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Midseason report
card: Mostly Ds & Fs

Few new shows are rousing viewers. Very few.

By Diego Vasquez

    This is the time of year when network TV, having journeyed through the chill of winter, reaches out to rekindle its relationship with viewers, seeking to make amends for various programming blunders both sides would rather forget.
   That makes it not unlike love the second time around.
   The bouquets here are a few new shows, ones the networks hope will carry them through the end of the season, ideally giving them a boost in May sweeps.
   If one of them works, hey, run with it. 
   But so far the networks don't seem like they're getting lucky. Here’s a breakdown of some of the new midseason shows and how they are doing:

ABC
Kingdom Hospital
, Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
   From the haunted dungeon also known as Stephen King’s mind, this drama has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride so far for ABC. 
   The show debuted strong with a 5.5 rating in 18-49s, the network’s best drama debut in quite some time. Ratings for Andrew McCarthy and crew fell off since then, but the show did finish second in its time slot last week, behind “Law and Order” on NBC and ahead of “48 Hours Investigates” on CBS. Since ABC has nothing better to take its place, it should at least finish the season. The King name could pump it to next season, too, though it's probably a lot to pay for a name.

The D.A., Fridays at 10 p.m.
   In a relatively uncompetitive time slot, “The D.A.” finished last in 18-49s last week behind a rerun of NBC’s “Crossing Jordan” and NCAA basketball on CBS. Set in Los Angeles, “D.A.” follows District Attorney David Franks and his cast of co-workers. Overall, “The D.A.” finished 81st for the week probably because 18-49s probably aren’t all that interested in watching working people on a Friday night (see NBC's "Miss Match" as an example of that).

CBS
Century City
, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
   Perhaps overheard at a CBS meeting: “OK, how about this? To go up against ‘American Idol’ we’ll get that guy from ‘Pretty Woman,’ no, not Richard Gere, the hotel guy, and we’ll put him in a legal drama set in the future!” Not the best idea.
   "Century City" only managed to finish fifth in its time slot in 18-49s last week. “American Idol,” as always, won the slot, but also finishing ahead of “Century City” were ABC’s “According to Jim,” NBC’s “Frasier,” and UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model.”

The Stones, Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m.
   Judith Light returns to prime time comedy as one-half of a married couple divorcing after 25 years. The parents continue to live with their two adult children, a “hip” daughter and geeky scientist son. The show finished fourth in 18-49s last week in its time slot behind “Extreme Makeover,” “Law and Order” and “Arrested Development.”
  “The Stones,” which took "Becker's" place after originally earning a fall slot, is the kind of safe and family-oriented comedy CBS is accustomed to, but could improve if it catches the right audience, especially if Jay Baruchel ("Undeclared") as the son continues to give solid comedic performances.

Fox
Cracking Up
, Mondays at 8:30 p.m.
    Fox, No. 2 among 18-49s this season, offered a double date of new shows for its Monday schedule. First is “Cracking Up,” the Molly Shannon and Jason Schwartzman comedy that has gained some critical praise. Critical success or not, the show’s numbers haven’t reflected it. Last week it fell from its lead-in, a rerun of “That 70s Show,” and finished fourth in its time slot in 18-49s, behind NBC’s “Fear Factor,” a telecast of “The Green Mile” on ABC and CBS’s “Still Standing.”

Forever Eden, Mondays at 9 p.m. (Thursdays at 9 starting this week)
   The second half of the Fox Monday double date was “Forever Eden,” the reality show that is sort of a cross between “Temptation Island” and “Paradise Hotel.” “Eden” also finished fourth in its time slot last week, prompting a move to the already crowded Thursday night where Fox hasn't shown a new show at 9 p.m. all season.
   Fox is probably hoping to lure in some viewers who would have otherwise watched “CSI,” since CBS moved that show to Wednesdays for a couple weeks because of the NCAA basketball coverage.

Wonderfalls, Fridays at 9 p.m.
   This quirky comedy-drama takes place in Niagara Falls and follows a souvenir shop worker, played by Caroline Dhavernas. She’s a normal girl, except, oh yeah, inanimate objects start to talk to her.
   On its regular night last week, “Wonderfalls” finished behind NBC’s “Dateline Friday,” “Hope & Faith” and “Life with Bonnie” on ABC and NCAA tournament coverage on CBS, despite perhaps the best critical reception for a new drama this season. A rerun last Thursday didn't do much better than its first-week 2.0, which dipped to a 1.6 last week.

