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Page 3 of 4

For the networks, season didn't rate

Strike, DVRs drove numbers to record lows

By James Hibberd

May 22, 2008, 07:16 PM ET

Updated: May 23, 2008, 12:59 PM ET

2007-08 season wrap chart
Key:
New series
Returning series
Unscripted series
Newsmagazine
Sports program




Series Net Adults Viewers
1 American Idol (Tues.) Fox 11.2/28 28.8
2 American Idol (Wed.) Fox 10.7/26 27.4
3 Desperate Housewives ABC 7.0/16 18.2
4 House Fox 6.7/16 16.8
5 Grey's Anatomy ABC 6.4/15 15.6
6 The Moment of Truth Fox 6.2/14 14.7
6 Heroes NBC 6.2/14 13.1
8 NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 6.1/15 15.5
9 Lost ABC 5.6/14 13.0
10 Hell's Kitchen Fox 5.5/13 11.9
10 Dancing W/the Stars (fall/Mon.) ABC 5.5/13 21.7
12 Survivor: China CBS 5.1/14 15.2
13 CSI CBS 4.9/12 16.9
13 Dancing W/the Stars (fall/Tues.) ABC 4.9/11 19.6
13 Dancing W/the Stars (spring/Mon.) ABC 4.9/13 19.6
16 Two and a Half Men CBS 4.8/11 13.6
17 Survivor: Micronesia CBS 4.6/13 13.6
17 Extreme Makers: Home Ed. ABC 4.6/11 13.1
19 Terminator: Sarah Connor Fox 4.5/11 10.8
20 The Office NBC 4.2/10 8.0
20 Brothers & Sisters ABC 4.2/10 11.1
20 CSI: Miami CBS 4.2/11 13.8
23 Law & Order: NBC 4.1/11 11.5
23 Dancing W/the Stars (spring/Tues.) ABC 4.1/10 17.5
25 Bionic Woman NBC 4.0/10 9.8
25 Rules of Engagement CBS 4.0/9 10.8
25 Family Guy Fox 4.0/9 7.9
25 Private Practice ABC 4.0/10 10.8
25 The Apprentice 7 NBC 4.0/10 9.8
30 Samantha Who? ABC 3.9/9 11.8
30 Oprah's Big Give ABC 3.9/9 11.2
30 The Amazing Race CBS 3.9/9 11.8
33 The Simpsons Fox 3.8/10 7.9
33 Old Christine CBS 3.8/9 10.4
35 American Gladiators NBC 3.7/9 8.9
35 The Bachelor ABC 3.7/9 9.7
35 ER NBC 3.7/9 9.1
35 The Biggest Loser: Couples NBC 3.7/9 9.0
39 Medium NBC 3.5/9 10.4
39 Chuck NBC 3.5/9 8.7
39 Prison Break Fox 3.5/9 8.1
39 Without a Trace CBS 3.5/9 13.3
43 The Biggest Loser 4 NBC 3.4/9 8.2
43 Criminal Minds CBS 3.4/8 12.7
43 Pushing Daisies ABC 3.4/10 9.5
46 Here Come the Newlyweds ABC 3.3/9 8.1
46 CSI: NY CBS 3.3/9 11.7
46 Scrubs NBC 3.3/8 6.3
46 How I Met Your Mother CBS 3.3/9 8.2
46 The Big Bang Theory CBS 3.3/8 8.3
46 Law & Order NBC 3.3/8 x.x
46 King of the Hill Fox 3.3/8 6.8
53 American Dad Fox 3.2/7 6.6
53 Bones Fox 3.2/9 9.1
53 Big Shots ABC 3.2/8 7.7
56 My Name Is Earl NBC 3.1/9 7.3
56 The Unit CBS 3.1/7 11.2
56 30 Rock NBC 3.1/8 6.4
56 Ugly Betty ABC 3.1/8 9.3
60 Life NBC 3.0/8 8.1
60 NCIS CBS 3.0/8 14.2
60 Dirty Sexy Money ABC 3.0/8 8.1
63 Lipstick Jungle NBC 2.9/8 7.0
63 New Amsterdam Fox 2.9/7 8.9
