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Gadzooks! A not
so perky 'Survivor.'

Up in 18-49s but off in households from previous editions

By Diego Vasquez

    The series finale of “Friends” has panic-inclined media people worrying about the end of the sitcom as we know it. Even with the final episode drawing more than 52 million viewers, pundits ponder over where those people might turn next to fill the void in their lives.
   But “Survivor: All-Stars” finished it season last week as well, airing on Sunday night. And for all the hype going into the season about the final showdown between the top reality show and the top sitcom, “Survivor” did just okay compared to earlier season finales.
   So bury your worries about sitcoms. 
   Where, when the pioneer of reality TV appears to be fading, does the genre stand?
   Despite posting the highest adult 18-49 rating for a  “Survivor" finale since “Marquesas” in May 2002, the reunion special (where Amber was proposed to by Boston Rob and then crowned champion) finished a mere fifth among households for the week. That served only to worsen CBS's position against NBC in the May sweeps.
   NBC averaged a 9.5 in households last week to CBS’s 8.4 while holding its usual lead in 18-49s (6.1 to 4.3). During the same week a year ago, CBS posted an 8.7 average household rating to NBC’s 7.5, though NBC still led in 18-49s (NBC posted a 4.3 18-49 average to CBS’s 4.1).
   The finale of “Survivor: All-Stars” delivered 24.8 million total viewers, slightly less than the 25.2 million that watched the finale of the seventh edition, “Survivor: Pearl Islands” last December. 
   But that number is significantly less than the finale of the first season, which attracted 51.7 million viewers, and the finale of season two's “Survivor: Australian Outback,” which drew 36.4 million viewers.
   The slipping numbers still aren’t terrible, but no longer are they unbeatable; “E.R.” on NBC finished ahead of “All-Stars” in households by five full ratings points, albeit because the hospital drama followed the “Friends” sendoff. “American Idol” finished ahead of “All-Stars” among households as well.
   “Survivor” is the benchmark of reality TV, but with the show’s slow yet steady dip in viewers over the years, issues arise.
   First, how will the next version of “Survivor” fare?
   The new “Survivor” obviously won’t have “Friends” to compete with anymore. Well, at least not all six friends. With spinoff “Joey” likely destined to air in the old “Friends” slot, so much will depend on early reviews and audience reaction to the Matt LeBlanc comedy.
   But would NBC dare put “The Apprentice” opposite “Survivor” in a battle to find the ultimate survivor of the reality shows? Probably not, but such a face off would definitely be interesting, considering the Donald Trump hit is bound to be promoted endlessly in its return.
   Will other networks look at how “Survivor,” the one that started the reality craze on broadcast TV, is doing to help determine which direction they will head in terms of reality fare?
   Sure, “Apprentice” took off, but other new reality shows have found themselves knee-deep in mediocre ratings and victims of “how far will they go” banter. “The Restaurant” on NBC is a fairly straightforward concept but has been greeted with less-than-stellar ratings. And what some call the signal to the end of humanity as we know it, “The Swan” on Fox, had initial buzz but is finding out that shock value isn’t always enough.
  Networks will still order up reality shows as long as the ratings are there and production costs remain low.
   Despite lots of interesting personalities, "All-Stars" didn't have a great deal of conflict or surprise. Maybe that's more of what's needed to keep the next edition afloat.

 

PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 9

Network

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

NBC

9.5

10290

16

5.4

14860

15

6.1

7800

17

CBS

8.4

9070

14

4.8

13220

13

4.3

5550

12

FOX

5.3

5780

9

3.0

8380

8

3.5

4520

10

ABC

4.9

5350

8

2.7

7570

7

2.7

3530

8

WB

2.4

2580

4

1.3

3570

3

1.5

1910

4

UPN

2.0

2180

3

1.1

2980

3

1.2

1490

3

PAX

0.6

630

1

0.3

890

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 May 9

Network

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

CBS

8.5

9180

14

4.8

13160

12

3.9

5040

11

NBC

7.3

7920

12

4.0

11080

10

4.3

5530

12

FOX

6.0

6520

10

3.5

9620

9

4.0

5140

11

ABC

5.9

6390

10

3.3

9040

9

3.3

4200

9

WB

2.4

2650

4

1.3

3640

3

1.5

1880

4

UPN

2.3

2500

4

1.2

3400

3

1.4

1790

4

PAX

0.7

710

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 May 9

#

PROGRAMS

Net

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+

Rtg%

Shr

(000)

#

Rtg%

(000)

1

FRIENDS

NBC

29.8

43

32303

1

19.0

52458

2

FRIENDS CLIPSHOW SPCL(S)

NBC

22.0

35

23860

2

13.4

36893

3

E.R.

