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CBS's sudden 
Thursday night blues

'CSI' was unstoppable. Then it got Trumped.

By Diego Vasquez

   For more than three years, CBS's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" had gone virtually unchallenged in its Thursday 9 p.m. time slot.
   Ever since it moved there in February 2001, the show had finished No. 1 among adults 18-49 en route to challenging "ER" for TV's No. 1 drama status among that demographic this year.
   But all of a sudden, "CSI's" cozy little world has been smashed to bits by NBC's surprise Donald Trump hit "The Apprentice." And that has CBS worrying about maintaining its Thursday 9 p.m. dominance heading into next season, when the younger show would seem to have picked up the momentum.
   An original episode of “CSI” finished behind NBC’s “The Apprentice” among adults 18-49 on Thursday for the first time this season. In fact, it was the first time an original “CSI” finished behind any show since it moved to Thursdays three years ago.
   What seems to be happening is a reversal of the CBS challenge to NBC's "Friends" a few years back, when "Survivor" moved to Thursdays and gradually pulled ahead of the entrenched sitcom, only to have "Friends" come right back in 2001. 
   “The Apprentice” posted a 9.8 rating in 18-49s while “CSI” posted a 9.4.
   “The Apprentice’s” rating among 18-49s was 46 percent higher than the 6.7 rating NBC managed on the same night last year with first-run but apparently less-interesting comedies.
   It wasn't so much that "The Apprentice" overachieved last week -- it has had bigger ratings weeks -- but that viewers perhaps forgot about "CSI's" return. Though the Trump show has only a few more episodes, next season's battle should be even more interesting.
   “The Apprentice” is the top new show of the season and has helped NBC to 12 No. 1s among 18-49s in the last 13 Thursdays. Thursday nights have been closer than ever this season with NBC averaging an 8.2 rating in 18-49s and CBS averaging a 7.9. ABC is a distant third with a 2.3 average.
   Also on NBC on Thursdays, old school hit “ER” has been solid if no longer spectacular, beating the combined competition in its time slot in 18-49s last week. “E.R.” posted a 9.2 rating in the demo while CBS’s “Without a Trace” managed a 6.0 and ABC’s “Primetime Thursday” came in with a 2.7.
   Although “Without a Trace” finished second to the hospital drama, it still had its best night ever versus a first-run episode of “E.R.” The rating advantage is still 3.2 for “E.R.,” but that is much lower than the 7.0 average lead it had when “Without a Trace” debuted in September 2002.
   But the big Thursday night for NBC also helped win the entire week in 18-49s, earning a 4.2 average rating and just edging out CBS’s 4.0. Fox finished third with a 3.5 rating, led by staples “American Idol,” “That '70s Show” and “The O.C.”


PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
Ranked on Households
Week Ending April 4

Network

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

CBS

8.5

9220

14

4.8

13160

13

4.0

5180

11

NBC

7.4

8060

12

4.0

11070

11

4.2

5370

12

FOX

5.1

5550

8

3.0

8270

8

3.5

4560

10

ABC

4.8

5170

8

2.7

7350

7

2.6

3310

7

UPN

1.9

2100

3

1.0

2810

3

1.1

1430

3

WB

1.9

2020

3

1.0

2640

2

1.1

1410

3

PAX

0.6

670

1

0.3

930

1

0.2

250

1

* Each rating point is equivalent to 1.084 million homes
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SEASON-TO-DATE PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
Ranked on Households
Week Ending April 4

Network

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

CBS

8.6

9340

14

4.9

13410

13

4.0

5150

11

NBC

7.2

7820

12

4.0

10930

10

4.2

5440

12

FOX

6.1

6640

10

3.6

9800

9

4.0

5210

11

ABC

6.1

6570

10

3.4

9300

9

3.4

4320

9

WB

2.5

2670

4

1.3

3690

3

1.5

1890

4

UPN

2.4

2570

4

1.3

3500

3

1.4

1850

4

PAX

0.7

720

1

0.4

990

1

0.2

300

1

* Each rating point is equivalent to 1.084 million homes
Source: Nielsen Media Research 

 

NETWORK TV
Ranked on Households
Week Ending April 4

#

PROGRAMS

Net

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+

Rtg%

Shr

(000)

#

Rtg%

(000)

1

CSI

CBS

16.2

25

17555

1

9.6

26469

2

AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY

FOX

15.2

24

16484

2

9.4

25885

3

AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY

FOX

13.1

21

14205

3

7.9

21874

4

APPRENTICE

NBC

12.9

20

14008

5

7.3

20173

5

CSI: MIAMI

CBS

12.8

21

13857

6

7.1

19675

6

SURVIVOR: ALL-STARS

CBS

12.6

20

13696

3

7.9

21686

7

E.R.

