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Late vote of confidence
for 'West Wing' 

Season finale sees a boost over last year's ender

By Abigail Azote

   It’s widely accepted that NBC’s “The West Wing” is a shadow of its former self, suffering from steep viewer decline these past two seasons. 
   And that remains so even after a revamp earlier this season that won praise from critics for improved storylines. The revamp did not revive ratings.
   Or so it seemed. Then came last week's finale. At the least it should build hopes for the show as it goes into its seventh and perhaps final season.
   “Wing” outdelivered last season’s finale after a season of decreased viewership.
   The Wednesday 9 p.m. episode averaged a 3.5 rating and 9 share in the adults 18-49 demo, up 13 percent from last season’s 3.1/7 finale.
   Yes, it landed the show in fourth place for the timeslot, behind the 3.6 average of “King of Queens” and “Yes, Dear,” “Alias’” 3.7, and the 7.4 average for “American Idol” and “Life on a Stick.” But it was also up several tenths of a point over “Wing’s” season average.
   The once top-flight show has suffered since creator Aaron Sorkin’s departure in 2003 after peaking at an average of 17 million viewers and winning more Emmys than anyone but the show’s producers cared to count. By 2004 it was averaging 11.8 million viewers, a 31 percent drop, and this season it slipped even further, averaging 11.1 million viewers.
   That slide could well be reversed next season with the revived storyline that closes out the administration of Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) to turn to the presidential race between two distinctly different characters, Democrat Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Republican Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda). This time, Republicans aren’t simply the bad guys, reflecting a shift in politics for the long left-leaning series.
   The challenge 'Wing" faces is that of bringing back viewers who drifted way. Will an election storyline with a Republican in serious contention be enough?
    In other ratings last week, CBS finished first among 18-49s with a 3.8 average, followed by Fox at 3.5, ABC at 3.3, NBC at 3.0, UPN at 1.2 and the WB at 1.2.
   Among households, CBS finished first with an 8.1/13 rating, followed by ABC with a 5.9/10, NBC with a 5.7/9, Fox with a 5.3/9, UPN with a 2.1/3, and the WB with 2.0/3.
   ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” became the first show in weeks to supplant Fox’s “American Idol” as the week’s top-rated show among 18-49s and total viewers.
   “Housewives” was first among 18-49s, followed by the Wednesday and Tuesday editions of “American Idol,” CBS’s NCAA title game and ABC newcomer “Grey’s Anatomy.”
   On Tuesday, “The Office” is not performing well, but it is doing better. The big-buzz show retained the full 18-49 lead-in from “Scrubs,” besting its 90 percent retention from the week before. The show averaged a 2.9 rating in among 18-49s, up seven percent from the previous week.

PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
Ranked on Households
Week Ending April 10

Network

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

CBS

8.1

8880

13

4.5

12420

12

3.8

4880

11

ABC

5.9

6510

10

3.2

9020

9

3.3

4320

9

NBC

5.7

6210

9

3.0

8340

8

3.0

3880

8

FOX

5.3

5800

9

3.0

8380

8

3.5

4560

10

UPN

2.1

2290

3

1.1

3060

3

1.2

1560

3

WB

2.0

2150

3

1.0

2910

3

1.2

1560

3

PAX

0.5

490

1

0.2

660

1

0.1

180

0

* Each rating point is equivalent to 1.096 million homes
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SEASON-TO-DATE PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
Ranked on Households
Week Ending April 10

Network

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

CBS

8.3

9120

13

4.6

12860

12

4.0

5220

11

NBC

6.6

7250

11

3.6

9950

9

3.6

4690

10

ABC

6.6

7240

11

3.7

10240

9

3.8

4930

10

FOX

6.1

6660

10

3.6

9940

9

4.0

5260

11

UPN

2.3

2490

4

1.2

3360

3

1.4

1770

4

WB

2.2

2440

3

1.2

3340

3

1.4

1780

4

PAX

0.4

470

1

0.2

620

1

0.1

180

0

* Each rating point is equivalent to 1.096 million homes
Source: Nielsen Media Research 

