On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options
-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, April 23, 2009):
CBS: +30, Fox: + 8, CW: + 5, NBC: -18, ABC: -31
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (CBS), CSI (CBS), The Office (NBC), The Mentalist (CBS)
-A Bona Fide Success for The CW:
The Vampire Diaries
FlashForward (ABC), Community (NBC), The Marriage Ref (NBC)
It was a clean overnight Thursday sweep for CBS care of its combination of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (7.4 rating/12 share), CSI (8.6/13) and The Mentalist (9.9/17), which was the top-rated show of the evening. Since a 10 p.m. edition of Grey’s Anatomy on ABC was a repeat, CBS will also win the evening among key adults 18-49.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen last night’s edition of Survivor yet, stop reading now. But clueless Russell giving Parvati the idol and Parvati playing the two idols to save both Sandra and Jerri (who would have gone home) was yet another great moment in this now classic season. It looks like “King Russell” could be dethroned next week and good ‘ol boy J.T. got what he deserved. Then again, you never really do know what exactly will happen on Survivor.
Second-place Fox had a typical night care of Bones (#2: 6.5/10), which never gets the attention it deserves, and Fringe (#3: 4.2/ 6), which will not trail Bones as significantly among adults 18-49. With 24 exiting next month, my personal suggestion would be to move Fringe into the Monday 9 p.m. hour.
ABC’s older-skewing FlashForward continues to disappoint at a third-place 4.1/ 6 at 8 p.m. Considering the freshman drama averaged a mere 1.4 rating/ 5 share among adults 18-49 last week with a similar performance in the overnights, do not count on a second season. ABC aired a 9 p.m. edition of Private Practice (#2: 5.5/ 9), which built from the 8:30 p.m. portion of FlashForward (4.0/ 6) by 37 percent, followed by the aforementioned 10 p.m. encore of Grey’s Anatomy at a second-place 3.2/ 5. Serialized dramas, unfortunately, do not play well in repeats.
NBC had a typically modest Thursday, with demo friendly The Office the standout as usual. Community opened with a fourth-place 3.1/ 5 at 8 p.m., followed by an 8:30 p.m. installment of 30 Rock (#3: 3.5/ 5), which replaced Parks and Recreation, aforementioned The Office (#3: 5.0/ 8), the original installment of 30 Rock (#4: 3.9/ 6) and The Marriage Ref, which sunk to a series-low (and third-place) 3.1/ 5 at 10 p.m. Growth of 43 percent for The Office out of the 30 Rock encore, plus a potential time period victory among adults 18-49 lands the gang at Dunder Mifflin in the winner’s circle. But NBC’s overall problem on Thursday remains a potpourri of programming that will never break out universally. What it needs is the next Cosby Show or Friends, not limited appeal entries like Community and Parks and Recreation.
The CW capped off the evening with its already renewed combination of dramas The Vampire Diaries (#5: 2.5/ 4) and Supernatural (#5: 1.8/ 30. Comparably, The Vampire Diaries built from year-ago occupant Smallville (2.2/ 4 on April 23, 2009) by 14 percent.
Any network, of course, would be ecstatic if one of its series averaged 18.82 million viewers and a 5.9 rating/17 share, as Fox’s American Idol: Idol Gives Back did from 8-10:24 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 21. But compared to the regularly scheduled one-hour edition one year earlier (Viewers: 23.96 million; A18-49: 8.3/21 from 9-10 p.m. ET on April 22, 2009, according to the live plus same day ratings), that was a loss of a significant 5.14 million viewers and 29 percent in the demo.