Mixed Weekend Leadership Among the Big 3 Networks

Monday, October 5, 2009
Primetime Ratings:
Weekend Highlights
Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
On the Air Tonight:
Prime-Time Programming Options
TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest

TV Trivia Time:

A Courageous Cat


Prime-Time Ratings:

Weekend Highlights

Friday 10/02/09

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



NBC 4.4/ 8
ABC 3.2/ 6
Fox    1.5/ 3
CW    1.2/ 2

CBS: 7.69 million, NBC: 6.55, ABC: 4.64, Fox: 2.22, CW: 1.91

-Adults 18-49:

CBS: 1.7 rating/6 share, NBC: 1.4/ 5, ABC: 1.2/ 4, Fox: 0.8/ 3, CW: 0.7/ 3


Note: Any prior rating results are based on the final nationals. Since the level of DVR penetration has increased from 20 percent at this same point last year to approximately 28 percent at present, the overall results may be negatively impacted.

Nothing – depressing results overall.   
-Losing Steam:
Ghost Whisperer (CBS), Numbers (CBS)
-Friday’s Losers:

Law & Order (NBC), Brothers (Fox), ‘Til Death (Fox), Smallville (CW), Dollhouse (Fox), The Jay Leno Show (NBC)


-Note: Any reported ratings from an earlier date are based on the final nationals.

-Ratings Breakdown:

CBS won this second Friday of the 2009-10 season, with a first-place finish in both total viewers and adults 18-49. But under 8 million viewers and a mere 1.7 average rating in the demo for the dominant network is, no doubt, concerning and eerily similar to what ultimately happened on Saturday. On that note…


CBS’ veteran Ghost Whisperer finished first in the 8 p.m. hour, with a diluted 7.63 million viewers and a 1.7 rating/6 share among adults 18-49. Compared to the year-ago evening (Viewers: 9.45 million, A18-49: 2.5/ 9 on Oct. 3, 2008), that was a loss of a noticeable 1.82 million viewers and 32 percent in the demo. 


Second at 8 p.m. was NBC granddaddy Law & Order with 6.68 million viewers and a 1.2/ 4 among adults 18-49, which is also below what it averaged last season. After 20 years, it is time for Law & Order to finally call it quits. Also populating the 8 p.m. hour was a repeat of ABC’s FlashForward (Viewers: #3, 3.76 million, A18-49: #3, 1.0/ 4), week two of Fox sitcom Brothers (Viewers: #4, 2.42 million, A18-49: #5, 0.8/ 3) and the fourth season-premiere of ‘Til Death (Viewers: #5, series low 2.29 million, A18-49: #5, series low 0.8/ 3) and The CW’s relocated Smallville (Viewers: #4, 2.39 million, A18-49: #4, 0.9/ 3). Yes, ‘Til Death is still on the air. And, yes, it should have been canceled three years ago. And while veteran Smallville is an improvement over year-ago occupants Everybody Hates Chris and The Game, it is well below year-ago Thursday levels, which was already down considerably. Superman needs to hang up his cape. 


Top rated 9 p.m. honors remained in CBS’ corner care of new network occupant Medium at 7.72 million viewers and a 1.8/ 6 among adults 18-49, which is perfectly compatible out of lead-in Ghost Whisperer. Too bad Ghost Whisperer has lost steam, however. Finishing a competitive second in the time period was NBC’s Dateline at 7.48 million viewers and a 1.7/ 6 in the demo. Am I the only one who thinks Dateline will stay in the hour and returning Southland, which is slated to return on Oct. 23, will have to find a new home?


Elsewhere at 9 p.m., the pickings were slim. A repeat of new ABC crime drama The Forgotten was third with 3.97 million viewers and a 1.0/ 3 among adults 18-49. Next was Fox’s struggling Dollhouse (Viewers: #4, 2.09 million, A18-49: #4, 0.8/ 3), which should have been canceled last spring. And a repeat of America’s Next Top Model on The CW capped off the hour with just 1.43 million viewers and a 0.5/ 2 in the demo. Do we really need an encore telecast of Top Model every week?


