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Peacock again rules rates roost

NBC has reasserted its primetime dominance in the Dec. 5-12 Nielsen results, taking the week by a hefty 5 shares in adults 18-49 and 25-54 categories.

The Peacock web had slipped to third in homes a week earlier, with nearly half its lineup in reruns, but last week NBC scheduled 89% firstrun programs and moved comfortably back ahead. ABC held onto second last week in key demos but for the ninth time in 13 weeks this season the Alphabet net couldn’t match CBS in households.

With just one week left of ”Monday Night Football,” it’s clear that slumping ABC has given up second in homes to CBS for the season, barring a miraculous late-term turnaround, and there apparently will be a genuine race to the wire for second in adults 18-49 between ABC and Fox.

CBS continues to skew heavily toward older viewers, who are of limited interest to advertisers. Last week the Eye web finished just 2 shares behind NBC in homes but 7 shares behind in CBS’ target demo (and the oldest breakout with significant advertiser appeal), adults 25-54.

The Dec. 9-15 adults 18-49 averages were: NBC, a 6.4 rating, 18 share (down in rating by 11% compared with results for the same week last year); ABC, 4.8/13 (down 21%); Fox, 4.4/12 (down 32%); CBS, 3.6/10 (down 22%); UPN, 1.8/5 (up 38%); WB, 1.2/3 (even).

Compared with the same week last year (when Fox carried the Mike Tyson-Buster Mathis Jr. fight and ABC enjoyed a much stronger Monday gridcast), the four-net share in this demo plunged from a 64 to a 53.


On Monday of this week, another mediocre football result (Buffalo vs. Miami, 15.2 rating, 25 share) won the night for ABC. NBC was a competitive second and first in female demos with the ”Moment of Truth” vidpic ”Stand Against Fear” (12.2/20). ”Melrose Place” (8.6/14 in homes) owned the 8-9 p.m. hour among adults 18-49, winning by 5 shares. At 9 p.m., CBS’ ”Murphy Brown” (9.7/15) faded to its lowest firstrun rating ever.


A big football overrun and a commanding 6-share win in the 8-9 p.m. hour kept NBC first for the night in adults 18-49.

Holding a credible 74% of its beefy football lead-in, ”Dateline NBC” dominated ”60 Minutes” in virtually all demos, even winning in women 25-54. ”Minutes” lost its hour in homes but beat ”Dateline” head-to-head by that measure. After an autumn of ”Dateline” competition, ”60 Minutes” is down 13% compared with its year-ago season-to-date average in adults 18-49.

CBS took the night in households but ran fourth in adults 18-49. ABC’s ”To Love, Honor and Deceive” was the night’s and the week’s highest-rated film among adults 18-49.

Fox’s ”Ned and Stacey” took a tumble, holding just 81% of its 18-49 lead-in from ”The Simpsons” after having looked competitive against non-sitcom NBC competition its previous two airings. At 9 p.m., ”The X-Files” beat all three net films among adults, men and women in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 breakouts.


CBS swept the household half-hours, but NBC took the night in adults 18-49 and 25-54. The 9-11 p.m. two-thirds of NBC’s ”Thrillogy” continues to spook CBS, especially in key demos, but the forecast looks ominous for ”Dark Skies.” ”Last week ”Skies” equaled its worst rating to date and was just a share out of fourth that hour in adults 18-49.

CBS sacrificed 4 shares in adults 25-54 (vs. what ”Early Edition” has averaged in the 9-10 p.m. hour) with an Opryland special. A special primetime ”General Hospital” failed to heal the ailing ”Relativity,” which charted its lowest-yet 18-49 vitals. Preemptions in three of the past four weeks haven’t helped the anemic rookie.


ABC beat NBC by a shaky 2 shares in homes and adults 18-49. Fox fell out of the race with its first rerun of ”Millennium,” which couldn’t match the results of any ”X-Files” repeat in that slot on a non-Olympics night since Aug. 11, 1995. Also, ”Tales From the Crypt” got buried 36% below the season average of slot regular ”Sliders.”

CBS’ 8-9 p.m. sitcoms suffered season lows.


NBC dominated, as usual. ”ER” attracted nearly four times the combined adults 18-49 audience of slot rivals ”Turning Point” and ”48 Hours.”


Fox kept its sked in firstrun and took Wednesday among adults 18-49, as ”Party of Five” equaled its season-high rating in that demo.

ABC’s reskedded sitcoms looked soft in rerun but there were bright spots. ”Coach” joined the team with a 7% improvement on its lead-in, while slot predecessor ”Townies” failed to show an increase in its past nine tries there. At 8 p.m., a rerun ”Grace Under Fire” beat firstrun episodes of ”Wings” and ”The Nanny” in adults 18-49, and at 9:30, ”Ellen” held an impressive 100% of its 18-49 lead-in from ”Drew Carey.”

Despite being in rerun, NBC’s hot ”Law & Order” won the 10-11 p.m. hour in adults 18-49 and 25-54.

The impact of Wednesday’s three 8-10 p.m. weblets was demonstrated when no program airing during that period topped a 15 share, while all three shows running from 10-11 p.m. cleared the 15-share mark.


A virtual three-way tie in homes translated to a 2-share win for ABC in adults 18-49. NBC was second in that demo by 5 shares over CBS.

”Roseanne” continues to struggle, last week falling to its lowest in- season, regular-slot rating ever and losing its half-hour by 5 shares in adults 18-49 to ”Mad About You.” ”Home Improvement” and ”Spin City” also hit regular-slot season lows, while NBC’s ”Caroline in the City” slipped to its lowest firstrun rating ever.

CBS’ Martha Stewart yule spec virtually equaled year-ago figures, helping CBS to its most competitive non-sports Tuesday households finish since July ’95. At 8 p.m., ”Promised Land” is up 13% this season over what CBS was averaging that hour a year ago in adults 18- 49.


Despite its lowest adults 18-49 rating since Oct. 27, 1986, ”Monday Night Football” kept ABC first for the night (Daily Variety, Dec. 11).

Each rating point represents an estimated 970,000 households, or 1% of the country’s TV homes. The share is the same sort of percentage, except that it’s measured against only the households in which TV is being watched during the timeslot involved.

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