WITHOUT DANCING, ABC TRIPS
Without either Dancing with the Stars or Lost on its schedule, ABC plunged from first place to last, as replacements Show Me the Money and Day Break flopped Wednesday night. Show Me the Money drew a 5.7 rating and a 9 share at 8:00 p.m., barely beating out the CW's America's Next Top Model, which posted a 5.3/8. Meanwhile, Day Break, which was shoehorned into the 9:00 hour in order to avoid the audience erosion that has occurred previously when Lost aired reruns, attracted even lower ratings than those reruns. Wednesday's episode drew a 3.8/6, 33 percent below Show Me the Money.
DESPITE LOW RATINGS, NBC KEEPS STUDIO 60
NBC has decided to keep Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in its Monday-night time slot despite continued audience erosion. The show, however, continues to delight TV critics. In today's (Thursday) New York Times, Alessandra Stanley, applauding NBC's decision to stick with it, remarked that it "works, at times brilliantly." Another ratings-challenged but critically praised show, Friday Night Lights, will switch from Tuesdays to Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m., starting January 10. commented Melanie McFarland, the television critic of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Could it be that this fall's combination of high critical expectation and low viewer response has conspired to bring about ... patience?" After the football season ends, NBC will revamp its Sunday-night schedule with Grease: You're the One That I Want debuting on January 7, in which contestants will vie for a leading role on a Broadway revival of Grease. A new season of The Apprentice will also debut on January 7. Both shows will air 90-minute segments for the first two weeks, then be joined by Crossing Jordan on January 21. Although NBC had indicated recently that it planned to add a third edition of Dateline to its schedule, the final lineup released Wednesday showed the news magazine airing only on Tuesdays and Sundays.
PENGUINS MARCH TO CABLE VICTORY
Emperor penguins not only ruled at the box office last week, they also dominated basic cable as Hallmark Channel's telecast of the documentary March of the Penguins drew 4.5 million viewers on Saturday, its biggest audience ever. The Penguins film also helped give Hallmark the highest ratings of any day in its history. For the week of Nov. 20-26, it ranked second only to ESPN's Monday Night Football.
TIVO'S REVENUE SOARS; SO DO ITS LOSSES
TiVo, the most famous name in digital video recorders, but which has nonetheless never been able to translate its fame into profits, narrowed its loss 28 percent in the third quarter to $11.1 million versus a loss of $14.2 million during the same quarter a year ago. The result beat analysts' expectations. Nevertheless, TiVo had to increase its gross revenue 32 percent to achieve the result, taking in $65.6 million compared with $49.6 million a year earlier. Moreover, the company projected a net loss of $33-38 million in the fourth quarter, when it essentially gives away settop recorders via rebates in order to sign up new subscribers. Several analysts questioned the strategy and maintain that it will never allow TiVo to post a profit. "The company is burning a lot of cash and is showing little growth," Oppenheimer's Alan Bezoza told USA Today. Shares in the company fell more than 5 percent in after-hours trading Wednesday.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE REHEARSALS MAY BE WEBCAST
In what today's (Thursday) Hollywood Reporter described as "a case of art imitating art imitating art yet again," NBC is considering airing the rehearsals of Saturday Night Live -- fodder for the writers of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and 30 Rock -- on the Internet. As reported by the trade publication, NBC Universal chief digital officer George Kliavkoff told a conference in Los Angeles Wednesday that sometimes the SNL Friday-night rehearsals are "a lot more interesting than the show."