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Nielsen Ratings for Wed, March 5: Woe is Big Brother

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March 6th, 2008

FOX to the World: All Your 18-49 Demo Ratings Are Belong to Us

Scoreboard for Weds. March 5, 2008 FOX NBC CBS ABC CW
Total Viewers (million) 21.51 8.54 7.83 6.02 2.82
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 8.2/21 2.2/6 2.1/6 2.1/5 1.4/4

American Idol was on the air and FOX dominated. Shocking, I know. 

Sorry about the delays with the updates, if I wasn't a stickler for including the viewer numbers I could repurpose other people's write-ups much quicker.  But I love the viewer numbers.

An hour of Idol isn't as good as 90 minutes or two hours, but it still didn't suck for FOX which averaged over 20 million viewers and did better in the demo than NBC, CBS, ABC and the CW...combined.  That's just an outrageous butt-kicking.

Second verse, same as the first: why oh why does CBS simply throw in the towel and put on Big Brother with it's tiny ratings.  Big Brother definitely makes more sense on Tuesday's at 9pm where it fares marginally better.  But more sense isn't the same as...sense.  Know where it makes more sense?  Fridays and Saturdays.  Yeah, I know, I'm prone to beat the dead horse sometimes.  I've lived with it for 45 years, you can hopefully hang on another week or two!

Let me not be too harsh on CBS, Big Brother did put the beat down on Wife Swap, so if CBS has given up against AI, ABC has left the room completely.   Except for this: Supernanny at least has some (smallish) 18-49 legs. I might have to check it out.  Meanwhile, Men in Trees -- way, way more expensive to make than Big Brother, with similar viewer numbers to BB and worse performance in the 18-49 demo.  But if your goal is to simply suck less than ABC, that's not necessarily a good goal, right?

I remain stupefied in San Francisco.  Somebody send me some water from NY and LA and I'll start drinking it.  Maybe the world will make more sense.  I'm getting the idea that "capitulating is the path to profit".  I missed that lecture.  I was always a lousy student.   I'm guessing the chances I'll see "CBS Moves Big Brother 9 to Fridays and Saturdays" anytime soon is somewhere down around zero.

Perhaps I am just envious because CBS and ABC have businesses where they make so much money, optimizing to make as much money as they can possibly make isn't a high priority.  That's a nice problem to have.

The night's full (half hourly) details:

Time Network Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share HH Rating
8:00 CBS Big Brother 5.73 2.0/5 3.9
  NBC Law & Order: Criminal Intent 6.74 1.5/4 4.5
  ABC Wife Swap 5.27 1.8/5 3.6
  CW Americas Next Top Model 3.38 1.7/5 2.2
  FOX American Idol 26.66 9.7/26 16
           
8:30 CBS Big Brother 5.64 2.0/5 3.8
  NBC Law & Order: Criminal Intent 7.3 1.7/4 4.9
  ABC Wife Swap 5.22 2.0/5 3.5
  CW Americas Next Top Model 3.82 2.0/5 2.5
  FOX American Idol 29.36 10.8/27 16.6
           
9:00 CBS Criminal Minds (Repeat) 8.55 2.0/5 5.7
  NBC Deal or No Deal 8.89 2.1/6 5.9
  ABC Supernanny 6.91 2.7/7 4.7
  CW Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious (Repeat) 1.99 0.9/2 1.3
  FOX Moment of Truth 16.26 6.6/17 9.7
           
9:30 CBS Criminal Minds (Repeat) 9.88 2.3/6 6.5
  NBC Deal or No Deal 9.1 2.2/5 6
  ABC Supernanny 7.22 2.8/7 4.8
  CW Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious (Repeat) 2.09 1.0/3 1.4/2
  FOX Moment of Truth 13.76 5.8/14 8.4
           
10:00 ABC Men in Trees 5.84 1.7/5 4.1
  NBC Law & Order 9.52 2.8/7 6.4
  CBS CSI: NY (Repeat) 8.66 2.3/6 5.7
           
10:30 ABC Men in Trees 5.64 1.5/4 4
  NBC Law & Order 9.68 3.0/8 6.6
  CBS CSI: NY (Repeat) 8.52 2.2/6 5.7

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

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  • David

    Now that we're into week three of America's Next Top Model, I think it's safe to say that its popularity is fading. None of the episodes have managed to break 4 million viewers.

    The CW only has two remaining shows, Smallville and Smackdown, that are still capable of pulling more than 4 million. They're losing Smackdown, and rumors are that Smallville will be losing Michael Rosenbaum and Kristin Kreuk as regulars. That can't be good. I'm starting to wonder how much longer the CW is going to be around.

