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Nielsen Ratings for Wed Feb 20: Idol Rules, CBS Needs to Fire People

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February 21st, 2008

Scoreboard for Weds. Feb. 20, 2008 FOX NBC CBS ABC CW
Total Viewers (million) 28.67 9.16 6.66 5.45 2.84
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 11.1/27 2.4/6 1.9/5 2.0/5 1.4/3

American Idol crushes everything, and it isn't even close.  Last night's two hour installment averaged almost 29 million viewers in the overnight results. FOX won the night easily and I'll give a little credit to my bald brother Jeff Zucker because NBC seems to at least be trying (trying isn't succeeding, but I still applaud the effort).

All you have to do to understand one huge problem with the television business in the aggregate is watch what CBS does.  It's now clear to me, without any cynicism whatsoever, just pure reality that these chuckleheads make so much money no matter what they do, that making as much money as possible is not the goal.  Since it's obvious that's not the goal, I really do believe some heads should roll.

Big Brother at 8pm continues to stink it up ratings-wise and a rerun of CSI: NY at 10pm, when many less viewers are watching TV in general had ~50% more viewers and even beat BB in the 18-49 demo (and yes, I know CSI: NY didn't have to go up against Idol, but still).  CBS flat-out knows it can get more viewers and make more money with reruns in the 8pm slot.  BB should be moved to Fridays and Saturdays and if that doesn't work out - take your lumps and wait for the summer.   But CBS is making money hand over fist anyway, making even more?  Doesn't seem so important.

Things are worse at the Mouse (though even lousy Wife Swap bested Big Brother), but it's not as easy for me to chime in on what ABC should do.  Its reruns do not perform well at all, especially compared to CBS.   I think ABC is just waiting for DWTS to come back on, and squeezing whatever it can out of Extreme Makeover and Lost while waiting for new episodes of Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy to come back.

And of course, things are pitiful at the CW where we seem to not care about Tyra and her posse so much anymore.  America's Next Top Model could only draw a modest 3.8 million viewers and a 1.9/5 in the demo.  As predicted, the repeat airing of Monday's Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious performed better as a rerun following ANTM than it did in its new airing.  How about putting something else on Monday nights and just sticking Girlicious *new* episodes on Wednesdays?  Duh.  The CW needs to fire some people, too.

See the night's full details:

Time Network Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share HH Rating
8:00 CBS Big Brother 5.24 1.9/5 3.3
  NBC Deal or No Deal 8.93 2.1/5 6.1
  ABC Wife Swap 5.62 2.1/5 3.7
  CW Americas Next Top Model 3.8 1.9/5 3.1
  FOX American Idol (8p-10p) 28.67 11.1/27 16.6
           
9:00 CBS Criminal Minds (Repeat) 7.31 1.9/5 5.2
  NBC Law & Order: Criminal Intent 7.7 1.9/4 5.7
  ABC Supernanny 5.96 2.3/6 4.4
  CW Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious (Repeat) 1.87 0.8/2 1.8
           
10:00 ABC Cashmere Mafia 4.77 1.6/4 3.6
  NBC Law & Order 10.85 3.1/8 7.9
  CBS CSI: NY (Repeat) 7.42 2.0/5 5.3

Nielsen Ratings Source: Nielsen Media Research. Full night's results available via Marc Berman/Mediaweek.

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  • http://www.globaltestmarket.com Jensen

    The reign of the reality show continues, hopefully not for long.

  • http://www.globaltestmarket.com Jensen

    The reign of the reality show continues, hopefully not for long.

  • Anon

    I agree – it doesn't appear that CBS and ABC are even trying to compete with Idol. Why would you just roll over like that? And without any momentum, how do they expect the shows that are returning to do well because no one will know they are coming back!

  • Anon

    I agree – it doesn’t appear that CBS and ABC are even trying to compete with Idol. Why would you just roll over like that? And without any momentum, how do they expect the shows that are returning to do well because no one will know they are coming back!

  • http://www.tv.com/users/vendbien/profile.php?tag=login;myprofile Jon V

    I have been watching TV since the early 1950s and I've seen a lot of shows come and go – good and bad.

    Now what's all this I here about some show called 'American Idol'. Who are the stars and who is it written by? What's the plot line and how many Emmys has it won for best actor/actress, writer, director, screenplay, etc?

    It seems to get very big ratings, so I'm guessing it's vey well done. Is it as good as 'Law & Order' (which is in its 18th season, and did pretty well in the ratings last night)?

    I'm guessing this is just a fad, right?

  • Draco777

    Great for American Idol! If I've been keeping track properly this is the smallest Tues-Wed drop this season.

