Moment Of Truth: Fox Bests CBS

Two recent ratings moves by Fox prove one thing: One network can have it all.

It was one thing when Fox recently usurped CBS as the top network viewed on average by most viewers, along with Fox's now-annual crown as the leader among 18-49 viewers.

Now, adding insult to injury, the Wednesday version of CBS' still-strong "Survivor" came in second to Fox's new surprising reality effort, "Moment of Truth."

It's true "Survivor" wasn't exactly in its element, shifting from its usual Thursday spot to a somewhat unfamiliar Wednesday time period -- all to give way for CBS' wall-to-wall coverage of the opening round of the NCAA College Basketball tournament.  

"Survivor"'s defeat here points to the fact that CBS' long-time programming strategy could benefit from a shakeup. CBS tried to offer as much during last year's programming presentations, with shows like the musical drama "Viva Laughlin" -- which failed outright -- and the yet-to-be-scheduled retro '70s relationship show, "Swingtown."

Give CBS credit for that, along with sustaining the first high-rated reality show, "Survivor," for so many years -- still performing well enough to usually win its time period against shows it should beat.

What will happen to the show next season? CBS won't move it to another time period - as there is nothing that could replace it as an anchor for the still-valuable Thursday spot. It still performs as expected. But perhaps all this is a comfortable expectation.

Things at Fox are comfortably unexpected -- now adding another feather to its cap, all with little negative spin.

Fox is still considered a young-skewing network among marketers, while getting viewers from all age groups. It didn't even need to add "24" (facing production problems mostly due to the writers' strike) to its schedule to come out on top.

So, Fox takes more and gives up little. For CBS, it's a moment of truth



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