Nielsen Ratings May 14: FOX Wins, Idol Set for David vs. David Battle

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May 15th, 2008

Scoreboard for Weds. May 14, 2008 FOX CBS ABC NBC CW
Total Viewers (million) 15.30 10.56 7.63 6.64 3.27
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 5.6/15 2.5/7 2.1/6 2.4/6 1.6/4

American Idol was on, so FOX won the night in a cakewalk.  CBS was second in both viewers and the 18-49 demographic.  ABC was third in the demo, but fourth in viewers, and NBC was fourth in the demo in third in total viewers.

But Idol will have to add about 6 million viewers to last night's numbers to reach 30 million for the finale.  I think it will add plenty of viewers, but not sure about that many.  I think a couple of things probably hurt the show this year: 1.) my AI loving friends tell me it's been clear for about the last 2 months that it was going to be a battle of Davids in the finals, so there wasn't much mysterly, 2.) easy availability of individual performances on YouTube.  More interesting me FOX-wise was that in the season finale of ‘Til Death (which FOX is keeping) versus the season/series finale for Back to You, which FOX isn't keeping and nobody picked up for their fall schedule, Back to You won in both viewers and the 18-49 demo.

I think a few factors were at play in FOX's decision.  Despite last night, for most of the season the season the shows had very similar numbers in the demo.  The other two reasons are speculative, but I figure Back to You was more expensive to make.  The last reason is also speculative, but I've read some stuff that leads me to believe that the producers of Back to You and the FOX execs didn't get along all that well.

The season finale of Tyra Banks' America's Next Top Model showed some strength on the CW.  It averaged over 4.6m viewers for the hour with a 2.3/7 in the demo. Its best performance of the year.  Also, in the second half hour it had over 5.1 million viewers and a 2.6/7 in the demo.  Demo numbers, the likes of which the CW never ever sees.  Nice to see ANTM close out strong.

The million dollar spectacular primetime version of The Price is Right was kind of eh on CBS, as was two hours worth of Deal or No Deal on NBC.  NBC fared a little better with Law & Order at 10pm.  Both Criminal Minds and CSI: NY performed well for CBS.  Outside of American Idol, they were the most watched shows of the evening and had the best 18-49 demo performances other than Idol as well.  

Boston Legal struggled to find viewers at 10pm, but it at least performed better in the 18-49 demo (2.3/6) than say, Women's Murder Club, which was cancelled.  But both Wife Swap (2.5/8) and Supernanny (2.4/6) performed better for ABC in the 18-49 demo.  In the fall, in a shortened final season Boston Legal will be on Monday nights at 10pm following Dancing with the Stars.

Good news bad news on the FOX front.  The good news is that we won't have to wait long for the return of Summer Glau and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  It'll be on Mondays at 8pm starting in the fall.  The bad news is, it doesn't appear that we're getting a full season of it with Dollhouse currently scheduled to take the timeslot somewhere during mid season.  I don't believe it will really wind up exactly like that because the Terminator movie is set for release next May so it's hard for me to fathom we won't see at least a little Summer next spring.  Bill should have the FOX schedule with comparisons to last fall up soon.

Wednesday Night's Details:

Time Network Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share
8:00 CBS The Price is Right 7.33 1.4/4
  NBC Deal or No Deal (8p-10p) 7.14 1.9/5
  ABC Wife Swap 6.45 2.5/8
  CW Americas Next Top Model 4.62 2.3/7
  FOX 'Til Death 5.79 2.2/7
8:30 FOX Back to You 6.87 2.5/7
9:00 CBS Criminal Minds 12.71 3.0/7
  CW Farmer Wants a Wife 1.92 0.9/2
  ABC Supernanny 5.79 2.4/6
  FOX American Idol 24.26 9.0/22
10:00 ABC Boston Legal 7.68 2.3/6
  NBC Law & Order 8.35 2.7/7
  CBS CSI: NY 11.63 3.1/8

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

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