Ratings Schedule Back on Track

Monday, May 11, 2009
Prime-Time Ratings:
Weekend Highlights
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options
TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest

TV Trivia Time:

Small Screen Addresses


Prime-Time Ratings:

Weekend Highlights

Friday 5/08/09

Note: The following results are based on the fast affiliate ratings (Live Plus Same Day data).  



ABC 3.2/ 6
NBC 3.1/ 6
Fox    1.8/ 3
CW    1.2/ 2

-Total Viewers:

CBS: 9.17 million, ABC: 5.02, NBC: 4.36, Fox: 2.89, CW: 1.73

-Adults 18-49:

CBS: 2.0 rating/7 share, ABC and NBC: 1.2/ 4 each, Fox: 1.0/ 4, CW: 0.7/ 2


Note: Any prior rating results are based on the final nationals. Since the level of DVR penetration has increased from 20 percent at this same point last year to approximately 28 percent at present, the overall results may be negatively impacted.


-Friday’s Winners:

Ghost Whisperer (CBS), Numb3rs (CBS) — Keep in mind, however, that the expectations are lower on Friday.


-Friday’s Losers (excluding repeats):
Movie: Happy Feet (ABC), Prison Break (Fox), Everybody Hates Chris (CW), The Game (CW), Dollhouse (Fox), 20/20 (ABC)


-Ratings Breakdown:

It was a clean winning sweep for CBS care of its combination of Ghost Whisperer (Viewers: 9.35 million; A18-49: 2.2 rating/8 share), Flashpoint (Viewers: 8.64 million; A18-49: 1.8/ 6) and Numb3rs (Viewers: 9.52 million – most-watched show of the evening; A18-49: 2.0/ 7). Despite the compatibility of the three Friday night dramas, changes are likely to be made on CBS next fall. And, chances are Ghost Whisperer will not be moving to ABC as rumored.


Finishing a distant second in both categories (tied with NBC among adults 18-49) was ABC’s line-up of theatrical Happy Feet (Viewers: #2, 5.05 million; A18-49: #2, 1.3/ 5 from 8-10 p.m.) and veteran 20/20 (Viewers: #3, 4.97 million; A18-49: #3, 1.2/ 4), which took a backseat to NBC’s competing Dateline.


Third-place NBC opened the evening with two repeat episodes of sure-to-not-be returning Howie Do It (Viewers: #4, avg. 2.50 million; A18-49: #4, avg. 0.8/ 3 from 8-9 p.m.) and a two-hour edition of Dateline (Viewers: 5.30 million; A18-49: 1.5/ 5 from 9-11 p.m.), which built in every half-hour as follows:


Dateline (NBC)

 9:00 p.m. – Viewers: 4.29 million (#3), A18-49: 1.2/ 4 (#3)

 9:30 p.m. – Viewers: 5.07 million (#3), A18-49: 1.4/ 5 (#3)

10:00 p.m. – Viewers: 5.72 million (#2), A18-49: 1.6/ 6 (#2)

10:30 p.m. – Viewers: 6.10 million (#2), A18-49: 1.7/ 6 (#2)


In what is sure to be series-finale news, Fox’s Dollhouse was off the charts with just 2.75 million viewers and a 1.0/ 4 among adults 18-49 at 9 p.m. Comparably, that ranked fourth in both categories (and makes it very worthy of facing the axe). Soon-to-conclude lead-in Prison Break was equally bad at 3.03 million viewers (#3) and a 0.9/ 4 in the demo (#3) at 8 p.m.


Over at the CW, four-year old Everybody Hates Chris concluded with the season (or series) finale at 1.83 million viewers and a 0.7/ 3 among adults 18-49 at 8 p.m. — last in both categories. Next was sitcom The Game (Viewers: #5, 2.05 million; A18-49: #4t, 0.9/ 3 at 8:30 p.m.), followed by the unnecessary repeat of America’s Next Top Model at 1.52 million viewers (#5) and a 0.6/ 2 among adults 18-49 (#5). Now that the CW is returning Sunday to the affiliates, it can focus more on Friday next season.


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Saturday 5/09/09

Note: The following results are based on the fast affiliate ratings (Live Plus Same Day data).  



CBS   3.5/ 7

ABC 2.9/ 6
NBC 2.8/ 5
Fox: 6.48 million, CBS: 5.16, ABC: 4.50, NBC: 4.13
-Adults 18-49:

Fox: 2.0 rating/7 share, ABC: 1.7/ 6, CBS: 1.1/ 4, NBC: 0.8/ 3


Note: Any prior rating results are based on the final nationals. Since the level of DVR penetration has increased from 20 percent at this same point last year to approximately 28 percent at present, the overall results may be negatively impacted.


-Saturday’s Winners:



-Saturday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

The NBA Conference Semi-Finals (ABC), Harper’s Island (CBS)


-Ratings Breakdown:

Fox led the low-rated Saturday troops courtesy of NASCAR, which averaged 6.48 million viewers and a 2.0 rating/7 share among adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m. Comparably, this was a minor improvement over regularly scheduled occupants Cops and America’s Most Wanted. And, no, this is not a winning performance despite the dominance.


