Nielsen Top Shows (18-49): Supernanny, Not Sarah Connor

Categories: Nielsen Broadcast TV Show Ratings Adults 18-49

Written By

March 4th, 2008

CBS shareholders - Should they Be Worried?

Supernanny made the list at #20, but Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles did not (unfortunately it went up against Raisin in the Sun and Two and a Half Men last week - Connor didn't even make the top 25.  

 Sarah ConnorFOX and American Idol dominated the top 3 spots, just as it did in the overall rankings.  David Poltrack can say whatever he wants, CBS isn't catching up with FOX this year.  Not in total viewers, and not in any of the demographics.  Indeed, CBS could place but two shows on this list, Survivor: Micronesia and a rerun of Two and a Half Men (and you people wonder why I think 2.5 men should be on 9 times a week? :p)

Fox had over 39 million viewers in the demo just with the three idols.  I'm not sure CBS had that many for the entire week with all its shows.  OK, it probably did, but I wistfully recall the days when Nielsen actually provided the data that would have enabled me to do the exact count.  Us being crazy enough to do that sort of thing may well be why we're not seeing the data anymore.  Regardless of CBS performance in the demo, there's a 100% chance it is a better customer of Nielsen than TVbytheNumbers.

But giving us the data and then taking it back?  Sort of like stealing candy from a baby except that Gorman and I are almost 100 years old (combined).  We're still stinging a little.  Anyway...

My favorite thing on TV last week was Thursday night's LOST and it was tops in the 18-49 demo after all the American Idols.  Ratings may be down a bit, but for a scripted show, you have to love the 18-49 numbers!  I did something I very rarely do: I watched it twice!

Mr. Gorman will be happy to know that Here Come the Newlyweds did indeed retain the lion's share (79%) of the 18-49 viewers from lead-in Oprah's Big Give.  I doubt I'll ever watch either show, but good numbers for both and some positive news for ABC.  Oprah did just a smidge better 18-49 wise than Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which always performs solidly for ABC.

Didn't make the cut:  Sorry Sarah, sorry Jericho, sorry Big Brother, sorry Stargate Atlantis -- oops, I'll have to save that sorry for the cable post unless the return of Carson brought in an extra couple million viewers.

Full 18-49 demographic top 20 for the week ending March 2, 2008:

Rank PROGRAMS ORIG P18-49 rating (LIVE+SD) # OF PERSONS 18-49 (LIVE+SD) (000)
1 American Idol-TUESDAY FOX 11.1 14,534
2 American Idol-WEDNESDAY FOX 10.5 13,747
3 American Idol THU SP-2/28(S) FOX 9.1 11,969
4 LOST ABC 5.4 7,057
5 OPRAH'S BIG GIVE ABC 5.3 6,965
6 DON'T FORGET THE LYRICS FOX 5.2 6,786
7 Extreme Makeover:HOME ED. ABC 5.2 6,762
8 BACK TO YOU SP-2/26 9:30P(S) FOX 4.4 5,798
9 DEAL OR NO DEAL-MON NBC 4.3 5,575
10 BACK TO YOU SP-2/27 9:30P(S) FOX 4.2 5,495
11 SURVIVOR: MICRONESIA CBS 4.2 5,483
12 Family Guy FOX 4.1 5,393
13 HERE COME THE NEWLYWEDS ABC 4.1 5,338
14 KING OF THE HILL FOX 3.9 5,123
15 Simpsons FOX 3.9 5,093
16 Two and a Half Men (R ) CBS 3.9 5,141
17 MOVIE: RAISIN IN THE SUN ABC 3.6 4,724
18 MOMENT OF TRUTH 2/25-8P(S) FOX 3.6 4,723
19 Law And Order NBC 3.3 4,390
20 Supernanny ABC 3.3 4,343

Nielsen Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 
  • Andy

    I don't think CBS should be that worried. Could they have prepared a bit better for the strike? Yes. But it's not like CBS is using their heavy hitters right now. They're using a summer show because they have nothing else. When the strike ends, they'll be fine.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    CBS is fine right now and I'm sure it isn't worried. Any company that regularly puts on programming that underperforms reruns of its Numb3rs series isn't worried! That's not great news for its shareholders necessarily though.

    When CSI, new 2.5 Men, etc come back, there will still be American Idol. Things will pick up in terms of the number of CBS shows on this list, I'm sure. But I don't see it catching FOX unless as many people watch the NCAA Tourney final as watched the Super Bowl.

    90 million people will not be watching the NCAA final!

  • frankj

    I'll be curious to see if the DVR numbers for SCC remained constant though.