  • http://www.tv.com/users/vendbien/profile.php?tag=login;myprofile Jon V

    I have been watching TV since the early 1950s and I’ve seen a lot of shows come and go – good and bad.

    Now what’s all this I here about some show called ‘American Idol’. Who are the stars and who is it written by? What’s the plot line and how many Emmys has it won for best actor/actress, writer, director, screenplay, etc?

    It seems to get very big ratings, so I’m guessing it’s vey well done. Is it as good as ‘Law & Order’ (which is in its 18th season, and did pretty well in the ratings last night)?

    I’m guessing this is just a fad, right?

  • Draco777

    Great for American Idol! If I’ve been keeping track properly this is the smallest Tues-Wed drop this season.

  • Mul

    I'm becoming increasingly curious about the “Wife Swap” sniping. It's no “Trading Spouses,” to be sure, but it's simply dopey, whereas I've found “Big Brother” to be flat-out rancid from its inception and certainly more deserving of repeated insult.

    I'll admit to harboring a faint hope that “Jericho” continues to show an increase over it's sour lead-in, but the initial question is sincere.

  • Mul

    I’m becoming increasingly curious about the “Wife Swap” sniping. It’s no “Trading Spouses,” to be sure, but it’s simply dopey, whereas I’ve found “Big Brother” to be flat-out rancid from its inception and certainly more deserving of repeated insult.

    I’ll admit to harboring a faint hope that “Jericho” continues to show an increase over it’s sour lead-in, but the initial question is sincere.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Mul — if it was me you were posing the question to, my referring to Wife Swap as “lousy” was only from a ratings perspective. I've never watched the show.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Mul — if it was me you were posing the question to, my referring to Wife Swap as “lousy” was only from a ratings perspective. I’ve never watched the show.

  • Daniel C

    Robert, I don't quite understand your obsession with CBS. What exactly would you have them put on right now?

    NBC has dug the grave up on a franchise it basically cancelled last year and ABC is running shows whose clones FOX cancelled a couple of years ago.

    What would you run if you were at CBS right now?

  • Daniel C

    Robert, I don’t quite understand your obsession with CBS. What exactly would you have them put on right now?

    NBC has dug the grave up on a franchise it basically cancelled last year and ABC is running shows whose clones FOX cancelled a couple of years ago.

    What would you run if you were at CBS right now?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Daniel if you mean “if my goal was to make as much money as possible, what would I put on besides Jericho and Big Brother?” As I have stated many, many times, I'd stick on reruns of any of the crime dramas or Two and a Half Men. They don't just get *more* viewers, but MANY more viewers.

    This is not a slam on either show – I don't watch Big Brother so I don't know. I like Jericho, but if my job was to make as much money as I could for the network, neither would be airing in the timeslots CBS has given them.

    My problem is CBS isn't optimizing to make as much money as possible. I consider that a very bad way to run a business.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Daniel if you mean “if my goal was to make as much money as possible, what would I put on besides Jericho and Big Brother?” As I have stated many, many times, I’d stick on reruns of any of the crime dramas or Two and a Half Men. They don’t just get *more* viewers, but MANY more viewers.

    This is not a slam on either show – I don’t watch Big Brother so I don’t know. I like Jericho, but if my job was to make as much money as I could for the network, neither would be airing in the timeslots CBS has given them.

    My problem is CBS isn’t optimizing to make as much money as possible. I consider that a very bad way to run a business.

  • TV-aholic

    I think CBS is hoding back using Encores (repeats) of its shows in non regular time periods. We are already getting Repeats all week and to ad a 2nd repeat of a show during the same week could cause harm to the show(s), in the future.

    In fact, if you look at the Saturday line up, they have added a 2nd 48 hours to cut back on the repeats. And the one hour that is used, its the “Lesser” shows (Shark, Cold Case, etc…)

    CBS just doesnt want to dilute their strike line up even more with additional encore repeats.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    TV-Aholic. i call BS on that. It doesn't make any sense — if the goal is to make as much cash as possible. Dilution smolution, they could rerun 2.5 Men EVERY night and it will always outperform BB and Jericho.

    We have different ideas on the best way to make money. The good news is, CBS is probably more likely to hire you :)

  • TV-aholic

    I think CBS is hoding back using Encores (repeats) of its shows in non regular time periods. We are already getting Repeats all week and to ad a 2nd repeat of a show during the same week could cause harm to the show(s), in the future.

    In fact, if you look at the Saturday line up, they have added a 2nd 48 hours to cut back on the repeats. And the one hour that is used, its the “Lesser” shows (Shark, Cold Case, etc…)

    CBS just doesnt want to dilute their strike line up even more with additional encore repeats.

  • TV-aholic

    I like that

    “Dilution, Smolution”

    Have to remember that!

    :-)

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