In other sports news, The NBA Conference Semi-Finals on ABC was a bust at just 4.50 million viewers (#3) and a second-place 1.7/ 6 among adults 18-49 from 8-11 p.m. One year earlier, the Semi-Finals averaged 4.70 million viewers and an also 1.7/ 6 in the demo in primetime, based on the final nationals, on May 10, 2008.


CBS finished second overall in total viewers and third among adults 18-49 with its combination of a repeat of CSI (Viewers: #2, 4.45 million; A18-49: #3t, 0.7/ 3), Harper’s Island (Viewers: #3, 4.64 million; A18-49: #3, 1.1/ 4), which is just burning off episodes at this point, and 48 Hours Mystery (Viewers: #1, 6.40 million; A18-49: #2, 1.5/ 5). Sad, isn’t it, when the most-watched show in the 10 p.m. hour averages just 6.40 million viewers?


Last overall in both categories was NBC’s encore line-up of Law & Order: SVU (Viewers: #4, 3.45 million; A18-49: #3t, 0.7/ 3), Southland (Viewers: #4, 3.75 million; A18-49: #4, 0.6/ 2) and Law & Order (Viewers: #2, 5.18 million; A18-49: #3, 1.0/ 3). What a pathetic night of television!


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Sunday 5/10/09


ABC 5.7/10
NBC 5.1/ 9
Fox    2.7/ 5
CW    0.8/ 1

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Sunday, May 11, 2008):

NBC: +65, CBS: -10, Fox: -16, ABC: -21, CW: -27

Note: The fast affiliate results for Sunday will be posted at PIFeedback.com by 12 p.m. ET. Go to the website, click on Ratings Box (the first category), then Last Night’s Results, and Sunday, May 10, 2009.   


-Yesterday’s Winners:

60 Minutes (CBS), The Amazing Race (CBS), Desperate Housewives (ABC), Celebrity Apprentice (NBC)


-Worthy of Renewal:

Cold Case (CBS)

-Yesterday’s Losers (Excluding Repeats):

Dateline (NBC), Sit Down, Shut Up (Fox), King of the Hill (Fox)


-Ratings Breakdown:

CBS led this second Sunday in May in the overnights, beating No. 2 ABC by an average of 11 percent. But it is ABC that is expected to win the evening among adults 18-49. Third overall in the metered markets was NBC, followed by below-average Fox and the CW, which is giving back Sunday to the affiliates next season.


CBS opened the evening, of course, with granddaddy 60 Minutes, which finished first in the overnights with a 7.0/14 at 7 p.m. Next was the season-finale of this very successful season of The Amazing Race (#1: 5.6/10), followed by the season (or series) finales of Cold Case (#2: 7.1/12) and The Unit (#3: 5.7/10) from 9-11 p.m. If I were programming CBS, I would keep Cold Case on the schedule and move it into the Friday 9 p.m. hour (out of Ghost Whisperer and into Numb3rs). As for The Amazing Race, congratulations Tammy and Victor!


ABC’s regularly scheduled Sunday line-up continues to dwindle, with an average loss of 21 percent in the overnights from the year-ago evening. Veteran America’s Funniest Home Videos kicked-off with a second-place 4.2/ 9 from 7-8 p.m., followed by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (#2: 4.8/ 9), Desperate Housewives (#1: 7.5/12) and the season-finale of Brothers & Sisters (#2: 6.5/11) from 8-11 p.m. While still dominant Desperate Housewives deserves accolades for winning the hour, one year earlier it averaged a 9.6/13 on May 11, 2008. The year-ago Brothers & Sisters season-ender was a 7.7/13. Retention for Brothers & Sisters out of Desperate Housewives was an improved 87 percent. 


NBC got off to a sluggish Sunday start care of Dateline, which scored a third-place 3.2/ 7 from 7-8 p.m. But the three-hour season-finale of guilty pleasure Celebrity Apprentice perked up to a 5.7/10 from 8-11 p.m., with the half-hour breakdown as follows:

Celebrity Apprentice (NBC)

 8:00 p.m.: 4.3/ 8 (#3)

 8:30 p.m.: 4.5/ 8 (#3)

 9:00 p.m.: 5.5/ 9 (#3)

 9:30 p.m.: 6.1/10 (#3)

10:00 p.m.: 7.0/11 (#1)
10:30 p.m.: 6.9/12 (#1)

All I can personally say is…go Joan Rivers! And thank you Donald Trump and Mark Burnett for giving this viewer the best dose of reality television since season one of Survivor. Joan versus Annie was the best prime-time catfight since Alexis versus Krystle on Dynasty. 


