MyNetworkTV Off To Slow Start

MyNetworkTV, the new mini-network from Fox, is off to a slow start--more typical of a syndicated programming debut.

The new network's launch with two new English-language telenovelas came in under expectations. "Desire" posted a Nielsen Media Research 1.1 household rating/2 share in the metered markets; "Fashion House" grabbed slightly better 1.3/2 numbers.

Executives at MyNetworkTV put the blame on months of viewer defection in the 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. time period, following the announced cancellation of The WB and UPN in January. Since that time, little marketing has been directed in the prime-time periods.

MyNetworkTV was also beaten up because of Fox's season debut of its top-rated show, "House"--which doctored up an adrenaline-pumping 7.1 rating/20 share among adult 18-49 viewers, and 19.4 million viewers. Fox's new 9 p.m. drama "Standoff" also took the bite out of MyNetworkTV's debut, earning 4.7/12 in 18-49 and 13.7 million viewers overall.

Network analysts, including those inside MyNetworkTV, were hoping for household ratings numbers in the mid-1.5 household rating area. These numbers are considered standard debut goals for syndication programmers.



Spinning its positive rating story, MyNetworkTV said both shows compared somewhat favorably to the WB's "Gilmore Girls" ratings of a year ago. "Desire" posted a 0.7 in women 18-49 and "Fashion House" grabbed a 0.8 in women 18-49. This compares to the "Gilmore Girls" 1.2 rating among women 18-49 viewers.

MyNetworkTV says both "Desire" and "Fashion House" outperformed "Gilmore Girls" among male viewers 18-49. "Desire" grabbed a 0.5 in men 18-49; "Fashion House" took in a 0.7 in men 18-49. This beat the 0.3 rating among men 18-49 for "Gilmore Girls."

But all this is a moot point, say TV programming analysts, since male viewers are not the prime ad selling demo in "Gilmore Girls." The "Gilmore Girls" target is typically women and young women viewers.

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