Fox lineup with 'Futurama' steams ahead

Fox Broadcasting Co. picked up 22 episodes of Matt Groening’s new animated series “Futurama” for next season after the network’s all-animation Tuesday lineup picked up some Nielsen steam in its second frame.

The entire Tuesday lineup finished a solid second to ABC for the night in adults 18-49 with a slot win for “Futurama” in that vital demographic.

“Futurama,” from 20th Century Fox TV, has averaged a 6.1 rating and 10 share in homes and a 4.4/13 among adults 18-49 in its two Tuesday night episodes. When it aired on the higher-rated Sunday lineup, the show averaged a 9.6/16 in homes and an 8.3/21 among adults 18-49 in two tries. The series also has built on its lead-in every week.

With the pickup, 20th Century Fox TV has now received early renewals on all of its currently scheduled comedies except “Family Guy,” which is expected to get a nod by next week.

NBC, meanwhile, got another mediocre performance Tuesday from the late-season tryout “Everything’s Relative” (5.9/9 in homes, 3.9/10 in adults 18-49), which held 81% of its 18-49 lead-in from a rerun “Just Shoot Me” (7.5/12 in homes, 4.8/14 in adults 18-49). Slot predecessor “Will & Grace” averaged a 96% retention. “Everything’s” homes rating was apparently the lowest ever for regular NBC fare in that slot.

Those “Relative” results led to the lowest homes rating for a Tuesday “Dateline” (7.5/13 in homes, 3.7/10 in adults 18-49) since May 25, 1993. For the night, NBC slid to its lowest Tuesday homes average (6.8/11), including summer results, since Christmas Eve 1996.

At 8:30, “Futurama” (6.5/11 in homes, 4.8/14 in adults 18-49) nipped a rerun of ABC’s “The Hughleys” (7.2/12 in homes, 4.7/14 in adults 18-49) for the slot win in adults 18-49. It’s the first outright 18-49 slot win for a Fox Tuesday animation comedy this season.

Bright ‘Futurama’

“Futurama” improved by 20% vs. its previous-week 18-49 rating and built by 9% on this week’s lead-in from “King of the Hill” (5.9/10 in homes, 4.4/15 in adults 18-49).

In its first Tuesday try last week, “Futurama” settled for third in the slot in adults 18-49, trailing a firstrun “Hughleys” and “3rd Rock From the Sun” on NBC.

This week, Fox averaged a 4.3/13 in adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m. up 16% from last week’s first try for that all-animation lineup and good for second place in nightlong results. It’s the first time since Election Night that Fox’s Tuesday regulars have finished better than third for the night.

Fox also won Tuesday in teens, adults 18-34 and younger-male demos.

Animation rally

“King of the Hill” started the April 13 rally with its best 18-49 share since premiere week. At 9 p.m., Eddie Murphy’s “The PJs” (5.5/9 in homes, 4.0/11 in adults 18-49) improved its 18-49 score by 5% vs. the show’s first try in that slot the previous week, when it faced tougher competition. Then a “King of the Hill” rerun at 9:30 (5.4/9 in homes, 4.0/11 in adults 18-49) retained its full 18-49 leadin.

ABC still took the night in adults 18-49, led by “NYPD Blue” (9.8/16 in homes, 6.0/17 in adults 18-49).

In homes, “JAG” (9.3/16 in homes, 3.2/10 in adults 18-49) and the rerun Patty Duke vidpic “When He Didn’t Come Home” (8.5/14 in homes, 3.1/9 in adults 18-49) welcomed CBS back to the Tuesday winner’s circle for the first time in four weeks.

CBS’ “Home” vidpic improved on its May 19, 1998 firstrun homes rating (8.4/14) in that same slot.

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 1.24 million viewers, 1% of the U.S. total. A share is the same sort of percentage, except it’s measured against only the homes or viewers watching TV during the timeslot involved.

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