NEW TV SHOWS FAIL TO DRAW VIEWERS
There was something for each of the broadcast networks to boast about in last week's Nielsen ratings race. CBS once again attracted the most viewers, but ABC and NBC tied for a win among the advertiser-prized adults 18-49 demographic. Fox, meanwhile, saw another strong performance from House. Not a single new show landed in the top ten, however. For the week, CBS averaged a 7.3 rating and a 12 share, down 10 percent from the comparable week a year ago. ABC placed second with a 7.1/12, off 3 percent from last year. NBC continued to struggle with a 5.8/10, down 11 percent from last year. Fox trailed with a 4.3/7, plummeting 16 percent from last year.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 13.1/19; 2. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 12.8/19; 3. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 12.5/19; 4. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 11.2/17; 4. (tie) Sunday Night Football, NBC, 11.2/18; 6. Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 10.4/16; 7. House, Fox, 10.3/16; 8. NCIS, CBS, 10.2/16; 9. CSI: Miami, CBS, 9.8/16; 10. Criminal Minds, CBS, 9.5/15.
RATINGS FLY OUT OF THE PARK FOR TBS
In cable ratings, TBS scored its best week ever with its coverage of post-season baseball. The MLB coverage gave TBS an average primetime audience of 5.3 million viewers, peaking at 8.46 million for the third game of the Yankees-Indians series. Nevertheless, the highest-rated cable telecast last week was ESPN's coverage of the Patriots-Bengals Monday Night Football game on October 1, which drew 11.8 million viewers.
NIELSEN BACKS OFF LATEST "CREATIVE" RATINGS SYSTEM
Nielsen has abandoned a policy of combining the ratings of two airings of the same show if the commercial content for both is identical. In a statement, Nielsen said, "Clients told us that it was essential for the ratings to the individual telecasts to remain available so that viewing to each telecast can be analyzed separately and to ensure there is no ratings gap in any time period." (Previously the ratings for such shows were not available until Nielsen unveiled its weekly composites.)
NBC TO BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO OXYGEN
It may have been struggling in recent years, but NBC Universal thought enough of the women's-oriented Oxygen channel to pay $925 million for it. Oxygen, launched in 2007 by Oprah Winfrey, cable programmer Geraldine Laybourne, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and TV producer Marcy Carsey among others, joins NBC's roster of cable channels that includes USA Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Sci-Fi, and Bravo. Each of the channels has been recording rising ratings, even as the NBC broadcast network has strived to overcome the collapse of its once-dominant position that occurred three years ago. In an interview with today's (Wednesday) Los Angeles Times, Laybourne, who previously ran Viacom's Nickelodeon Channel, said, "We got it built from scratch and we established a strong brand ... but our programs are way better than our ratings. Oxygen needs to grow, and it needs a bigger audience." She indicated that she was pleased to learn of NBC's plans to package Oxygen with the Today show, Bravo, and iVillage.com to sell to advertisers. "What we lacked was cross-promotion," Laybourne, who said that she will remain with the channel, told the Times. "What this acquisition is really about is a boost-off for Oxygen." In a conference call with reporters, NBC Universal boss Jeff Zucker called Oxygen "the crown jewel of independent networks" and remarked, "Cable is the real strength of NBC Universal and a real growth area for us."
BRAVER INTERVIEW WITH LYNNE CHENEY: A CONFLICT OF INTEREST?
An attempt by the CBS News blog Public Eye to provide an opportunity for CBS Sunday Morning producer Rand Morrison to answer criticism of correspondent Rita Braver's interview with Lynne Cheney appears to have backfired, as writers to the site have lined up almost solidly on the side of the critics. In his response to the initial criticism, which had appeared on Jim Romanesko's journalism blog on Poynter.com, Morrison had dismissed complaints that the interview represented a conflict of interest since Braver's husband represents Lynne Cheney in her dealings with publishers. Braver, he said, had "disclosed her husband's role with the Cheney book ... for all of our viewers to know." He also maintained that the interview was far from "fawning," as some writers had suggested, and insisted that Braver had asked some tough questions. But one writer to the website, which seems to attract broadcast journalists, suggested that Morrison needed "a refresher course in Journalism 101 and media ethics, given this conflict [of interest]." As for the "tough questions" asked by Braver, another writer commented, "I didn't even watch the interview and I know how she answered." Only one writer came to CBS News's defense, commenting, "I find it hard to believe that [Braver's] relationship to Cheney altered the interview in any form. ... Is she supposed to be forbidden from interviewing Lynne Cheney simply because [her] husband helped with the publishing of Cheney's books?"