Winter Press Tour Highlights from CBS and NBC


Monday, January 11, 2010
Live from The Winter Press Tour

Primetime Ratings:

Weekend Highlights


Winter Press Tour 2010:

The Scoop from Pasadena


On the Air Tonight:

Prime-Time Programming Options


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest from The Winter Press Tour


TV Trivia Time:

No Emmy Love for This Friend


Prime-Time Ratings:

Weekend Highlights

Friday 1/08/10

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



CBS   5.6/ 9

NBC   5.2/ 9
ABC   3.5/ 6
Fox     2.3/ 4
CW    0.9/ 2

-Total Viewers:

CBS: 9.08 million, NBC: 7.89, ABC: 5.34, Fox: 3.67, CW: 1.52


-Adults 18-49:

CBS: 2.1 rating/7 share, NBC: 1.7/ 5, ABC: 1.6/ 5, Fox: 1.1/ 3, CW: 0.6/ 2


Note: Any prior rating results are based on the final nationals. Since the level of DVR penetration has increased from 27 percent at this same point last year to approximately 33 percent at present, the overall results may be negatively impacted.


-Friday’s Winners (keep in mind that the expectations are lower on Friday):

Ghost Whisperer (CBS), Dateline (NBC)


-Friday’s Losers (excluding repeats):
Supernanny (ABC), Shark Tank (ABC), Dollhouse (Fox), The Jay Leno Show (NBC)


-Ratings Breakdown:

CBS led this second Friday in January, with a first-place finish in both total viewers and adults 18-49. But under 10-million viewers and just an average 2.1 rating among adults 18-49 means attracting an audience on Friday remains a tremendous challenge for the broadcast networks.


On that note, CBS’ Ghost Whisperer opened with a dominant 9.00 million viewers and a 2.2 rating/7 share among adults 8-49 at 8 p.m. But the network may want to consider something new next season to lead-off (and re-energize) the evening. Ghost Whisperer could, perhaps, move to 9 p.m. Next was compatible Medium at a second-place finish (behind NBC’s Dateline) in both total viewers (8.93 million) and adults 18-49 (2.1/ 6) at 9 p.m., followed by Numb3rs at 9.32 million viewers (#1) and a second-place 2.1/ 6 in the demo at 10 p.m. As reported late last week, new drama Miami Medical steps into the Friday 10 p.m. hour on April 2, but according to CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler, Numb3rs is still in contention for renewal. 


Next was NBC with its combination of a two-hour edition of Dateline (Viewers: 8.95 million; A18-49: 1.9/ 6 from 8-10 p.m.) and The Jay Leno Show (Viewers: #3, 5.78 million; A18-49: #3, 1.4/ 4 at 10 p.m.), who has not been shy addressing his expected departure. As for Dateline, chances are you will be seeing more of it at 10 p.m. in the very near future. Here was the half-hour breakdown for Dateline:

Dateline (NBC)
8:00 p.m. – Viewers: 7.23 million (#2), A18-49: 1.5/ 5 (#2)
8:30 p.m. – Viewers: 7.86 million (#2), A18-49: 1.6/ 5 (#2)
9:00 p.m. – Viewers: 10.07 million (#1), A18-49: 2.1/ 6 (#1t)
9:30 p.m. – Viewers: 10.63 million (#1), A18-49: 2.3/ 7 (#1)

Over at ABC, fading Supernanny (Viewers: #4, 4.26 million; A18-49: #4, 1.2/ 4 at 8 p.m.) led into the return of Shark Tank, which debuted on its new night with an uneventful 3.96 million viewers (#4) and a 1.3/ 4 among adults 18-49 (#4) at 9 p.m. Regardless, ABC rose to its best performance among both adults 18-49 and adults 18-34 (1.2/ 4) in the Friday 9 p.m. hour this season. Veteran 20/20 capped off the evening for ABC with an above-average 7.81 million viewers (#2) and a first-place 2.3/ 7 among adults 18-49 at 10 p.m.


Fox filled Friday with a repeat of Bones (Viewers: #3, 4.97 million; A18-49: #3, 1.3/ 4) and another burn-off episode of Dollhouse (Viewers: #4, 2.38 million; A18-49: #4, 0.8/ 2). And The CW aired two repeat episodes of Smallville, which finished last with an average 1.52 million viewers and a 0.6/ 2 among adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m. And there you have it…that’s Friday.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data
Saturday 1/09/10

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



NBC 16.1/27
Fox     3.1/ 5
CBS    2.4/ 4
ABC   1.9/ 3
-Total Viewers:

NBC: 28.68 million, Fox: 5.10, CBS: 3.68, ABC: 2.65

-Adults 18-49:

NBC: 10.4 rating/29 share, Fox: 1.6/ 5, ABC and CBS: 0.7/ 2 each


-Saturday’s Winners:

NFL Wildcard Game: Philadelphia at Dallas (NBC)


-Saturday’s Losers (excluding repeats)

Nothing…there were repeats aplenty outside of NBC and 48 Hours Mystery built by double-digits out of the Numb3rs encore.  


-Ratings Breakdown:

It was a slam-dunk victory for NBC care of Philadelphia at Dallas in the NFL Wildcard Game at an estimated 28.68 million viewers and a 10.4 rating/29 share in prime-time. Comparably, that beat ABC, CBS and Fox combined by a whopping 17.25 million viewers and 247 percent in the demo. As I say all the time, put something on worth watching on Saturday and viewers will respond. As a reminder, results for any live sporting event are approximate.


