fails to eat
NBC's lead in 18-49s
Real Thursday night damage is to ABC's lineupBy Kevin Downey
"Survivor: The Australian Outback" helped push CBS to a No. 1 tie with NBC in last week’s household ratings but has so far failed to boost the network much in the important adult 18-49 demographic.
CBS ranked No. 4 in the demo last week and, despite strong ratings by the reality show and last month’s "Super Bowl XXXV," is still in last place for the season.
While the network has improved its adult 18-49 rating by 2.6 percent to a 3.9, it has done little damage to NBC, which maintains its lead with a 5.0.
The Peacock network, which has long dominated the 18-49 ratings, was the intended target of CBS’s "Survivor II" counter-programming strategy.
Rather than knock down NBC’s "must-see" Thursday block, it seems "Survivor II" mostly served to bring new viewers to the night and hurt ABC’s "Whose Line," which was down 37 percent.
All of NBC’s sitcoms, including "Friends" and "Will & Grace," improved their 18-49 ratings over the previous two weeks and just about matched numbers from last month.
In fact, in head-to-head competition, "Survivor II" had an 11.9 rating and was the No. 2 show for the week. "Friends" had an 11.0 compared to an 11.6 four weeks ago.
Following "Survivor II," CBS’s "CSI," which moved from Friday night to Thursday, improved its adult 18-49 by 78 percent.
But the hour-long drama still ranked well behind NBC’s block of "Will & Grace" and "Just Shoot Me." The two shows averaged a 10.5 rating in the demo to "CSI’s" 8.2.
And later in the night "ER" managed to score the highest rating for the week against light competition.
The Saturday night premiere of Vince McMahon’s Xtreme Football League on NBC also helped the network hold onto its adult 18-49 lead. Although critically panned as being a tad on the boring side, the XFL had a 7.2 rating and tied with ABC’s "The Practice" and Fox’s "That '70s Show" at No. 13.
Overall for the week, NBC had a 5.7 adult 18-49 rating to Fox’s 5.1, ABC’s 4.3, and CBS’s 4.2. The WB had a 1.7 and UPN had a 1.5.
For the season so far, NBC has a 5.0 rating, which is down from the 5.2 it had last year at this time. ABC has a 4.7, down from 5.5, when it was the No. 1 ranked network in the demo. "Millionaire" was in the first weeks of its run as a regularly scheduled show at that time.
Fox has a 4.5 adult 18-49 rating for the season, which is up 4.7 percent. The network’s "Temptation Island" continues to pull in strong ratings, especially among the adult 18-49 demo.
The show ranked No. 5 with a 10.1 rating last week, which was up 15 percent from the previous week.
CBS has a 3.9.
If "Survivor II’s" ratings improve as the show progresses, as the original did last summer, the network should better its standing in the demo, which many advertisers specifically target.
But the network has already had a boost in household ratings.
In fact, CBS had a 9.2 household rating and 15 share last week, as did NBC, and is now closer to ABC for the lead for the season with an 8.5/14 to ABC’s 8.7/14.
The network, however, is down 4.5 percent compared to last year.
ABC, meanwhile, had a 7.9/13 last week with "The Practice" being the only show outside four episodes of "Millionaire" to make it in the top-25.
Fox had a 6.3/10 and The WB had a 2.6/4, fueled in part by the success of its new reality show, "Popstars," which is now its fourth most popular show. UPN had a 2.4/4.
CBS was also helped greatly by "Survivor II" in the February sweeps, one of four month-long periods when the network’s local affiliates determine advertising rates.
Only four days into the sweeps, CBS is up 34 percent to a 4.3 adult 18-49 rating.
NBC, however, is in the lead with a 6.6 rating, which is a 6 percent improvement over last February’s sweeps.
Fox is up 9 percent to a 4.7 while ABC has fallen 34 percent to a 3.8 and is in last place among the major networks.
The WB is up 29 percent so far this sweeps to a 1.8 adult 18-49 rating and UPN has a 1.7, which is down 15 percent.
-Kevin Downey is a staff writer for Media Life.
© 2001 Media Life