CBS's 'Baby Bob'


Fox's 'Andy Richter Controls the Universe'


NBC's 'Leap of Faith'

 

Puzzling success
of CBS's 'Baby Bob'


Ignoring critics, viewers rally behind fill-in sitcom

By Mike Jasik

   
Critical success does not always translate into popularity. Just look at Fox's "24."
    But neither does condemnation by critics spell certain death, as CBS's "Baby Bob" is proving.
    Though roundly panned by critics, the show about a talking baby appears to be on its way to becoming a solid hit after only two airings.
    Its premiere, on March 18, exceeded all expectations by building on the audience of solid lead-in "King of Queens" to capture a 5.2 adult 18-49 rating, putting it ahead of "King of Queens," which managed only a 5.0 in the demo, and putting it in 15th place for the week.
    Then on Monday night "Baby Bob" kept nearly all of its audience from the previous week, earning a 5.1 in adults 18-49.
    Just why the show is proving so popular defies explanation.
    Media Life TV reviewer Ethan Alter, echoing a number of TV critics, named "Baby Bob" the worst show of the midseason, after the canceled WB teen series "As If," calling it "a bad idea made worse by lousy execution."
    The sitcom, which takes its cue from a series of commercials featuring a talking baby, follows a six-month old tot with the gift of adult gab and parents determined to keep his gift a secret from the world.
    The idea is hardly new.
    There was the "Look Who's Talking" trio of films of the late 80s and early 90s featuring babies whose thoughts could be heard, which in turn inspired "Baby Talk," a 1991 ABC midseason sitcom featuring the voice of Tony Danza and also starring Scott Baio and George Clooney.
    Among other midseason starters, the only other show pulling decent numbers is NBC's "Leap of Faith."
    The show has kept more of its "Friends" lead-in than many of its predecessors, averaging a 20-22 percent drop, comparable to the declines CBS's "Becker" experiences following "Everybody Loves Raymond."
    But both Fox's "American Embassy" and NBC's "Colin Quinn Show" look like their days are numbered.
    Created as a possible replacement for the shaky "Ally McBeal," "American Embassy" tied for 40th in adults 18-49 for the week ended March 24, garnering only a 3.5 in the demo.
    In its airing this Monday, following a repeat of "Boston Public," the London-based series dropped significantly, averaging a 2.5 among adults 18-49, based on preliminary Nielsen ratings.
    NBC's "Colin Quinn Show" performed slightly better in its second try last week, drawing a 3.7 in the demo, but it did so with a huge lead-in from "Fear Factor." 
    But on Monday, following "Just Shoot Me," the show fell to 2.8 adult 18-49 rating.
    Also at risk of being sent to the scrap heap is NBC's midseason Julia-Louis Dreyfus comedy "Watching Ellie" whose 3.6 adult 18-49 rating last week represents a 50 percent drop from its debut three weeks earlier.
    Officially, NBC is saying it's still behind the show but all indications are that it's merely face-saving talk after the huge buildup the network gave the show during the Olympics.
    The other day the network revealed that it is pulling the show off the air after the next two episodes and that it will hold the last two for airing next season.
    Still in the category of wait-and-see, with just its debut to go by, is Fox's "Andy Richter Controls the Universe," which last week posted a strong 4.9 adult 18-49 rating for an easy win in its Tuesday 8:30 p.m. slot.
    Though ABC's Academy Awards special on Sunday was the lowest-rated Oscars telecast ever, it nonetheless did well enough to give the network a rare win in both households and adults 18-49 for the week.
    ABC posted a 4.5 adult 18-49 rating, CBS and NBC a 4.2 and Fox a 3.6. UPN drew a 1.6 and the WB a 1.4.
    ABC took households for the week with a 8.5/14 rating and share. CBS had a 7.6/13, NBC a 7.2/12, Fox a 5.1/8, UPN a 2.4/4 and the WB a 2.2/4.



PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
RANKED ON HOUSEHOLDS
Week Ending March 24, 2002


 

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+ ADULTS 18-49

Net

Rtg
%

(000)

SHR

Rtg
%

(000)

SHR

Rtg
%

(000)

SHR

ABC 8.5 8960 14 4.8 12950 13 4.5 5770 12
CBS 7.6 8010 13 4.4 11740 12 4.2 5290 11
NBC 7.2 7620 12 3.9 10590 10 4.2 5400 11
FOX 5.1 5420 8 3.1 8230 8 3.6 4640 10
UPN 2.4 2490 4 1.4 3810 4 1.6 2030 4
WB 2.2 2370 4 1.2 3320 3 1.4 1770 4
PAX 1.0 1020 2 0.5 1390 1 0.4 450 1
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SEASON-TO-DATE
 PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
RANKED ON HOUSEHOLDS
Sept. 24, 2001 through March 24, 2002


 

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+

ADULTS 18-49

Net

Rtg
%

(000)

SHR

Rtg
%

(000)

SHR

Rtg
%

(000)

SHR

NBC 9.0 9530 15 5.1 13830 13 5.3 6800 14
CBS 8.1 8570 13 4.5 12280 12 3.9 4970 10
ABC 6.5 6900 11 3.7 10020 10 3.7 4730 10
FOX 6.0 6350 10 3.6 9750 9 4.2 5360 11
UPN 2.7 2900 4 1.6 4440 4 1.9 2430 5
WB 2.5 2590 4 1.4 3760 3 1.6 2030 4
PAX 0.9 970 1 0.5 1310 1 0.3 440 1
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

NETWORK TV
RANKED ON ADULTS 18-49
Week Ending March 24, 2002


 

 

 

ADULTS 18-49

#

PROGRAMS

Net

Rtg%

Shr

(000)

1 ACADEMY AWARDS ABC 16.1 39 20450
2 ON RED CARPET: OSCARS ABC 9.9 26 12540
3 FRIENDS NBC 9.7 27 12300
4 SURVIVOR: MARQUESAS CBS 9.5 26 12140
5 LEAP OF FAITH NBC 7.5 19 9500
5 WILL & GRACE NBC 7.5 19 9520
7 EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND CBS 7.3 17 9280
8 JUST SHOOT ME NBC 7.1 17 9090
9 FEAR FACTOR NBC 7.0 18 8950
10 ER NBC 6.6 18 8430
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

NETWORK TV
RANKED ON HOUSEHOLDS
Week Ending March 24, 2002


 

 

 

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+

#

PROGRAMS

Net

Rtg%

Shr

(000)

#

Rtg%

(000)

1 ACADEMY AWARDS ABC 25.4 42 26832 1 15.5 41782
2 ON RED CARPET: OSCARS 2002 ABC 17.1 28 17999 2 9.6 25951
3 EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND CBS 13.4 20 14186 4 7.9 21237
4 FRIENDS NBC 13.0 21 13707 5 7.4 20045
5 SURVIVOR: MARQUESAS- WED 2 CBS 12.6 20 13251 3 8.4 22805
6 BARBARA WALTERS SP ABC 11.8 20 12478 7 6.3 16978
7 BECKER CBS 11.5 18 12127 6 6.7 17982
8 LAW AND ORDER NBC 11.1 20 11721 8 6.0 16164
9 LEAP OF FAITH NBC 10.0 16 10599 11 5.6 15196
10 E.R. NBC 9.9 17 10471 14 5.2 13918
11 BABY BOB CBS 9.7 15 10207 9 5.8 15618
11 WILL & GRACE NBC 9.7 15 10282 12 5.5 14750
13 LAW AND ORDER:SVU NBC 9.5 17 9996 17 5.0 13451
14 WEST WING NBC 9.4 15 9955 15 5.1 13815
15 JUST SHOOT ME NBC 9.3 15 9801 15 5.1 13869
16 KING OF QUEENS CBS 9.2 14 9654 13 5.3 14234
17 FEAR FACTOR NBC 8.9 14 9419 10 5.7 15257
18 DATELINE FRI NBC 8.7 15 9181 21 4.5 12061
19 CROSSING JORDAN NBC 8.4 14 8886 19 4.6 12344
20 NYPD BLUE ABC 8.3 13 8782 19 4.6 12335
21 60 MINUTES CBS 8.2 13 8675 21 4.5 12123
22 FRASIER NBC 8.1 13 8577 25 4.2 11454
23 AMAZING RACE: 2 CBS 7.8 12 8232 18 4.9 13294
23 CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP FR 2 CBS 7.8 15 8213 21 4.5 12243
23 CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP TH 1 CBS 7.8 13 8274 24 4.4 11972
23 DATELINE NBC-TUE NBC 7.8 13 8185 30 3.9 10417
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

