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Nielsen Ratings for Tue, March 4: Jericho is Toast

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Written By

March 5th, 2008

Scoreboard for Tue. March 4, 2008 FOX NBC CBS ABC CW
Total Viewers (million) 20.94 8.91 7.72 5.41 2.30
rating/Share: Adults 18-49 7.5/18 3.3/8 2.1/5 1.8/5 1.1/3

FOX and American Idol continued its dominance, but as fans of American Idol aren't worried about the show being cancelled I'm jumping directly to Big Brother 9, Jericho and CBS bashing.

First let me be clear: fans of Big Brother and Jericho,  I love you.  I'm pretty sure Bill G. does too, but I don't like professing love on behalf of other people. But Bill and I both fancy ourselves as hack business analysts and we are trying to understand the business.   CBS' decision to continue with Big Brother 9 and Jericho in these slots doesn't make sense to me.

But the news is worse, and far worse for Jericho than it is for Big BrotherBig Brother can lay claim to at least outperforming the rerun of NCIS in the 18-49 demo and it has the following going for it:  it doesn't cost anything to make (relatively speaking) and it has the good fortune, at least on Tuesdays, of facing off against According to Jim and Carpoolers on ABC

Jericho doesn't have those luxuries, and finished dead last in viewers and the 18-49 demo in a time period won by a rerun of Law & Order: SVU on NBC.

It's great that the PR flacks at CBS are trumpeting all the alternative/online video sources for watching Jericho, but the purpose of being in business is to make money.  If you don't want to trust my analysis about the television industry in general, I don't blame you! :)  But trust me about this: CBS (nor any network) has figured out how to monetize (make money) with the online stuff yet, so none of that's particularly meaningful to the networks today in March 2008.  Someday it will be hugely meaningful, but today is not that day.

Whenever and however CBS pulls the plug, Jericho is absolutely done on CBS.  The good news for the fans is CBS seems to want to let it run its course.  I'd suggest to the fans that your problem isn't with CBS, it's with the producers of Jericho.  If you really want to save this show and have it continue, don't send nuts to CBS, send them to the producers and BEG THEM to move this show onto the CW or some other network.  Jericho would be the most popular show on the CW and could thrive there.  The producers, actors, writers and everyone else involved in Jericho would have to take a bit pay cut to do that.   They may not want to, and I won't hold that against them, but I believe the show could thrive on another network, just not a major broadcast network (sorry CW, you're not major, but I love, love, love me some Supernatural anyway!).

In other news, the premiere of FOX's New Amsterdam was the second most watched thing on television last night even though it lost more than half the lead-in from Idol and then lost even more in the second half hour.

Today's (as well as the next few days) worth of data were half-hourly, and though that is sort of a pain in the butt for me to clean that up and make it look pretty in the table below, it is a lot more informative.  Jericho has great fans because they stay the whole hour!  Jericho gained a few viewers the second half hour.  But that's the only good news.   If you really want to save your show, beg the producers to take the necessary pay cuts (it could still be profitable!) and move it to CW or one of the cable nets.  It's just not a show that makes sense (from a business perspective) on a major broadcast television network.

Update 3/5 11:20a PST: One of the commenters brought up that I should've mentioned that election results were a big deal yesterday in some states and impacted ratings.  I agree, I should've mentioned it.  Now I have.  Sadly, barring a miraculous amount of new viewers in the coming weeks, my opinion remains Jericho is toast on CBS regardless.

The night's full (half hourly) details:

Time Network Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share HH Rating
8:00 FOX American Idol 26.5 9.7/25 15.2
  CBS NCIS (Repeat) 10.5 2.1/5 6.9
  NBC The Biggest Loser 6.96 2.8/7 4.5
  ABC Just for Laughs 5.04 1.3/3 3.4
  CW Americas Next Top Model (Repeat) 1.64 0.7/2 1.2
           
8:30 FOX American Idol 29.95 11.2/27 16.7
  CBS NCIS (Repeat) 10.74 2.2/5 7
  NBC The Biggest Loser 7.41 3.2/8 4.7
  ABC Just for Laughs (Repeat) 4.83 1.4/3 3.2
  CW Americas Next Top Model (Repeat) 1.57 0.7/2 1.1
           
