Big duke-out
for top network


Is this summer? CBS, NBC and Fox in 18-49 race.

By Kevin Downey


    This surely isn’t the summer of “Survivor” or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” when one show dominated the off-season ratings.
  Just the same it is turning into one of the more competitive off-seasons in recent memory, with three of the Big Four networks battling it out for adults 18-49 on the strength of a growing number of successful reality shows.
   NBC was back on top last week with a 2.9 adult 18-49 rating. But CBS and Fox were close behind in a tie with a 2.5 rating, while ABC trailed with a 2.2. UPN and the WB tied with a 1.1 rating.
   NBC had a big advantage over Fox, which beat its main competitor twice so far this summer, due to its still-strong Thursday lineup.
   All of NBC’s Thursday sitcoms were among the week’s highest-rated, with “Friends” ranking in the top 10, while shows like “Will & Grace” and “Scrubs” ranked in the top 20.
  Those shows added to the high ratings for NBC’s reality shows “Meet My Folks,” “Dog Eat Dog,” and “Fear Factor,” all of which made the top 10.
   “Meet My Folks,” in fact, tied Fox’s more heavily hyped “American Idol” as the week’s top-rated show with a 5.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic.
    Moreover, the show beat “Idol” in the younger 18-34 demographic and in total viewers as well as household ratings.
  Although NBC’s lineup was strong enough to give it a half-point lead over its competitors, each of the Big Four networks had something to crow about last week.
   Two episodes of Fox’s “Idol” were among the week’s highest-rated shows, for example, but it also had sitcom reruns that did well.
   “The Simpsons” and “Malcolm in the Middle” had particularly strong performances, which balanced out weak shows like “The X-Files.” The canceled drama tied as the lowest-rated show among those of the Big Four networks.
   Fox is also burning off episodes of the canceled “Greg the Bunny.” The show tied for No. 87.
   While Fox had some duds last week, each network had its share of low-rated shows.
   NBC, for example, has what seems certain to become a short-run series in “She Spies.” The show tied with “X-Files” and CBS’s “The District” at No. 92 and had a 1.3 rating that was 24 percent lower than its premiere week rating.
   Meanwhile, CBS has become competitive in the 18-49 demographic thanks to “Big Brother 3.” Although the program has never been a monster hit, its ratings continue to prove that the network was wise to hold onto the reality show despite a heap of poor reviews and modest ratings for its original installment.
   Two episodes of the show ranked among last week’s top 10. The Wednesday episode ranked No. 5, while the Thursday episode ranked No. 10 and slightly edged past the average for NBC’s “Friends” and “Scrubs” in head-to-head competition.
   ABC continues to struggle in all demographics but at least has a couple of moderately rated hits on its hands.
   The reality shows “The Mole 2” and “Houston Medical” both made the top 20.
   The WB also had a decent week after slumping for months behind its rival UPN.
    The network’s rating in the adult 18-49 demographic was up 22 percent from the previous week. The WB benefited most from its Wednesday movie “Austin Powers,” which preceded by one day the release of “Austin Powers in Goldmember,” this past weekend’s highest-grossing movie.
    CBS ranked No. 1 in households with a 5.5 rating and 10 share. NBC had a 5.3/10, ABC had a 3.9/7, Fox had a 3.5/6, while UPN and the WB tied with a 1.8/3.

 

PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
Ranked on Households
Week Ending July 28


 

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Network

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

CBS

5.5

5760

10

2.9

7950

9

2.5

3150

8

NBC

5.3

5550

10

2.9

7820

9

2.9

3730

9

ABC

3.9

4150

7

2.2

6030

7

2.2

2830

7

FOX

3.5

3660

6

2.1

5550

6

2.5

3180

8

WB

1.8

1860

3

1.0

2690

3

1.1

1460

4

UPN

1.8

1850

3

1.0

2640

3

1.1

1380

4

PAX

0.9

920

2

0.4

1210

1

0.3

360

1

Source: Nielsen Media Research


 

SEASON-TO-DATE*
PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
Ranked on Households
Sept. 24, 2001 through July 28, 2002


Net

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

NBC

8.1

8580

14

4.6

12360

12

4.8

6120

13

CBS

7.6

8020

13

4.2

11410

11

3.5

4500

10

ABC

5.8

6140

10

3.3

8880

9

3.3

4150

9

FOX

5.3

5570

9

3.1

8490

8

3.7

4720

10

UPN

2.5

2630

4

1.5

3970

4

1.7

2160

5

WB

2.3

2420

4

1.3

3480

3

1.5

1880

4

PAX

0.9

920

1

0.5

1240

1

0.3

400

1

* Regular broadcast season ended May 22
Source: Nielsen Media Research


 