    When I record the show I use the “first run” record selection, which means my DVR is already pre-set to record every new show for the entire season. I would imagine that's how most DVR users record their favorite shows, and that would probably create a pretty consistent showing each week.

  • Andy

    I don’t think CBS should be that worried. Could they have prepared a bit better for the strike? Yes. But it’s not like CBS is using their heavy hitters right now. They’re using a summer show because they have nothing else. When the strike ends, they’ll be fine.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    CBS is fine right now and I’m sure it isn’t worried. Any company that regularly puts on programming that underperforms reruns of its Numb3rs series isn’t worried! That’s not great news for its shareholders necessarily though.

    When CSI, new 2.5 Men, etc come back, there will still be American Idol. Things will pick up in terms of the number of CBS shows on this list, I’m sure. But I don’t see it catching FOX unless as many people watch the NCAA Tourney final as watched the Super Bowl.

    90 million people will not be watching the NCAA final!

  • Rob

    CBS shareholders may have lower advertising revenue in their company, but their programming costs are much lower too. I believe CBS announced a very profitable three months during the strike by going with reruns and extremely cheap programming like Big Brother. I dont think the shareholders need to be worried, just us TV fans.

  • frankj

    I’ll be curious to see if the DVR numbers for SCC remained constant though.

    When I record the show I use the “first run” record selection, which means my DVR is already pre-set to record every new show for the entire season. I would imagine that’s how most DVR users record their favorite shows, and that would probably create a pretty consistent showing each week.

  • Rob

    CBS shareholders may have lower advertising revenue in their company, but their programming costs are much lower too. I believe CBS announced a very profitable three months during the strike by going with reruns and extremely cheap programming like Big Brother. I dont think the shareholders need to be worried, just us TV fans.

  • Karen

    So what about the numbers CBS is talking about in it's release today? Is it finally starting to catch on that people watch TV differently now? Are they going to figure out millions on the tivo or online streaming MIGHT be worth something? I watch more commercials on line than at home. I get up go to the kitchen, but when I stream, I watch the 15 or 30 second commercial.

    http://www.jericho-kansas.com/JerichoTelegraph/

    Come on. One in the hand is worth two in the bush anyday. No one is going to win against juggernaut AI (whose popularity still mystifies me). But they want a new generation. Well, here it sits. Online, downloading and tivo/dvring.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Karen,

    They don't really make any money off the online streaming and Jericho doesn't sell (it seems) 1/10th the amount of DVDs say Lost does (DVDs are definitely a big profit center). Also, cumulative streams means nothing. Did they watch on average 1 second, 2 seconds, 2 minutes or the whole show? (Nielsen numbers at least represent average viewers for the whole show).

    and what % of those streams even came from the United States?

    That said, they ARE numbers, and I appreciate you posting the link.

  • Karen

    The point is that advertisers need to figure out a new way to advertise. I know that I for one only watch Jericho and LOST anymore live and that is because Jericho, I want to go on, and LOST a friend makes me. Jericho gets canned and that is IT for me. The last time I have a series yanked out for stupid reality television. I'm going internet only. How many people actually watch those commercials live? That's the point. The fact that times are changing and advertisers are soon (if not already are) to be throwing good money after bad if they persist in thinking that Americans are sitting at home watching those commercials. (If Nielsens are even as accurate as purported). Audiences will only accept so much reality tv and networks better be ahead of the curve on that one. I do my shopping online, I do my consumer research online and soon, I'm only doing any viewing online (and that may be after I'm assured a show is safe. I'm not investing time in something that is going to be cut off.) I also have heard from people outside the country that from the network sites at least they aren't able to stream. I hear that complaint a lot. All I know is things are changing and it is going to be the worse for the networks and advertisers if they don't change with it.

  • Karen

    Wanted to add, I work for a small independent telephone/cable/internet provider in the rural Heartland. Do you know one of the first questions my customers out of town have begun asking when ordering DSL? “Is that fast enough that I can watch TV shows?” So, I'm not just making it up. The writers were correct in their insistence that new media be ironed out. Farmers and ranchers don't keep banker hours. Many others don't as well. I'm just saying, CBS can look at those extra numbers and ignore them, or see the future. Advertisers as well.

  • Karen

    Ack, one more thing. I believe CBS has said at least only complete streams are counted.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Karen I completely agree that the advertising in the new media needs to be sorted out. Part of the problem is measurement though. some of the numbers CBS reported simply because they could, but without explaining what the data actually really signifies…it's just PR.

    When we launched the site back in September we did a virtual discussion with some leaders of the measurement companies and other visionaries and the consensus was, # of streams without demographic info about the viewer or level of engagement (how long did they watch) isn't meaningful. CBS reported it anyway and from a PR perspective, I don't blame them at all.