NBC

18.1

29

19581

3

10.3

28367

4

AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY

FOX

13.6

22

14744

6

8.3

22817

5

SURVIVOR ALL-STRS REUNION(S)

CBS

13.1

22

14175

5

8.7

23919

6

SURVIVOR ALL-STARS FINALE(S)

CBS

13.0

21

14096

4

9.0

24758

7

CSI

CBS

12.8

18

13901

8

7.4

20393

8

AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY

FOX

12.3

20

13327

7

7.7

21176

9

NBC MOVIE OF THE WEEK-MON(S)

NBC

12.2

19

13189

9

7.2

19872

10

CSI: MIAMI

CBS

11.6

18

12575

11

6.4

17617

11

SURVIVOR: ALL-STARS

CBS

11.0

17

11950

10

7.0

19214

12

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

CBS

10.9

16

11820

12

6.3

17266

13

TWO AND A HALF MEN

CBS

10.5

15

11338

13

5.9

16200

13

WITHOUT A TRACE

CBS

10.5

16

11340

14

5.8

16037

15

DATELINE NBC SPECIAL 5/5(S)

NBC

10.3

16

11132

15

5.3

14712

16

FRASIER

NBC

9.4

14

10138

16

5.2

14326

17

CSI-SPCL(S)

CBS

9.3

15

10077

17

4.8

13331

18

JUDGING AMY

CBS

9.0

15

9726

20

4.4

12214

19

LAW AND ORDER:SVU

NBC

8.9

14

9685

18

4.7

13038

20

CROSSING JORDAN

NBC

8.1

13

8753

21

4.3

11862

21

60 MINUTES

CBS

7.7

16

8358

23

4.2

11460

22

AMERICAN IDOL: FINAL FIVE(S)

FOX

7.6

12

8225

21

4.3

11731

23

LAW AND ORDER:CRIM INTENT

NBC

7.5

12

8168

23

4.2

11643

24

FEAR FACTOR

NBC

7.4

12

8002

19

4.5

12321

25

SCRUBS

NBC

7.3

11

7916

25

4.0

11105

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

TOP 30 PROGRAMS - BROADCAST AND CABLE
Adults 18-49
Week Ending May 9

Rank

Program

Net

Rtg%

In Millions

1

FRIENDS

NBC

24.9

32.10

2

FRIENDS CLIPSHOW

NBC

16.7

21.52

3

E.R.

NBC

13.8

17.81

4

SURVIVOR: ALL-STARS REUNION

CBS

10.6

13.60

5

SURVIVOR: ALL-STARS FINALE

CBS

10.0

12.89

6

AMERICAN IDOL – TUESDAY

FOX

9.0

11.64

7

AMERICAN IDOL – WEDNESDAY

FOX

8.8

11.37

8

NBC MOVIE “10.5”

NBC

8.0

10.27

9

SURVIVOR: ALL-STARS

CBS

7.2

9.27

10

CSI

CBS

6.5

8.41

10

DATELINE SPECIAL 5/5

NBC

6.5

8.42

12

CSI: MIAMI

CBS

6.3

8.13

13

TWO AND A HALF MEN

CBS

5.8

7.47

13

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

CBS

5.8

7.49

15

FRASIER

NBC

5.3

6.88

15

FEAR FACTOR

NBC

5.3

6.87

15

LAW & ORDER: SVU

NBC

5.3

6.83

18

WITHOUT A TRACE

CBS

5.1

6.52

19

SCRUBS

NBC

4.9

6.33

20

AMERICAN IDOL: FINAL FIVE

FOX

4.8

6.21

20

24

FOX

4.8

6.20

22

THE BACHELOR

ABC

4.7

6.01

22

THE O.C.

FOX

4.7

6.00

24

THE SWAN

FOX

4.6

5.93

25

THAT 70’S SHOW

FOX

4.5

5.77

26

CSI – SPECIAL

CBS

4.4

5.66

27

EXTREME MAKEOVER – WED.

ABC

4.3

5.58

28

FRIENDS 5/5 8:30

NBC

4.1

5.33

29

CROSSING JODAN

NBC

3.9

4.97

30

HARRY POTTER

ABC

3.8

4.91

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

 

CABLE TV
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 2

BASIC CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households 

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg %

(000)

1

WWE ENTERTAINMENT (WWE RAW ZONE)

SPIKE

3584

3.3

5109

2

WWE ENTERTAINMENT (WWE RAW)

SPIKE

3469

3.2

5053

3

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3431

3.2

4534

4

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

3254

3.0

4383

5

NBA PLAYOFFS (ROCKETS/LAKERS)