At 10 p.m., CBS’ fading Numbers and ABC’s veteran 20/20 shared low-rated leadership as follows:

Numbers (CBS)

Viewers: 7.73 million (#1), A18-49: 1.6/ 5 (#1t)

20/20 (ABC)

Viewers: 6.18 million (#2), A18-49: 1.6/ 5 (#1t)


One year earlier, Numbers was considerably stronger with 8.21 million viewers and a 2.1/ 7 in the demo. Last at 10 p.m. was NBC’s modest The Jay Leno Show, with 5.49 million viewers and a 1.4/ 5 in the demo. Good ‘ol Jay seems to be on the listing of “losers” every night except for Tuesday (when it airs out of reliable The Biggest Loser). 


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Saturday 10/03/09

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



ABC 4.0/ 7
Fox    2.9/ 5
NBC 2.7/ 5
ABC: 6.51 million, CBS: 5.94, Fox: 4.71, NBC: 4.07
-Adults 18-49:

ABC: 2.1 rating/7 share, Fox: 1.5/ 5, CBS: 1.2/ 4, NBC: 1.0/ 3


Note: Any prior rating results are based on the final nationals. Since the level of DVR penetration has increased from 20 percent at this same point last year to approximately 28 percent at present, the overall results may be negatively impacted.


-Saturday’s Winners:



-Saturday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

The night overall…sad, sad evening of television. L


-Ratings Breakdown:

ABC remained in the Saturday winners circle, care of Saturday Night Football at an average 6.51 million viewers and a 2.1 rating/7 share among adults 18-49 from 8-11 p.m. While these results are far from spectacular, for a typically low-rated Saturday they are not bad. 


CBS finished second overall in total viewers and third among adults 18-49 with its line-up of a repeat of CSI: NY (Viewers: #2, 4.63 million; A18-49: #3, 0.8/ 3), a repeat of Criminal Minds (Viewers: #1, 6.39 million; A18-49: #2, 1.3/ 4) and 48 Hours Mystery (Viewers: #2, 6.50 million; A18-49: #2t, 1.3/ 4). Considering Criminal Minds was an encore telecast, over 6-million viewers is worth positively noting. Fox, meanwhile, was just the opposite (third in total viewers, second among adults 18-49) with its combination of Cops (Viewers: #3, avg. 4.58 million; A18-49: #1t, avg. 1.6/ 5) and America’s Most Wanted (Viewers: #3, 4.84 million; A18-49: #2, 1.5/ 5). Yes, these two shows will outlive us all!


Last was NBC’s repeat rotation of Law & Order (Viewers: #4, 3.02 million; A18-49: #4, 0.7/ 2), Trauma (Viewers: #4, 3.90 million; A18-49: #4, 0.9/ 3) and Law & Order: SVU (Viewers: #3, 5.29 million; A18-49: #2t, 1.3/ 4). Personally speaking, I sure do miss the old days of Saturday Night shows like The Jackie Gleason Show, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, MASH, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, The Carol Burnett Show, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and The Golden Girls. Those sure were the days!


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Sunday 10/04/09

Note: The below overnight averages are based on only 45 markets. The following markets were excluded: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Sacramento, St. Louis, Portland and Las Vegas.



NBC   9.2/14
Fox     7.3/11
CBS   7.2/11
ABC   6.9/11

-Percent Change From the Comparable Year-Ago Period (Sunday, Oct. 5, 2008):

Fox: +87, NBC: +23, ABC: – 7, CBS: -22


Note: The fast affiliate results for Sunday will be posted at PIFeedback.com by 12 p.m. ET. Go to the website, click on Ratings Box (the first category), then Last Night’s Results, and Sunday, October 4, 2009.   