63 Don't Forget the Lyrics Fox 2.9/7 8.3
63 Kitchen Nightmares Fox 2.9/7 6.2
63 The Bachelor: London Calling ABC 2.9/7 7.8
68 Deal or No Deal NBC 2.8/8 10.6
68 Journeyman NBC 2.8/7 7.1
68 Eli Stone ABC 2.8/8 8.1
68 Supernanny ABC 2.8/7 7.0
72 Cold Case CBS 2.7/6 11.1
72 Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann ABC 2.7/7 10.2
74 60 Minutes CBS 2.6/7 12.9
74 Boston Legal ABC 2.6/7 9.8
74 Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Fox 2.6/7 9.1
74 Las Vegas NBC 2.6/8 8.5
78 America's Next Top Model 3 CW 2.5/7 5.1
78 Cavemen ABC 2.5/7 6.6
78 Kid Nation CBS 2.5/7 7.8
81 Big Brother CBS 2.4/6 6.6
81 Am. Funniest Home Videos ABC 2.4/7 6.8
81 Ghost Whisperer CBS 2.4/8 8.7
81 Cashmere Mafia ABC 2.4/6 6.1
81 Jericho CBS 2.4/6 7.1
81 Numbers CBS 2.4/7 9.2
81 Cane CBS 2.4/6 8.9
81 Shark CBS 2.4/6 10.3
81 Phenomenon NBC 2.4/7 6.7
90 Wife Swap ABC 2.3/6 6.2
90 Unhitched Fox 2.3/5 4.7
90 Back to You Fox 2.3/7 6.5
90 'Til Death Fox 2.3/6 6.1
94 Welcome to the Captain CBS 2.2/6 6.4
94 Friday Night Lights NBC 2.2/6 6.2
94 AMW: American Fights Back Fox 2.2/6 6.2
94 October Road ABC 2.2/5 5.3
98 Cops Fox 2.1/7 6.1
98 Moonlight CBS 2.1/6 7.5
98 The Singing Bee NBC 2.1/6 6.5
98 Saturday Night Football ABC 2.1/7 6.2
98 American's Next Top Model 4 CW 2.1/6 4.2
98 1 vs. 100 NBC 2.1/6 8.0
104 My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad NBC 2.0/5 6.2
104 Notes From the Underbelly ABC 2.0/5 5.1
104 Women's Murder Club ABC 2.0/6 8.8
104 Carpoolers ABC 2.0/5 5.3
108 20/20 ABC 1.9/6 6.5
108 K-Ville Fox 1.9/4 5.5
110 Dateline NBC NBC 1.8/6 6.5
111 48 Hours Mystery CBS 1.7/5 6.5
111 Men in Trees ABC 1.7/5 6.2
113 According to Jim ABC 1.6/4 4.7
113 Smallville CW 1.6/4 3.8
115 Beauty and the Geek 2 CW 1.5/4 3.0
115 Secret Talents of Stars CBS 1.5/4 4.7
115 Canterbury's Law Fox 1.5/4 6.2
115 Amnesia NBC 1.5/5 5.1
119 Friday Night Smackdown CW 1.4/5 4.6
119 Power of Ten CBS 1.4/4 5.3
119 Just for Laughs ABC 1.4/4 4.9
122 One Tree Hill CW 1.3/3 3.0
123 The Next Great American Band Fox 1.2/4 2.9
123 The Return of Jezebel James Fox 1.2/4 3.3
123 Viva Laughlin CBS 1.2/3 6.5
126 Supernatural CW 1.1/3 2.7
126 Reaper CW 1.1/3 2.4
126 Duel ABC 1.1/3 3.8
129 Gossip Girl CW 1.0/2 2.1
129 Farmer Wants a Wife CW 1.0/2 2.2
131 The Game CW 0.9/2 1.9
131 Pussycat Dolls: Girlicious CW 0.9/2 1.9
131 Beauty and the Geek 3 CW 0.9/2 1.9
134 Crowned CW 0.8/2 1.9
135 Everybody Hates Chris CW 0.7/2 1.7
135 Girlfriends CW 0.7/2 1.6
137 Aliens in America CW 0.5/1 1.2
138 Life Is Wild CW 0.4/1 1.1
139 CW Now CW 0.3/1 0.7
139 Online Nation CW 0.3/1 0.7



