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Friday Nielsen Ratings: CBS Makes a Night out of It

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November 8th, 2008

Scoreboard CBS ABC FOX NBC CW
Total Viewers (million) 11.17 6.07 5.67 4.34 1.63
rating/Share: Adults 18-49 2.6/8 1.9/6 1.6/5 1.1/3 0.7/2

I have to tip the cap to CBS. It pulled off something fairly remarkable on a Friday night. Every show in the CBS lineup crossed the eleven million mark. with the NCIS rerun marginally beating out Numb3rs as the night's most-watched program, while Ghost Whisperer at 8pm had the best demo performance of the night (not just for CBS, but all of broadcast).

What's remarkable about this to me is that in total viewers these numbers are better across the board than the same night a year ago (Friday November 9, 2007). There is no real bad news here for CBS, unless you're very focused on year over year results. By that view while CBS averaged nearly two million more viewers for the night than a year ago, but it was slightly down among 18-49 year olds (2.7/8 last year vs. 2.6/8 last night). But compared to last spring after the writer's strike, or even earlier in the current season, CBS must be pleased.

Things were better for everyone across the board than last Friday, but that was Halloween so I don't read too much into the week over week results.

Things may look bad for everyone else, but Fox also improved its performance over a year ago by more than a million viewers on average. ABC was down about a million and a half viewers vs. a year ago, but NBC and the CW were both down on average by more than three million.

It may be the most interesting thing about Friday night ratings to report until a few months from now, when Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles moves to Friday, and is joined by Fox's new show Dollhouse. On a Friday the 13th, no less.

Full details:

Time Net Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share
8:00 CBS Ghost Whisperer 11.05 2.8/9
FOX Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader 6.42 1.6/5
NBC Deal or No Deal 5.53 1.1/4
ABC Wife Swap 4.61 1.7/6
CW Everybody Hates Chris 1.72 0.7/2
8:30 CW The Game 1.6/8 0.8/2
9:00 CBS NCIS (R) 11.26 2.4/7
ABC Supernanny 5.43 1.9/6
FOX Don't Forget the Lyrics 4.93 1.6/5
NBC Crusoe 4.16 1.0/3
CW America's Next Top Model (R) 1.55 0.6/2
10:00 CBS Numb3rs 11.21 2.6/8
ABC 20/20 8.19 2.2/7
NBC Lipstick Jungle 3.34 1.2/4

Shows are sorted by viewers in each time slot.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. Source Marc Berman/Mediaweek.

Definitions:

Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

 
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