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Nielsen Ratings Friday May 9: CBS Wins, Moonlight Still on the Bubble

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May 10th, 2008

Scoreboard for Fri. May 9, 2008 CBS ABC NBC CW FOX
Total Viewers (million) 8.52 6.42 5.38 4.12 3.39
rating/Share: Adults 18-49 2.0/7 1.7/6 1.4/5 1.3/5 1.1/4

CBS won another May sweeps Friday night, but you know when the CW is consistently beating FOX on a Friday night, that it's a night the networks hardly care about.  It will be very, very interesting to see how the CW programs Friday nights in the fall when it will no long have Friday Night Smackdown!.  Now that the CW will be programming neither Saturday nor Sunday nights starting in the fall, coupled with the absence of Smackdown they have some difficult choices to make. 

Will the CW stick all their worst performing programming on the vast Friday night wasteland, or will they stick those shows on Thursday against very difficult competition and move shows like Supernatural to Friday - a night with fewer viewers, but also less competition?  We'll find out next week.

The big difference between last night and the prior Friday was that ABC ran with a clips show this week TV's All-Time Funniest and although it was by no means stellar with 6.5 million and a 1.6/6, they got a lot better performance out of it than Duel.  Also, 20/20 fared a lot better at 10pm than it did last week.

CBS obviously lost a few viewers I'd speculate they went to the clips show on ABC and stuck with 20/20, but it's but speculation.  Either way all CBS shows were down over last week.  And although Moonlight lost a little more than two hundred thousand viewers (the least of any CBS show week over week) with 7.68 million, it's 1.9/6 performance is concerning for a show on the bubble. Ghost Whisperer was down about half a million viewers with 8.74m, and Numb3rs was down over a million viewers with 9.13m.

Although Moonlight still won its time slot, even in the demo.  I think had this been last year, CBS would definitely cancel Moonlight, just as it did Close to Home last year.  Weighing at least slightly in Moonlight's favor is that this isn't last year. The landscape has changed a little bit as seemingly most networks have completely thrown in the towel (can you say repeats of Most Outrageous Moments, even in May Sweeps!?) as far as Friday nights.  If the margins on Moonlight are right (AKA it doesn't cost much to make), it could be a keeper in the current Friday night landscape. 

We won't  have to wait long to find out, you'll know by the finale next Friday whether it's the season finale or the series finale.  

See Friday night's details:

Time Net Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share
8:00 ABC TV's All-Time Funniest (8p-10p) 6.5 1.6/6
  CBS Ghost Whisperer 8.74 2.1/8
  NBC Most Outrageous Moments (R ) 4.21 1.2/5
  CW Friday Night Smackdown! (8p-10p) 4.12 1.3/5
  FOX Man of the House (8p-10p) (R ) 3.39 1.1/4
         
9:00 CBS Moonlight 7.68 1.9/6
  NBC Dateline (8p-10p) 5.96 1.5/5
         
10:00 ABC 20/20 6.26 1.9/6
  CBS Numb3rs 9.13 2.2/7

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

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