Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ratings, Strike Updates

In case you missed it, Sunday's Super Bowl telecast was the second-highest rated TV event ever, behind only the 1983 telecast of the final episode of "M*A*S*H."

The Super Bowl drew in 97.4 million viewers, thanks in part to the Patriots' attempted run at perfection, and the post-Super Bowl episode of "House" drew 29 million viewers, its highest-rating ever. (In case you were wondering, "M*A*S*H" drew 106 million viewers and a record 77 share — meaning more than three-quarters of any TV set turned on that night was tuned to CBS.) Fox is rerunning that episode of "House," guest starring Mira Sorvino, on Feb. 15.

Of course, the TV landscape is different now than it was in 1983. There was no internet to contend with, and cable options were much more limited. Also, many fewer households had VCRs, so TV shows had to be watched live.

The strike has had a major impact on the networks, as ratings are down all over the place while we are in the middle of sweeps week (when networks use their ratings to set ad rates).

Meanwhile,'s Michael Ausiello has updates about the prospects of several shows returning this season or next, assuming a deal between the writers and the studios is hammered out in the next couple of weeks. (What will likely happen is that if the union approves the tentative deal this Saturday, the writers will return to work while the lawyers hammer out the final details.)

Some shows on the bubble: It looks as if we may get the final four episodes of "Scrubs," but Friday's installment of "Friday Night Lights" may be the last first-run episode — ever. That one you can blame on NBC president Ben Silverman, not the WGA strike.

For more about the fates of other shows, click here:

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: As part of Black History Month, PBS is airing the documentary "African American Lives" at 9 p.m.

There's a new episode of "Cashmere Mafia" (ABC, 10 p.m.) opposite a new "CSI: NY" (ABC, 10 p.m.)


Hotspur said...


Please explain your comments on "Friday Night Lights"

Phillip Ramati said...

According to reports, FNL won't be making any more episodes this season, meaning this week's is the final one.

Silverman has been quoted as saying the show doesn't look good for renewal for next year.

zodin2008 said...

That's an amazing Television rating for a modern day event like the S.B., which as you correctly stated, is competing in a very different era than Mash was 25 yrs. ago.

A lot of this I am sure had to do with New England's (failed) pursuit of perfection, but I think the overall dead zone that is prime time Television and the lack of overall programming these days, led a thirst for people to see something, anything original, that wasn't JUST a reality series.

just look no further at the boffo Cable ratings for the various news cable channels (Fox, MSNBC and CNN) for their political coverage, talking heads shows and debates. the ratings are way up.

It's partly at the split down the middle excitement of the Democratic race between Clinton & Obama, and it's also about the fact that Americans are more in tuned with political coverage because there is simply less to watch on Television. It's particularly GOOD news for the news outlets that after Super Tuesday yesterday, Obama and Clinton are essentially neck n neck nationally, which probably means a few more months of big cable news ratings while the chosen candidate is sorted out.

The "Friday Night Lights" news, while not shocking, is really depressing. I doubt it was really 'hurting' NBC to have this fantastic, critically beloved little Texas show on Fridays - middling to low ratings, but amazing critical buzz for the network & a less hectic TV night.

But Ben Silverman, since taking over at NBC, has shown a lust for easy ratings of Game shows and reality series and only cares about the bottom line, which fits in with his recent announcement that NBC was going to the cable model of doing year round TV with only about 3-4 new shows a year.

It maybe a more 'efficient' business model but is more likely to see NBC get smoked for this - forever.

At this point, I am going to have to accept that "Friday Night Lights" and "Journeyman" (two of my favorite shows are goners) but if I could at least get confirmation that "Chuck" will be back by the Fall and that "Scrubs" can finish on its own terms, that will provide me a tiny bit of solace.