CABLE TV
RANKED ON HOUSEHOLDS
Week Ending March 17, 2002


BASIC CABLE
     

House-
holds

House- holds

Persons 2+

#

PROGRAM NAME

Net

(000)

Rtg %  (000)
1 WWF ENTERTAINMENT (RAW ZONE) TNN 4056 3.8 6300
2 WWF ENTERTAINMENT (RAW) TNN 3552 3.4 5842
3 SUNDAY MOVIE I (MURDER AT 75 BIRCH) LIF 3519 3.3 4603
4 MOVIE, USA (BIG DADDY) USA 3457 3.3 5819
5 PRIME MOVIE (HER BEST FRIENDS HUSBAND) LIF 3167 3.0 4347
6 THE SHIELD FX 3116 3.0 4827
7 SPONGEBOB NICK 3089 2.9 4847
8 SPONGEBOB NICK 3060 2.9 4619
9 SPONGEBOB NICK 2915 2.8 4781
10 REAL WORLD XI MTV 2851 2.7 3838
11 SUNDAY MOVIE II (HER BEST FRIENDS HUSBAND) LIF 2763 2.6 3585
12 OSBOURNES MTV 2689 2.5 3561
13 MOVIE, USA (WATERBOY, THE) USA 2661 2.5 4102
14 MOVIE, USA (BIG DADDY) USA 2650 2.5 4034
15 SPONGEBOB NICK 2641 2.5 4401

PAY CABLE 

     

House-
holds

House- holds

Persons 2+

#

PROGRAM NAME

Net

(000)

Rtg %

(000)

1 SIX FEET UNDER HBO 3695 3.5 5678
2 EXIT WOUNDS HBO 3095 2.9 4656
3 SOPRANOS, THE HBO 2522 2.4 3900
4 EXECUTION OF WANDA (AU) HBO 2003 1.9 2685
5 SIX FEET UNDER HBO 1914 1.8 2710
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 March 10, 2002


 

   

Households

Households

#

PROGRAM NAME

Syndicator

Rtg % (000)
1 WHEEL OF FORTUNE KIN 10.1 10666
2 JEOPARDY KIN 8.5 8947
3 FRIENDS-SYN (AT) WB 7.4 7761
4 SEINFELD (AT) CTS 6.7 7085
5 ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT(AT) PRM 6.1 6412
6 JUDGE JUDY (AT) PRM 6.0 6328
7 EVRY LVS RAYMOND-SYN (AT) KIN 5.8 6141
8 OPRAH WINFREY SHOW (AT) KIN 5.5 5760
9 SEINFELD-WKND (AT) CTS 5.2 5460
10 ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT WKD PRM 4.4 4626
10 BUENA VISTA III BV 4.4 4608
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SPANISH-LANGUAGE TELEVISION
RANKED ON HOUSEHOLDS
Week Ending March 24, 2002


#

PROGRAMS

Net

NHTI*
Rtg%

Projection
(000)

1 AMIGAS Y RIVALES-THU UNV 26.2 2676
2 AMIGAS Y RIVALES-TUE UNV 25.8 2635
3 AMIGAS Y RIVALES-MON UNV 25.3 2581
4 AMIGAS Y RIVALES-WED UNV 24.8 2531
5 AMIGAS Y RIVALES-FRI UNV 22.9 2333
6 SALOME THU UNV 22.5 2292
7 INTRUSA MON UNV 22.2 2265
8 SALOME WED UNV 21.5 2196
9 SALOME MON UNV 21.1 2148
10 SALOME TUE UNV 20.9 2133
11 INTRUSA TUE UNV 20.7 2110
12 SALOME FRI UNV 20.2 2061
13 INTRUSA THU UNV 19.8 2019
14 INTRUSA WED UNV 18.9 1930
15 INTRUSA FRI UNV 18.4 1880
16 NOT UNI PRESENTA 3/19(S)-03/19/2002 UNV 17.5 1790
17 CRISTINA-MON UNV 17.1 1745
18 DON FRANCISCO PRESENTA-WE UNV 16.2 1657
19 METICHES-FRI UNV 15.9 1626
20 SABADO GIGANTE-SAT UNV 15.8 1616

