Solid performances from rookies “The Naked Truth” and “Chicago Sons” teamed with Sunday’s “Golden Globes” to boost NBC to a big win in Jan. 13-19 primetime Nielsens. Excepting the “Cheers” finale and weeks that were keyed by sports, it was NBC’s biggest margin of victory in the key adults 18-49 demographic since May 22-28, 1989.
Most of the competition ran into significant problems. Fox suffered its worst regular-season Saturday in eight years with hockey’s All-Star game. CBS’ “Inaugural Gala” equaled the Eye’s lowest 18-49 score for that Sunday 9-11 p.m. time period since early June, and the Eye’s promising Wednesday rookie “Orleans” sank out of sight in its second outing.
By comparison, ABC stayed mostly out of trouble last week and moved back ahead of Fox into second among adults 18-49. CBS edged ABC for second in households.
Fox still may have the hottest mid-season rookie, Sunday’s “King of the Hill,” which last week set a Fox record by improving on its “Simpsons” lead-in rating. No other show, besides extra “Simpsons” episodes, has managed that feat for Fox.
The Jan. 13-19 adults 18-49 averages were: NBC, a 7.7 rating, 20 share (up in rating by 10% vs. results for the same week last year); ABC, 5.5/14 (down 13%); Fox, 4.7/12 (down 11%); CBS, 4.1/11 (down 23%); UPN, 2.2/5 (down 8%); WB, 1.4/4 (down 7%). NBC was first or second in that demo each night of the week, a first for the Peacock without major sports help since the week of Jan. 8-14, 1990.
NBC also won the week’s evening news race, its fourth win in a row and sixth in seven weeks. That’s the best showing for the Tom Brokaw-anchored newscast since the summer of ’87.
Public interest in and sympathy regarding the death of Bill Cosby’s son Ennis apparently gave the comedian’s CBS sitcom a big boost on Monday of this week. Despite a rerun episode, “Cosby” streaked to a 12.7 rating, 20 share, its best numbers on a Monday of regular programming for “Cosby” since Sept. 23.
That surge helped CBS take Monday in homes, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 for a second straight week.
UPN’s Monday sitcom block earned its best overnight rating (4.4/6) since Nov. 18.
NBC took the night with “The Golden Globes,” which moved another key step toward the big time among TV awards show. Up 4% over its year-ago homes rating (and up 16% in adults 18-49), the ’97 “Globes” (13.4/21) outscored such rival ceremonies as “The People’s Choice Awards” (which tallied a big 22% increase itself with a 13.1/20 the previous Sunday), “The Academy of Country Music Awards” (12.0/21), “The Daytime Emmys” (11.4/19), “The SAG Awards” (8.2/14) and “The Tonys” (6.5/11).
The “Globes” still trail such established kudocasts as “The Academy Awards” (30.3/50), “The Country Music Assn. Awards” (14.9/24), “The Grammys” (14.6/23), “The Emmys” (14.4/23) and “The American Music Awards” (13.8/21).
It was the highest “Globes” rating since a CBS telecast back in 1981 (15.9/26, which at the time was only good enough for third in that slot). The ceremony was relegated to cable for most years since then.
CBS’ “Inaugural Gala” lost in a landslide to the “Globes,” equaling the Eye’s worst adults 18-49 rating in that slot since “The Tonys” on June 2. That’s in stark contrast to the Tuesday-night gala aired four years earlier, which dominated its night with a 22.0/34 in homes.
Fox’s “King of the Hill” looked even more like a hit in its second try, improving by 6% over its 18-49 lead-in from “The Simpsons.” “King” may have been aided slightly by the lack of NBC sitcom competition.
“Walker, Texas Ranger” rescued the night for CBS after ABC’s “Monkey Trouble” plagued the Eye’s 8-10 p.m. reruns. “Monkey” climbed to ABC’s best adults 18-49 rating in that slot since Nov. 9. For the night, CBS nipped NBC by 0.1 rating points in both adults 18-49 and 25-54. Fox got tossed into the Nielsen penalty box with its “NHL All-Star Game.” The skatecast slipped a stunning 32% below its year-ago rating for Fox’s worst regular-season Saturday score since Jan. 21, 1989 (“The Reporters,” “Beyond Tomorrow”).
ABC earned its best Friday numbers since last March 15 to keep ahead of the rallying NBC lineup. The Peacock’s “Dateline” won its slot among adults 18-49 for a fifth airing in a row.
NBC got an eye-opening start from “The Naked Truth,” which earned the Peacock’s highest premiere adults 18-49 rating since Sept. 24, 1987 (“A Different World”). “Naked” held onto 82% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Seinfeld,” down slightly from slot regular “Suddenly Susan’s” 84% average (perhaps to be expected given “Naked’s” huge lead-in from “Seinfeld”). “Susan’s” September premiere retained 89%.
“Seinfeld” achieved its third-highest adults 18-49 and homes ratings ever, leading NBC to the best night-long 18-49 average for any lineup of entertainment programming since last Feb. 8.
After a single week of smooth sailing, CBS’ latest Wednesday schedule may have already run aground. The premiere of “Coast to Coast” drifted to fourth in its hour among adults 25-54, though as a newsmag, “Coast” is perhaps more likely to build its following over time, rather than premiere hot, as many entertainment series do.
At 10 p.m., “Orleans” is an example of a series that did start hot but turned frigid by its second try. Last week, “Orleans” tumbled 31% below its previous-week 10-11 p.m. rating in the adults 25-54 demo, to finish with less than half the 25-54 audience of either slot-rival program.
NBC fared better with “Chicago Sons,” which improved by 19% on its 18-49 lead-in from “Wings.” That’s down from “Son’s’ scintillating 34% build with its previous-week premiere, but still an excellent perf.
ABC remained in control of the night. “Ellen,” already slated to be pulled temporarily from the 9:30 half-hour (in March for the new Arsenio Hall sitcom), looks re-invigorated in that slot. Last week, “Ellen” lost just 9% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Drew Carey” to earn its best rating in that demo since May 17, 1995. Slot rival “Men Behaving Badly” is also picking up steam, last week building by 18% on its 18-49 lead-in.
UPN got the highest-rated “Sentinel” since that actioner’s premiere last March.
Another guest appearance by former regular John Goodman stretched “Roseanne’s” lead over slot rival “Mad About You” to 4 shares among adults 18-49, keeping ABC solidly first on Tuesday.
“Spin City’s” elimination of Michael J. Fox’s love interest (played by Carla Gugino) hasn’t altered the Nielsen standing of that strong, but somewhat disappointing, rookie. Last week, “Spin” dropped 16% of its 18-49 lead-in, while slot rival “Caroline in the City” built by 1%.
Though down 18% from its year-ago 18-49 score, Fox’s skating earned that weblet’s top Tuesday marks since November.
For UPN, special episodes of “Moesha” and “In the House” topped every “Burning Zone” rating to date in the Tuesday 9-10 p.m. hour. That helped the weblet break its Tuesday records in kids and female teens. UPN outscored CBS and NBC from 8-10 p.m. in teens and kids.
CBS won its first Monday outright since premiere week (Daily Variety, Jan. 15).
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.