The Programming Insider: Ashton Kutcher to Replace Charlie Sheen

First choice Hugh Grant passed on the offer

In Today's Issue:

Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings: Idol Leads Fox to More Victory

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: Talky Tina

PRIME-TIME METERED MARKET THURSDAY RATINGS: Idol Leads Fox to More Victory

Thursday 5/12/11

Note: The overnight data now includes DVR playback until 3 a.m. local time. One year earlier it was based on Live data only.  All times are ET/PT. 

Household Rating/Share

Fox: 10.6/17, CBS: 7.6/12, ABC: 5.3/ 9, NBC: 2.8/ 4, CW: 1.9/ 3

Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, May 13, 2010):

Fox: +100, CBS: -14, ABC and CW: -17 each, NBC: -22

Yesterday's Winners:

American Idol (Fox), The Mentalist (CBS), The Office (NBC)

Yesterday's Losers:

30 Rock (NBC), Parks and Recreation (NBC), Outsourced (NBC)

Ratings Breakdown:

Not surprisingly, Fox led Thursday in the overnights on the strength of American Idol, with a 3.0 household rating point advantage over second-place CBS.  Third was ABC, followed by lowly NBC and always last-place The CW.

The live American Idol Results Show roared to the winning finish line from 8-9 p.m., with a 14.3 rating/23 share.  Comparably, that equaled the four competing networks combined, but the absence of ousted James Durbin will certainly be noticeable next week.  At 9 p.m., already renewed Bones on Fox followed with a third-place 6.9/11, which dipped from the 8:30 p.m. portion of American Idol (15.2/24) by 55 percent.

Over at CBS, laugh-out-loud The Big Bang Theory finished a comfortable second at 8 p.m., with a 7.9/13 in the overnights.  But erosion of 33 percent for Rules of Engagement at 8:30 p.m. (#2: 5.3/ 8) leads you to wonder why it is returning next season.  The season-finale of CBS’ fading CSI followed with a second-place 7.3/12 at 9 p.m. (13 percent below the year-ago telecast), followed by The Mentalist at a dominant 9.0/15 at 10 p.m.  Next Thursday, The Mentalist concludes with a two-hour installment.

ABC opened the evening with Wipeout at a distant third-place 3.3/ 5 at 8 p.m., which is a time period that will have to be addressed next fall.  Next were original episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (#1: 7.4/12 at 9 p.m.), which dipped by 13 percent from one year earlier, followed by spinoff Private Practice at a second-place 5.4/ 9 at 10 p.m.

Moving to NBC, the season finale of Community should have been the series finale given the fourth-place 2.4/ 4 in the overnights at 8 p.m.  That led into a repeat of The Office (#5: 2.1/ 3 at 8:30 p.m.), followed by demo friendly The Office (#4: 4.4/ 7 at 9 p.m.), which always scores among adults 18-49, followed by two episodes of Parks and Recreation (9:30 p.m.: #4, 3.1/ 5; 10 p.m.: #3, 2.6/ 4) and the series finale of Outsourced (#3: 2.1/ 4), which did not benefit by moving to 10:30 p.m.

The CW closed the night with two season finales: The Vampire Diaries (#4t: 2.2/ 4) and Nikita (#5: 1.5/ 2).

Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

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RATINGS BOX: What’s Hot/What’s Not

Week-to-Date Scorecard:

Based on live-plus-same-day results from Monday, May 9 through Wednesday, May 11, ABC ranks first in total viewers, with 12.43 million, followed by CBS (11.07), Fox (10.90), NBC (5.79) and The CW, at a mere 1.39.  With one night of American Idol factored in, Fox tops the adult 18-49 charts at a 3.7 rating/10 share, followed by ABC (2.9/ 8), CBS (2.6/ 7), NBC (2.0/ 5), and The CW (0.7/ 2).  While Fox is a lock for the full week in the demo, CBS is expected to pass ABC once the three-hours of Survivor on Sunday are factored in.