On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options
-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, May 14, 2009):
CW: +15, CBS and Fox: + 9 each, Fox: + 6, ABC: -22
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (CBS), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), The Mentalist (CBS), Private Practice (ABC)
-Down but Not Out:
Bones (Fox), The Office (NBC)
Flashforward (ABC), Community (NBC), Parks and Recreation (NBC), The Marriage Ref (NBC)
CBS led the overnights on this second Thursday in May (and 15th night of the May sweeps), with a 37 percent advantage over No. 2 ABC. But it was not a clean sweep in every half-hour. Third overall was Fox, followed by NBC and The CW.
CBS’ red-hot Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, which concludes with a two-hour installment on Sunday (following by the live reunion show at 10 p.m.), opened with an above-average (and very dominant) 8.1/13 in the overnights at 8 p.m. Comparably, that outdelivered the year-ago edition set in Tocantins (6.3/11 on May 14, 2009) by 29 percent.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen last night’s edition of Survivor yet, stop reading now. Needless to say, it was no surprise to see Rupert get voted off. But slacker Colby, who blew two challenges and verbally abused his brother on camera, is no longer the ultimate Survivor hero. While I can understand at this point why anyone would want to compete opposite Russell in the final two (who would even vote for him?), heading to the season-finale with five contestants is unusual. My picks for the top two are Parvati and Sandra, with Sandra winning the cool million. At least I personally hope Parvati does not win.
Next on CBS was deteriorating CSI, which finished second behind Grey’s Anatomy on ABC with an 8.4/13 in the overnights at 9 p.m., followed by The Mentalist at a dominant 10.0/16 at 10 p.m. Comparably, The Mentalist was the highest-rated show of the evening in the overnights. When CBS unveils its 2010-11 line-up next Wednesday, there is no reason to believe CSI will remain at Thursday at 9 p.m.
ABC opened the night with lackluster FlashForward (#3: 3.8/ 6 at 8 p.m.), which is not expected back next season, followed by aforementioned Grey’s Anatomy (#1: 8.5/13) and the season-finale of Private Practice (#2: 7.1/12) from 9-11 p.m. Given its above-average performance, look for Private Practice to win the 10 p.m. hour among adults 18-49.
Fox underrated Bones was on the 8 p.m. map with a comfortable (and second-place) 6.5/11 in the overnights, followed by part one of sophomore Fringe at a fourth-place 4.1/ 7 at 9 p.m. As I say every week, the variation between Bones and Fringe adults 18-49 will not be as severe as the overnights.
NBC had nothing unusual to report with its combination of Community (#4: 3.3/ 6), Parks and Recreation (#4: 3.2/ 5), The Office (#3: 4.9/ 8), 30 Rock (#4: 3.9/ 6) and recently introduced The Marriage Ref (#3: 3.1/ 5), which has gone from promising to not really worthy of its second season renewal. While Bette Midler can do no wrong in my book, Howie Mandel brought nothing new to The Marriage Ref last night. The Office, as always, was the standout, with growth out of Parks and Recreation of a hefty 53 percent in the overnights.
The CW capped off the evening with the season-finales of already renewed dramas The Vampire Diaries (#5: 2.5/ 4) and Supernatural (#5: 2.0/ 3). My prediction is Supernatural will head to Friday at 9 p.m. next season out of veteran Smallville.