ER Dominates, but Series-Ender Results Are Nothing Spectacular

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!

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


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

-Yesterday’s Winners:
-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.


The CW capped off this first Thursday in April with the already renewed pairing of Smallville (#5: 2.4/ 4) and the highly compatible Supernatural (#5: 2.1/ 3), which were both below average. 


Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Strong Real World Season-Ender:

The season-finale on Wednesday of MTV’s veteran The Real World rose to its highest ratings in four weeks, with a 1.3 rating/2 share in households and a 1.0/ 3 among adults 18-49 at 10 p.m.  

-Also of Note on Cable:

The sixth season-premiere of Comedy Central’s Reno 911 equaled its Jan. 2008 debut, with a 0.9/ 3 among adults 18-49 in the Wednesday 10:30 p.m. half hour. But it was, however, down a significant 31 percent in the demo from the Feb. 2009 debut of recent occupant Important Things with Demetri Martin (1.3/ 4).

-Final Feb. 2009 Sweep Results:

I know…this sounds a bit late. And, yes, not that many people even care about the “sweep” periods anymore. But for the ones that do, here are the final national rating results for the delayed Feb. 2009 sweeps (March 5 – April 1, 2009) broken out in total viewers and adults 18-49. Percent change versus the comparable year-ago period (March 5-April 2, 2008, which was not part of the Feb. 2008 sweeps) appears in parentheses.


CBS, which benefited by the improved performance from the NCAA Basketball Tournament, led in total viewers, building by a hefty 29 percent. American Idol-ignited Fox finished first among adults 18-49, flat from one year earlier. Improved ABC ranked third in both categories, followed by diminishing results for fourth-place NBC and cellar-dweller the CW.

Total Viewers:

CBS: 11.45 million (+29 percent), Fox: 10.56 (- 1), ABC: 8.77 (+ 8), NBC: 6.07 (-17), CW: 1.90 (-18)

Adults 18-49:

Fox: 3.9 rating/11 share (no change), CBS: 3.1/ 9 (+15), ABC: 2.6/ 7 (+ 4), NBC: 2.1/ 6 (- 5), CW: 0.8/ 2 (-11)

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Friday 4/03/09

 8:00 p.m. Wife Swap

 9:00 p.m. Supernanny (R)

10:00 p.m. 20/20

 8:00 p.m. Ghost Whisperer (R)

 9:00 p.m. Flashpoint

10:00 p.m. Numb3rs (R)

 8:00 p.m. Howie Do It (two original half hours)

 9:00 p.m. Friday Night Lights  

10:00 p.m. Dateline

 8:00 p.m. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

 9:00 p.m. Dollhouse


 8:00 p.m. Everybody Hates Chris

 8:30 p.m. The Game

 9:00 p.m. America’s Next Top Model (R)

 8:00 p.m. Friday Night Smackdown!
Saturday 4/04/09
 8:00 p.m. Movie: Yours, Mine and Ours (R)
10:00 p.m. Cupid (R)
 8:00 p.m. 2009 NCAA Basketball: Final Four Doubleheader

 8:00 p.m. ER (R, two hours)

10:00 p.m. Law & Order (R)

 8:00 p.m.  Cops (two repeats)

 9:00 p.m. America’s Most Wanted


 8:00 p.m. Movie: Big Trouble in Little China (R)

Sunday 4/05/09

 7:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos (R)

 8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (R)

 9:00 p.m. Desperate Housewives (R)

10:00 p.m. Brothers & Sisters (R)

 7:00 p.m. 60 Minutes

 8:00 p.m. The 44th Annual Country Music Awards


 7:00 p.m. Dateline

 8:00 p.m. Kings

 9:00 p.m. Celebrity Apprentice (two hours)


 7:00 p.m. American Dad (R)

 7:30 p.m. King of the Hill (R)

 8:00 p.m. The Simpsons

 8:30 p.m. The Simpsons (R)

 9:00 p.m. Family Guy (R)

 9:30 p.m. American Dad (R)


 7:00 p.m. Jericho (R)

 8:00 p.m. Sunday Movie: Rocky III (R)

Of Note on Cable:

-Ripped Off: Madoff and the Scamming of America: History Channel, 10 p.m. ET


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest


-WHDH in Boston Nixes Jay Leno:

In what could turn into an enormous blow for NBC, Boston affiliate WHDH is refusing to air the upcoming Jay Leno talk show in the 10 p.m. weeknight hour in favor of its own local news show. The network, in response, is threatening to strip the station of its NBC affiliation and will look elsewhere in the market for another outlet. If this does indeed happen, and other stations follow in WHDH’s footsteps, the future of Jay Leno in prime-time could be an even bigger question mark. 

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