NBC's 'Friends'


Fox's 'The X-Files'


NBC's 'The Cosby Show: A Look Back'

 

  There are finales
and, yes, finales

Season's 'Friends' soars, 'X-Files' limps off

By Mike Jasik

   TV series are like milk: Some are merely past their prime, while others are truly expired. 
   Two of the big finales of the past week, those of NBC's "Friends" and Fox's "The X-Files," illustrated this difference perfectly.
    Heading into its ninth and final season, "Friends" is, by anyone's reckoning, a show whose best days are behind it. 
    Still, Thursday's one-hour season conclusion, in which Rachael gave birth to Ross's baby and got engaged to Joey, logged the second-highest ratings numbers for any "Friends" episode ever. 
    Three days later, the series finale of "The X-Files" only proved that those who said the show should have ended with the departure of star David Duchovny were right.
   Capping off a nine-season run, the two-hour episode earned only a 6.3 adult 18-49 rating and a little over 13 million total viewers, numbers it regularly collected during its prime years.
   The 18-49 rating for the "Friends" finale was a huge 17.0, and the episode drew nearly 35 million viewers, second only to a post-Super Bowl "Friends" special on Jan. 28, 1996.
   It stands as the highest-rated entertainment show of the year, beating even the Academy Awards on ABC and the ad-free 9/11 special on CBS.
   With such a huge base to work with, the following one-hour finale of NBC’s “Will & Grace” similarly drew one of its biggest audiences, collecting a 12.0 in adults 18-49 and almost 24 million viewers.
   “ER” finished off the night with a 13.0 among adults 18-49, a slight drop from the 13.9 the exit of Dr. Mark Greene captured the week before. 
   NBC cleaned up for the week with a 6.1 adult 18-49 rating, CBS had a 4.8, Fox a 3.8, ABC a 3.4, the WB a 1.8 and UPN a 1.7. 
   The “Friends” hullabaloo obscured the still strong, if gradually ebbing, pull for CBS’s “Survivor” franchise. 
   The finale of “Survivor: Marquesas” on Sunday, set against the end of “The X-Files,” the “Cosby” reunion special on NBC and “The Practice” on ABC, still came through with a solid 10.4 in adults 18-49.
   Its 25.9 million total viewers represented less than a 5 percent drop from the 27.2 million who tuned into the finale of last fall’s “Survivor: Africa” edition. 
   The Thursday episode, facing a gigantic “Friends,” put together only a 7.5 adult 18-49 rating, its lowest of the season, but only a small dip from several episodes late in the season which hovered between 7.7 and 8.2 in the demo. 
   The post-finale reunion, hosted by Rosie O’Donnell, logged a decent 8.0. 
   The month’s only reunion special with break-out numbers ended up being “The Cosby Show: A Look Back” on NBC. 
   Two hours of Huxtables nostalgia collected a 7.7 adult 18-49 rating, drawing more than 18 million people, though still not close to the 30 million who tuned into “Carol Burnett: Show Stoppers” in November. 
   Fox and CBS, choosing series less fresh in the minds of younger viewers, failed to connect with their reunion programs. 
   Fox’s “M*A*S*H: 30th Anniversary Reunion Special” came away with a 4.0 in adults 18-49, while CBS’s “The Mary Tyler Moore Reunion” managed only a 3.7. 
   After bursting out of the gates with a 6.0 adult 18-49 rating and 17 million viewers over a week ago, the following second and third parts of ABC’s “Dinotopia” miniseries sagged to a disappointing 4.7 and 4.0 in adults 18-49, drawing 25 million viewers combined.
   For a regular whodunit thriller those numbers would be adequate; for a special effects-heavy large-scale series costing $85 million they’re not.



PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
RANKED ON HOUSEHOLDS
Week Ending May 19, 2002


 

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+ ADULTS 18-49

Net

Rtg
%

(000)

SHR

Rtg
%

(000)

SHR

Rtg
%

(000)

SHR

NBC

9.5

9990

16

5.4

14540

14

6.1

7750

17

CBS

8.8

9310

15

5.2

14140

14

4.8

6060

13

ABC

6.1

6390

10

3.6

9600

9

3.4

4270

9

FOX

5.3

5610

9

3.1

8450

8

3.8

4790

10

WB

2.8

2910

5

1.5

4170

4

1.8

2230

5

UPN

2.6

2690

4

1.5

4000

4

1.7

2170

5

PAX

0.8

860

1

0.4

1140

1

0.3

330

1

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

NETWORK TV
RANKED ON ADULTS 18-49
Week Ending May 19, 2002


 

 

 

ADULTS 18-49

#

PROGRAMS

Net

Rtg%

Shr

(000)

1 FRIENDS NBC 17.0 44 21580
2 ER NBC 13.0 32 16530
3 WILL & GRACE NBC 12.0 28 15310
4 SURVIVOR: MARQEUSAS FINALE CBS 10.4 23 13270
5 CSI CBS 9.7 23 12320
6 SURVIVOR: MARQEUSAS REUNION CBS 8.0 19 10240
7 COSBY SHOW: A LOOK BACK NBC 7.7 17 9840
8 SURVIVOR: MARQUESAS CBS 7.5 20 9560
9 FRASIER NBC 7.0 18 8890
10 EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND NBC 6.8 16 8680
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

NETWORK TV
RANKED ON HOUSEHOLDS
Week Ending
May 19, 2002


 

 

 

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+

#

PROGRAMS

Net

Rtg%

Shr

(000)

#

Rtg%

(000)

1

FRIENDS

NBC

21.1

34

22302

1

12.9

34910

2

E.R.

NBC

17.5

28

18471

2

10.2

27474

3

CSI

CBS

16.3

25

17210

3

10.0

26973

4

WILL & GRACE

NBC

14.6

22

15449

5

8.8

23653

5

SURVIVOR MARQUESAS FINALE(S)

CBS

13.4

21

14122

4

9.6

25867

6

LAW AND ORDER

NBC

12.8

21

13471

8

6.8

18302

7

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

CBS

12.7

19

13444

6

7.2

19410

8

CSI-10PM(S)

CBS

11.4

18

12016

8

6.8

18262

9

FRASIER

NBC

11.3

17

11957

12

6.4

17231

10

COSBY SHOW: A LOOK BACK(S)

NBC

11.2

17

11850

8

6.8

18485

11

SURVIVOR: MARQUESAS

CBS

11.1

18

11746

7

7.1

19151

12

WEST WING

NBC

10.4

17

10988

13

5.8

15542

13

BECKER

CBS

10.3

15

10917

13

5.8

15733

14

SURVIVOR: MARQ REUNION(S)

CBS

10.2

17

10811

11

6.6

17891

15

CROSSING JORDAN

NBC

10.1

16

10704

15

5.5

14763

16

LAW AND ORDER:SVU

NBC

10.0

18

10573

17

5.3

14274

17

60 MINUTES

CBS

9.7

18

10192

17

5.3

14347

18

JUDGING AMY

CBS

9.4

15

9925

20

4.9

13288

19

PRACTICE, THE

ABC

9.2

15

9697

15

5.5

14897

20

JAG

CBS

8.7

14

9136

23

4.8

12838

20

MARY TYLER MOORE REUNION(S)

CBS

8.7

14

9214

27

4.6

12506

22

NBC FUNNIEST OUTTAKES(S)

NBC

8.5

14

8986

23

4.8

12980

23

GUARDIAN, THE

CBS

8.2

12

8672

30

4.4

11772

23

KING OF QUEENS

CBS

8.2

14

8656

27

4.6

12332

23

SCRUBS

NBC

8.2

12

8684

27

4.6

12495

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

CABLE TV
RANKED ON HOUSEHOLDS
Week Ending
May 12, 2002


BASIC CABLE
     

House-
holds

House- holds

Persons 2+

#

PROGRAM NAME

Net

(000)

Rtg %  (000)

1

OSBOURNES

MTV

4706

4.5

7254

2

WWF ENTERTAINMENT (RAW ZONE)

TNN

4145

3.9

6773

3

WWF ENTERTAINMENT (RAW)

TNN

3636

3.4

6201

4

NBA PLAYOFFS (LAKERS/SPURS)

TNT

3546

3.4

4438

5

REAL WORLD XI

MTV

3404

3.2

4480

6

DEEP BLUE SEA

TBS

3339

3.2

5244

7

NBA PLAYOFFS (SPURS/LAKERS)