TNT

3153

2.9

3963

6

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3002

2.8

3907

7

REAL WORLD XIV

MTV

2970

2.7

3720

8

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2819

2.6

3617

9

NBA PLAYOFFS (KINGS/MAVERICKS)

TNT

2809

2.6

3481

10

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2796

2.6

3355

11

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2789

2.6

4088

12

PUNKD

MTV

2725

2.5

3599

13

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2722

2.5

3530

14

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2719

2.5

3618

15

JIMMY NEUTRON

NICK

2717

2.5

3613

PAY CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households 

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg %

(000)

1

SOPRANOS, THE

HBO

5870

5.4

8959

2

DEADWOOD

HBO

2917

2.7

4291

3

MATRIX RELOADED, THE

HBO

1827

1.7

2680

4

REAL SEX XTRA: SIZE MATTE

HBO

1102

1.0

1362

5

SIX FEET UNDER

HBO

931

0.9

1393

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

 

SYNDICATION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 2

#

 PROGRAMS

Syndicator

Households

US Rtg%

(000)

1

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

KIN

8.4

9094

2

JEOPARDY

KIN

7.0

7589

3

OPRAH WINFREY SHOW (AT)

KIN

6.5

7076

4

SEINFELD (AT)

SPT

5.8

6281

5

SEINFELD-WKND (AT)

SPT

5.7

6196

6

FRIENDS-SYN (AT)

WB

5.5

5945

7

DR. PHIL SHOW

KIN

5.4

5810

8

EVRY LVS RAYMOND-SYN (AT)

KIN

5.3

5695

9

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT(AT)

PRM

5.2

5679

10

JUDGE JUDY (AT)

PRM

5.0

5461

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SPANISH-LANGUAGE TELEVISION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 2

#

PROGRAMS

Net

NHTI

(000)

1

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE TUE

UNI

20.9

2212

2

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL WED

UNI

20.7

2187

3

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE MON

UNI

20.4

2159

4

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE WED

UNI

19.8

2096

5

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL TUE

UNI

19.5

2056

6

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE FRI

UNI

19.4

2053

6

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL MON

UNI

19.4

2049

8

DON FRANCISCO PRESENTA-WE

UNI

19.1

2019

9

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL FRI

UNI

18.9

1999

10

AMAR OTRA VEZ TUE

UNI

18.8

1985

11

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE THU

UNI

18.4

1942

12

AMAR OTRA VEZ WED

UNI

18.2

1923

13

AMAR OTRA VEZ MON

UNI

18.1

1913

14

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL THU

UNI

17.8

1887

15

AMAR OTRA VEZ THU

UNI

17.5

1848

16

AQUI Y AHORA-THU

UNI

17.2

1814

17

CRISTINA-MON

UNI

16.8

1775

17

AMAR OTRA VEZ FRI

UNI

16.8

1775

19

CASOS VIDA R: ED. ESP TUE

UNI

15.1

1599

20

HORA PICO...REVENTON 5/2(S)-05/02/2004

UNI

14.5

1537

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

 

NETWORK SPORTS
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 2

#

PROGRAMS

Net

Episode

Households

Persons 2+

US Rtg%

Shr

(000)

(000)

1

KTY DERBY
(S)-5/1

NBC

9.3

22

10095

14568

2

FOX NASCAR
NEXTEL CUP

FOX

AUTOCLB
500/ VISA

6.1

14

6577

9817

3

NBA PLAYOFFS
ON ABC-SUN 1

ABC

LA AT SAN
ANT

4.9

11

5331

7290

4

WWE SMACKDOWN!

UPN

3.1

5

3345

4546

5

HP CLASSIC
NEW ORLEANS
SU(S)-5/2

CBS

3RD RND

2.1

5

2266

2772

6

FOX NASCAR
BUSCH SERIES

FOX

LIVE FROM
FONTANA

1.9

5

2110

2717

7

HP CLASSIC
NEW ORLEANS
SA(S)-5/1

CBS

2ND RND

1.7

5

1822

2218

8

NHL PLAYOFFS 
ON ABC
SAT 4(S)-5/1

ABC

CALG AT DETRT/
COL AT SAN JOSE

1.6

4

1686

2038

9

NCAA WOMEN'S
GYMNASTC
CHP(S)-5/1

CBS

1.3

4

1449

1779

10

NBC SPORTS
SPECIAL 5/2(S)

NBC

EQSTRIAN

1.2

3

1259

1643

11

NBC SPORTS
SPEC. 5/1(S)-5/1

NBC

BOXING

1.1

3

1157

1384

12

NBC ARENA
FOOTBALL

NBC

TPA BAY AT ORLND
CHI AT DTRT

0.7

2

804

937

Source: Nielsen Media Research


May 12, 2004© 2004 Media Life


--Diego Vasquez is a Washington writer.


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