9:00 FOX New Amsterdam (Premiere) 14.94 5.1/12 9
  CBS Big Brother 9 7.08 2.6/6 4.6
  NBC The Biggest Loser 9.56 3.8/9 6
  ABC According to Jim 5.58 1.9/5 3.7
  CW One Tree Hill 2.92 1.4/3 2
           
9:30 FOX New Amsterdam (Premiere) 12.37 4.0/10 7.5
  CBS Big Brother 9 6.25 2.4/6 4.1
  NBC The Biggest Loser 10.76 4.4/11 6.9
  ABC Carpoolers 4.17 1.5/4 2.8
  CW One Tree Hill 3.05 1.5/4 2.1
           
10:00 ABC Primetime: What Would You Do? 6.3 2.2/6 4.4
  CBS Jericho 5.85 1.8/5 3.9
  NBC Law & Order: SVU (Repeat) 9.37 2.9/8 6.5
           
10:30 ABC Primetime: What Would You Do? 6.52 2.3/7 4.6
  CBS Jericho 5.91 1.8/5 4
  NBC Law & Order: SVU (Repeat) 9.41 2.9/8 6.5

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

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  • Kumari

    According to this report, no one watched election results? Um, complaints across the nation about regularly scheduled shows like Jericho being interrupted for elections pre-empting the whole show! Why no mention?

  • SaveJake

    I find the ratings to be a bit toasted! There were 4 states that had no programming except election coverage last night. Yet the Nielsen overnights read the same as they always do! Texas and Ohio are not small states with just a few viewers……..Does Nielsen not apply to those 4 states on any given week?
    I find this system shows more visible flaws all the time!

  • david m. biggs

    save jericho

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    The data we have is the data we have, but you're right, I should've at least mentioned it!

    growing up in Washington, DC and spending ~30 years there, I absolutely hate politics and everything involved in it. Also the election results would have impacted all the other shows too.

    There may be a case to be made that it could've impacted Jericho more, but…still toast.

  • Jake

    It is amazing the 2nd largest state in population with the number one tv market in Dallas/Fort Worth was watching election results so how do the numbers not change. Also large areas like Cleveland and Cinicinati were watching election results. So all this data that they sell ads with and base which shows get kept and which ones are canceled. How can someone pay millions of dollars for ad space if the numbers are skewed like this?

  • Rob

    “Jericho” aired in Houston, Texas last night from 2:30 am to 3:30 am. All network affiliates aired election returns in prime time rather than the last hour of network prime time. I expect the same was true throughout Ohio and Texas. Of course Jericho's competition didn't air either, but it could explain Jericho's poor performance relative to last week, in which the entire network carried the show.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Jake it's not amazing. It is what it is and it's also reasonable to use these numbers anyway. Were Jericho's numbers impacted? Sure. But so were Law & Order: SVU's.

    The problem with Jericho isn't how advertising sales are done or how Nielsen works. The problem for Jericho is that not enough people watch it for it to be on a broadcast network like CBS. You could have added back in a million and a half viewers — it still doesn't belong on CBS.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    To many people's points above, since the election shows were not on the national broadcast networks they don't appear in our overnight broadcast results.

    Any local election shows would not appear in any information we see.

    I'm sure there were people watching either cable news or local election shows [in those states], and they did reduce numbers somewhat, but it's hard to know by how much.

    We will have cable news results for last night posted by Friday, so at least you can see how many folks were watching cable news in primetime last night.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    let me add on — it's better for you fans to be practical and encourage the producers to take the show elsewhere. Perhaps one of my all-time favorte shows was Stargate: SG1. It started on showtime and ended on SciFi. They figured out how to make money doing the show via cable, syndication and DVDs.

    I LOVED the show. I miss Thor, Jack O, Daniel Jackson, etc. I like that it all continues on in some way with Stargate Atlantis.

    So what I am saying is I LOVE Stargate as I know MILLIONS of others do. But, it still would not have made any sense on a major broadcast network.

    Jericho doesn't either. It's not about whether the show is good, or whether it has millions of fans.

  • Lily

    You said: CBS (nor any network) has figured out how to monetize (make money) with the online stuff yet, so none of that’s particularly meaningful to the networks today in March 2008. Someday it will be hugely meaningful, but today is not that day.