 

NETWORK TV
Ranked on Households
Week Ending April 10

#

PROGRAMS

Net

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+

Rtg%

Shr

(000)

#

Rtg%

(000)

1

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES

ABC

15.9

24

17409

1

9.2

25549

2

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHAMPSHIPS(S)

CBS

15.0

23

16441

4

8.6

23895

3

AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY

FOX

14.7

24

16136

2

8.8

24452

4

AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY

FOX

14.4

22

15818

3

8.7

24114

5

CSI

CBS

14.3

22

15676

5

8.1

22576

6

SURVIVOR: PALAU

CBS

11.8

19

12963

6

7.1

19752

7

GREY'S ANATOMY

ABC

11.7

19

12868

7

6.5

17989

8

LOST

ABC

10.6

17

11607

8

6.2

17123

9

60 MINUTES

CBS

10.3

17

11314

9

5.6

15688

9

WITHOUT A TRACE

CBS

10.3

17

11330

9

5.6

15462

11

PRELUDE TO A CHAMPIONSHIP(S)

CBS

9.9

16

10796

12

5.2

14569

12

HOUSE

FOX

9.6

15

10559

11

5.4

15036

13

APPRENTICE 3

NBC

9.1

14

9930

13

4.9

13727

14

LAW AND ORDER

NBC

7.9

13

8713

16

4.2

11653

15

COLD CASE

CBS

7.8

12

8509

16

4.2

11782

15

EXTREME MAKEOVER:HM ED-8P

ABC

7.8

13

8503

14

4.6

12663

17

AMAZING RACE: 7

CBS

7.6

12

8376

15

4.4

12280

17

WEST WING

NBC

7.6

11

8305

16

4.2

11624

19

LAW &ORDER:TRIAL BY JURY

NBC

7.5

13

8253

19

4.1

11383

20

JUDGING AMY

CBS

7.4

12

8158

22

3.8

10511

21

LAW AND ORDER:SVU

NBC

7.3

12

8005

22

3.8

10659

22

TWO AND A HALF MEN 830PM(S)

CBS

7.2

12

7897

22

3.8

10620

23

LAW AND ORDER:CRIM INTENT

NBC

7.1

11

7762

21

3.9

10938

24

CROSSING JORDAN

NBC

7.0

11

7642

22

3.8

10611

24

NCIS

CBS

7.0

11

7672

26

3.6

9970

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

TOP 25 PROGRAMS – BROADCAST
Adults 18-49
Week Ending April 10

Rank

Program

Net

Rtg%

(000)

1

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES

ABC

11.1

14435

2

AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY

FOX

10.2

13278

3

AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY

FOX

10.0

12924

4

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHAMPSHIPS(S)

CBS

8.7

11300

5

GREY'S ANATOMY

ABC

7.5

9725

6

CSI

CBS

7.3

9519

7

SURVIVOR: PALAU

CBS

7.0

9108

8

APPRENTICE 3

NBC

6.2

8054

9

LOST

ABC

6.0

7731

10

HOUSE

FOX

5.8

7580

11

AMAZING RACE: 7

CBS

5.1

6608

11

EXTREME MAKEOVER:HM ED-8P

ABC

5.1

6648

13

PRELUDE TO A CHAMPIONSHIP(S)

CBS

4.8

6181

14

WITHOUT A TRACE

CBS

4.7

6104

15

LIFE ON A STICK

FOX

4.6

5986

16

24

FOX

4.5

5896

17

E.R.