NBC

12.5

21

13587

7

7.0

19242

8

LAW AND ORDER

NBC

12.3

21

13292

9

6.5

17857

9

WITHOUT A TRACE

CBS

11.7

19

12734

8

6.6

18123

10

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHAMP SA-2(S)

CBS

10.5

20

11350

10

6.1

16736

11

LAW AND ORDER:SVU

NBC

10.4

17

11260

11

5.6

15552

12

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

CBS

9.8

15

10648

11

5.6

15409

13

TWO AND A HALF MEN

CBS

9.6

15

10451

13

5.4

14909

14

COLD CASE

CBS

9.1

15

9874

14

5.2

14246

14

FRIENDS

NBC

9.1

15

9902

16

4.9

13588

14

WILL & GRACE

NBC

9.1

14

9864

16

4.9

13476

17

CROSSING JORDAN

NBC

9.0

15

9725

19

4.7

12943

18

CBS NCAA BSKBL-BRIDGE SHW(S)

CBS

8.3

16

8977

16

4.9

13476

19

FEAR FACTOR

NBC

8.1

13

8830

15

5.0

13782

19

LAW AND ORDER:CRIM INTENT

NBC

8.1

12

8779

20

4.5

12387

21

60 MINUTES

CBS

8.0

15

8648

21

4.4

12065

22

FRASIER

NBC

7.9

12

8525

24

4.1

11231

23

LAS VEGAS

NBC

7.5

11

8142

22

4.3

11745

24

O.C.

FOX

7.4

11

7984

24

4.1

11371

25

CSI: MIAMI SUN SP(S)

CBS

7.3

12

7926

24

4.1

11216

25

LAW & ORDER:CI 4/2(S)

NBC

7.3

13

7931

31

3.8

10398

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

TOP 30 PROGRAMS - BROADCAST AND CABLE
Adults 18-49
Week Ending April 4

Rank

Program

Net

Rtg%

In Millions

1

AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY

FOX

10.8

13.88

2

APPRENTICE

NBC

9.8

12.60

3

AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY

FOX

9.4

12.12

3

CSI

CBS

9.4

12.12

5

ER

NBC

9.2

11.89

6

SURVIVOR: ALL-STARS

CBS

8.3

10.66

7

CSI: MIAMI

CBS

7.1

9.09

8

CBS NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMP-SAT

CBS

6.1

7.80

9

WITHOUT A TRACE

CBS

6.0

7.73

9

LAW & ORDER: SVU

NBC

6.0

7.75

9

LAW & ORDER

NBC

6.0

7.69

12

WILL & GRACE

NBC

5.9

7.62

13

FEAR FACTOR

NBC

5.7

7.34

14

FRIENDS

NBC

5.6

7.18

15

THAT ‘70S SHOW

FOX

5.3

6.81

16

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

CBS

5.1

6.55

16

LAS VEGAS

NBC

5.1

6.51

18

THE OC

FOX

5.0

6.46

19

TWO AND A HALF MEN

CBS

5.0

6.49

20

24

FOX

4.8

6.18

20

CBS NCAA BASKETBALL BRIDGE-SAT

CBS

4.8

6.15

22

AVERAGE JOE: ADAM RETURNS

NBC

4.7

6.02

23

CROSSING JORDAN

NBC

4.6

5.88

24

LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT

NBC

4.4

5.70

25

SCRUBS

NBC

4.1

5.22

25

SIMPSONS-SUN 8:30 PM

FOX

4.1

5.24

27

FRASIER

NBC

4.0

5.18

28

EXTREME MAKEOVER-WED

ABC

3.9

5.07

28

ACCORDING TO JIM 9 PM

ABC

3.9

5.08

30

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE

FOX

3.7

4.74

30

STILL STANDING

NBC

3.7

4.74

Source: ABC Networks, based on data from Nielsen Media Research

 

CABLE TV
Ranked on Households
Week Ending March 28

BASIC CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households 

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg %

Rtg %

1

WWE ENTERTAINMENT (WWE RAW ZONE)

SPIKE

3985

3.7

5658

2

WWE ENTERTAINMENT (WWE RAW)

SPIKE

3862

3.6

5628

3

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

3220

3.0

4206

4

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3198

3.0

4450

5

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

3156

2.9

4247

6

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3140

2.9

3895

7

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

3006

2.8

4084

8

LAW & ORDER

TNT

2906

2.7

3770

9

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2847

2.6

3806

10

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2777

2.6

3916

11

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2731

2.5

3351

12

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2703

2.5

3425

13

JIMMY NEUTRON

NICK

2683

2.5

3638

14

LAW & ORDER

TNT

2654

2.4

3225

15

LAW & ORDER: SVU

USA

2644

2.4

3495

PAY CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households 

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg %

Rtg %

1

SOPRANOS, THE

HBO

6304

5.8

9685

2

DEADWOOD

HBO

3216

3.0

4879

3

WHAT A GIRL WANTS

HBO

1576

1.5

2450

4

OLD SCHOOL

HBO

1353

1.2

1901

5

BAD 3/27/04

HBO

1303

1.2

1859

* Each rating point is equivalent to  108.4 million homes
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SYNDICATION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending March 28

#

 PROGRAMS

Syndicator

Households

US Rtg%

(000)