For the networks, season didn't rate

Strike, DVRs drove numbers to record lows

By James Hibberd

May 22, 2008, 07:16 PM ET

Updated: May 23, 2008, 12:59 PM ET

It will go down as one of the strangest and most difficult periods in broadcast television history: The 2007-08 season, where a perfect storm of a WGA strike, rocketing DVR penetration and the rapid expansion of the video marketplace resulted in the lowest-rated season on record.

Before the strike even hit, the season launched with worrisome news: Hit shows were returning down an average of about 8% in the ratings from the previous year. Yet as the weeks ticked by, some networks still had positive stories to tell. Fox was gaining traction in the fall and ABC's new shows were finding fans.

"The season got off to a very good start, but what ended up happening was like a car that started picking up speed and then ran into a wall," said Bill Carroll, director of programming at Katz Television Group.

As the season rolled over into 2008, NBC countered the strike with a surge of reality programming. "The Biggest Loser: Couples," a celebrity edition of "The Apprentice" and the debut of "American Gladiators" initially proved effective counter-strike programming.

And once the walkout concluded, there were more upbeat headlines as CBS enjoyed record ratings for the return of its Monday night comedy block. The numbers suggested that, just maybe, things weren't so bad after all.

But then as full schedules returned to the air, viewers held back. Such returning hit dramas as ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" hit record lows, with programs with serialized elements being hit especially hard.

Only once networks entered the May sweep did the damage of the strike and fractured viewing become clear: Networks were down double digits during the sweep despite running at full steam on most nights. Even major fare like Fox's "American Idol" were showing clear erosion, with the reality hit down about 10%.

With DVR penetration at 24% (compared with 15% last year), the story improves slightly when looking at the full season and factoring seven days of viewing per show. But not by much.

"The most difficult network television season ever," said John Rash, senior vp at Campbell Mithun. "Every network needs to work so that it doesn't get worse for next year. Almost all are betting the dizzying decline in ratings was the result of the writers strike and not a more fundamental shift away from broadcast."

Wrapping up the season, reality-fueled Fox won by a wide margin based on most current returns (11 million average viewers, 4.2 adults 18-49 rating/11 share). Fox managed a 2% increase among adults 18-49 this season, partly thanks to airing the Super Bowl, and is expected to win among every major demographic.

Fox is followed by CBS (10.5 million, 3.0/8), down 19% in the demo; ABC (9.2 million, 3.0/8) is down 14%; NBC (8.1 million, 2.8/8) is down 10%; the CW network (2.6 million, 1.1/3) is down 15% and MyNet is up 33% (1.1 million, 0.4/1).

Part of the issue is that broadcast viewers are going to cable. Nielsen audience levels show there's just as many viewers watching television programming as last year, if not a little more, and that ad-supported cable is enjoying double-digit overall gains.



The odd, downbeat year made renewing shows especially difficult. A 2.0 rating was the new 3.0 this season; several shows are returning when in previous years that performance would have earned them the heave-ho. ABC's "Oprah's Big Give" (11.2 million, 3.9) was the highest-ranking show that doesn't have a return planned, though ABC has said that production company Harpo elected not to have a second run.

Of the outright canceled shows, NBC's "Bionic Woman" averaged the highest (9.8 million, 4.0). Network-swapping comedy "Scrubs" (6.3 million, 3.3) finished the season with a higher rating than fellow NBC comedy companions "30 Rock" (6.4 million, 3.1) and "My Name Is Earl" (7.3 million, 3.1).

