The Programming Insider: Idol Tunes Out Rivals

In Today's Issue:

Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings: Fox Leads; Four Networks Down Year-to-Year

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: A “Cool” Question

PRIME-TIME METERED MARKET THURSDAY RATINGS: Fox Leads; Four Networks Down Year-to-Year

Thursday 5/05/11

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: 10.4/17, CBS: 7.4/12, ABC: 5.6/ 9, NBC: 2.9/ 5, CW: 1.9/ 3

Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, May 6, 2010):

Fox: +96, ABC: – 8, CW: -10, CBS: -17, NBC: -22

Yesterday's Winners:

American Idol (Fox), The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)

Yesterday's Losers:

Community (NBC), Rules of Engagement (CBS), Wipeout (ABC), 30 Rock (NBC), Outsourced (NBC), Nikita (CW)

Ratings Breakdown:

It was another easy Thursday victory for the home of American Idol, Fox, which bested distant second-place CBS by 5.0 overnight household rating points.  Next was ABC, which like CBS is losing steam as a result of aging hit series, followed by NBC and The CW.  Week one results for NBC’s The Office minus Steve Carell were typical at a fourth-place 4.6 rating/ 7 share in the overnights at 9 p.m.

As always, American Idol stood well above anything else last night, with the live results show at a 13.8/23 from 8-9 p.m.  So long, Jacob Lusk.  Next on Fox was just renewed crime solver Bones, which tied tired CSI on CBS for second (behind Grey’s Anatomy on ABC) with a 7.0/11.  Comparably, retention for Bones out of the 8:30 p.m. portion of Idol (14.9/24) was lacking at 47 percent.  The only show on Fox over the years that had respectable retention out of American Idol was House.

Over at CBS, The Big Bang Theory was on the 8 p.m. map, with a second-place 7.5/13 in the overnights.  But the problem remains relocated Rules of Engagement, which dipped to a 5.2/ 8 at 8:30 p.m. (#2) — 31 percent below Sheldon, Leonard and company.  With former occupant $#*! My Dad Says a long-shot for renewal, CBS will have to address this time period next fall.  At 9 p.m., aforementioned CSI (#2: 7.0/11 at 9 p.m. — down 20 percent from one year earlier) led into The Mentalist with a dominant 9.0/15 at 10 p.m.  Comparably, that built by the 9:30 p.m. portion of CSI (7.2/11) by 25 percent.  Although the common assumption is The Mentalist will move up to 9 p.m. on Thursday next season, anything is possible.

ABC kicked-off the evening with Wipeout at a lackluster third-place 3.4/ 5 at 8 p.m., followed by dominant Grey’s Anatomy (#1: 7.9/13 — down four percent from one year earlier) and spin-off Private Practice (#2: 5.6/ 9) from 9-11 p.m.

Moving the fourth-place NBC, the positive news was consistency for aforementioned The Office (#4: 4.6/ 7 at 9 p.m.), which built by 142 percent from its repeat telecast lead-in (#4: 1.5, 1.9/ 3 at 8:30 p.m.).  That encore telecast replaced recently axed The Paul Reiser Show.  The Office, no doubt, will resonate among key adults 18-49.  But the rest of the evening on NBC is lacking.  Community, which should not be anchoring the evening next season, finished a distant fourth with a 2.4/ 4 at 8 p.m.  At 9:30 p.m., Parks & Recreation (#4: 3.4/ 5) slipped by 26 percent from The Office, leading into the season-finale of 30 Rock (#3: 3.0/ 5) and expected-to-be canceled Outsourced (#3: 2.3/ 4) from 10-11 p.m.  If NBC is wise, it will trim back its Thursday sitcom block to two-hours next season.