Nielsen Weekly Ratings in the 18-49 DemoOn TV, April sinkers bode May stinkersMany top network shows are hitting season lows 9s
By Toni Fitzgerald MediaLifeMagazine.com
staff writer April 25, 2007
With May finales just a month away the dramatic tension on most broadcast shows is heating up, but ratings for a large number of primetime programs are actually cooling off.
Call it the mid-spring doldrums. Last week shows across all of the Big Four networks dipped to season or series lows, nearly all of them current or former hits that have already been renewed for next season.
That's the last thing the networks want heading into sweeps.
ABC's Desperate Housewives, the No. 2 scripted show on television last year among adults 18-49, tied a series low with a 6.1 rating Sunday night. The network's top-rated new show, Ugly Betty, dipped to a series-worst 3.0 on Thursday.
On CBS, CSI: Miami averaged 15.3 million total viewers, matching a season low last Monday, and first-year drama Shark dipped to a 3.0 in 18-49s, a series worst. Two days earlier, Fox's "American Idol" had its lowest Tuesday rating of the season, 10.2. The network's "Simpsons" also dipped to a series low of 3.0 Sunday.
And NBC, which posted its lowest weekly average rating among 18-49s ever for the second time in the past month, saw Thursday shows ER and My Name is Earl tie previous series lows.
There's no one reason for the declines. Instead it's likely a variety of things combining for the viewership decline, beyond the usual culprits of weak storylines or stronger timeslot competition.
Daylight savings time came three weeks early this year, and television usage levels saw big falloffs from their level at the same time the year before. It's possible many of those viewers, upon venturing outside instead of turning on the television, still haven't come back as numbers are still off from last year. Households using television (HUT) levels have fallen four out of the last six weeks, according to Nielsen data analyzed by Fox.
Meanwhile, more and more people are using delayed viewing to watch their favorite shows. According to Nielsen, some 2 million additional people are watching shows such as ABC's Lost, which hit a series low earlier this month, on their digital video recorders, meaning they're not showing up in the weekly Nielsen ratings that measure live plus same-day DVR viewing. Still others are watching online, where the Big Four networks claim to have served millions of program downloads since they became available last year.
Another problem may be the lack of solid lead-ins for several formerly top shows. ER and CSI: Miami, for example, have lost huge chunks of their lead-ins over the past two years, with programs like Everybody Loves Raymond and Will & Grace going off the air. ER now routinely builds on its lead-in by at least a third, which is asking a lot of an aging show.
And quirky spring scheduling certainly doesn't help any show. After weeks of reruns, ABC's Housewives and Grey's Anatomy and NBC's Heroes only recently returned with originals, and it sometimes takes viewers a few weeks to realize that a show is back. And a new "Shark" aired after a repeat "CSI," which never helps.
Meanwhile, in broadcast ratings for the week ended April 22:Among adults 18-49,
Fox led with a 3.9 average rating and a 12 share, followed by ABC at 3.3/9, CBS at 2.6/7, NBC at 2.1/6, Univision at 1.7/5, CW at 1.3/4, Telemundo at 0.4/1, MyNetworkTV and Telefutura at 0.3/1, and Ion and Azteca at 0.1/0.Among adults 18-34,
Fox led with a 3.5 average rating and an 11 share, followed by ABC at 2.8/9, Univision at 1.7/6, CBS at 1.7/5, NBC at 1.6/5, CW at 1.4/4, Telemundo at 0.4/1, Telefutura and MyNetworkTV at 0.3/1, and Ion and Azteca at 0.1/0.Among adults 25-54,
Fox led with a 4.3 average rating and an 11 share, followed by ABC at 3.6/10, CBS at 3.3/9, NBC at 2.4/6, Univision at 1.6/4, CW at 1.2/3, Telemundo 0.4/1, Telefutura and MyNetworkTV at 0.3/1, Ion at 0.2/0 and Azteca at 0.1/0.Top five (18-49s):
1. Fox's American Idol - Wednesday 11.2; 2. Fox's American Idol - Tuesday 10.2; 3. Fox's House 9.1; 4. ABC's Grey's Anatomy 8.7; 5. ABC's Desperate Housewives 6.1.Top five (total viewers):
1. Fox's American Idol - Wednesday 28.93 million; 2. Fox's American Idol - Tuesday 26.55 million; 3. Fox's House 22.41 million; 4. ABC's Grey's Anatomy 21.12 million; 5. ABC's Dancing with the Stars 18.87 million.Bottom five (18-49s):
Tie-91. CW's The Game, Everybody Hates Chris and NBC's Heroes-Encore 0.8; Tie-94. CW's America's Next Top Model-Encore and All of Us 0.7; 96. NBC's Heroes-Encore 0.6; 97. CW's 7th Heaven-Encore 0.5.Bottom five (total viewers):
93. CW's Girlfriends 1.93 million; 94. CW's Everybody Hates Chris 1.89 million; 95. CW's All of Us 1.70 million; 96. CW's America's Next Top Model - Encore 1.56 million; 97. CW's 7th Heaven-Encore 1.34 million.Show on the rise:
The Apprentice, NBC, Sunday 10 p.m. The Donald's reality program struggled all season, but it did finish strong, with its finale last week posting a 3.2 among viewers 18-49, up 33 percent versus a 2.4 the week before and 7 percent over its 3.0 season average.Show on the decline:
Raines NBC, Friday 9 p.m. It's safe to say the Jeff Goldblum drama won't see another season. The show posted a 1.3 rating among 18-49s last week, off 13 percent from an already-disappointing 1.5 the week before.http://www.medialifemagazine.com/art...icle_11645.asp