Beginning at the very essence of creating a solid programming block involves an innate understanding of the available audience. Friday is not a Thursday or a Sunday where HUT levels are at their peak. It is an out-of-the-home night, the beginning of the weekend…a gathering night at the restaurants…religious services for some…the opening night of the week’s latest movies at the cinema…a jump on weekend shopping. You get the picture. The audience is older. This is the night for the greying of America. It is a night where loyalty and habit abound. There is only one network that understand this and it is CBS. Since Les Moonves came to restore The Eye to its former dominating prime time position, his understanding and dedication to content, and that content that matches the available audience, underscores The Tiffany Network’s success. At 8P, ‘Undercover Boss’ built a 3.2 million viewer lead for this Friday in the middle of the all important November sweeps, with a powerful 9.34 million viewers. At 9P, ‘Hawaii Five-O’ is not only finding its place but it is increasing the position from the lead-in programming, now with characters that show depth and actors people care about. It drew 9.39 million. Notice, no Christine Lahti. Enter the very likable Michelle Borth. Now, bring in a baby (remember ‘Three Men and a Little Lady’?), show off the great Honolulu Zoo, add a touch of fan favorite Chi McBride, led by an extremely likable lead actor in Alex O’Loughlin backed by fan favorites Scott Caan (a Golden Globe nominee for the show as best supporting actor), Daniel Dae Kim and Masi Oka, solve the crime and welcome Michelle Borth officially to the team and you have the beginning of a very long-term center block of your Friday evenings. Then at 10P, the hammer enters the programming field with Mr. Selleck’s ‘Blue Bloods’. In an episode that showed the difficulty of being a cop in a fatal shooting of a teenage suspect cross meshed with the solving of suspected murder of a stockbroker that brings out the core of Donnie Wahlberg’s character while understanding that ‘family comes first’ in the Reagan household, drew a broadcast network high for the evening of 10.98 million viewers. This is a 2 million margin over all of the rest of the combined broadcast competition on this evening. That is called dominance. That is how one builds a programming schedule. That is a complete understanding of your available audience.
ABC finished a distant #2. At 8P, ‘Last Man Standing’ was no match as it drew 6.18 million, down 1.1 million from what it did last season on the comparable day in this time slot. At 830P, ‘The Neighbors’ drew 4.55 million. This is where ABC lost over 2.7 million viewers compared to ‘Malibu Country’ which ran in this time slot last year on this comparable day. At 9P, ‘Shark Tank’ lifted The Alphabet Network with 7.25 million, nearly 600,000 over what it did last year. At 10P, ’20/20′, while #2 as were all of the other ABC shows on this evening, could only draw 5.98 million, a drop of 1+ million viewers in a half hour. But it did draw 1.06 million more than it did in his time slot last season on this comparable day. Yet, the network built with the beginning of the alphabet as a name, still finished some 5 million behind ‘Blue Bloods’.
On NBC, the night was another disaster as it presented clear evidence The Peacock Network has no clue on understanding the available audience. At 8P, ‘Dateline’ drew the network’s largest audience of the evening with 5.6 million viewers. It is a reliable program that provides a real counter balance to the other network’s offerings. It brought in 2.4 million more viewers than the programs that ran in this time slot a year previous on this day. This was a good move by the network. But then, even if they are in 3rd place going into the 9P time slot, the network brings ‘Grimm’. The audience drops to 4.94 million in a heartbeat. The relationship to the audience that was built-in the first hour has nothing in common with this show. It was 330,000 viewers less than what it did last season on this comparable date. Then at 10P, the network falls off the table with only 2.99 million viewers tuning in to view the much publicized Jonathan Rhys Meyers horribly disappointing vehicle, ‘Dracula’. It dropped 2.6 million from ‘Dateline’ that was in this time slot on this comparable day a year ago. Now the network has left the affiliates with one hope…the hope that viewers will stumble in and view their 11P local newscasts.
FOX is beginning to understand Fridays. Not this week, but next week. This week it ran the finale of ‘MasterChef Jr.’ which pulled in 4.21 million viewers. Also, at 9P, a ‘Sleepy Hollow’ rerun drew only 1.86 million. But it isn’t this week that counts. Next week, The Animal Network of Broadcasting is moving its very popular series, ‘Bones’ into the Friday night battle, away from Mondays. Finally, here is a network that knows what CBS has known for a long time. Understand the audience you have available. ‘Bones’ may not break into the top programming at first, but it will be in the right place at the right time to give FOX real hope on Friday’s to come. This is a great move. Let’s hope management has patience. Live+7 should be boosted measurably.
The CW nearly didn’t show up on the ratings charts. At 8P, only 800,000 viewers watched ‘The Carrie Diaries’ while at 9P, ‘America’s Next Top Model’ pulled the Little Network That Could up a bit with 1.05 million viewers, an increase of 33% vs the program in this time slot last year on this day (‘Nikita’). .
As a result of all this, as expected in late night, CBS’ ‘David Letterman’ won with 2.6/7; NBC’s ‘Jay Leno’ pulled in 2.5/6 with conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Jimmy Kimmel’ with a rerun mustered a 2.0/5. That’s what good prime time will do for your post news programs. At 1235A, ‘Jimmy Fallon’ won with 1.5/5, ‘Nightline’ was #2 with 1.4/4 while and ‘Craig Ferguson’ dropped to 1.3/4. ‘Last Call’ at 135A drew a 0.9/3.
For the record, CBS #1 with 9.899 million viewers, even with last year on this comparable day; ABC #2 with 6.196 million, also fairly even for the same night a year ago; NBC #3 with 4.509 million viewers increased by 500,000 their audience vs a year previous ; FOX finished with 3.037 million, up a 100,000 over last year while The CW drew an average of 927,000 viewers for the evening, down nearly 200,000 form last year.
ACROSS THE POND: BBC’s long awaited 50th Anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ will kick off the season with a 75 minute episode at 750P, Saturday, November 23,2013. It will be simulcast in 75 countries around the world plus special 3D screenings at selected cinemas in the UK.
In major news on the sporting front, BT Sports laid a major blow to Sky and ITV as it won the Champions League football rights for £897m to broadcast live these and the Europa League matches for three years. ITV had been the major broadcaster of the Champions League since it was launched in 1992 and will be able to air Champions matches through 2015. The new contract at £299m per season, is significantly more money for the clubs than the current arrangement. BT was launched in August 2013 to challenge the dominance of sports coverage on Sky. They have already gained rights to show 38 live Premier League matches for the 2012-2013 season and the rights to Premiership Rugby and motor sports such as Moto GP and NASCAR, as well as taking over ESPN’s UK sports channels. More than 2 million have subscribed to its television sports channels since August. Sky announced a month ago that record number had tuned into the start of the football season with an average audience of 1.55 million compared to 1.29 million last season. Sky has over 10 million paying subscribers in the UK. Can Sky survive this BT push? How many subscribers will stay with it?
No matter where you were, watching television on Friday, people were…
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