Fox Sweeps All Categories, Edges CBS in Viewers
Contrary to my previous predictions, Fox edged CBS for the average viewer crown for the week of April 7-13, although by a mere 20,000 average viewers. I figured, with most of its regular shows back with new episodes, that CBS was untouchable for the rest of the season weekly average viewer and adults 25-54 crowns. I obviously was too hasty, as Fox gained a little over half a million average viewers from the previous week, and CBS, with only a single NCAA primetime game on April 7, fell back more than 1 million average viewers from the previous week
Fox also won all the age demographic categories; winning the weekly races for adults 18-49, adults 18-34 and adults 25-54 pretty comfortably over CBS which was second in each race. This week's results cause me to reassess my earlier prediction that "CBS seems assured of total viewer and 25-54 wins for the remainder of the season." It just might be a horse race for weekly viewers and not so close for adults 25-54. All CBS has left to bring back this season is Rules of Engagement (April 14) and Moonlight (April 25), hardly powerhouses. While Fox still has Bones (April 14), Back to You (April 16) which together should balance the new CBS adds, and the blockbuster House (April 28) which should sweep away the competition.
ABC again 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. The return of Desperate Housewives helped ABC gain about a half million average viewers from the previous week, but with Fox adding a million they lost ground. The return of Grey's Anatomy (April 24) will help boost ABC, but the other returning shows According to Jim, Brothers & Sisters and Ugly Betty aren't likely to make a big dent. ABC continues to settle into being the third/fourth place finisher on a weekly basis from here on out.
NBC again finished fourth in average viewers, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 and fifth in adults 18-34. NBC's Thursday night line up (30 Rock, The Office, Scrubs, ER) filled out last week yet it only added about 300,000 average viewers. Forget my prediction they might be competitive with ABC before Grey's Anatomy returns. Jeff Zucker and his folks are in a world of hurt. Law & Order (April 23) and Law & Order: SVU (April 15) should mute the pain a bit, but my thought that NBC would be fighting ABC for third/fourth place finishes for the rest of the season might have been a bit too hopeful.
CW lost almost 150,000 average viewers from the previous week, threatening to vanish from the radar screen entirely. They still await the return of both Gossip Girl (April 21) and Supernatural (April 24) to join their train wreck of a season.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.