Week of March 30, 2009
On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options
CW 1.4/ 2
-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Tuesday, April 8, 2008):
CBS: +88, Fox: – 6, CW: – 7, NBC: – 8, ABC: -25
Note: The fast affiliate results for Tuesday will be posted at PIFeedback by 12 p.m. ET. Go to the website, click on Ratings Box (the first category), then Last Night’s Results, and Tuesday, April 7, 2009.
American Idol (Fox), NCIS (CBS), The Mentalist (CBS), Dancing With the Stars (ABC)
-Yesterday’s Losers (Excluding Repeats):
Reaper (CW), 90210 (CW), Cupid (ABC)
Ignited by American Idol, Fox led this first Tuesday in April in the overnights, but its lead over second–place CBS was only four-tenths of a rating point. And that puts the two networks in a horse race for dominance in total viewers. Tied for the distant No. 3 spot — in rating — was ABC and NBC, followed by a typically non-competitive the CW.
American Idol opened the evening for Fox with a healthy 12.3 rating/20 share in the overnights from 8-9 p.m. But as good as that is, last year it averaged a beefier 14.4/22 (on Tuesday, April 8, 2008). Since about eight additional minutes of American Idol bled into the 9 p.m. half-hour, the second-place 7.7/12 for the return of Fringe from 9-10 p.m. is an overly optimistic approximation. As for American Idol, here are my picks for the bottom three: Lil Rounds (its time overrated Lil), Scott MacIntyre and 16 going on 50 Allison Iraheta. Although Allison was much better than deadly dull Kris, past triumphs will likely keep Kris safe for at least one more week. Most likely to bid adieu: Scott.
Second-place CBS was on the map with its combination of NCIS (#2: 10.3/17), bona fide freshman hit The Mentalist (#1: 10.3/16) and on-the-fence Without a Trace (#1: 8.3/14), which could be facing extinction because it skews…um…too old. What a shame that is, isn’t it?
ABC got off to a sluggish start last night care of animated holiday repeats It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (#3: 3.0/ 5) and Charlie Brown All-Stars (#4: 2.8/ 4) from 8-9 p.m. But the live Dancing With the Stars Results Show (so long, David Alan Grier) perked up to a second-place 9.4/14 in the overnights from 9-10 p.m. Even so, week two of Cupid sunk to a last-place 3.9/ 7 in the 10 p.m. hour, dipping by 24 percent at 10:30 p.m. (4.5/ 7 to 3.4/ 6). One week earlier, Cupid opened with a 5.0/ 8. Do the math, and that’s a loss of a significant 22 percent. Why ABC needed to remake this loser to begin with is beyond me.
NBC was on the map care of another two-hour edition of The Biggest Loser (4.9/ 8 from 8-10 p.m.), which always manages to score among adults 18-49, and deteriorating Law & Order: SVU (#2: 6.3/11), which is still poised for victory among adults 18-49. Take a look at the half-hour breakdown for The Biggest Loser:
The Biggest Loser (NBC)
8:00 p.m.: 4.2/ 7 (#3)
8:30 p.m.: 4.4/ 7 (#3)
9:00 p.m.: 5.2/ 8 (#4)
9:30 p.m.: 5.8/ 9 (#3)
The CW capped off the evening with lackluster performances for Reaper (#5: 1.4/ 2) and 90210 (#5: 1.5/ 2). Last year on this night a repeat of Reaper actually did better in the overnights, with a 1.5/ 2 on April 8, 2008. When the overnights are this low, the demographic performance cannot be all that good.
Week of March 30, 2009
It was another week of split leadership between CBS and Fox, but Fox did not have a clean sweep in the demos. CBS finished first in households, total viewers and adults 25-54 (one-tenth of a rating point ahead of Fox). Fox was No. 1 among adults 18-49 and adults 18-34. And both networks were close to year-ago levels.
NBC moved ahead of ABC in the three key demos, building year-to-year by as much as 21 percent among adults 25-54 and adults 18-34. Beneficial to NBC this week was a night of ER – the final installment – on Thursday (keep reading). Fifth-place the CW, which aired more originals this week, also perked up in the demos, while last-place MyNetworkTV continues to benefit by the fall arrival of Friday Night Smackdown!
There were two series premieres this week: ABC’s unnecessary remake of Cupid (out of the live Dancing With the Stars results show on Tuesday); and Fox catastrophe The Osbournes: Reloaded, which is so bad the network trimmed the first-episode from one hour to 30 minutes out of American Idol on Tuesday (and has yet to schedule the remaining five episodes). Cupid finished third in the Tuesday 10 p.m. hour, with 7.22 million viewers and a 2.3 rating/6 share among adults 18-49 (with retention out of DWTS of 53 percent in total viewers and 74 percent in the demo). The Osbournes: Reloaded out of American Idol, meanwhile, maintained only 34 percent of the total viewers (8.40 vs. 24.41 million) and 42 percent of the adult 18-49 rating (3.7/ 9 vs. 8.9/23). Don’t be surprised if you never see another episode of this nightmare again.
In series-finale news, NBC’s veteran ER closed with 16.38 million viewers and a 6.0/16 among adults 18-49 on Thursday from 9-11 p.m. Comparably, that makes ER the most-watched dramatic series-ender since CBS’ Murder, She Wrote concluded with 16.50 million viewers on May 19, 1996; and the highest rated among adults 18-49 since The X-Files on May 19, 2002. And it was NBC’s best performance in the Thursday 9-11 p.m. block since Will & Grace ended on May 18, 2006. All things considered, however, this was not spectacular.
Also on a series-ending note was ABC’s freshman Life on Mars, which earned its cancellation stripes at just 5.64 million viewers and a 2.0/ 6 among adults 18-49 out of Lost on Wednesday. And CBS billed Thursday 10 p.m. drama Eleventh Hour (Viewers: 10.37 million; A18-49: 2.5/ 7) as a season-finale, but not enough retention out of CSI and an older skew means this was probably the last we will ever see of it. Up next in the hour: mystery Harper’s Island.
In the specials department was CBS’ comical I Get That a Lot, which won the Wednesday 8 p.m. hour with 10.35 million viewers and a 3.4/10 among adults 18-49 (and was a considerable improvement over regularly scheduled occupants The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried). In other words, expect CBS to order more installments. And there was one night of NCAA Basketball this week, Saturday, and it lifted the Eye net to a hefty 14.80 million viewers and a 5.0 rating/17 share among adults 18-49 on the evening. As I always say, viewers will respond on Saturday if there is something worth watching.
Here are the final national ratings for the week of March 30, 2009 (with percent change versus the comparable year-ago week in parentheses), followed by the new midseason series report card and the top 30 rated programs of the week.
CBS: 7.6 rating/13 share (+ 6), Fox: 5.7/ 9 (- 3), ABC: 4.6/ 8 (- 6), NBC: 4.5/ 7 (+ 7), CW: 1.4/ 2 (no change), MNTV: 1.0/ 2 (+43)