-Yesterday’s Winners:

Primetime Football Overrun (Fox), The OT (Fox), 60 Minutes (CBS), Football Night in America, Part Three (NBC), Sunday Night Football (NBC, San Diego vs. Pittsburgh), The Simpsons (Fox), The Cleveland Show (Fox), Desperate Housewives (ABC), Family Guy (Fox)

-Still Viable:

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC)


-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

Football Night in America, Part One (NBC), Three Rivers (CBS)


-Ratings Breakdown:

The football match-up between San Diego and Pittsburgh led NBC to overnight Sunday victory, with a 1.9 rating point advantage over second-place Fox. Third overall in the metered markets was CBS, followed by ABC. Don’t forget that The CW no longer programs Sunday. And since San Diego was one of the teams on Sunday Night Football, chances are metered market ratings will increase once the West Coast markets are factored in.


Fox got a jump on the competition at 7 p.m., with a football overrun at a hefty 15.6 rating/26 share in the overnights in the 7 p.m. half-hour. That led into post-game The OT at a second-place 7.7/13 at 7:30 p.m. Over at CBS, competing granddaddy 60 Minutes was on the map with a healthy (and approximate) 10.0/17 from 7-8 p.m. Since CBS’ primetime line-up started a few minutes late, all individual program results are estimated.


Also at 7 p.m. was the season-premiere of America’s Funniest Home Videos on ABC (#3: 4.7/ 8), and parts one and two of NBC pre-game show Football Night in America (3.3/ 5). One year earlier, veteran America’s Funniest Home Videos kicked-off with a slightly stronger 5.3/ 9.


NBC moved into the overnight winners circle at 8 p.m. care of part three of pre-game Football Night in America at an 8.4/13. That, of course, led into the San Diego/Pittsburgh match-up on Sunday Night Football at an approximate 11.7/18 for the primetime portion from 8:30-11 p.m. As a reminder, results for any live sporting event are always approximate. Take a look at the half-hour breakdown for Sunday Night Football:


Sunday Night Football (NBC): San Diego vs. Pittsburgh

 8:30 p.m.: 12.1/18 (#1)
 9:00 p.m.: 12.5/18 (#1)
 9:30 p.m.: 12.9/19 (#1)

10:00 p.m.: 10.9/17 (#1)

10:30 p.m.: 10.1/17 (#1)


Second behind football at 8 p.m. was ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (6.9/11), which is now attracting an older audience, followed by CBS’ The Amazing Race (6.4/10), and animated Fox sitcoms The Simpsons (5.9/ 9) and week two of The Cleveland Show (5.2/ 8), which built by 24 percent from the year-ago occupant King of the Hill (4.2/ 6 on Oct. 5, 2008).  Considering The Simpsons increased by 28 percent from its year-ago overnight average (4.6/ 7), it is off the “winners” listing for both. As predicted, The Cleveland Show is the perfect fit out of The Simpsons and into Family Guy.  


In series-premiere news, CBS medical drama Three Rivers was left at the starting gate, with a third-place 6.0/ 9 from 9-10 p.m. Although there was no loss off audience in the second half-hour, comparably that trailed ABC’s Desperate Housewives (#2: 9.2/14) by 35 percent. And it was down by an approximate 21 percent from the year-ago combination of the second-half of The Amazing Race and first half of Cold Case. 


Capping off the 9 p.m. hour was Fox’s Family Guy (#4: 5.4/ 8), which was up by six percent in the overnights from one year earlier and is always a big draw among adults 18-49, and American Dad (#4: 4.1/ 6). 


Second behind NBC’s football in the 10 p.m. hour was ABC’s Brothers & Sisters (6.8/11), followed by CBS’ relocated (and older skewing) Cold Case (6.6/11). What was concerning about the Cold Case season-opener last week was the depressed 2.1/ 6 among adults 18-49. 

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box:

What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Final Thursday Nationals:

It was another night of mixed Thursday leadership, with the home of Survivor: Samoa, CSI and relocated The Mentalist, CBS, the most-watched in total viewers, and ABC No. 1 among adults 18-49. Particularly promising for ABC was the third season-premiere of Private Practice at 11.58 million viewers (#2) and a first-place 4.6/13 among adults 18-49 at 10 p.m. Comparably, Private Practice was up by 3.4 million viewers and 39 percent in the demo from the year-ago season-opener, with its best performance since the Grey’s Anatomy crossover on Feb. 12, 2009.