Things we know – the Olympics are long done, the Oscars have come and gone and awards season is over (for now) and ABC dominates Fridays. However, even though the network won the night among adults 18-49 with a 1.6/6 rating, ABC still stumbled a bit compared to last week – both down from its season demo high and with individual shows. With pitches for bicycle lighting and one for the baby knee pads Shark Tank (2.0/7) easily led the night as the highest rated show. With a 5% dip from its February 28 show, the entrepreneurial reality series basically stayed steady with last week. Though with 7.49 million watching it was down from its second best viewership result ever of 7.7 million from last week. Among the rest of ABC’s night, the only show to stay total even with last week was 20/20 (1.8/6) Comedies Last Man Standing (1.3/5) and The Neighbors (0.9/3) were up 8% and down 10% respectively from their February 28 shows.
This is gutsy. Fox has handed early renewals for next season to comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Mindy Project and drama The Following. Golden Globe-winning freshman Brooklyn Nine-Nine is picked up for a second season, Mindy and The Following for a third and New Girl for a fourth. They join three other Fox scripted series that already have been picked up for next season: freshman drama Sleepy Hollow; veteran Bones, renewed for a 10th season; and Glee, which has a final sixth season as part of a two-year pickup. That is a lot of programming already locked in for next season though Fox has extra holes to fill following the cancellation of The X Factor. Networks are not required to make any renewal decisions until May, and most wait to see their pilots before making decisions. Fox, of course, declared in January that it was breaking away from the pilot cycle, so the network also may be going on its own timetable with renewals. But most of all, today’s pickups are about Fox brass giving a vote of confidence to series they feel strongly about creatively.
Weekly Column: Three weeks into the post-Jay Leno Tonight Show era, his replacement Jimmy Fallon is still the frontrunner, though his margins have shrunk, his ABC competitor Jimmy Kimmel has regained ground he lost temporarily during Fallon’s highly hyped first week with a Sochi Olympics lead-in. Now the two Jimmys are settling in for the long haul, as they wrestle over America’s late-night viewing habit.
All eyes were on Fallon when he kicked off his Tonight tenure during the second Monday of NBC’s Olympics coverage, with a star-studded week that included guests Will Smith, U2, Jerry Seinfeld, Lady Gaga, the First Lady, and Justin Timberlake. More than 11 million viewers listened as Fallon asked that they give him time to get it right. And, over the course of that first week, with DVR-watchers factored in, Fallon drew the biggest weekly audience Tonight had enjoyed since Johnny Carson signed off after 30 years in 1992 — an average of 10.42 million viewers. Those viewers, NBC noted, had the youngest median age of any weekly crowd for any of the broadcast TV 11:35 PM talk shows this season: 52.6 years.
Then the honeymoon was over.
In Fallon’s Week 2, headline writers turned their attention to ABC’s Kimmel and the ninth iteration of his much-ballyhooed, even more celeb-studded post-Oscar show, which jumped 22% in total viewers year-to-year to nab nearly 7 million viewers. It was the ABC late-night program’s largest-ever overall audience for any single-day telecast in either late-night or primetime and up 20% in the demo, to reach 2.423 million. In each of the country’s Top 3 markets – New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago – Kimmel’s show coming out of the most-watched Oscarcast in a decade outperformed both the final Tonight broadcast with Leno and the first Tonight with Fallon, in households and in the demo.
Kimmel followed this up the very next night with what members of the media regarded as the Holy Grail of late-night bookings — Toronto’s wildly unpredictable, much-memed Mayor Rob Ford. This past Monday, Kimmel mopped sweat from Ford’s brow, and suggested the mayor might want to get some help if he does in fact have a drinking problem, which Ford laughed off, saying he “wasn’t elected to be perfect” and that he is “just a normal average, hardworking politician.” To which Kimmel respectfully insisted Ford is not only not average, “you are the most wonderful mayor I’ve ever witnessed.” And, while final stats for Monday’s sit-down aren’t available yet, Jimmy Kimmel Live that night achieved a 2.5/6 in metered market homes, jumping 19% (and 50% in the demo) from the prior Monday, to land in his nearest competitive position on a Monday yet against Fallon. That said, Fallon still topped Kimmel by 68% in metered market households and by 89% in demo ratings in the 25 LPM markets, with his former Saturday Night Live Weekend Update co-anchor Tina Fey as guest. (Kimmel’s Oscar surge appeared to have fizzled by Tuesday night where, in Nielsen’s 56 metered markets, JKL fell to a 1.7/5 — well behind Fallon’s 3.5/9 — though ABC’s new 10 PM series Mind Games, with its 0.6 demo rating and its 2, 2.120 million viewers, may have contributed.)