UPN
Game Over
, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (Fridays starting this week)
   With video games more popular than ever, “Game Over” seemed like a good idea in theory, but has been a train wreck so far for UPN. First the network claimed the show, which features the voice of Lucy Liu as Raquel Smashenburn, was the first-ever CGI series on TV; Sci Fi begged to differ.
   Last Wednesday "Game Over" finished as the least-watched show in prime time among 18-49s, behind two repeats of “Smallville” on the WB and UPN’s own “The Mullets” and “Star Trek Enterprise.” That's earned the show a chance to finish the season on Fridays, UPN's lowest-rated night of the week.

WB
The Help
, Fridays at 9:30 p.m.
   “The Help” on the WB is sort of a conglomeration of former B-listers that may need some serious help of its own. The show features David Faustino from “Married … With Children,” Tori Spelling from “Beverly Hills, 90210” and even Mindy Cohn from “The Facts of Life.” Throw in a few newcomers and Antonio Sabato Jr. from “Melrose Place,” and, apparently, you have a show. But probably not for long. 
   “The Help” was the third-lowest rated show in 18-49s last Friday, finishing ahead of two repeats of “America’s Next Top Model” on UPN. But since the WB's Friday schedule is so sad this year anyway, the show will probably finish out its order.

PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
Ranked on Households
Week Ending March 21

Network

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

CBS

7.2

7820

12

4.0

11040

11

3.7

4740

10

NBC

7.1

7710

12

3.8

10550

10

4.0

5110

11

FOX

6.3

6800

10

3.7

10320

10

4.4

5680

12

ABC

5.5

5920

9

3.1

8430

8

3.0

3910

8

UPN

2.3

2450

4

1.2

3350

3

1.4

1750

4

WB

2.1

2310

3

1.1

3050

3

1.2

1580

3

PAX

0.7

740

1

0.4

1010

1

0.2

260

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 March 21

Network

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

CBS

8.7

9380

14

4.9

13500

13

4.0

5160

11

NBC

7.2

7810

12

4.0

10930

10

4.2

5440

11

FOX

6.2

6680

10

3.6

9860

9

4.1

5220

11

ABC

6.1

6660

10

3.4

9430

9

3.4

4400

9

WB

2.5

2720

4

1.4

3760

3

1.5

1930

4

UPN

2.4

2590

4

1.3

3530

3

1.5

1870

4

PAX

0.7

720

1

0.4

1000

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 March 21

#

PROGRAMS

Net

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+

Rtg%

Shr

(000)

#

Rtg%

(000)

1

AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY

FOX

15.3

23

16608

1

9.7

26718

2

AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY

FOX

13.3

21

14392

2

8.3

22916

3

APPRENTICE

NBC

11.4

18

12370

4

6.3

17495

4

SURVIVOR:ALL STARS-WED(S)

CBS

10.9

18

11801

3

6.9

18963

5

60 MINUTES

CBS

10.5

18

11384

5

5.9

16155

6

FRIENDS

NBC

10.4

17

11237

6

5.5

15262

7

WILL & GRACE

NBC

10.2

16

11006

7

5.4

15003

8

LAW AND ORDER

NBC

10.1

17

10996

10

5.2

14264

9

CSI: MIAMI

CBS

9.6

16

10452

10

5.2

14236

10

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

CBS

9.5

15

10273

7

5.4

14952

11

COLD CASE

CBS

9.2

14

9949

10

5.2

14415

12

E.R.

NBC

9.0

15

9725

17

4.4

12128

13

TWO AND A HALF MEN

CBS

8.7

13

9481

13

4.9

13578

14

LAS VEGAS

NBC

8.6

13

9318

13

4.9

13462

14

LAW AND ORDER:CRIM INTENT

NBC

8.6

13

9293

15

4.8

13156

16

FEAR FACTOR

NBC

8.5

14

9244

9

5.3

14486

17

NAVY NCIS

CBS

8.4

13

9086

15

4.8

13291

18

DATELINE FRI

NBC

8.2

14

8886

18

4.3

11940

18

JUDGING AMY

CBS

8.2

14

8915

21

4.2

11605

20

CROSSING JORDAN

NBC

8.0

14

8647

18

4.3

11939

21

PRIMETIME THURSDAY

ABC

7.9

14

8520

24

4.0

11093

22

CROSSING JORDAN 3/19(S)