1

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

KIN

8.7

9421

2

JEOPARDY

KIN

7.3

7902

3

SEINFELD (AT)

SPT

6.3

6836

4

OPRAH WINFREY SHOW (AT)

KIN

6.1

6650

5

FRIENDS-SYN (AT)

WB

5.8

6250

6

SEINFELD-WKND (AT)

SPT

5.4

5867

7

EVRY LVS RAYMOND-SYN (AT)

KIN

5.2

5634

8

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT(AT)

PRM

4.9

5329

9

DR. PHIL SHOW

KIN

4.8

5229

9

JUDGE JUDY (AT)

PRM

4.8

5171

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SPANISH-LANGUAGE TELEVISION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending April 4

#

PROGRAMS

Net

NHTI*
Rtg%

Projection
(000)

1

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE TUE

UNI

21.0

2214

2

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE MON

UNI

19.9

2106

3

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE WED

UNI

19.0

2011

4

AMAR OTRA VEZ TUE

UNI

18.4

1941

5

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE THU

UNI

18.3

1933

5

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE FRI

UNI

18.3

1930

7

AMAR OTRA VEZ MON

UNI

18.0

1904

8

AMAR OTRA VEZ WED

UNI

17.7

1869

9

AMAR OTRA VEZ THU

UNI

16.7

1765

10

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL TUE

UNI

16.5

1747

11

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL MON

UNI

16.1

1703

12

AMAR OTRA VEZ FRI

UNI

16.0

1691

13

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL WED

UNI

15.9

1680

14

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL THU

UNI

15.8

1671

14

DON FRANCISCO PRESENTA-WE

UNI

15.8

1668

16

SABADO GIGANTE-SAT

UNI

14.9

1579

16

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL FRI

UNI

14.9

1578

16

CASOS VIDA R: ED. ESP FRI

UNI

14.9

1574

19

CRISTINA-MON

UNI

14.6

1543

20

AQUI Y AHORA-THU

UNI

14.1

1491

* Nielsen Hispanic Television Index; ratings based on 9.7 million Hispanic TV homes.
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

NETWORK SPORTS
Ranked on Households
Week Ending March 28

#

PROGRAMS

Net

Episode

Households

Persons 2+

US Rtg%

Shr

(000)

(000)

1

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP
SU-2(S)-03/28

CBS

DUKE VS XAVIER

8.6

18

9286

12616

2

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP
SA-2(S)-03/27

CBS

ST. JOSEPH'S VS OKLAHOMA STATE

7.3

15

7898

11202

3

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP
TH 2(S)-03/25

CBS

PIT VS OK ST/ST JOE'S VS WF

7.2

13

7755

10377

4

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP
FR 2(S)-03/26

CBS

GA TECH VS NEV/DUKE VS ILL

6.3

13

6848

9138

5

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP
TH 1(S)-03/25

CBS

VAN VS UCONN/BAMA VS SYR

6.2

11

6701

9172

6

FOX NASCAR
NEXTEL CUP

FOX

PRESENTED BY QUAKER STATE

6.0

15

6463

9744

7

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP
FR 1(S)-03/26

CBS

UAB VS KAN/TEX VS XAVIER

5.7

11

6186

8426

8

WRLD FIG SKATING
 CH-DAY 2(S)-03/27

ABC

5.4

10

5863

8371

9

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP
SU-1(S)-03/28

CBS

GEORGIA TECH VS KANSAS

5.2

13

5620

7393

10

CBS NCAA BSKBL CHMP
SA-1(S)-03/27

CBS

ALABAMA VS CONNECTICUT

5.1

13

5527

7397

11

WRLD FIG SKATING
 CH-DAY 1(S)-03/25

ABC

4.7

8

5147

6816

12

PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
SUN(S)-03/28

NBC

3.6

9

3938

4907

13

WWE
SMACKDOWN!

UPN

3.3

5

3581

5246

14

PLAYERS CHAMPS
SAT(S)-03/27

NBC

2.6

7

2776

3338

15

FOX NASCAR
BUSCH SERIES

FOX

PRESENTED BY TACO BELL

2.0

6

2120

2712

16

CBS NCAA DIV II
BSKBL CHP
(S)-03/27

CBS

SOUTHRN INDIANA VS KENNESAW ST

1.4

4

1536

1863

17

NBA ON ABC
SUN 1

ABC

DALLAS AT ORLANDO

1.1

3

1237

1389

18

NHL ON ABC
SAT. 1

ABC

VARIOUS TEAMS AND TIMES

1.0

3

1104

1379

19

KRAFT-NABISCO
CHAMP.-SUN(S)
3/28

ABC

0.8

2

920

1047

20

KRAFT-NABISCO
CHAMP.-SAT(S)
3/27

ABC

0.7

2

796

1025

21

PURINA DG 
CHW DG CHLG

PAX

0.5

1

501

778

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 


April 7, 2004© 2004 Media Life


--Diego Vasquez is a Washington writer.


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