Gold Medal Ice Dancers Meryl Davis And Charlie White Headline ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Cast Heavy On Athletes: Video
Fresh off their gold-medal win at the Sochi Olympics, ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White will headline the all-star lineup of ABC‘s competition series Dancing With The Stars when it returns for its 18th season – part of a celebrity lineup that’s heavy on athletes. Davis and White, who have been skating partners since 1997, will compete against each other on Dancing. They’ll be joined by double-amputee snowboarding champ Amy Purdy – a world-champion adaptive snowboarder and the show’s first Paralympian to compete. And, Sean Avery will be the first former hockey player in Dancing history. Also in this year’s celebrity cast: swimmer Diana Nyad, who became the first person to complete a historic 110-mile swim from Cuba to Key West in September of 2013 on her fifth attempt.
Joining the athletes in the battle for the mirrorball trophy: The Wonder Years star Danica McKellar, comedian turned game show host Drew Carey, actor Billy Dee Williams, former Full House actress Candace Cameron Bure, Real Housewives reality star NeNe Leakes, Australian pop singer Cody Simpson, and Big Time Rush actor-singer James Maslow.
Fox’s ‘Rake’ Moves To Fridays, Thursday’s ‘American Idol’ Shifts To 9 PM, Paired With ‘Hell’s Kitchen’
Fox‘s new drama Rake has faced the inevitable after the new series low of 0.8 in adults 18-49 last Thursday. The network is moving the underperforming series to Fridays beginning next week. Season 12 of Gordon Ramsay’s utility player Hell’s Kitchen, which had not been scheduled, will run on Thursday at 8 PM, leading into the American Idol results show, which will move to 9 PM. The new Fox Thursday lineup will also debut next week, with Rake airing on Thursday one last time this week. On Fridays, Rake will replace another Ramsay series, Kitchen Nightmares, which has been slated to air in the 8 PM hour. It now has been put on the bench for later. Rake will be followed by Enlisted and Raising Hope. Once the Idol results show shrinks to half-hour on March 27, it will be followed by new comedy Surviving Jack starring Chris Meloni as previously scheduled.
Greg Kinnear starrer Rake, based on the popular Australian series, never connected with viewers. It got off to a soft start, logging a 1.7 in its Jan. 23 debut and wasn’t helped by the fact that it had to face three weeks of Olympics coverage two weeks into its run.
More screen time for Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski at NBCU. The It Couple of NBC’s Sochi Olympics coverage will be part of NBC’s Today Oscar show from LA on Monday. Kathie Lee Gifford and Al Roker are hosting the split Today show from LA, where Weir and Lipinski will join them to announce their red carpet winners and losers.
A couple days ago, NBCU announced Weir and Lipinski would join the company’s syndicated show Access Hollywood on the red carpet at the Oscars to report on the fashion, with Weir saying he hoped “to bring my own special brand of sparkle to the broadcast,” adding that he and Lipinski “hope to entertain America’s pants off.”
The duo got high marks for their ice-skating commentary for the networks of NBC at the Winter Games, but the two — and especially Weir — were Must See TV for their outfits. Weir and Lipinski told NBC’s Today during the Olympics that they came to Sochi with four suitcases apiece, describing the cases as being the same size as Ford Focuses and Audi S4s. They contained, among other things, 22 pair of shoes, 25 blazers, six pair of leather pants, 10 pounds of jewelry and four fur coats.
The Peacock network’s tie-ins with the Obama administration continue. NBC said today that Michelle Obama will do a cameo on the season finale of Parks And Recreation. Her scene in the episode titled “Moving Up” celebrates healthier out-of-school programs as part of her “Let’s Move” initiative against childhood obesity. The First Lady’s appearance continues a recent trend of NBC team-ups with D.C. heavyweights. She helped goose the ratings for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last week in a sleepover skit with the host and Will Ferrell. And earlier this week Vice President Joe Biden was the second guest on Seth Meyers’ first night hosting Late Night; the Veep followed Parks And Rec star Amy Poehler, whose character famously idolizes Biden. (He also did a cameo on the sitcom that aired shortly after the 2012 elections.) And on February 14, Community star Joel McHale was tapped as host of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in May. Then there was pre-pinkeye Bob Costas’ pre-Olympics interview with President Obama on February 6. Michelle Obama’s Parks And Rec episode airs April 24.
Corporate synergy with 50% owner CBS already has done well for TVGN, which saw triple-digit ratings increases from last fall’s broadcasts of CBS properties Big Brother After Dark and The Young & The Restless. Now it is adding exclusive encores of the most current episodes of CBS competition series The Amazing Race and Survivor back-to-back Saturdays at 8 PM and 9 PM beginning this week. Amazing Race kicked off its 24th season last Sunday opposite NBC’s Sochi Olympics Closing Ceremony, and Survivor‘s 28th cycle debuted last night. TVGN, in more than 80 million homes, is 50/50 co-owned by CBS and Lionsgate.