Although "Idol" fell in the ratings this season (Tuesday: 28.8 million, 11.2), it still finished as the top show and managed a finale that matched last year's conclusion (31.7 million, 11.4).

Moreover, Fox put the "Idol" lead-in power to good use, driving two reality shows into the top 10 shows for the season -- freshman series "The Moment of Truth" and the in-season run of "Hell's Kitchen" (11.9 million, 5.5).

Other shows were pushed back until next fall without a spring run -- including such freshman series as NBC's "Chuck" (8.7 million, 3.5) and ABC's "Private Practice" (10.8 million, 4.0). NBC's "Heroes" (13.1 million, 6.2) was the highest-rated show in the demo that the strike pushed all the way until next season.

The push-backs are on the front line of questions about the lasting impact of the current season. With several second-chance shows populating the fall schedule rather than new offerings, TV historian Tim Brooks said the most significant impact of the current season may still be to come.

"This fall will be the leanest season of new programs, perhaps ever," Brooks said. "Networks are reducing their chances for a comeback or stabilization by not putting more on the shelf. What broadcast really needs is the next 'House,' the next 'Idol.' "

Another factor is whether viewers will return to last year's truncated freshman crop. Will audiences watch shows they barely remember?

"The shows will create a challenge for networks to reintroduce them to the public without the abundant free media that usually accompanies new programs," Rash said. "This is uncharted territory."

