slip a tad
NBC's winter Olympic coverage experience another slight slide in viewership last night, though it again easily captured a dominant win in households
and adults 18-49. The three-hour telecast scored a 9.9 adult 18-49 rating, down from a 10.4 on Tuesday night and 11.1 on Sunday and Monday nights. Fox had a 3.7, ABC a 3.1 and CBS a 2.5, based on preliminary Nielsen ratings. ABC and Fox saw pronounced declines in ratings for their regular Wednesday 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. lineups from last week, proving that an audience drain by NBC's Olympics is in effect. Fox dropped 14 percent from last week and ABC fell 22 percent from two weeks ago, the last time its lineup was broadcast in full. ABC's "My Wife and Kids" and "According to Jim" managed only a 3.8 adult 18-49 rating for second place, while Fox scraped together a 3.5 for "That '80s Show" and "Grounded for Life." At 9 p.m. Fox and ABC switched places, as "Bernie Mac" and "Titus" on Fox pulled in a 4.0, topping a 3.3 from ABC's "Drew Carey" and "The Job." CBS was in last place until 10 p.m. when the second hour of part two of its TV movie "Guilty Hearts" edged ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." The average household rating and share for Wednesday night were: NBC 16.9/27, CBS 7.2/11, ABC 5.6/9 and Fox 4.8/8. On Tuesday night, NBC's winter Olympics coverage continued its winning streak, though it slipped a bit, garnering its lowest rating thus far. NBC still easily won the night, as rival networks largely played dead. The peacock network drew a 10.4 adult 18-49 rating for the night, Fox had a 3.7, CBS a 2.6 and ABC a 2.3, based on preliminary Nielsen ratings. At 8 p.m. ABC 's "The Chair" and Fox's "That '70s Show" fell 32 and 26 percent, respectively, among adults 18-49 from last week. For the hour, NBC scored a 9.4 adult 18-49 rating, while Fox's "That '70s Show" and "Undeclared" followed with a 3.7. At 9 p.m. the adult 18-49 audience for the winter Olympiad swelled to an 11.2 for the hour, tripling the 3.7 from Fox's "24," which dropped 18 percent from last week. At 10 p.m. the Olympics hauled in a 10.6 among adults 18-49, more than doubling the viewership of the competition, combined. ABC and CBS never got out of the basement all night, as new episodes of "The Chair," "Whose Line Is It Anyway" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" on ABC did just slightly worse than repeats of "JAG," "The Guardian," and "Judging Amy" on CBS. Neither network was able to capture more than a 2.9 adult 18-49 rating all night. The average household rating and share for Tuesday night were: NBC 18.6/29, CBS 6.8/10, Fox 4.7/7 and ABC 4.2/6.
House passes finance reform, minus discounts
Proponents of campaign finance reform got their way yesterday in the House of Representatives, but not before sacrificing a provision that would have required broadcasters to offer deep discounts on commercial time to federal candidates. The concession was one of several the bill's backers made in order to keep moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats from fleeing their voting bloc. Their efforts resulted in a 240-189 vote in favor of the Shays-Meehan bill, which places limits on the amount of unregulated, or "soft," money political parties can accept from donors. Broadcasters lobbied furiously against the discounted ad time provision, and when an amendment removing the provision came up for a vote, it passed 327-101. House members also voted in favor of an amendment listing fund-raising limits on wealthy candidates whose opponents pay for their own campaigns.
Kidnapping suspect: WSJ's Pearl is dead
The prime suspect in the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl told a judge yesterday that he believed the Wall Street Journal reporter to be dead. Investigators say they don't know whether to believe Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, who as recently as two days ago reportedly said that Pearl was alive. Sheikh has provided police with a considerable amount of misinformation, leading them to conduct several unsuccessful raids last night in search of Pearl. He has even claimed, bizarrely, that he was arrested over a week ago; police say he was taken into custody on Tuesday. Pearl, the Journal's South Asia bureau chief, has been missing since Jan. 23, and Sheikh, who spent five years in an Indian jail for kidnapping Western tourists, is thought to have played a central part in the abduction. In an anti-terrorism court in Karachi, Pakistan, yesterday, Sheikh reportedly told a judge, "I don't want to fight this case. Whatever I have done, right or wrong, I have my reasons, and I confess. I just want to add something: As far as I understand, Daniel Pearl is dead."
Report: Us in talks with Glamour gal Fuller
Donít be surprised if Bonnie Fuller, former editor of Glamour and Cosmopolitan, turns up next in the editor's chair at Us Weekly. Following Terry McDonell's defection to Time Inc., where he'll head up Sports Illustrated, Fuller has been talking to Us owner Jann Wenner about coming onboard as a successor, according to a report in the New York Daily News. It could be a snug fit, given the magazine's mixture of celebrity, sex and style, all areas in which Fuller has established herself as something of an authority. One possible snag: Fuller, who was fired from Glamour after lobbying for the top job at Harper's Bazaar, is currently employed at Meredith, where she's overseeing the launch of a new shelter title called Living Room.
Turner apologies for whatever he said this time
Speaking at Brown University this week, media tycoon Ted Turner did what he does so well, shooting off his mouth and getting people all riled up. Among the things he said that people objected to was his characterization of the Sept. 11 hijackers as "brave" but "a little nuts." To underscore this point, Turner asked anyone who would be willing to be a suicide bomber for the U.S. to raise his or her hand. No one did. During his speech, Turner, who was expelled from Brown in 1960 for living in the dorms with his girlfriend, equated President Bush to Julius Caesar and lamented Al Gore's presidential defeat. The Bush administration tsk-tsked Turner's speech in a statement released yesterday by the White House. Turner replied with a written apology in which he claims his comments were "reported out of context" and that he "wholeheartedly supports the campaign to free the world from the threat of terrorism."
Fox puts 'Futurama' order on hold
Matt Groening may have made Fox over $1 billion from "The Simpsons," but gratitude only gets you so far in the TV business: The network has declined to order more episodes of the sci-fi cartoon series "Futurama." Fox insists the show has not been canceled, saying it may order more episodes in the future. Such a decision will probably rest on the performance of the rest of this season and 14 episodes next fall, which are already in the can. Rough Draft, the show's production company, fears the worst and has already let go of its animators. Online supporters of the animated comedy have already begun their petition drive and vow to keep hope alive, stressing that they constitute a loyal fan base willing to pay up for DVD editions of the show for years to come. Fueled by substantial media attention, including an appearance on the cover of Wired magazine, the show debuted to strong numbers in 1999 before being moved around the schedule to accommodate what Fox hoped would be an even bigger hit, "Family Guy." So far this season "Futurama" has only been able to draw 6.4 million viewers on average, half of what "The Simpsons" brings in.
February 14, 2002 © 2002 Media Life