TBS

2962

2.8

3718

8

NBA PLAYOFFS (MAVERICKS/ KINGS)

TNT

2898

2.7

3913

9

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2816

2.7

3820

10

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2806

2.7

3786

11

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2788

2.6

3620

12

NBA PLAYOFFS (KINGS/ MAVERICKS)

TNT

2787

2.6

3632

13

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2606

2.5

3429

14

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2595

2.5

3856

15

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2439

2.3

3507

PAY CABLE 

     

House-
holds

House- holds

Persons 2+

#

PROGRAM NAME

Net

(000)

Rtg %

(000)

1

SIX FEET UNDER

HBO

3776

3.6

5792

2

SOPRANOS, THE

HBO

2756

2.6

3916

3

WCB: 5/11/02 (TRINIDAD VS. CHERIFI)

HBO

2750

2.6

3851

4

DR. DOOLITTLE 2

HBO

2628

2.5

3696

5

WCB: 5/11/02 (PRE 2)

HBO

2377

2.3

3331

*Coverage area ratings are within each cable network's universe.
*Total U.S. ratings and household projections are based on 105.5 million TV homes.
*For inclusion in the rankings, telecasts must be promoted as distinct programs and must be of 5 minutes minimum duration.


 

SYNDICATION
RANKED BY HOUSEHOLDS
Week Ending
May 5, 2002


 

   

Households

Households

#

PROGRAM NAME

Syndicator

Rtg % (000)

1

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

KIN

8.9

9362

2

JEOPARDY

KIN

7.7

8099

3

FRIENDS-SYN (AT)

WB

6.8

7203

4

JUDGE JUDY (AT)

PRM

5.9

6186

4

SEINFELD (AT)

CTS

5.9

6185

6

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT(AT)

PRM

5.8

6076

7

OPRAH WINFREY SHOW (AT)

KIN

5.7

6011

8

EVRY LVS RAYMOND-SYN (AT)

KIN

5.6

5941

9

SEINFELD-WKND (AT)

CTS

4.7

4981

10

WHEEL OF FORTUNE WKND

KIN

4.0

4221

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

NETWORK SPORTS
RANKED ON HOUSEHOLDS
Week Ending May 12, 2002


 

     

House-
holds

House-
holds

House-
holds

Persons 2+

#

Net

PROGRAMS

Episode

US Rtg%

Shr

(000)

(000)

1

NBC

NBA PLAYOFF- SUN-GM3

LA LAKERS AT SAN ANTONIO

6.3

14

6671

9366

2

NBC

NBA PLAYOFF- SUN-GM2

DETROIT AT BOSTON

4.7

13

4963

7153

3

NBC

NBA PLAYOFF- SA.(S)- 05/11/2002

SACRA-
MENTO AT DALLAS

3.8

11

4033

5074

4

NBC

NBA PLAYOFF- SUN-GM1

NEW JERSEY AT CHAR-
LOTTE

3.7

12

3942

5357

5

UPN

WWF SMACKDOWN!

3.6

6

3806

5748

6

CBS

BYRON NELSON GOLF-SU(S)- 05/12/2002

VERIZON

3.3

9

3499

4780

7

CBS

BYRON NELSON GOLF-SA(S)- 05/11/2002

VERIZON

2.7

8

2846

3604

8

ABC

HERSHEY'S FIG SKTNG CHL(S)- 05/12/2002

1.7

4

1796

2414

9

ABC

NHL PLAYOFFS ON ABC-SAT 4(S)- 05/11/2002

ST LOU AT DET/SAN JOSE AT COLO

1.5

4

1589

2388

10

ABC

INDY 500 TIME TRIALS- SAT(S)- 05/11/2002

1.1

4

1129

1456

11

ABC

USA SOCCER NAT VS URUGUAY (S)- 05/12/2002

0.8

2

858

1173

12

PAX

TD WATER-
HOUSE CHMPNSHP (S)- 05/10/2002

0.1

1

143

152

13

PAX

WAL-MART FLW TOUR

0.1

0

66

<<

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

May 22, 2002 © 2002 Media Life


-Mike Jasik is a staff writer for Media Life


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