Returning Champ: Fox TV Ratings Take '08 Victory Lap
Fox was the only network to improve on last year's numbers, averaging a 4.1/10 rating among 18-49 viewers. But its strength was deep beyond the usual suspects. As Fox's President of Advertising Sales Jon Nesvig said, if you take out "American Idol" numbers, Fox still wins. If you take out the Super Bowl and "Idol," Fox is still No. 1.
Plus, the network did all this while combating a hard-fought writers' strike.
Fox averaged 11.1 million viewers in prime time this season through Tuesday, up 7% from last year. CBS was second with 10.5 million viewers, but it had the sharpest drop among the big broadcast networks, falling 16%. ABC was just behind with 10 million viewers, off 7%, while NBC finished fourth with 8.9 million, slipping 9%.
The biggest fall was with the CW, down a whopping 19% to 2.6 million viewers.
"Idol" was again the best-performing show on the network, averaging an 11.2 rating/28 share for the year among 18-49 viewers for its Tuesday night performing show. Wednesday's result show came in with a 10.7/26. Those two editions of the show offered up the only 10 plus-rated shows on the network's schedule.
Fox's "House" was in third place with a 7.1/17, just barely beating out ABC's "Desperate Housewives" with a 7.0/16.
The next grouping was with "Grey's Anatomy," which landed in fifth place, taking a 6.4/16. After that was Fox's cheeky and surprising strong game show "Moment of Truth," with a 6.2/16.
NBC's "Heroes," with only 11 episodes this season, took a steady 6.2/14. NBC's "Sunday Night Football" (6.1/15), "Lost" (5.6/14), and "Dancing with the Stars" (5.5/13), round out the top 10.
The best CBS show came from longtime survivor "Survivor: China," with a 5.1/14 in 13th place. "CSI," CBS' usual big-rated show, dipped to a 4.9/12, in 15th place.
CW's best-rated effort was with "America's Next Top Model," which earned a top 2.5/7 for 18-49 viewers, coming in 87th place. CW also occupied the last 11-rated spots on the list, with Sunday's version of "Everybody Hate Chris" and two magazine shows, "Online Nation" and "CW Now," posting 0.3 ratings/1 share among 18-49 viewers.
The average rated 18-49 show was a 2.8 rating/8 share for the year.
Among total viewers it was much the same story, as "Idol" led the pack with the first two places--averaging 28.7 million viewers for its Tuesday show, and 27.8 million for the Wednesday edition. ABC took the next five spots, with four coming from "Dancing with the Stars" editions and the other from "Desperate Housewives." For "Stars" Monday shows, it earned 21.7 million viewers; "Housewives" had 18.2 million.