NBC

4.2

5469

18

LAW AND ORDER:SVU

NBC

4.1

5300

19

SUPERNANNY

ABC

4.0

5184

19

YES, DEAR

CBS

4.0

5136

21

ALIAS

ABC

3.7

4842

21

CROSSING JORDAN

NBC

3.7

4820

21

CSI: NY

CBS

3.7

4793

21

NBC MOVIE OF THE WEEK-MO(S)

NBC

3.7

4844

25

LAW AND ORDER

NBC

3.6

4662

25

LAW AND ORDER:CRIM INTENT

NBC

3.6

4710

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

CABLE TV
Ranked on Households
Week Ending April 10

BASIC CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households 

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg %

(000)

1

WWE ENTERTAINMENT (WWE RAW ZONE)

SPIKE

3980

3.6

5477

2

PRIME MOVIE(ODD GIRL OUT)

LIF

3914

3.6

5108

3

WWE ENTERTAINMENT (WWE RAW)

SPIKE

3570

3.3

4881

4

LAW & ORDER

TNT

3442

3.1

4043

5

LAW & ORDER

TNT

3354

3.1

4170

6

SUPERVOLCANO(S)-04/10/2005

DISC

3315

3.0

5143

7

LAW & ORDER

TNT

3225

2.9

3957

8

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3222

2.9

3996

9

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3113

2.8

3991

10

KIM POSSIBLE MOVIE

DSNY

3095

2.8

4441

11

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3091

2.8

3869

12

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

3066

2.8

3876

13

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2905

2.7

3703

14

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2744

2.5

3524

15

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2656

2.4

3309

PAY CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households 

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg %

(000)

1

DEADWOOD

HBO

1522

1.4

2163

2

WHOOPI: BACK TO BROADWAY

HBO

1308

1.2

1747

3

BREAKIN ALL THE RULES

HBO

1024

0.9

1433

4

VAN HELSING

STARZ

829

0.8

1370

5

FACE/OFF

HBO

814

0.7

1035

* Ratings based on 109.6 million U.S. TV homes. One ratings point represents 1.096 million homes.
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SYNDICATION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending April 3

#

 PROGRAMS

Syndicator

Households

US Rtg%

(000)

1

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

KIN

9.3

10245

2

JEOPARDY

KIN

7.7

8427

3

OPRAH WINFREY SHOW (AT)

KIN

7.3

8013

4

EVRY LVS RAYMOND-SYN (AT)

KIN

6.8

7464

5

SEINFELD-WKND (AT)

SPT

5.7

6281

6

SEINFELD (AT)

SPT

5.6

6169

7

FRIENDS (AT)

WB

5.2

5703

8

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT(AT)

PRM

5.1

5578

9

CSI-SYN (AT)

KIN

5.0

5530

10

DR. PHIL SHOW

KIN

4.9

5362

10

JUDGE JUDY (AT)

PRM

4.9

5338

12

EVBDY LVS RAYMOND-WKD-SYN

KIN

3.7

4073

12

CENTURY 19

2/T

3.7

4032

14

LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY

BV

3.6

3989

14

MILLIONAIRE (AT)

BV

3.6

3920

16

INSIDE EDITION

KIN

3.5

3802

17

JUDGE JOE BROWN (AT)

PRM

3.4

3750

18

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT WKD

PRM

3.3

3612

19

WHEEL OF FORTUNE WKND

KIN

3.1

3435

19

MALCOLM IN-MIDDLE SYN(AT)

2/T

3.1

3382

21

KING OF THE HILL-SYN(AT)

2/T

3.0

3290

21

THAT 70S SHOW-MF-SYN (AT)

2/T

3.0

3288

23

MAURY (AT)

NBU

2.9

3183

23

DIVORCE COURT (AT)

2/T

2.9

3171

23

COPS-SYN (AT)

2/T

2.9

3164

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SPANISH-LANGUAGE TELEVISION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending April 10

#

PROGRAMS

Net

NHTI

(000)