NETWORK TV
Ranked on Households
Week Ending July 28


#

PROGRAMS

Net

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+

Rtg%

Shr

(000)

RANK

Rtg%

(000)

1

CSI

CBS

9.5

17

9990

1

5.3

14182

2

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

CBS

8.7

14

9144

2

4.9

13280

3

48 HOURS-MONDAY

CBS

7.7

13

8073

7

4

10766

3

LAW AND ORDER

NBC

7.7

14

8111

5

4.1

11061

5

BECKER

CBS

7.6

13

8070

3

4.2

11412

6

LAW AND ORDER:CRIM INTENT

NBC

7.0

12

7334

9

3.8

10166

7

MEET MY FOLKS 7/22(S)

NBC

6.8

12

7149

5

4.1

10955

7

PRIMETIME THURSDAY

ABC

6.8

12

7171

13

3.5

9518

9

DATELINE SUN-8PM SPL(S)

NBC

6.7

12

7084

11

3.7

9947

9

DOG EAT DOG

NBC

6.7

11

7099

3

4.2

11298

11

AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY

FOX

6.6

11

7005

7

4

10771

11

BIG BROTHER 3-WED

CBS

6.6

11

6938

9

3.8

10208

11

LAW AND ORDER:SVU

NBC

6.6

12

6927

13

3.5

9449

14

60 MINUTES II

CBS

6.4

12

6795

16

3.4

9057

14

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

NBC

6.4

11

6782

13

3.5

9509

16

48 HOURS-WED

CBS

6.3

11

6606

20

3.2

8620

17

DATELINE NBC-TUE

NBC

6.0

11

6372

20

3.2

8536

18

60 MINUTES

CBS

5.9

12

6227

23

3.1

8235

18

FEAR FACTOR

NBC

5.9

11

6269

12

3.6

9727

18

FRIENDS

NBC

5.9

12

6264

19

3.3

8847

18

JAG

CBS

5.9

11

6195

20

3.2

8687

22

AGENCY, THE

CBS

5.8

10

6085

23

3.1

8436

22

BIG BROTHER 3-THU

CBS

5.8

11

6141

16

3.4

9041

24

AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY

FOX

5.7

10

6019

16

3.4

9129

25

JUDGING AMY

CBS

5.5

10

5764

28

2.9

7764

Source: Nielsen Media Research


 

CABLE TV
Ranked on Households
Week Ending July 21


BASIC CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg%

(000)

1

NEW ENGLAND 300

TNT

3921

3.7

6181

2

WWE ENTERTAINMENT
 (WWE RAW ZONE)

TNN

3441

3.3

5620

3

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3090

2.9

4448

4

WWE ENTERTAINMENT
 (WWE RAW)

TNN

3064

2.9

5031

5

PRIME MOVIE
"CROSSING THE LINE"

LIF

3003

2.8

4064

6

TOY STORY 2

DSNY

2879

2.7

4706

7

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2873

2.7

4063

8

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2849

2.7

4452

9

DEAD ZONE, THE

USA

2835

2.7

4776

10

HEY ARNOLD

NICK

2790

2.6

4048

11

TOY STORY 2

DSNY

2788

2.6

4770

12

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2755

2.6

4262

13

SUNDAY MOVIE I
 (NIGHTMARE STREET)

LIF

2678

2.5

3298

14

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2654

2.5

3734

15

MONK

USA

2616

2.5

4061

PAY CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg%

(000)

1

SEX AND THE CITY(S)-721

HBO

5070

4.8

7927

2

ARLISS(S)-721

HBO

3178

3.0

5010

3

WCB: FORREST VS. MOSLEY

HBO

2765

2.6

3862

4

WCB: FORREST VS. MOSLEY

HBO

2570

2.4

3624

5

WIRE, THE

HBO

2527

2.4

4124

Total U.S. ratings and household projections are based on 105.5 million TV homes.
Source: Nielsen Media Research


 

SYNDICATION 
Ranked on Households
Week Ending July 14


#

PROGRAMS

Synd.