NBC

7.8

14

8486

22

4.1

11243

23

ABC MON MOVIE OF THE WEEK

ABC

7.3

12

7943

24

4.0

11036

23

LAW AND ORDER 3/17(S)

NBC

7.3

11

7895

27

3.8

10533

25

AVERAGE JOE:ADAM RETURNS

NBC

7.1

12

7735

26

3.9

10686

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

TOP 30 PROGRAMS - BROADCAST AND CABLE
Adults 18-49
Week Ending March 21

Rank

Program

Net

Rtg%

In Millions

1

AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY

FOX

11.3

14.55

2

AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY

FOX

9.7

12.49

3

APPRENTICE

NBC

8.2

10.52

4

SURVIVOR: ALL-STARS-WED

CBS

7.1

9.16

5

WILL & GRACE

NBC

6.9

8.86

6

FRIENDS

NBC

6.6

8.56

7

FEAR FACTOR

NBC

6.4

8.18

8

LAS VEGAS

NBC

5.6

7.21

9

SIMPSONS-SUN 8:30 PM

FOX

5.5

7.08

10

AVERAGE JOE: ADAM RETURNS

NBC

5.4

6.91

11

ER

NBC

5.3

6.86

12

THAT ‘70S SHOW

FOX

5.0

6.39

12

SIMPSONS

FOX

5.0

6.48

12

CSI: MIAMI

CBS

5.0

6.46

12

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

CBS

5.0

6.44

16

LAW & ORDER

NBC

4.9

6.36

17

TWO AND A HALF

CBS

4.8

6.22

18

LAW & ORDER: CRIM INTENT

NBC

4.5

5.85

19

EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION

ABC

4.2

5.39

19

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT SP

FOX

4.2

5.37

19

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE

FOX

4.2

5.45

22

CROSSING JORDAN

NBC

4.1

5.30

22

CBS NCAA BSKTBL CHP-EVETH2

CBS

4.1

5.22

24

60 MINUTES

CBS

4.0

5.17

24

LAW & ORDER: SVU

NBC

4.0

5.17

24

KING OF QUEENS

CBS

4.0

5.12

27

PRIMETIME THURSDAY

ABC

3.8

4.94

27

COLD CASE

CBS

3.8

4.95

29

EXTREME MAKEOVER SP-3/17

ABC

3.7

4.73

29

ABC MONDAY MOVIE OF THE WEEK

ABC

3.7

4.73

29

LAW & ORDER 3/17

NBC

3.7

4.75

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

 

CABLE TV
Ranked on Households
Week Ending March 21

BASIC CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households 

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg %

Rtg %

1

WWE ENTERTAINMENT (WWE RAW ZONE)

SPIKE

3609

3.3

5000

2

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3277

3.0

3994

3

WWE ENTERTAINMENT (WWE RAW)

SPIKE

3251

3.0

4628

4

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3181

2.9

3904

5

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

3081

2.8

4086

5

WHAT WOMEN WANT(S)-3/21

TNT

3081

2.8

4311

7

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3047

2.8

3972

8

WHAT WOMEN WANT(S)-3/19

TNT

3033

2.8

4161

9

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

3004

2.8

3862

10

REAL WORLD XIV

MTV

2963

2.7

3837

11

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2944

2.7

3631

12

LAW & ORDER: SVU

USA

2924

2.7

3950

13

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2897

2.7

4101

14

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2887

2.7

3757

15

WHAT WOMEN WANT(S)-3/20

TNT

2878

2.7

3969

PAY CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households 

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg %

Rtg %

1

SOPRANOS, THE

HBO

6561

6.1

10112

2

DEADWOOD

HBO

3952

3.6

5792

3

OLD SCHOOL

HBO

1834

1.7

2527

4

SIX FEET UNDER

HBO

1189

1.1

1507

5

ORGASM SPECIAL: A REAL SE(S)-3/20

HBO

1080

1.0

1137

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

 

SYNDICATION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending March 14

#

 PROGRAMS

Syndicator

Households

US Rtg%

(000)