    -

    I disagree. I think today is the day. How can you say they are not making money with it's online success? That to me, is amazing. As a stockholder, I'm quite happy with what I see.

    I think some of you that analyze are just like nielsen, not up to par yet with new media, which is where the future of Television is going. Right. Now.

    Sure, Jericho is not a killer show against one that has been around for NINE seasons in terms of nielsen ratings, but it has one foot in the network and the other in new media. Can Law & Order: SVU say that? Nope. How many shows CAN say that? There aren't many.

    Whoever decides to embrace those type of shows are going to come out the leader in the industry. Bet on it!

    Les Moonves does plan to pursue New Media. Imagine that..
    http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6537223.html

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Lily, I've been watching video on my ipod for over 2 years. I can beam internet tv to my 61″ widescreen.

    Internet viewing is NOT a profit center today. That doesn't mean Les and other's shouldn't pursue it. I of course believe they should. Since it can't yet effectively be measured, advertisers won't pay much for it. Until that changes, it's just the way it is.

  • http://www.theshortbusriders.org Brian

    I once again watched it online (and had it recorded on my tivo, but my tivo has trouble recording CBS)

    I wish CBS would post how many people watched it online, to at least get a better idea of who is watching it.

  • Kumari

    According to this report, no one watched election results? Um, complaints across the nation about regularly scheduled shows like Jericho being interrupted for elections pre-empting the whole show! Why no mention?

  • SaveJake

    I find the ratings to be a bit toasted! There were 4 states that had no programming except election coverage last night. Yet the Nielsen overnights read the same as they always do! Texas and Ohio are not small states with just a few viewers……..Does Nielsen not apply to those 4 states on any given week?
    I find this system shows more visible flaws all the time!

  • david m. biggs

    save jericho

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    The data we have is the data we have, but you’re right, I should’ve at least mentioned it!

    growing up in Washington, DC and spending ~30 years there, I absolutely hate politics and everything involved in it. Also the election results would have impacted all the other shows too.

    There may be a case to be made that it could’ve impacted Jericho more, but…still toast.

  • Karen

    Question, when CBS has the rights to the show, how is it the producers fault if Jericho is canceled. It appears the producers *have been trying* to get Jericho picked up elsewhere, but I'm guessing they have to be on a short leash having to wait for word from CBS and then get a deal with another network and retain at least a decent amount of people on the show before they move on. It sounds like a near impossible feat to me. The producers did not stick this show on at 10pm AFTER Big Brother (you telling me those people will turn their brains back on for Jericho?) on an American Idol night. No, it is their part that the came through with a *brilliant* season on a slashed budget, less time and with only 7 episodes. So, I think it is very unfair to be saying the producers aren't doing anything or should be doing more to save the show.

  • Karen

    So just why have networks allowed DVDs, iTunes, and streaming to happen with shows if it is not monetized in some fashion? They can't possibly be doing it out of generosity. I admit to that data is data, but it's never going to be. that. day. Until people get ticked enough to push it. I've said it before, I'm done with viewing current television if this goes because everytime I like a show passionately, it is yanked away from me like a spiteful parent pulling away the second half of a candy bar that was originally gleefully given.

  • Lily

    Nielsen is not effectively measuring now. Every measurement they take requires human interaction on the part of participants.

    Press a button. Fill out a diary. Oops, you're watching something but you forgot to press that flashing button on your nielsen remote to indicate you are in fact sitting in front of your TV. oh well. That person just cost some show millions of viewers.

    Not to mention the amount of boxes out (what, 25,000?) in comparison to total households with television sets. 112 million? That's a joke, right?

    My point is the whole human error factor is to great to be ignored – nielsen measurement techniques are too antiquated for today's markets. Every household wants to be counted and the outcry for that is getting louder everyday.

  • Robert Hawkins

    I think this show lost alot of fans who are politically conservative with the over the top comparison of Kansas to Iraq. Battlestar Galacticas rating tanked after their Season 3 when they did a whole season comparing Caprica to Iraq. With all the anti-Iraq war movies bombing at the box office and what happened with BSG, one would think CBS and the makers of Jericho would have learned from that. Guess not. Hopefully they can get on cable somewhere and turn the show around and not alienate a significant chunk of its fan base.

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