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Mea Culpa: Saturday Night All Right For Betty White as SNL Laps NASCAR

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May 9th, 2010

Scoreboard FOX ABC CBS NBC
Adults 18-49 Rating/Share 2.1/1 1.6/6 1.1/4 0.9/3
Total Viewers (million) 6.61 4.55 5.67 3.90

Mea maxima culpa

The Betty White hosted episode of Saturday Night Live scored a preliminary 8.8 household rating in the 56 largest metered markets, and a preliminary 5.1 rating with adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with Local People Meters. Those were the best SNL numbers since the episode on November 1 2008 scored a preliminary 9.0 household rating in the 56 metered markets.

To foster speculation over what Betty White will do next:

  • Dancing with the Stars contestant
  • Replacement judge for Simon on American Idol
  • The Jay Leno Show Monday-Friday in primetime reborn as The Betty White Show in primetime with encores telecasts at 11:35p.

And of course, TV Land is thrilled about Hot In Cleveland.

I don't imagine Betty White does much e-mail (she found out about the Facebook campaign from offline sources), but if she did I imagine I'd get an e-mail that said something like:

Ha. HA!  Hahahahaahaha.  Charles Barkley?  Really?  Child please!  (and in her best Darth Vader voice): Next time I shall not be so lenient!

The ratings force is indeed strong in Betty White and I was definitely wrong for doubting just how strong!

Though I am a Charles Barkley fan, a.) I didn't think his SNL episode was any good and b.) I wasn't blinded by adoration for Sir Charles when I predicted Betty White couldn't trump his ratings.

I was blinded by the big lead-in Sir Charles had from an NFL playoff game.  I didn't figure the lead-in from a repeat of Law & Order: SVU was going to be anywhere near that good.  And it wasn't.  But I also didn't figure Betty White could overcome that.  I figured wrong.  Very, very wrong.

My apologies to Ms. White and to the smack-talking fans who knew she'd have better ratings than Charles Barkley.  You were definitely way less goofy than I was.

Ms. White ran circles around Saturday night's broadcast primetime fare, and though it's not possible to accurately figure out how many overall viewers there were based on household rating, I'd guess around 12.5 million.

Nothing much happened in primetime, but...

Nielsen overnight ratings for Saturday, May 8, 2010:

Numbers for NASCAR and the NBA Playoff are not time-zone adjusted and so subject to significant revision in the final numbers

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating Viewers (Millions)
8:00 FOX NASCAR 2.1/8 6.63
ABC Lakers/Jazz Game 3 (8p-11p) 1.6/6 4.55
CBS NCIS (R) 0.8/3 5.31
NBC Parenthood (R) 0.6/2 2.10
9:00 FOX NASCAR 2.1/8 6.60
CBS Criminal Minds (R) 1.1/4 5.90
NBC Law & Order (R) 0.8/3 3.92
10:00 NBC Law & Order: SVU (R) 1.3/4 5.67
CBS 48 Hours Mysery 1.2/4 5.81

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You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2010 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 and Numbers 102.

 
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