SPANISH LANGUAGE CABLE NETWORKS

#

PROGRAMS

Net

NHTI
Rating

Projection
(000)

1 EN LA JUGADA GALA 0.8 78
2 LO MEJOR DE FUTBOL MEXICA GALA 0.6 65
3 FUTBOL AFONDO GALA 0.5 50
3 VIDEO MIX: BRIEF GALA 0.5 49
3 BOXEO: EN ESTA ESQUINA GALA 0.5 47
3 FURCIO GALA 0.5 47
* Nielsen Hispanic Television Index
NHTI ratings and projections are based on 10.2 million Hispanic TV homes in the U.S.
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

NETWORK SPORTS
RANKED ON HOUSEHOLDS
Week Ending March 17, 2002


 

     

House-
holds

House-
holds

House-
holds

Persons 2+

#

Net

PROGRAMS

Episode

US Rtg%

Shr

(000)

(000)

1 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP-SU-3(S)-03/17/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 7.2 15 7577 10443
2 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHP-EVETH1(S)-03/14/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 6.8 11 7187 10143
3 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP-SA-3(S)-03/16/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 6.5 15 6806 9395
4 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP-SU-2(S)-03/17/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 6.3 14 6653 9264
5 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP-SA-1(S)-03/16/2002 DUKE VS NOTRE DAME 6.2 17 6493 8443
6 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP-SA-2(S)-03/16/2002 MO VS OH ST/ALA VS KENT ST 6.0 16 6338 8394
7 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP-SA-4(S)-03/16/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 5.9 11 6276 9507
8 FOX FOX NASCAR WINSTON CUP CAROLINA DODGE DLRS 400-DARLIN 5.8 14 6149 9563
9 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL-SU-2-3/17(S)-03/17/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 5.6 12 5931 7841
10 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHP-EVEFR1(S)-03/15/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 5.4 10 5678 7782
11 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP-SU-1(S)-03/17/2002 CINCINNATI VS UCLA 5.2 13 5450 7194
11 NBC BAY HILL INVIT-GOLF SUN(S)-03/17/2002 5.2 11 5483 7160
13 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHP-EVEFR2(S)-03/15/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 5.1 10 5427 7588
14 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHP-EVETH2(S)-03/14/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 5.0 11 5241 6924
15 UPN WWF SMACK-
DOWN!
4.0 6 4244 6791
16 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHP-DAYFR2(S)-03/15/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 3.8 12 4016 4680
17 NBC BAY HILL INVIT-GOLF SAT(S)-03/16/2002 3.5 9 3704 4880
18 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHP-DAYTH2(S)-03/14/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 3.4 10 3554 4238
18 CBS CBS NCAA CHMP GM EXT COVG(S)-03/15/2002 ILLINOIS VS SD STATE 3.4 9 3570 4220
20 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHP-DAYFR1(S)-03/15/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 3.3 12 3492 3988
21 CBS CBS NCAA BSKBL CHP-DAYTH1(S)-03/14/2002 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 3.2 12 3355 3915
22 UPN WWF DIVAS(S)-03/13/2002 1.8 3 1911 2723
23 NBC NBA BASKETBALL ORLANDO AT PHILA-
DELPHIA
1.5 4 1593 1967
24 ABC NHL ON ABC-SAT. 1 VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES 1.2 3 1251 1549
24 ABC BOMBARDIER ATV INDY 200(S)-03/17/2002 1.2 3 1235 1557
26 ABC PT LIFE OPEN-INDIAN WELLS(S)-03/17/2002 0.8 2 866 984
27 PAX SIEBEL CLSC-SLICN VLY(S)-03/15/2002 0.2 1 167 217
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

March 27, 2002 2002 Media Life


-Mike Jasik is a staff writer for Media Life


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