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

    I see where 2.5 million viewers left 'Moment' between 9 and 9:30. That seems awfully high for a one hour show. Haven't ever watched it, so I don't know if there is an obvious reason – like bad contestants, etc. Is there anything to be made of this (for TVBS's sake) and will the points/value be the avg. of the two half hours (9.7/8.4)?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Jon, I think part of that(a guess, I didn't watch) may be that Idol extended over into the 9pm hour and counted in the first 15 minutes of results. Nielsen cleans that up (the overrun) later,but not in the overnight results. Again, this may not have been the case at all last night, just throwing it out there.

    As we lack access to 15 minute data it's hard to say.

  • David

    Now that we’re into week three of America’s Next Top Model, I think it’s safe to say that its popularity is fading. None of the episodes have managed to break 4 million viewers.

    The CW only has two remaining shows, Smallville and Smackdown, that are still capable of pulling more than 4 million. They’re losing Smackdown, and rumors are that Smallville will be losing Michael Rosenbaum and Kristin Kreuk as regulars. That can’t be good. I’m starting to wonder how much longer the CW is going to be around.

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

    I see where 2.5 million viewers left ‘Moment’ between 9 and 9:30. That seems awfully high for a one hour show. Haven’t ever watched it, so I don’t know if there is an obvious reason – like bad contestants, etc. Is there anything to be made of this (for TVBS’s sake) and will the points/value be the avg. of the two half hours (9.7/8.4)?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Jon, I think part of that(a guess, I didn’t watch) may be that Idol extended over into the 9pm hour and counted in the first 15 minutes of results. Nielsen cleans that up (the overrun) later,but not in the overnight results. Again, this may not have been the case at all last night, just throwing it out there.

    As we lack access to 15 minute data it’s hard to say.

  • Rob

    Not that I fancy myself a defender of “Big Brother,” just an “explainer.” It looks like its demos are as good as can be expected against American Idol, which attracts the same type of viewer, and we know from your terrific “Top Time Shifted” charts that a healthy part of the live American Idol audience plays back Big Brother on DVR later in the week…..probably on Fridays and Saturdays! CBS cant be spending that much money on the show, and we know if there werent a writers strike we would never be seeing Big Brother in the regular season.

  • Rob

    Not that I fancy myself a defender of “Big Brother,” just an “explainer.” It looks like its demos are as good as can be expected against American Idol, which attracts the same type of viewer, and we know from your terrific “Top Time Shifted” charts that a healthy part of the live American Idol audience plays back Big Brother on DVR later in the week…..probably on Fridays and Saturdays! CBS cant be spending that much money on the show, and we know if there werent a writers strike we would never be seeing Big Brother in the regular season.

  • Joe

    Law & Order lost nearly 2 million viewers from last week. Where they'd go?

    MiT lost 200k, CSI NY gained just over ½ million.

  • Joe

    Law & Order lost nearly 2 million viewers from last week. Where they’d go?

    MiT lost 200k, CSI NY gained just over ½ million.

  • Ralph

    CBS will not move BB9 to Fridays/Saturdays because the NCAA tournament starts in a couple of weeks and that ties up Thursday night through Sunday afternoon for the first two weeks of the tournament. The final weekend takes up Saturday and Monday. That leaves only Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Hence the nights BB9 is on. CBS will not sacrifice its biggest ratings machine of the year for BB9, an obvious ratings failure.

  • Ralph

    CBS will not move BB9 to Fridays/Saturdays because the NCAA tournament starts in a couple of weeks and that ties up Thursday night through Sunday afternoon for the first two weeks of the tournament. The final weekend takes up Saturday and Monday. That leaves only Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Hence the nights BB9 is on. CBS will not sacrifice its biggest ratings machine of the year for BB9, an obvious ratings failure.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Ralph, great point, touche' and I feel like a dope because March Madness is one of my favorite things in the world! In fact, last year Gorman and I both went to all the first round games (Sacramento) and the Regional Finals in San Jose — while it was a great experience, I honestly prefer watching on TV!

    P.S. I still would have run Numb3rs, Ghost Whisperer and NCIS, Criminal Minds etc instead of BB from a ratings perspective, but concede it could be such that running the ratings failure that is BB was the more profitable way to do business.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Ralph, great point, touche’ and I feel like a dope because March Madness is one of my favorite things in the world! In fact, last year Gorman and I both went to all the first round games (Sacramento) and the Regional Finals in San Jose — while it was a great experience, I honestly prefer watching on TV!

    P.S. I still would have run Numb3rs, Ghost Whisperer and NCIS, Criminal Minds etc instead of BB from a ratings perspective, but concede it could be such that running the ratings failure that is BB was the more profitable way to do business.

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