Nielsen Ratings Apr 20: Desperate Housewives Keeps Losing Viewers

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April 21st, 2008

Scoreboard for Sun. April 20, 2008 ABC CBS NBC FOX CW
Total Viewers (million) 10.79 8.40 5.20 4.31 1.30
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 3.6/10 1.7/5 1.3/4 2.0/6 0.5/1

Many blame lousy Friday and Saturday ratings on fewer viewers being around, which is at least a bit exaggerated.  But how do you explain lousy ratings on Sundays, one of the most watched night's of broadcast television?  One word: repeats.   ABC won the night (no repeats), followed by CBS (also no repeats), but only ABC and FOX could crack the 18-49 age demographic "Mendoza Line" with a 2.0 rating or better in the age demo.  And FOX just barely got there.TV analysis is a wacky business.  People comparing last night performance of Desperate Housewives to last years at this time (when it was basically the same).  But I'm a what have you done for me lately guy and last night's performance by the babes on Wisteria Lane will be another record low performance in a year where the show prior to the strike was very strong

DH is one series where the strike appears to have hurt it and it seems that serialized dramas took a better hit than shows that you can jump in on at any time, like CSI.   We'll see.  The Housewives pulled in 15.58 million and a 5.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic and was still the most watched show of the evening, but it was steadily in the 18 millions with even better performance in the demo most of the year.

DH may get a bump when it comes to live plus seven days of DVR viewing but we won't see that for a few days.  While last year's 4/22 episode had only 15.91 million, it was up against tougher competition on the other networks.

CBS' line up of 60 Minutes, Big Brother and a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie: Sweet Nothings in My Ear fell well short of averaging 9 million viewers and short of the 2.0 in the age demographic as well. The Tiffany network can't blame repeats, or fewer viewers on Sunday night, but it perhaps can blame the Pope, whose New York City visit preempted 60 Minutes and at least part of Big Brother with local coverage.  Sweet Nothings with just over 8 million viewers underperformed last 4/22/07's Hallmark presentation which drew 10.66 million. 

Over on ABC, the finale of Oprah's Big Give featuring more Oprah and even Jennifer Aniston barely cracked 10 million viewers and a 3.2/9 (rating/share) in the 18-49 demographic.  Not shabby, but these days Oprah is no Gordon RamsayBrothers & Sisters was back in the 10pm slot and dominated against the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie and a Law & Order: SVU rerun.  Some say that retention out of Desperate Housewives wasn't spectacular but most shows following hits lose 50% or more of the lead-in, so I call retaining two thirds spectacular.  And the 3.6/10 in the 18-49 demo wasn't shabby at all either.

See Sunday Night's Full Details:

Time Network Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share HH Rating
7:00 ABC Americas Funniest Home Videos (R ) 7.06 2.2/7 4.4
  NBC Dateline (7p-8p) 5.1 1.2/4 3.7
  CBS 60 Minutes 10.56 1.5/5 7.8
  FOX King of the Hill (Repeat) 2.62 1.2/4 1.8
  CW Americas Next Top Model (Repeat) 1.21 0.5/2 1.1
7:30 FOX American Dad (Repeat) 2.96 1.4/5 1.2
8:00 ABC Oprah's Big Give 10.03 3.2/9 6.2
  FOX The Simpsons (Repeat) 5.3 2.5/7 3.8
  NBC Monk (Repeat) 5.73 1.3/4 4.2
  CBS Big Brother 6.75 2.3/6 4
  CW Everybody Hates Chris (Repeat) 1.26 0.4/1 1.1
8:30 FOX King of the Hill (Repeat) 4.52 2.1/5 3.3
  CW Aliens in American (Repeat) 1.2 0.4/1 1
9:00 ABC Desperate Housewives 15.58 5.5/13 9.6
  FOX Family Guy (Repeat) 5.51 2.7/7 3.6
  CW The Game 1.53 0.7/2 1.3
  CBS Sweet Nothings in My Ear (9p-11p) 8.14 1.5/4 5.4
  NBC Psych (Repeat) 4.02 1.1/3 2.9
9:30 CW Girlfriends (Repeat) 1.39 0.6/1 1.3
  FOX American Dad 4.94 2.4/6 3.3
10:00 ABC Brothers & Sisters 10.5 3.6/10 6.9
  NBC Law & Order: SVU (Repeat) 5.95 1.6/4 4.6

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

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