Weak ‘90210’ pushes Fox to Wednesday win

'Beverly' ratings could signal tough upcoming season

Fox won the Wednesday, Sept. 16 primetime Nielsens in adults 18-49 and 8-10 p.m. in households, despite the lowest-rated ”Beverly Hills, 90210” premiere in eight years. That ”90210” drop may signal a tough season ahead, as the venerable drama prepares to battle WB hit ”Dawson’s Creek” for the slot’s young-female audience starting Oct. 7.

Wednesday’s Nielsens also featured a solid season debut for Fox’s ”Party of Five” — though like ”90210,” ”Party” was down from last year — plus a newsworthy start for the new Sam Donaldson-Diane Sawyer edition of ”20/20” and drowsy numbers for Conan O’Brien’s first primetime spec.

The ”90210” season premiere earned an 8.0 rating, 14 share in homes and a 6.6/20 in adults 18-49, down 18% in homes from last year’s two-hour debut and down 11% in adults 18-49.

While the numbers suggest a decline in audience interest, Fox notes that overall TV usage for the night was down vs. last year, especially in ”90210’s” target young-female audience. The Aaron Spelling soap won its hour Wednesday in every key demo and beat its 1997-98 season average by 5% in adults 18-49.

”Party of Five” (8.1/13 in homes, 6.6/17 in adults 18-49) slipped 10% below its year-ago premiere in homes, but is a healthy 17% ahead of where it started the season two years ago.

At 10 p.m., ABC’s latest ”20/20” edition debuted with a 12.3/21 in homes and a 6.4/19 in adults 18-49. That homes rating is the best in the slot for ABC since last April 8 (and the highest for any ”20/20” broadcast since Jan. 9.)

That same hour, NBC’s fifth-anniversary ”Late Night With Conan O’Brien” spec settled for a 5.3/9 in homes and a 3.7/11 in adults 18-49. In homes, it was NBC’s weakest rating that hour since Aug. 28, 1996, during the Democratic National Convention (and lowest ever not including political broadcasts).

”Conan” still benefited from a healthy dose of viewership sampling relative to what it gets in its usual 12:35 a.m. time period. The regular-slot ”Conan” record is a 4.1/19 in homes and a 2.8 rating in adults 18-49, earned the night of the ”Seinfeld” finale last May 14.

Fox led Wednesday primetime averages in adults 18-49, beating ABC’s mostly rerun lineup by 3 shares (6.6/19 vs. 5.7/16). Fox had the top 8-10 p.m. homes average (8.1/13), but ABC’s 8-11 p.m. score (9.1/15) was higher.

Each household rating point represents an estimated 994,000 homes, or 1% of the country’s TV households. Each adults 18-49 rating point reps 1.239 million viewers, 1% of the U.S. total. A share is the same sort of percentage, except it measures only the homes or viewers watching TV during the timeslot involved.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety