The Programming Insider: New ABC, Fox Comedies Sluggish

Idol leads Fox to victory

In Today's Issue:

Prime-Time Metered Market Wednesday Ratings: Fox Wins; Lackluster Midseason Sitcoms on ABC and Fox

Ratings Box: What’s Hot/What’s Not

On the Air Tonight: Prime-Time Programming Options

TV Tidbits: Notes of Interest

TV Trivia Time: Harry Stone’s Obsession 


PRIME-TIME METERED MARKET WEDNESDAY RATINGS: Fox Wins; Lackluster Midseason Sitcoms on ABC and Fox

Wednesday 4/27/11

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: 12.0/19, CBS: 5.8/ 9, NBC: 4.2/ 7, ABC: 3.5/ 5, CW: 1.4/ 2

Percent Change from the Year-Ago Evening (Wednesday 4/28/10):

Fox: +43, CBS: +12, NBC: – 5, ABC and CW: -22 each

Yesterday’s Winners:

American Idol (Fox), Survivor: Redemption Island (CBS), Criminal Minds R (CBS)

Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

Better With You (ABC), Breaking In (Fox), Happy Endings (ABC)

Ratings Breakdown:

Led by American Idol, it was another easy overnight Wednesday victory for Fox, which more than doubled No. 2 CBS. A 90-minute edition of Idol stood well above anything else with a 14.5 rating/22 share in the overnights from 8-9:30 p.m., and the half-hour breakdown as follows: 13.7/22 – 14.9/23 – 14.9/22.  American Idol led into week four of sitcom Breaking In, which sank to a series-low (and third place) 4.5/ 7 at 9:30 p.m.  Four-week overnight track for Breaking In: 6.4/10 – 5.1/ 8 – 5.0/ 8 – 4.5/ 7. Comparably, retention for Breaking In out of the 9 p.m. portion of American Idol was a mere 30 percent. That said, tick, tock…the cancellation clock is ticking.

Over at CBS, still healthy Survivor: Redemption Island was on the map, with a second-place 6.6/11 at 8 p.m. The remainder of the evening on CBS—Criminal Minds (#1: 5.9/ 9) and on-the-fence spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (#1: 4.9/ 8)—were repeats, and they still managed to dominate. As for Survivor, Redemption Island has gotten awfully crowded. If there is any justice, deserving Matt will continue to reign supreme.

NBC opened this final Wednesday in April with 8 p.m. special, Inside the Royal Wedding, which finished third with a 4.2/ 7 in the overnights at 8 p.m. That led into a repeat of the highly rated first episode of music competition The Voice, which averaged a 4.2/ 7 from 9-11 p.m. Considering this aired just one night earlier, a 4.2 is definitely respectable. And NBC definitely has a much-needed hit on its hands. In this day and age, all a network needs is one (or two) big new hits to reverse its fortunes.

Over at ABC, a repeat of underrated The Middle (#4: 3.5/ 6 at 8 p.m.) led into an original telecast of on-the-fence Better With You, which dipped to a 3.3/ 5 (#4) at 8:30 p.m. The exposure out of Dancing With the Stars on Monday, no doubt, did not help weak Better With You.  Next on ABC was a repeat of Modern Family (#3: 4.0/ 6 at 9 p.m.), followed by Cougar Town (#4: 3.8/ 6 at 9:30 p.m.), which held 95 percent of the encore lead-in.  Recent entry Happy Endings (#3: 3.3/ 5 at 10 p.m.), which was equal to one week earlier, and another encore telecast of Modern Family (#3: 2.8/ 5 at 10:30 p.m.) capped off the night for ABC from 10-11 p.m. Mirroring NBC on Thursday, there is absolutely no need for a three-hour sitcom block. Viewers traditionally are not programmed to watch network comedies in the 10 p.m. hour.