In a frame that saw most of the top shows on its rivals air repeats, Fox cruised to victory last week behind “American Idol,” “Glee” and “House.”
It’s at this time of the year — when “Idol” is airing three hours or more — that the net is especially dominant. And with “Glee” and “House” both taking lengthy midseason breaks in December and January, Fox has more original episodes to employ in months like March and April, which are often riddled with repeats on the competition.
Fox won five nights in adults 18-49 last week en route to its seventh victory in the last eight weeks. The net is well on its way to a seventh straight seasonal triumph — a primetime record.
Overall for the March 7-13 frame, according to Nielsen, Fox led comfortably in adults 18-49 with a 3.4 rating/10 share, followed by CBS (2.1/6), ABC, NBC and Univision (all at 1.5/5) and top cabler USA (0.8/3). Fox also won with ease in adults 25-54 (3.9/10 to 3.0/8 for runner-up CBS) and edged out the Eye in total viewers (9.79 million to 9.76 million).
“American Idol” dominated the top of the program ratings with Wednesday’s two-hour perf seg (8.1/23 in 18-49, 24.40m) and Thursday’s hourlong results show (6.7/19, 22.05m) as the show continues to surpass ratings expectations in its 10th season (Variety, March 14).
Also winning their slots in 18-49 were Thursday’s “Bones” (3.2/9, 10.49m), Friday’s “Kitchen Nightmares” (1.7/6, 4.05m) and Saturday vets “Cops” (1.7/6, 5.11m) and “America’s Most Wanted” (1.7/6, 4.97m).
A bright spot for CBS, whose “NCIS,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “Criminal Minds” were in repeats, was Sunday, when “Undercover Boss” was the top show in demos (3.0/8 in 18-49, 11.78m) and “CSI: Miami” (2.7/7, 11.85m) logged some of its best scores of the season.
Among rookies, “The Defenders” dipped a bit with its finale Friday (1.3/4, 8.38m), and the show is on the bubble for a second season. And though both Monday comedy “Mad Love” (2.4/7, 7.27m) and Wednesday drama “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” (2.2/7, 9.12m) hit lows, they built on their repeat lead-ins.
ABC, whose “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives” were in repeats, was paced by “The Bachelor” (3.1/9, 10.02m) and Sunday newbie “Secret Millionaire” (2.8/8, 11.43m), with the latter declining 18% from its strong premiere (due in part to the start of Daylight Saving Time) but still winning its hour and providing the net with nice year-to-year growth.
It was a rough week for the net’s newbies as “Detroit 1-8-7” (1.1/3, 5.08m), “Mr. Sunshine” (1.8/5, 4.76m) and “Off the Map” (1.4/4, 4.31m) all drooped.
NBC’s only bright spots were two-hour unscripted series “The Biggest Loser” (2.9/9, 8.15m) and “Celebrity Apprentice” (2.8/8, 8.13m), with the latter matching its week-earlier preem and outperforming the comparable episode of a year ago.
Not so hot for the Peacock was the return of rookie Monday drama “The Event” (1.4/4, 5.23m).
In cable, MTV’s “Jersey Shore” led its Thursday hour among young adults (3.7/11, 7.20m) and ranked sixth in 18-49 among all primetime shows for the week, while BET’s “The Game” was the week’s No. 1 scripted cable show in 18-49 (1.9/5, 3.69m).
At USA, “WWE Raw” won its Monday 10 p.m. hour (2.2/6, 5.73m), and Tuesday drama “White Collar” wrapped its second season with a ratings uptick (1.3/4, 3.81m).
TNT was paced by a strong NBA perf for Thursday’s Heat-Lakers contest (2.1/6, 4.84m) despite its early 7:15 p.m. ET start time. Also at the net, the season finale of “Southland” drew 2.35 million viewers Tuesday, its largest same-night audience of the year.
MTV’s premiere of “The Real World: Las Vegas” (1.0/3, 1.74m) was up sharply over the bow of last summer’s New Orleans season, leading all of TV among persons 12-34 (1.5/5) in Wednesday’s 10 p.m. hour.
After a big bow, A&E’s “Breakout Kings” dropped some in its second week, but still averaged a solid 2.39 million viewers; also dipping was Lifetime’s “Army Wives” (3.36 million) after kicking off its season with 4.23 million.
Sunday saw strong showings including Food Network’s “Chopped All-Stars” (1.5/4, 3.53m), ESPN documentary “Fab Five” (1.4/4, 2.75m) and TLC’s “Sister Wives” (1.0/3, 2.23m), whose second-season bow was up nicely vs. last year’s series preem. On Saturday, Nickelodeon drew a big crowd (5.30 million) for its original movie “The Best Player,” which drew more viewers 2-11 (2.9 million), 6-11 (2.4 million) and 9-14 (2.1 million) than any movie on TV year-to-date
And in cable news, CNN drew about five times its total-day average audience Friday (3 a.m. to 3 a.m.) to score a rare victory over Fox News Channel (2.28 million to 2.10 million) for coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Turner news net was especially dominant in adults 25-54, where its 1.01 million topped the combined delivery of FNC (659,000) and MSNBC (199,000).