    But I agree with the people on the panel that without engagement and demographic info, it's not useful, *especially* not to the advertisers. Until there is much better measurement the numbers CBS reported in their release with regard to streams only are useful in a press release.

    You can read the full discussion about Internet video metrics here.

    Seeing the future is one thing — and I believe all the networks are “seeing”, being able to make money off the future right now is a different story.

    While I *wish* they did, the numbers simply do not support your thesis about Reality TV.

    Wishing for a thing does not make it so…

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    In the CBS press release you linked to (and even on the CBS site itself) it does not specify fully viewed streams. I suspect that it is all streams,regardless of length of engagement.

    I don't have a problem with that, if 200,000 people watched 60% of the show it's still meaningful, but without specifying “total minutes streamed”, there's no way to know.

    If you can find where they specify about only fully viewed streams, please point us to it!

  • Karen

    So what about the numbers CBS is talking about in it’s release today? Is it finally starting to catch on that people watch TV differently now? Are they going to figure out millions on the tivo or online streaming MIGHT be worth something? I watch more commercials on line than at home. I get up go to the kitchen, but when I stream, I watch the 15 or 30 second commercial.

    http://www.jericho-kansas.com/JerichoTelegraph/AllNewsAnnouncements/tabid/76/ctl/ArticleView/mid/403/articleId/1959/Default.aspx

    Come on. One in the hand is worth two in the bush anyday. No one is going to win against juggernaut AI (whose popularity still mystifies me). But they want a new generation. Well, here it sits. Online, downloading and tivo/dvring.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Karen,

    They don’t really make any money off the online streaming and Jericho doesn’t sell (it seems) 1/10th the amount of DVDs say Lost does (DVDs are definitely a big profit center). Also, cumulative streams means nothing. Did they watch on average 1 second, 2 seconds, 2 minutes or the whole show? (Nielsen numbers at least represent average viewers for the whole show).

    and what % of those streams even came from the United States?

    That said, they ARE numbers, and I appreciate you posting the link.

  • Karen

    I obviously do not have that info either. I'm not digging you. I'm frustrated and sick of the tripe put on because the viewing habits of people desperate enough to let Nielsen in their home. I know numbers say reality tv is great, but I know that I and many people like me do not like it, do not watch it. So I'm a “niche” consumer (supposedly) but there is no room for me in television anymore. I'm in the favored demo and I make a very good income. Networks lost 10% viewers during the 88 strike. I bet they lose more this time around. And numbers may be info, but they still don't account for the fact that people don't sit and watch those commercials any more than they would streaming (do *you* know many people who are taking potty breaks, drink breaks, feeding the kids etc during commercial breaks?)and probably less. So, sure, there needs to be new measurement systems, but people continually fall back to the same argument *and nothing changes*. Unless people start speaking up, it's not going to. I just know that they have lost one more viewer “live” if things pan out by *these* numbers only again. I've got iTunes, netflix, other sources of getting entertainment I know has not been truncated for me because of someone elses viewing habits. I'm almost the only person left in my office that even watches ONE show regularly. It's not a big demo, but it can't be *that* unusual.

  • Karen

    The point is that advertisers need to figure out a new way to advertise. I know that I for one only watch Jericho and LOST anymore live and that is because Jericho, I want to go on, and LOST a friend makes me. Jericho gets canned and that is IT for me. The last time I have a series yanked out for stupid reality television. I’m going internet only. How many people actually watch those commercials live? That’s the point. The fact that times are changing and advertisers are soon (if not already are) to be throwing good money after bad if they persist in thinking that Americans are sitting at home watching those commercials. (If Nielsens are even as accurate as purported). Audiences will only accept so much reality tv and networks better be ahead of the curve on that one. I do my shopping online, I do my consumer research online and soon, I’m only doing any viewing online (and that may be after I’m assured a show is safe. I’m not investing time in something that is going to be cut off.) I also have heard from people outside the country that from the network sites at least they aren’t able to stream. I hear that complaint a lot. All I know is things are changing and it is going to be the worse for the networks and advertisers if they don’t change with it.

  • Karen

    Wanted to add, I work for a small independent telephone/cable/internet provider in the rural Heartland. Do you know one of the first questions my customers out of town have begun asking when ordering DSL? “Is that fast enough that I can watch TV shows?” So, I’m not just making it up. The writers were correct in their insistence that new media be ironed out. Farmers and ranchers don’t keep banker hours. Many others don’t as well. I’m just saying, CBS can look at those extra numbers and ignore them, or see the future. Advertisers as well.

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