2007-08 season wrap chart

Key:
New series
Returning series
Unscripted series
Newsmagazine
Sports program


Series Net Adults Viewers
1 American Idol (Tues.) Fox 11.2/28 28.8
2 American Idol (Wed.) Fox 10.7/26 27.4
3 Desperate Housewives ABC 7.0/16 18.2
4 House Fox 6.7/16 16.8
5 Grey's Anatomy ABC 6.4/15 15.6
6 The Moment of Truth Fox 6.2/14 14.7
6 Heroes NBC 6.2/14 13.1
8 NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 6.1/15 15.5
9 Lost ABC 5.6/14 13.0
10 Hell's Kitchen Fox 5.5/13 11.9
10 Dancing W/the Stars (fall/Mon.) ABC 5.5/13 21.7
12 Survivor: China CBS 5.1/14 15.2
13 CSI CBS 4.9/12 16.9
13 Dancing W/the Stars (fall/Tues.) ABC 4.9/11 19.6
13 Dancing W/the Stars (spring/Mon.) ABC 4.9/13 19.6
16 Two and a Half Men CBS 4.8/11 13.6
17 Survivor: Micronesia CBS 4.6/13 13.6
17 Extreme Makers: Home Ed. ABC 4.6/11 13.1
19 Terminator: Sarah Connor Fox 4.5/11 10.8
20 The Office NBC 4.2/10 8.0
20 Brothers & Sisters ABC 4.2/10 11.1
20 CSI: Miami CBS 4.2/11 13.8
23 Law & Order: NBC 4.1/11 11.5
23 Dancing W/the Stars (spring/Tues.) ABC 4.1/10 17.5
25 Bionic Woman NBC 4.0/10 9.8
25 Rules of Engagement CBS 4.0/9 10.8
25 Family Guy Fox 4.0/9 7.9
25 Private Practice ABC 4.0/10 10.8
25 The Apprentice 7 NBC 4.0/10 9.8
30 Samantha Who? ABC 3.9/9 11.8
30 Oprah's Big Give ABC 3.9/9 11.2
30 The Amazing Race CBS 3.9/9 11.8
33 The Simpsons Fox 3.8/10 7.9
33 Old Christine CBS 3.8/9 10.4
35 American Gladiators NBC 3.7/9 8.9
35 The Bachelor ABC 3.7/9 9.7
35 ER NBC 3.7/9 9.1
35 The Biggest Loser: Couples NBC 3.7/9 9.0
39 Medium NBC 3.5/9 10.4
39 Chuck NBC 3.5/9 8.7
39 Prison Break Fox 3.5/9 8.1
39 Without a Trace CBS 3.5/9 13.3
43 The Biggest Loser 4 NBC 3.4/9 8.2
43 Criminal Minds CBS 3.4/8 12.7
43 Pushing Daisies ABC 3.4/10 9.5
46 Here Come the Newlyweds ABC 3.3/9 8.1
46 CSI: NY CBS 3.3/9 11.7
46 Scrubs NBC 3.3/8 6.3
46 How I Met Your Mother CBS 3.3/9 8.2
46 The Big Bang Theory CBS 3.3/8 8.3
46 Law & Order NBC 3.3/8 x.x
46 King of the Hill Fox 3.3/8 6.8
53 American Dad Fox 3.2/7 6.6
53 Bones Fox 3.2/9 9.1
53 Big Shots ABC 3.2/8 7.7
56 My Name Is Earl NBC 3.1/9 7.3
56 The Unit CBS 3.1/7 11.2
56 30 Rock NBC 3.1/8 6.4
56 Ugly Betty ABC 3.1/8 9.3
60 Life NBC 3.0/8 8.1
60 NCIS CBS 3.0/8 14.2
60 Dirty Sexy Money ABC 3.0/8 8.1
63 Lipstick Jungle NBC 2.9/8 7.0
63 New Amsterdam Fox 2.9/7 8.9
63 Don't Forget the Lyrics Fox 2.9/7 8.3
63 Kitchen Nightmares Fox 2.9/7 6.2
63 The Bachelor: London Calling ABC 2.9/7 7.8
68 Deal or No Deal NBC 2.8/8 10.6
68 Journeyman NBC 2.8/7 7.1
68 Eli Stone ABC 2.8/8 8.1
68 Supernanny ABC 2.8/7 7.0
72 Cold Case CBS 2.7/6 11.1
72 Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann ABC 2.7/7 10.2
74 60 Minutes CBS 2.6/7 12.9
74 Boston Legal ABC 2.6/7 9.8
74 Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Fox 2.6/7 9.1
74 Las Vegas NBC 2.6/8 8.5
78 America's Next Top Model 3 CW 2.5/7 5.1
78 Cavemen ABC 2.5/7 6.6
78 Kid Nation CBS 2.5/7 7.8
81 Big Brother CBS 2.4/6 6.6
81 Am. Funniest Home Videos ABC 2.4/7 6.8
81 Ghost Whisperer CBS 2.4/8 8.7
81 Cashmere Mafia ABC 2.4/6 6.1
81 Jericho CBS 2.4/6 7.1
81 Numbers CBS 2.4/7 9.2
81 Cane CBS 2.4/6 8.9
81 Shark CBS 2.4/6 10.3
81 Phenomenon NBC 2.4/7 6.7
90 Wife Swap ABC 2.3/6 6.2
90 Unhitched Fox 2.3/5 4.7
90 Back to You Fox 2.3/7 6.5
90 'Til Death Fox 2.3/6 6.1
94 Welcome to the Captain CBS 2.2/6 6.4
94 Friday Night Lights NBC 2.2/6 6.2
94 AMW: American Fights Back Fox 2.2/6 6.2
94 October Road ABC 2.2/5 5.3
98 Cops Fox 2.1/7 6.1
98 Moonlight CBS 2.1/6 7.5
98 The Singing Bee NBC 2.1/6 6.5
98 Saturday Night Football ABC 2.1/7 6.2
98 American's Next Top Model 4 CW 2.1/6 4.2
98 1 vs. 100 NBC 2.1/6 8.0
104 My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad NBC 2.0/5 6.2
104 Notes From the Underbelly ABC 2.0/5 5.1
104 Women's Murder Club ABC 2.0/6 8.8
104 Carpoolers ABC 2.0/5 5.3
108 20/20 ABC 1.9/6 6.5
108 K-Ville Fox 1.9/4 5.5
110 Dateline NBC NBC 1.8/6 6.5
111 48 Hours Mystery CBS 1.7/5 6.5
111 Men in Trees ABC 1.7/5 6.2
113 According to Jim ABC 1.6/4 4.7
113 Smallville CW 1.6/4 3.8
115 Beauty and the Geek 2 CW 1.5/4 3.0
115 Secret Talents of Stars CBS 1.5/4 4.7
115 Canterbury's Law Fox 1.5/4 6.2
115 Amnesia NBC 1.5/5 5.1
119 Friday Night Smackdown CW 1.4/5 4.6
119 Power of Ten CBS 1.4/4 5.3
119 Just for Laughs ABC 1.4/4 4.9
122 One Tree Hill CW 1.3/3 3.0
123 The Next Great American Band Fox 1.2/4 2.9
123 The Return of Jezebel James Fox 1.2/4 3.3
123 Viva Laughlin CBS 1.2/3 6.5
126 Supernatural CW 1.1/3 2.7
126 Reaper CW 1.1/3 2.4
126 Duel ABC 1.1/3 3.8
129 Gossip Girl CW 1.0/2 2.1
129 Farmer Wants a Wife CW 1.0/2 2.2
131 The Game CW 0.9/2 1.9
131 Pussycat Dolls: Girlicious CW 0.9/2 1.9
131 Beauty and the Geek 3 CW 0.9/2 1.9
134 Crowned CW 0.8/2 1.9
135 Everybody Hates Chris CW 0.7/2 1.7
135 Girlfriends CW 0.7/2 1.6
137 Aliens in America CW 0.5/1 1.2
138 Life Is Wild CW 0.4/1 1.1
139 CW Now CW 0.3/1 0.7
139 Online Nation CW 0.3/1 0.7



