Remembering Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson

Friday, June 26, 2009

Five Hours of Airtime Devoted to the Passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not

Remembering Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson


On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options 

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
TV Trivia Time:

In Honor of Farrah

Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:

Five Hours of Airtime Devoted to the Passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett

Thursday 6/25/09


CBS    5.2/ 9

ABC   4.4/ 8

NBC   3.6/ 6

Fox     3.6/ 6

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, June 26, 2008):

ABC: +33, CBS: +21, NBC: – 5, CW: -23, Fox: -31  


-Given the unusual circumstances last night, the listing of winners and losers is excluded. 

-Ratings Breakdown:

Needless to say, it was a very atypical night of television on this fourth Thursday in June, with coverage of the passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett flooding the airwaves. Five hours of the Big 3 network line-ups in total were devoted to these two icons. CBS finished first overall in the metered markets, with an 18 percent advantage over second-place ABC. NBC and Fox were tied for the No. 3 spot, followed by lowly The CW.  


CBS pushed up its regularly scheduled 10 p.m. telecast of The Mentalist to 8 p.m. to make room for news coverage of Michael Jackson. An encore telecast of The Mentalist opened the evening with a dominant 4.6 rating/9 share in the overnights at 8 p.m., followed by a repeat of CSI (#1: 5.9/10) and the 10 p.m. news special (2: 5.2/ 9). 


ABC kept original episodes of canceled Samantha Who? (#3: 2.6/ 5) and In the Motherhood (#4: 1.9/ 4) in place from 8-9 p.m. But it replaced repeats of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice with two special editions of newsmagazine 20/20. The first hour, which focused on Michael Jackson, was second in the overnights with a 4.6/ 8 at 9 p.m. The next, which focused on Farrah Fawcett, was first with a 6.3/11 at 10 p.m.


NBC aired back-to-back repeats of The Office from 8-9 p.m., and it finished third in the hour with a 2.4/ 4. That led into two-hours of Dateline at an average 4.2/ 7 from 9-11 p.m. Take a look at the half-hour breakdown:

Dateline (NBC)
 9:00 p.m.: 3.7/ 6 (#4)
 9:30 p.m.: 4.6/ 8 (#3)
10:00 p.m.: 4.2/ 7 (#3)
10:30 p.m.: 4.4/ 8 (#3)

In the 9-11 p.m. battle of 20/20 versus Dateline, 20/20 was victorious with a 5.4/ 9 versus the aforementioned 4.2/ 7 for Dateline.  


Elsewhere, a repeat of Fox’s Bones was second in the 8 p.m. hour, with a 3.2/ 6 in the overnights. The live So You Think You Can Dances Results Show followed with a below average (and fourth-place) 4.0/ 7 at 9 p.m. The CW capped off the evening with repeats of Smallville (#5: 1.1/ 2), which moves to Friday next fall, and Supernatural (#5: 0.9/ 1). 


Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Conan vs. Letterman Update:

It was another split decision based on the final national ratings for the week of June 15. CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman took the late night crown in total viewers (3.46 million) for the first time (against a full week of first-run episodes of NBC’s The Tonight Show) since December 2005. Week three of Conan O’Brien as host of NBC’s The Tonight Show averaged 3.32 million. Comparably, Letterman built from the year-ago week by 13 percent. Demographically, however, Conan continues to dominate, with a 1.3 rating/6 share among adults 18-49 (versus a 0.8/ 3 for Letterman) this week. 

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Remembering Farrah Fawcett


It is with tremendous sadness to report on the passing of Farrah Fawcett, who recently documented her three year battle with cancer in NBC documentary Farrah’s Story. Born in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1947 and remembered, of course, for her role in campy 1970s drama Charlie’s Angels, Fawcett broke onto the small screen with guest appearances in sitcoms Mayberry, R.F.D., I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun and The Partridge Family; and in critically panned 1970s theatrical Myra Breckinridge. Other early guest spots included roles in The Six Million Dollar Man (opposite then husband Lee Majors); Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law; McCloud; Marcus Welby, M.D.; Apple’s Way; S.W.A.T.; and The Fall Guy (again with Majors). 


In 1974, Fawcett joined the cast of detective drama Harry-O on a recurring basis; and had her first taste of success on the big screen in 1976 sci-fi drama Logan’s Run. As her career started to take off, she landed the role as Jill Munroe on aforementioned Charlie’s Angels, which zoomed to the top of the ratings charts in its freshman 1976-77 season, and posed for that now infamous poster. Despite the media blitz, Fawcett quit the show after just one season to pursue a career in movies, but roles in lightweight fare like Somebody Killed Her Husband, Sunburn and Saturn 3 from 1978-80 slowed down the momentum. Fawcett returned to Charlie’s Angeles for six guest appearances following a court ruling. 


After divorcing Lee Majors and becoming romantically involved with Ryan O’Neal, Fawcett scored a major comeback in 1984 made-for The Burning Bed, which resulted in her first of three Emmy Award nominations. Two years later she returned to the big screen in Extremities (after her stage role in the play), followed by another critically acclaimed performance in 1989 TV movie Small Sacrifices. In 1991, she switched to comedy opposite O’Neal in short-lived sitcom Good Sports; and made another comeback six years later in theatrical in The Apostle opposite Robert Duvall. Later TV roles included made-for movies Silk Hope, Children of the Dust and The Guardian; and guest spots on Ally McBeal and Spin City. In 2005, she was the subject of TV Land reality series Chasing Farrah.


After an on-again/off-again relationship with Ryan O’Neal, the two remained close when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. Although she was declared cancer free, the disease had returned in 2007, spreading to her liver. Fawcett is survived by one son, Redmond. 


Remembering Michael Jackson


I was in no way prepared, nor was anyone else, on the very untimely passing of the “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson, who died yesterday after suffering cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home. He was 50 years old and had been preparing to perform 50 sold-out concerts to over one million people in London beginning in July.


Winner of 13 Grammy Awards, with more than 750 million albums sold during an unprecedented career, Michael was a musical prodigy and dominant force behind family group The Jackson Five. By 1969, 11 year-old Michael and his four brothers were producing top charting hits under the Motown label. By the 1980s, Jackson went solo and soared to new heights following the success of the biggest selling album of all time, Thriller. There was no one that could match the amazing talent of this singer, dancer, writer, choreographer, composer, producer and director. He was truly one of a kind.


As big a success as the one-of-a-kind Jackson was, his increasingly bizarre life, of course, became growing fodder for the tabloids. Jackson was briefly married twice, first to Lisa Marie Presley and then to Deborah Rowe, who is the mother of his first two children. In 2002, he fathered a third child, Prince Michael Jackson.


Continued coverage of Jackson’s life will, no doubt continue to flood the airwaves. In addition to local news, cable news and the syndicated newsmagazines, Fox will air an encore telecast of the American Idol Performance Show featuring Jackson’s music on Monday, June 29 from 8-10 p.m. ET. E! will feature half-hour special Michael & Farrah: Lost Icons on Saturday, June 27 at 10:00 a.m. ET, which will chronicle the lives of the two famous American icons. Also on E! will be a documentary on Michael Jackson on Wednesday, July 1 at 10 p.m. ET. And Bio Channel will be paying tribute to the late King of Pop on Saturday, June 27 at 10 p.m. ET. Included will be interviews with Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Liza Minnelli, La Toya Jackson, Katherine Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and others.