Households

US Rtg%

(000)

1

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

KIN

7.7

8114

2

JEOPARDY

KIN

6.7

7056

3

FRIENDS-SYN (AT)

WB

6.3

6611

4

OPRAH WINFREY SHOW (AT)

KIN

5.2

5503

4

SEINFELD (AT)

CTS

5.2

5491

6

EVRY LVS RAYMOND-SYN (AT)

KIN

5.1

5390

7

JUDGE JUDY (AT)

PRM

5.0

5269

8

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT(AT)

PRM

4.9

5191

9

SEINFELD-WKND (AT)

CTS

4.8

5041

10

WHEEL OF FORTUNE WKND

KIN

3.5

3741

Source: Nielsen Media Research


 

SPANISH-LANGUAGE TELEVISION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending July 28


#

PROGRAMS

Net

NHTI*
Rtg%

Projection
(000)

1

SALOME MON

UNI

24.8

2532

2

PRIVILEGIO DE AMAR-WED

UNI

24.4

2492

3

SALOME TUE

UNI

24.0

2449

4

PRIVILEGIO DE AMAR-MON

UNI

23.8

2424

5

PRIVILEGIO DE AMAR-THU

UNI

23.7

2416

6

SALOME THU

UNI

23.3

2381

7

PRIVILEGIO DE AMAR-FRI

UNI

23.0

2350

7

PRIVILEGIO DE AMAR-TUE

UNI

23.0

2345

9

SALOME WED

UNI

22.9

2335

10

SALOME FRI

UNI

22.5

2295

11

JUEGO DE LA VIDA-THU

UNI

19.3

1966

12

JUEGO DE LA VIDA-TUE

UNI

18.8

1915

13

JUEGO DE LA VIDA-WED

UNI

18.5

1887

14

JUEGO DE LA VIDA-MON

UNI

18.3

1868

15

CASOS VIDA R: ED. ESP FRI

UNI

17.7

1806

15

DON FRANCISCO PRESENTA-WE

UNI

17.7

1805

17

CRISTINA-MON

UNI

17.2

1758

18

AQUI Y AHORA-TUE

UNI

15.6

1596

19

PICA Y SE EXTIENDE THU

UNI

15.5

1576

20

JUEGO DE LA VIDA-FRI

UNI

14.5

1479

* Nielsen Hispanic Television Index; ratings based on 10.2 million Hispanic TV homes.
Source: Nielsen Media Research


 

NETWORK SPORTS
Ranked on Households
Week Ending July 21


#

PROGRAMS

Net

Episode

Households

Persons 2+

US Rtg%

Shr

(000)

(000)

1

BRITISH OPEN
7/21(S)-7/21

ABC

4.5

15

4771

6151

2

BRITISH OPEN
7/20(S)-7/20

ABC

3.9

13

4122

5286

3

FOX SATURDAY
 BASEBALL

FOX

VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES

3.7

11

3878

4910

4

WWE SMACKDOWN!

UPN

3.4

6

3573

5509

5

MICHAEL DOUGLAS & FRIENDS(S)-7/21

ABC

2.2

6

2292

3004

6

BRIT. OPEN HIGHLIGHTS
SUN(S)-7/21

ABC

1.8

5

1937

2295

7

INSIDE ROPES
-BRITISH OPEN
(S)-7/20

ABC

1.7

5

1787

2154

8

BRIT. OPEN HIGHLIGHTS
THU(S)-7/18

ABC

1.6

5

1654

2144

9

BRIT. OPEN 
HIGHLIGHTS
-FRI (S)-7/19

ABC

1.6

5

1695

2171

10

GREAT OUTDOOR GAMES(S)
7/20

ABC

1.5

5

1607

1966

11

BRIT. OPEN|
HIGHLIGHTS
AT(S)-7/20

ABC

1.4

4

1473

1652

12

CBS SPORTS SPCTCLR-SU

CBS

TOUR 
DE FRANCE

1.2

3

1312

1806

13

AMERITECH
 SENIOR OPEN-SUN
(S)-7/21

CBS

SBC
 SENIOR OPEN

1.0

2

1007

1255

14

THIS WEEK 
IN BASEBALL

FOX

1.0

3

1095

1266

15

AMERICAN LEMANS SERIES(S)-7/21

NBC

NAT'L GRAND PRIX
WASH. DC

1.0

3

1007

1283

16

CELEBRITY 
GOLF CHAMP
SUN(S)-7/21

NBC

1.0

3

1056

1380

17

NBA 
INSIDE STUFF

NBC

0.9

3

991

1196

18

AMERITECH 
SENIOR OPEN
SAT(S)-7/20

CBS

SBC SENIOR OPEN

0.8

2

810

1021

19

CELEBRITY GOLF CHAMP
SAT(S)-7/20

NBC

0.8

2

836

977

20

CBS AUTO  RACING
-TRANS-AM
(S)-7/20

CBS

TRANS-AM: CAPITAL 100

0.6

2

643

790

21

WNBA-SAT

NBC

LA v.
 CLVLND

0.6

2

607

771

22

TOPSPIN:USTA KID'S SHOW

CBS

0.5

2

547

683

23

WUSA WOMENS SOCCER

PAX

CAR. AT PHILA.

0.2

0

168

272

Source: Nielsen Media Research


July 31, 2002© 2002 Media Life


-Kevin Downey is a staff writer for Media Life.


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