Teens
Show Net Rating/Share
1 American Idol (Tues) Fox 7.6/24
2 American Idol (Wed) Fox 7.1/23
3 The Moment of Truth Fox 4.8/16
4 House Fox 4.3/14
5 Family Guy Fox 4.1/12
6 Desperate Housewives ABC 3.5/11
6 Heroes NBC 3.5/11
8 American Dad Fox 3.4/10
9 The Simpsons Fox 3.3/11
10 Ext. Makeover: Home Ed ABC 2.9/9
10 Hell's Kitchen Fox 2.9/10
10 King of the Hill Fox 2.9/9

18-34
Show Net Rating/Share
1 American Idol (Tues) Fox 9.5/26
2 American Idol (Wed) Fox 8.8/24
3 House Fox 6.7/17
3 Heroes NBC 6.7/16
5 Grey's Anatomy Fox 6.2/16
6 The Moment of Truth Fox 6.0/17
7 NBC Sun. Night Football CBS 5.4/15
7 Desperate Housewives ABC 5.4/14
8 Family Guy ABC 5.1/13
10 Lost ABC 5.0/14
10 Hell's Kitchen Fox 5.0/13

25-54
Show Net Rating/Share
1 American Idol (Tues) Fox 12.4/28
2 American Idol (Wed) Fox 11.9/27
3 Desperate Housewives ABC 8.0/17
4 House Fox 7.7/17
5 Grey's Anatomy ABC 6.9/15
6 Dancing With the Stars ABC 6.7/15
7 NBC Sun. Night Football NBC 6.6/15
8 The Moment of Truth Fox 6.4/15
8 Heroes NBC 6.4/13
10 CSI CBS 6.3/14

18-49 with $100K+

Show Net Index*
1 The Office NBC 150
2 Lost ABC 143
3 Lipstick Jungle NBC 141
4 30 Rock NBC 140
5 Friday Night Lights NBC 135
6 60 Minutes CBS 134
7 Scrubs NBC 132
8 The Apprentice NBC 130
8 Grey's Anatomy ABC 130
10 Old Christine CBS 129
10 Dirty Sexy Monday ABC 129


 


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