In a night where the CW beat NBC in the 8pm hour  FOX took top honors fueled by Lie to Me and American Idol.  The premiere of Better Off Ted on ABC did not soar, although ABC’s 8pm comedy block was competitive with CBS’ 8pm comedy block among  adults 18-49.  But, Ted was the lowest-rated comedy series debut [on ABC] in over three years (since Hot Properties 2.2/6 in the demo in 10/05).

Update: as commenter Michael notes below, The Return of Jezebel James did worse on 3/14/08 (much worse – a 1.0 in adults 18-49).  But as Michael also notes, that was on a Friday…

We know Jeff Zucker doesn’t think NBC can be #1 in prime-time, but surely he wants at least a firm grasp on fourth place.  But with Chopping Block at 8pm, NBC was in fifth out of the five English Broadcast nets, including the mini network that is the CW. Ouch.

Lie To Me was down about 10% in adults 18-49 versus last week (3.1 rating vs 3.4 last week), but is still holding up well on its own and won the hour.   Lost lost steam from its last new episode two weeks ago when it had a 4.9 rating in adults 18-49.  But two week ago it didn’t compete against Idol, and ran against a repeat of Life.  Still last night’s 4.2 adults 18-49 rating for Lost was two-tenths lower than prior nights when Lost had run up against Idol and a slate of new programming.  It was Lost’s lowest 9pm rating ever (excluding clip shows).

I enjoyed last night’s Life, even the new partner, but, last night’s episode had fewer viewers than two weeks ago when it was a repeat!  Last night was better in the demo than two weeks ago, but that’s of little consolation.    Life on Mars has already been canceled and the one good outcome of that is the show’s producers knowing it in advance is that they are writing it in a way that wraps things up.  It’s down to its final two episodes.

Past overnight reports for Wednesday are available.

Full details:

Time Net Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share 18-34 Rating/Share
8:00 FOX Lie To Me 10.03 3.1/10 2.5/8
CBS New Adventures of Old Christine 7.37 2.1/7 1.2/4
ABC Scrubs 5.80 2.2/7 2.1/8
CW America’s Next Top Model 3.60 1.6/5 1.9/6
NBC The Chopping Block 3.46 1.3/4 1.0/3
8:30 CBS Gary Unmarried 7.57 2.3/7 1.3/4
ABC Better of Ted (premiere_ 5.64 2.2/6 2.0/7
9:00 FOX American Idol 23.07 8.4/21 6.5/18
CBS Criminal Minds 13.49 3.2/8 2.1/6
ABC LOST 9.08 4.2/10 4.1/11
NBC Life 4.22 1.5/3 1.1/3
CW 90210 (R) 0.91 0.4/1 0.6/2
10:00 CBS CSI: NY 12.70 3.3/9 2.2/7
NBC Law & Order 7.07 2.1/6 1.5/4
ABC Life on Mars 5.27 2.0/6 1.4/4

Shows are sorted by viewers in each time slot.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.


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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