Fox’s strength on Sunday relies, as always, on the strength of the young adult demos. But based on the deteriorating overnight performance, chances are the demo ratings will be down as well.  Here is how Fox fared in the metered markets:

Sunday (Fox)
7:00 p.m. – Sit Down, Shut Up: 1.3/ 3 (#4)
7:30 p.m. – American Dad (R): 1.7/ 3 (#4)
8:00 p.m. – The Simpsons: 3.3/ 6 (#4)
8:30 p.m. – King of the Hill: 2.8/ 5 (#4)
9:00 p.m. – Family Guy: 4.0/ 7 (#4)
9:30 p.m. – American Dad: 3.4/ 5 (#4)

In the distant No. 5 spot was the CW’s encore combination of Jericho (0.5/ 1 from 7-7:30 p.m.) and theatrical The Spy Who Loved Me (0.9/ 2 from 7:30-10 p.m.)

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box:

What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Final Wednesday Nationals:

Keeping you to-date following last week’s rating delays, here are the final national rating results for Wednesday, May 6:

Total Viewers:

Fox: 16.25 million, CBS: 11.36, ABC: 6.18, NBC: 6.12, CW: 2.45

Adults 18-49:

Fox: 5.5 rating/15 share, CBS: 2.9/ 8, ABC: 2.6/ 7, NBC: 1.6/ 4, CW: 1.1/ 3

Worth Noting on the Night:

-Results for the one-hour season-finale of ABC’s Scrubs (Viewers: #4, 5.07 million; A18-49: #2, 2.1/ 6 from 8-9 p.m.) indicates that this long-in-the-tooth sitcom really needs to end.


-Repeats of USA’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent arrived in the 8 p.m. hour on NBC with a lackluster 5.71 million viewers (#3) and a fourth-place 1.3/ 4 among adults 18-49.


-If CBS’ The New Adventures of Old Christine (Viewers: #2, 6.45 million; A18-49: #3, 1.9/ 6 at 8 p.m.) ends up on ABC next season, the network may want to bring perfectly compatible lead-out Gary Unmarried (Viewers: #2. 6.6 million; A18-49: #3, 2.0/ 6) with it.


-First from 8-9 p.m. was recently introduced Fox drama Lie to Me at 8.68 million viewers and a 2.7/ 8 among adults 18-49. The prognosis looks positive for renewal. 


-Fox’s American Idol roared past the 9-10 p.m. competition, with 23.57 million viewers and an 8.3/20 among adults 18-49. But competitors Criminal Minds on CBS (Viewers: #2, 14.13 million; A18-49: #3, 3.3/ 8) and Lost on ABC (Viewers: #3, 8.70 million; A18-49: #2, 4.0/10) were also on the map. Yes, there is room for more than one hit show in a time period. 


-The cancellation clock continues to click on recently introduced ABC dramedy The Unusuals, which finished a distant third at 10 p.m. with just 4.63 million viewers and a 1.6/ 4 among adults 18-49. 


-First at 10 p.m. was CBS veteran CSI: NY at a still potent 13.40 million viewers and a 2.3/ 6 among adults 18-49.  

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Monday 5/11/09

Night 19 of the May 2009 Sweeps

 8:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars (2-hours)
10:00 p.m. Castle
 8:00 p.m. The Big Bang Theory
 8:30 p.m. How I Met Your Mother
 9:00 p.m. Two and a Half Men
 9:30 p.m. Rules of Engagement
10:00 p.m. CSI: Miami
 8:00 p.m. Deal Or No Deal
 9:00 p.m. Medium
10:00 p.m. Medium
 8:00 p.m. House (season finale)
 9:00 p.m. 24

 8:00 p.m. Gossip Girl (pilot for “Lily” spin-off)

 9:00 p.m. One Tree Hill
 8:00 p.m. Masters of Illusions

 9:00 p.m. Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest

-Coming Up on ABC:

ABC has ordered 13 episodes of a new science fiction drama for next season called Flash Forward, which focuses on the aftermath of a global event where everyone on Earth is “flashed forward” 21 years into the future for a brief moment (two minutes and 17 seconds). A mysterious vision of the future changes their lives forever. 


TV Trivia Time:

Small Screen Addresses


Which one of the following five options was not the real title of a TV series?


The Fifty-Fourth Street Revue

Hester Street

100 Centre Street

Park Place
704 Hauser

The answer to Friday’s question…


How many children did Blake Carrington on Dynasty have? Bonus: what are their names?


Is:  c) 5. First there was confused Steven and spoiled brat Fallon. Then there were the two children he did not know he had, evil Adam and wooden Amanda. Last, and most forgettable, was little Krystina with wife Krystle. Krystina must be in her early 20s by now! As Blake would always say…”Damn it!”


-Current kudos goes to:
Suzanne Ackley, Gerry Bixenspan, Mark Coker, Tom Condosta, Annie Courtney, Reid Davis, Arleen Fong, Maureen Goldman, Bob Ingersoll, Wim ter Laak, Anne Moynihan, Tony Naldrett, David Ruckman


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