1

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

KIN

8.9

9638

2

JEOPARDY

KIN

7.5

8092

3

SEINFELD (AT)

SPT

6.5

7081

3

SEINFELD-WKND (AT)

SPT

6.5

7027

5

FRIENDS-SYN (AT)

WB

6.2

6682

6

OPRAH WINFREY SHOW (AT)

KIN

6.1

6614

6

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT(AT)

PRM

6.1

6569

8

EVRY LVS RAYMOND-SYN (AT)

KIN

5.5

5943

9

JUDGE JUDY (AT)

PRM

5.1

5537

9

DR. PHIL SHOW

KIN

5.1

5481

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SPANISH-LANGUAGE TELEVISION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending March 21

#

PROGRAMS

Net

NHTI*
Rtg%

Projection
(000)

1

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE THU

UNI

19.8

2098

1

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE WED

UNI

19.8

2091

1

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE MON

UNI

19.8

2089

4

CRISTINA-MON

UNI

19.5

2056

5

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE TUE

UNI

19.4

2055

6

AMAR OTRA VEZ MON

UNI

18.5

1958

7

DON FRANCISCO PRESENTA-WE

UNI

18.2

1929

8

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL MON

UNI

17.9

1888

9

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL WED

UNI

17.7

1873

10

AMAR OTRA VEZ WED

UNI

17.5

1851

11

AQUI Y AHORA-THU

UNI

17.4

1835

12

AMAR OTRA VEZ THU

UNI

17.3

1824

13

AMAR OTRA VEZ TUE

UNI

17.0

1799

14

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL TUE

UNI

16.9

1790

14

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE FRI

UNI

16.9

1788

16

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL THU

UNI

16.6

1751

17

CASOS VIDA R: ED. ESP TUE

UNI

16.2

1708

18

AMAR OTRA VEZ FRI

UNI

15.6

1648

19

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL FRI

UNI

15.3

1615

20

CASOS VIDA R: ED. ESP FRI

UNI

14.7

1553

* 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 14

#

PROGRAMS

Net

Episode

Households

Persons 2+

US Rtg%

Shr

(000)

(000)

1

FOX NASCAR
NEXTEL CUP

FOX

GOLD CORRAL500
GIL MACH3 TURBO

5.7

14

6145

8489

2

WWE
SMACKDOWN!

UPN

3.1

5

3338

4646

3

HONDA GOLF
CLASSIC
SUN(S)-3/14

NBC

2.6

6

2781

3682

4

BIG TEN CHAMP
(S)-3/14

CBS

WISC. VS ILL.

2.4

6

2622

3450

5

NCAA SEC CHAMP
(S)-3/14

CBS

KTY VS FLA

2.3

6

2481

3450

6

NBA ON ABC
SUN 2

ABC

SAN ANT. AT SAC/
NY AT MILW

2.2

5

2429

3156

7

NCAA PAC-10
CHAMP(S)-3/13

CBS

STANFORD
VS WASH.

2.2

5

2426

3288

8

NCAA BIG 
TEN-SAT 1(S)
3/13

CBS

WISC VS MICH. ST.

2.0

5

2137

2509

9

HONDA GOLF
CLASSIC-SAT(S)
3/13

NBC

1.8

5

1985

2392

10

NCAA BIG TEN
SAT(S)-3/13

CBS

ILL. VS
 MICH.

1.7

5

1888

2445

11

MANIA OF
WRESTLEMANIA
(S)-3/12

UPN

1.7

3

1878

2682

12

NCAA CONF.
USA(S)-3/13

CBS

CINC VS
DEPAUL

1.6

5

1761

2025

13

NBA ON ABC
SUN 1

ABC

PHILA AT
DET.

1.5

4

1610

1850

14

NHL ON ABC
SAT. 1

ABC

VAR. TEAMS
AND TIMES

1.1

3

1151

1397

15

NBC ARENA
FOOTBALL

NBC

NY AT TMP
BAY/LA AT
GR RPDS

1.0

3

1104

1383

16

NBC SPORTS
SPECIAL 3/13(S)

NBC

04 NAT'L
CURLING
CHAMPS

0.9

3

928

1087

Source: Nielsen Media Research


March 24, 2004© 2004 Media Life


--Diego Vasquez is a Washington writer.


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