ABC and the CW returned to originals last night with CBS, NBC and Fox sticking to reruns. The premiere of ABC’s Winter Wipeout (2.8/8 among adults 18-49) was down 26% from its January 2011 premiere but up from the special Wipeout airing in November, which drew a 1.9. Wipeout marked a significant improvement for ABC in the Thursday 8 PM slot vs. fall occupant Charlie’s Angels and posted a season high in the hour among adults 18-49. It also may have helped Grey’s Anatomy (4.5/11), which returned up 10% from its most recent original two months ago. The gains extended to 10 PM, where Grey’s spinoff Private Practice (2.8/7) was up 8% from its last original in November. ABC (3.3/9, 9.5 million viewers) won the night in 18-49 and total viewers with its best numbers in 15 weeks. The CW’s Thursday dramas also came back after a two-month hiatus last night. Both The Vampire Diaries (1.4/4) and The Secret Circle (0.8/2) were even with their last originals November 10.
Once again, usage in the 8 PM hour was down week-to-week as viewers adjust to the switch to daylight saving time. Last night, the drop was bigger than usual, 12.4%. All 8 PM shows were impacted. Fox’s American Idol (5.6/18 in adults 18-49, 19 million viewers) was down the most, 16%, from last Thursday. ABC’s Winter Wipeout (2.0/7) was down 9% from its most recent original on Feb. 24. NBC’s newly renewed Community (1.7/6) was down 6% for a season low, while new comedy Perfect Couples (1.2/4) was down 14% from Feb. 24 for a series low.
At 9 PM, Fox’s Bones (3.4/10, 11.9 million) bucked the down trend, up 6% in 18-49 and 13% in viewers from last week. ABC tried out 10 PM medical drama Private Practice in the tentpole 9 PM position occupied by the series that spawned it, Grey’s Anatomy. The result was not pretty: Private Practice drew a 1.9/6, down 17% from its most recent original for a series low. Following an Office rerun, NBC’s Parks and Recreation (1.8/5) was down 25% from its last original, which followed a new Office, to tie its series low. NBC had the only original offerings in the 10 PM hour: 30 Rock (1.7/5), down 26% for a series low, and Outsourced (1.4/4), flat and tied as a series low.
Two hours of Fox’s American Idol (7.2/20 in adults 18-49, 21.6 million viewers) dominated another Thursday, delivering the highest numbers on the night with non-sports programming for any network in 3 years (18-49) and 4 years (total viewers). The reality series was down 5% in the demo from last Thursday but, probably boosted by judge Jennifer Lopez’s breakdown at the end of the Wednesday’s episode, last night’s show was up 11% vs. the comparable night last season.
News was a tiny bit better for the other networks than last week when ABC and NBC posted their lowest Thursday nights with original programming this season with all of their series hitting or tying season lows in 18-49, joined by CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, which also posted a low. The rule for the shows airing against Idol last night was: reality/comedies – up or even with last week, dramas – down.
ABC’s Winter Wipeout (2.2/6) rebounded the most, up 16% from last week. But the network’s flagship medical drama Grey’s Anatomy (3.3/9) was down 11% for a new series low. Not facing Idol at 10 PM, Private Practice (2.4/7) was up 4%.
CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (3.8/11, 12.5 million) was up 3% from last week, while its new mate, veteran Rules of Engagement (2.8/8, 9.6 million) was up 8% from the last original of $#*! My Dad Says in the 8:30 PM slot. But vs. its last airing in the Monday 8:30 PM …
What a depressing overnight ratings report we got this morning. ABC and NBC posted their lowest Thursday nights with original programming this season with all of their series hitting or tying season lows in 18-49. CBS’ The Big Bang Theory also hit a season low. Fox’s American Idol and Bones, CBS’ CSI and The Mentalist and CW’s The Vampire Diaries and Nikita logged minimal ratings increases that in no way offset the across-the-board drops for the rest of the Thursday series. So what happened last night? There is no definitive explanation. HUT levels were down week-to-week but within the standard diviation range (4%). Ratings experts suspect that, with weather across the country improving, we’ve started to see the so-called “spring ratings slump.” Or some viewers may have started their Presidents weekend a little earlier. Here is a network-by-network rundown:
Fox’s American Idol (7.5/22 in 18-49, 21.9 million) was up 3% from last Thursday in 18-49 and flat in total viewers. Versus the same telecast last year, which was part of new judge Ellen DeGeneres’ first week on the show, the singing competition was down 21%. It easily ranked as the top telecast of the night and drove Fox to a nightly victory. At 9 PM, Bones (3.3/9, 9.9 million) was up 3% from last week in the demo.