Distant second-place Fox aired its perennial combination of Cops (two repeats – Viewers: #2, avg. 5.11 million; A18-49: #2, avg. 1.7/ 5) and America’s Most Wanted (Viewers: #2, 5.09 million; A18-49: #2, 1.6/ 5). Considering the severity of the competition, these are respectable numbers. 


In the battle for the leftover audience (and there was not much left), CBS aired repeats of Ghost Whisperer (Viewers: #3, 2.82 million; A18-49: #4, 0.5/ 2) and Numb3rs (Viewers: #3, 2.88 million; A18-49: #4, 0.5/ 1) from 8-10 p.m., followed by an original installment of 48 Hours Mystery at 5.34 million viewers and a 1.1/ 3 among adults 18-49 — second in both categories. 


ABC capped off the evening with repeats of the two-hour season-premiere of The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love (Viewers: #4, 2.25 million; A18-49: #3, 0.6/ 2 from 8-10 p.m.) and a repeat of Castle (Viewers: #3, 3.44 million; A18-49: #3, 0.8/ 2).


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)


Note: Due to the early release of The Programming Insider, metered market (overnight) results were not available for Sunday, Jan. 10.  

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

TCA Winter Press Tour 2010:

The Scoop from Pasadena


Saturday, January 9 kicked-off the nine-day Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in sunny Pasadena, California. Similar to the annual summer gathering, the networks, both broadcast and cable, address approximately 200 critics from across the country looking for the so-called scoop. But, unlike the dog days of summer, the rating results are in and we know which of the new crop of freshman shows are hot, and which are not. Mirroring every season in recent memory, the number of flops outweigh the number of new hits. But recent mainstays like ABC’s Modern Family, CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles and The Good Wife and Fox’s Glee and The Cleveland Show prove the value of network television.


CBS kicked-off the nine-day extravaganza with an executive session with Entertainment President Nina Tassler. Considering the lack of holes of the Eye net line-up, there was very little of negative note on a programming nature. The most controversial item at the CBS session was, in fact, Charlie Sheen’s recent arrest. But both Tassler and Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre (who spoke at the next panel with the creative minds behind Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory) assured us Charlie was back at work. 


“Right now we’re being very sensitive to the fact that this is a very personal and very private matter for Charlie,” said Tassler. “There has been no impact on the network right now. The show is proceeding along its regular project schedule.”


Also addressed was Laurence Fishburne in place of William Petersen on CSI, who has settled in after a rocky first season, the official cancellation of medical drama Three Rivers, and Friday drama Numb3rs, which is still up for renewal despite new Jerry Bruckheimer drama Miami Medical stepping into the Friday 10 p.m. hour on April 2. Tassler also did not rule out an eventual crossover between Miami Medical and the other numerous Bruckheimer shows.


The subject of Jay Leno will, of course, be a hot topic at NBC, but here is what Tassler had to say:


“There is no substitute for developing great shows, working with great talent, and getting your program on the air. 10 o’clock is a great business for us and our creative community was somewhat bruised by this. A lot of people were put out of work. A lot of people really saw this as having a pretty negative impact on our business. But I think it allowed us to get a bigger piece of the ad revenue pie at 10 o’clock. For NBC to say that this was a reflection on the whole network business was misguided. Our business is thriving right now. We are enjoying success with new hit shows, as is ABC, as is FOX. So at the end of the day, it was an experiment that obviously failed. There is no substitute for just developing, producing and launching great shows.”

Undercover Boss

Sunday 9 p.m. (Premieres after The Super Bowl on Feb. 7)

-The Premise:

A top executive goes undercover in disguise at the company he works for to get a real look at the people working there and the company itself in this hidden camera reality series.

-Lead-in: The Amazing Race  

-Competition: Desperate Housewives (ABC), specials/Celebrity Apprentice (NBC), Family Guy and American Dad (Fox)

-Who Was on the Panel:

Executive Producer Stephen Lambert and Larry O’Donnell, III, President and Chief Operating Officer, Waste Management, Inc.

-The Scoop:

The show itself, according to Stephen Lambert:


“Anybody who has had a boss who has worked in the company will understand this show. And for the person in charge to be able to see what their employees are really doing seemed like an exciting idea. But this isn’t a mean-spirited show. This is a show where the boss is on a dual mission. One, he wants to find out what’s really going on in the front line, things he can’t see when he’s back at headquarters. Second, he’s looking for the unsung heroes of the company. So he’s looking for people that deserve some kind of thanks, maybe a promotion, and it’s the mixture of the kind of comedy that comes from the boss trying to do the frontline jobs and the emotion of these people.”


In case anyone is wondering, no one will be paid for participating on Undercover Boss. 

-The Reality:

What sounds like C-level product on a grade “A” network (particularly on high HUT level Sunday) actually looks very appealing and very relatable. Since I always say a good network needs to offer a variety of all types of programming, there is a reason why CBS is giving Undercover Boss the Super Bowl lead-out spot. It’s damn good and should fit well out of The Amazing Race (and against Desperate Housewives). If CBS plays its cards right (translation: no overexposure), it could have a solid utility player for several years.


-Chance of Survival for Undercover Boss (Based on a scale of 1-1 to 10-1):

Miami Medical
Friday 10 p.m. effective on April 2
-The Premise:

A team of trauma surgeons in Miami race against time to save patients with less than one hour to live in this new medical drama.  

-Lead-in: Medium 

-Competition: 20/20 (ABC), TBD (NBC)