (based on the final nationals).   And keep in mind that since ER’s national household rating is normally slightly below its overnight rating, this will land it at the bottom of the chart. 

 
MASH (CBS) – Feb. 28, 1983: 60.2 rating
The Fugitive (ABC) – Aug. 29, 1967: 45.9
Cheers (NBC) – May 20, 1993: 45.5
Seinfeld (NBC) – May 14, 1998: 41.3
Magnum, P.I. (CBS) – May 1, 1988: 32.0
Friends (NBC) – May 6, 2004: 29.2
The Cosby Show (NBC) – April 30, 1992: 28.0
All in the Family (CBS) – April 8, 1979: 26.6

The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS): March 19, 1977: 25.5

Dallas (CBS) – May 3, 1991: 22.0
Home Improvement (ABC) – May 25, 1999: 21.6

Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS) – May 16, 2005: 20.2

Newhart (CBS) – May 21, 1990: 18.7

The Beverly Hillbillies (CBS) – March 23, 1971: 18.1

Gunsmoke (CBS) – March 31, 1975: 15.3

Hill Street Blues (NBC): May 12, 1987: 17.0

St. Elsewhere (NBC): May 25, 1988: 17.0
Frasier (NBC) – May 13, 2004: 16.3

L.A. Law (NBC) – May 19, 1994: 15.9

Roseanne (ABC) – May 20, 1997: 11.6
Will & Grace (NBC) – May 5, 2006: 11.5
 

Earlier in the evening, the ER retrospective was first in the 8 p.m. hour, with a 7.2/12 in the overnights.

 

Over at CBS, Survivor: Tocantins returned to the hour (after two Thursdays of basketball) with a below-average (and second-place) 6.2/10 in the overnights from 8-9 p.m. This should, however, be enough to warrant a time period victory among adults 18-49. Next on CBS was a second-place finish for CSI (behind the first half of ER) with a still potent 9.3/14 at 9 p.m., followed by the season (or series) finale of Eleventh Hour at an also second-place 7.2/12 at 10 p.m. Although the overall season to-date performance for Eleventh Hour was certainly not bad, retention out of CSI was never spectacular and CBS can certainly put the time period to better use. Next up: mystery Harper’s Island, which kicks-off next Thursday. Chances are Eleventh Hour will not be back for a second season.

 

Fox finished third overall in the metered markets, with its combination of underrated Bones (#3: 5.7/ 9) and Hell’s Kitchen (#3: 4.4/ 7), which always manages to deliver among adults 18-49. For more on Bones, see TV Tidbits below.

 

Fourth-place ABC got off to a rocky start last night, with week two of sitcom In the Motherhood dropping to a fourth-place 3.6/ 6 at 8 p.m. Compared to its debut on March 26 (4.8/ 8), that was a decline of a hefty 25 percent. Yes, ABC was smart to already reduce the episode order for In the Motherhood. Next on ABC was relocated Samantha Who? (#4: 3.2/ 5 at 8:30 p.m.), which cannot stand on its own without the benefit of a strong lead-in, followed by repeats of Grey’s Anatomy (#4: 3.5/ 5) and spin-off Private Practice (##: 2.7/ 5) from 9-11 p.m. The inability of these serialized dramas to attract an audience the second time around will be costly when it heads to off-network.