Fox’s American Idol (7.2/20 in adults 18-49, 21.7 million) continues to hold up well. Its first Hollywood week episode last night was down just 4% in the demo and 1% in total viewers from last week’s Thursday audition episode. Vs. the comparable episode on Wednesday last year, Idol was down 7% in 18-49 and up 3% in viewers. At 9 PM, Bones (3.3/9, 10.1 million) was even with last week, and Fox once again topped the night with a 5.3/14 in 18-49 and 15.9 million viewers.
Last night was a mixed bag for ABC. At 8 PM, Winter Wipeout (2.2/6, 6.9 million) continues to fade against Idol after a strong start, down 12% in 18-49 from last week for a season low. Tentopole drama Grey’s Anatomy (3.9/10) was also down, by 9%, tying its season low. On the bright side, Grey’s spinoff Private Practice 2.7/7 perked up, up 8% from last week, despite its lead-in being down.
CBS’ lineup was mostly down. Big Bang Theory (3.9/11, 12.8 million) was down 9%, $#*! My Dad Says (2.7/7, 10.4 million) was down 4%, while CSI (2.8/7, 12.6 million) was down 7% to tie its series low. At 10 PM, The Mentalist (2.9/8, 14.7 million) was flat. CBS (3.0/8, 13 million) was No.2 for the night in 18-49 and viewers behind Fox.
As February sweep kicked in last night, we had our first all-original Thursday competition on the broadcast networks since the return of American Idol. As expected, the newest entry, midseason comedy Perfect Couples (1.4/4) was the hardest hit by Idol, down 18% from last week’s performance which, in turn, was down 19% from the comedy’s Thursday debut. With the exception of 30 Rock (2.4/6), which was flat, all other NBC comedies were down week-to-week as competition increased with original Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy and The Mentalist. Community (2.0/5) was down 9% from last week, The Office down 8% and Parks & Recreation (2.5/6) down an alarming 17%. Outsourced (1.8/5) was down a modest 5% and showed a solid 75% retention of its 30 Rock lead-in.
Fox’s American Idol (7.5/20, 21.8 million) continues to hold up well, down 3% from last week in 18-49 and total viewers and towering over the competition. Airing against an original Grey’s and CSI, Bones (3.3, 10.9 million) was down 15%.
CBS’ Big Bang Theory (4.3/12) showed growth against Idol, up 2% vs. its last original 2 weeks ago. It also manged to finish as the highest-rated scripted program of the night, edging ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (4.2/11, down 2% from Jan. 13) which did not face Idol. With an original Big Bang as a lead-in, $#*! My Dad Says (2.8/7) was up 22% from last week when it followed a repeat. CSI (3.0/8, 13.8 million) was …
Fox’s American Idol continued to keep the pace from premiere week last night, while Bones rose to its best showing in 4 years. But, after a stronger than expected debut last week, NBC’s 3-hour comedy block is starting to show cracks.
Just like it did on Tuesday, American Idol held nicely to its premiere week numbers. Last night, the hourlong show from 8-9 PM drew a 7.6/21 in adults 18-49 and 22.3 million total viewers, down only 3% from last Thursday. Helping things was the fact that Idol‘s biggest competition in the 8 PM hour, CBS’ hit comedy The Big Bang Theory (2.4/7), was a repeat last night vs. an original last week, as was the rest of the CBS lineup except for freshman comedy $#*! My Dad Says (2.3/6), which needs to use up its fresh episodes before it hands off the 8:30 PM slot to Rules of Engagement next month. Against Idol, $#*! dropped 18% in the demo from last week after earlier this month logging matching week-to-week performances behind an original an repeat Big Bang. Also taking a ratings hit in the 8 PM hour was ABC’s reality series Winter Wipeout (2.4/7), down 8% last night, following a 28% drop in its first face-off against Idol last week. Like CBS, ABC aired repeats for the rest of the night.
