CBS Wins Viewers & 25-54, Fox Tops 18-49 & 18-34
As predicted last week, the return of new episodes for shows like Criminal Minds, CSI, CSI:NY, Ghost Whisperer, Numb3rs, and Without a Trace gave CBS the TV network ratings win for the week of March 31 - April 6 in average viewers (comfortably over Fox) and adults 25-54 (narrowly over Fox). With a few shows still waiting to begin new episodes, CBS seems assured of total viewer and 25-54 wins for the remainder of the season. The interesting race will be to see if CBS can catch Fox for the season to date average viewer crown before the end of the 2007-8 season.
Fox still won the weekly race for adults 18-49 (narrowly over CBS) and 18-34 (comfortably over CBS), and with American Idol having 15 shows remaining would seem to have the inside track on the weekly races in those two age demos. Fox has Bones returning April 14, which will help a little. They're fighting a holding action until 4 episodes of House return starting April 28. That should give them enough stretch run power to hold off CBS for the season to date titles.
ABC finished third in average viewers, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 and fourth in adults 18-34, behind the Hispanic youth power of Univision. They are sure to be boosted by the returns of Desperate Housewives (April 13) and Grey's Anatomy (April 24), but I don't see those 2 shows or the others returning being able to make up the weekly margins with Fox. ABC looks to be no better than the third place finisher on a weekly basis from here on out.
Jeff Zucker's NBC finished fourth in average viewers, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 and fifth in adults 18-34. The rest of NBC's Thursday night line up (30 Rock, The Office, Scrubs, ER) will be in place beginning April 10. That might make them competitive with ABC this week before Grey's returns. Once Law & Order (April 23) and Law & Order: SVU (April 15) return, NBC should be fighting ABC for third/fourth place finishes for the rest of the season. It will make for difficult congratulatory press releases, but Jeff and his folks have yet to disappoint us.
CW continued in its "are they still there?" mode, finishing sixth, as usual, in all demographic categories. They've got the return of Gossip Girl (April 21) and Supernatural (April 24) to look forward to. Small comfort in what has been a disaster of a season.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.