1

SELENA VIVE! 4/7(S)-04/07/2005

UNI

35.9

3913

2

SELENA NOCHE ESTRELLS 4/7(S)-04/07/2005

UNI

27.0

2945

3

MADRASTRA M-F

UNI

23.8

2597

4

APUESTA POR UN AMOR M-F

UNI

19.6

2145

5

DON FRANCISCO PRESENTA-WE

UNI

19.5

2129

6

CASOS VIDA R: ED. ESP TUE

UNI

18.8

2047

7

CRISTINA-MON

UNI

17.2

1880

8

INOCENTE DE TI M-F

UNI

16.5

1801

9

HOSPITAL EL PAISA FRI

UNI

16.2

1769

10

SELENA ACCESO TOTAL 4/10(S)-04/10/2005

UNI

14.3

1565

10

ESCUELITA FRI

UNI

14.3

1556

12

SABADO GIGANTE-SAT

UNI

14.0

1523

13

JAULA-SUN

UNI

12.3

1346

14

HORA PICO-SUN

UNI

12.1

1318

15

PARODIA-SUN

UNI

9.5

1041

16

ASI ES GILBERTO GLESS SAT

UNI

8.2

892

17

ANITA NO TE RAJES M-F

TEL

7.8

856

18

MUJER EN EL ESPEJO M-F

TEL

6.1

669

19

SELENA 10ANOS DESPUES 4/6(S)-04/06/2005

TEL

5.2

564

20

AMARTE ASI M-F

TEL

4.7

515

21

PLATEADOS M-F

TEL

4.5

488

22

FUTBOL LIGA MEXICAN SUN

TF

4.3

465

23

FUTBOL LIGA MEX WED

TF

4.2

453

24

CINEMUNDO PREMIER

TEL

4.1

442

25

SOLO BOXEO DE MILLER

TF

3.9

424

1

SELENA VIVE! 4/7(S)-04/07/2005

UNI

35.9

3913

* Nielsen Hispanic Television Index; ratings based on 9.7 million Hispanic TV homes.
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

NETWORK SPORTS
Ranked on Households
Week Ending
April 3

#

PROGRAMS

Net

Episode

Households

Persons 2+

US Rtg%

Shr

(000)

(000)

1

NCAA BSKBL 
CHAMP SA-2
(S)-4/2

CBS

UNC VS
 MICH ST

10.9

19

11937

17548

2

NCAA BSKBL
CHAMP-SA-1
(S)-4/2

CBS

ILL VS
LOVILLE

10.0

20

10961

15657

3

FOX NASCAR
 NEXTEL CUP

FOX

LIVE FROM
BRISTOL

6.3

16

6907

9750

4

WWE
SMACKDOWN!

UPN

3.6

6

3956

5506

5

BELLSOUTH
CLASSIC
GOLF-SU(S)-4/3

NBC

2.4

6

2616

3474

6

PLAYERS CHAMP
-MON(S)-3/28/

NBC

FINAL
ROUND

2.2

6

2380

2885

7

BELLSOUTH
CLASSIC GOLF-SA(S)-4/2

NBC

2.2

5

2456

3271

8

NBA ON ABC
SUN 2

ABC

DALLS AT
CVLND/
MINN AT
SCRMNTO

2.1

5

2344

2846

9

NBA ON ABC
SUN 1

ABC

PHILA. AT
BOSTON

1.8

5

1998

2335

10

FLA.
 DERBY(S)-4/2

ABC

1.7

4

1850

2249

11

CBS SPORTS
SPECT.-SA

CBS

NASDAQ 100
OPEN
TENNIS-WMN
FNL


1.5

4

1631

2014

12

CBS SPORTS
SPECT.-SU

CBS

NASDAQ 100
OPEN
TENNIS-MEN
FNL

1.5

4

1594

1955

13

NBC ARENA
FOOTBALL

NBC

LA AT
ORLANDO/
PHIL AT COLUMBUS

0.7

2

785

1012

14

PURINA INCR
 DOG CHAL
3/31(S

PAX

0.4

1

490

629

15

REAL PRO
WRESTLING

PAX

0.1

0

118

140

Source: Nielsen Media Research

  


April 13, 2005 © 2005 Media Life


- Abigail Azote is a staff writer for Media Life.


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