The good news is that Fox has finally established the elusive Thursday beachfront with American Idol. The bad news is that it came with a price, sending the reality hit to its lowest-rated second night premiere ever. Surprisingly, the casualties were limited for the Thursday 8 PM shows under assault; not surprisingly the other reality show in the hour, ABC’s Winter Wipeout, was impacted the most. And somewhat surprisingly, NBC’s three-hour comedy block did better than expected.
In its Thursday debut last night, Idol drew a 7.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 22.9 million viewers from 8-9 PM. Vs. the show’s second night premiere on Wednesday last year, which was 90 minutes, the show was down 20% in 18-49 and 13% in total viewers. In the more apples-to-apples comparison of this year’s Thursday opener to the 8-9 PM hour of last year’s Wednesday premiere, the declines were 15% in 18-49 and 9% in viewers. At 9 PM, Bones (3.6/9) hit a season high but held onto a so-so 46% of its Idol lead-in (It’s always been hard for scripted shows to follow Idol; Fox has had better success with unscripted fare behind the reality juggernaut.) What’s more, Bones faced weaker than normal competition in its first outing at 9 PM as the time slot leader, Grey’s Anatomy, was a repeat. With Idol and Bones, Fox easily dominated the night and logged its highest-rated Thursday night with regular programming in …
After promising early showings for Winter Wipeout in the challenging for ABC Thursday 8 PM slot, the network is sticking with reality in the hour for the rest of the season. After Winter Wipeout finishes its run, ABC will launch competition series Take the Money and Run on April 14. The six-episode series, from the Amazing Race team of Jerry Bruckheimer and Bertram van Munster, combines elements of a globe-trotting race and a spy thriller.
ABC delivered a solid ratings performance with Winter Wipeout (3.6/11) slipping only 5% from its very impressive debut last week and Grey’s Anatomy (4.4/12), up 5% from last week. At 10 PM, a repeat of the premiere of new medical drama Off the Map (2.0/6), which was impacted by the Tucson memorial-related scheduling shifts on Wednesday, did a respectable business, down a modest 13% from its debut 18-49 rating. For the night, ABC averaged a 3.3/9 and a 9.6 million total viewers, finishing No.1 in the demo and second in total viewers behind CBS.
At CBS, William Shatner proved he is lead-in impervious. Somewhat surprisingly, following a repeat of Big Bang (3.0/9), an original of Shatner’s his new comedy $#*! My Dad Says (2.9/8) matched its demo performance from last week when it followed an original Big Bang (4.4/13). CBS aired drama reruns for the rest of the evening, finishing with an average of a 2.3/6 in 18-49 and 10.1 million viewers. Fox’s Million Dollar Money Drop (1.7/5, 5.7 million) was in line with its delivery earlier this week and up 21% from last Thursday. It also hit a series high in total viewers. Fox, which also ran a repeat of Bones, averaged a 1.5/4 and 5.0 million for the night, followed by NBC (1.3/4, 2.9 million), which aired all reruns.
ABC’s summer reality hit Wipeout made a successful transition to winter. The debut last night of Winter Wipeout (3.7/11, 11.6 million) turned the lights on for ABC at 8 PM on Thursday in a big way, finishing No.1 in the hour in adults 18-49, tied with the slot leader CBS. Vs. the show’s most recent summer premiere, last night’s debut was up 19% in the demo. Unlike the idea to spin off reality hit Dancing with the Stars into Skating with the Stars, which was a ratings dud, the decision for a winter-themed edition of Wipeout is proving to be a great one that can solve ABC’s long-standing problem at 8 PM on Thursday. However, the real test for Winter Wipeout will come in 2 weeks when American Idol launches in the slot (along with NBC’s comedies, which are a smaller threat). Otherwise, scripted series continued the encouraging trend this week of returning higher than or even with their most recent originals. At 9 PM, Grey’s Anatomy (4.2/11) was up 5% from its last original on Dec. 2 but, even with the big Winter Wipeout lead-in, it couldn’t beat CBS’ Big Bang Theory for the top demo spot on Thursday. Private Practice (2.8/8) was flat with its Dec. 2 original. With the help of Wipeout, ABC (3.6/10, 10.3 million) won the night in 18-49 over CBS with its best Thursday numbers of the season.
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