×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Million’ taking ABC to endzone

Gameshow scores top Nielsens

Forget football. The ratings powerhouse that’s keeping ABC in firm control of the opening night of the Nielsen week is no longer ”Monday Night Football” but Monday night “Millionaire.”

Hosted by Regis Philbin, the hit gameshow ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” is, of course, pushing around the competition on every night of the week — enough to keep ABC dominant in both Nov. 15-21 primetime Nielsens and the November sweeps — but the show’s Monday seg is moving into an income bracket all its own.

This week’s Monday telecast set new ”Millionaire” records in households and total viewers, with a 17.3 rating, 28 share, in homes and 27.25 million viewers. The adults 18-49 rating, 9.2, was down 3% from the previous Monday’s record, but the 26 share tied the show’s best ever.

As ABC decides on its future use of ”Millionaire,” it’ll be tempting to keep the gamer on Mondays, where it’s performing best and ABC’s fortunes will plummet once football ends in early January.

With ”Millionaire’s” generous Nielsen donations, ABC dominated the Nov. 15-21 week with its highest homes rating since Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 1997.

ABC is also luxuriating as the overall leader during November sweeps, averaging (through 19 nights) a 6.1 rating, 16 share, in adults 18-49 (up 24% vs. year-ago figures) to top NBC (5.4/14, down 10%), Fox (5.0/13, down 15%), CBS (3.8/10, down 5%), UPN (1.6/4, up 45%) and WB (1.6/4, down 16%).

The Alphabet is also a full point ahead of NBC in households for the month, with a 10.2/17 vs. NBC’s 9.2/15.

Adults 18-49 averages for the Nov. 15-21 week were ABC, 6.2/16 (up 17%); NBC, 5.6/15 (even); Fox, 5.4/14 (down 7%); CBS, 3.7/10 (down 10%); WB, 1.7/4 (down 11%); UPN, 1.5/4 (up 25%); Pax TV, 0.3/1 (even). It was Fox’s top-rated week since February.

National primetime 18-49 averages for the top cable services were TBS, 1.2/3 (up 100%); HBO, 1.0/3 (even); ESPN, 1.0/3 (down 9%); USA, 0.8/2 (even); TNT, 0.6/2 (down 33%).

The WB won last week among female teens with seven of the nine highest-rated shows in that demo.

Monday

Despite its powerful ”Millionaire” lead-in, ABC’s Nov. 22 Oakland-Denver football (13.0/22 in homes, 7.5/20) failed to impress.

NBC ”Veronica’s Closet” (4.4/7 in homes, 2.7/7 in adults 18-49) and ”Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (7.6/11 in homes, 3.6/8 in adults 18-49) suffered lowest-yet firstrun homes ratings, as did Fox’s ”Time of Your Life” (3.6/5 in homes, 2.4/6 in adults 18-49).

Sunday

Fox stood up best vs. ”Millionaire” and won the night by a commanding 6 shares in adults 18-49 with its best Sunday numbers since January’s Super Bowl (Daily Variety, Nov. 23). Each of Fox’s animated comedies achieved season-high 18-49 orbits and ”Futurama” was No. 1 for the week in teens.

CBS took the night in homes with its top Sunday-pic results since May courtesy of ”Sarah, Plain & Tall: Winter’s End.” ”Sarah” skewed decidedly older, though, logging just a 9 share with women 18-34 but a 41 among women 50 and older.

”Millionaire” faded slightly vs. previous Sundays in adults 18-49 but kept building in households.

”Y2K” bugged the competition with NBC’s top November-sweeps one-part-vidpic 18-49 rating since 1995. ”Y2K” was also the first regular program this season to beat ABC’s ”The Practice” in adults 18-49.

The two top-rated cablecasts of the week were TBS’ ”Wizard of Oz” (a national 3.8 rating in adults 18-49) and ESPN’s New Orleans-Jacksonville football (a national 3.6).

Saturday

”Millionaire” deposited ABC’s biggest Saturday 8-9 p.m. nonsports homes rating since Sept. 20, 1986 (”Life With Lucy” and ”Ellen Burstyn”). From 9-11 p.m., ”One Fine Day” added ABC’s biggest Saturday-pic audience since Feb. 8, 1997 (”The Firm”).

”GoldenEye” spied NBC’s best nonsports Saturday homes rating since November 1998.

Friday

Friday fell to ABC as the first-ever million-dollar giveaway on ”Millionaire” snared the Alphabet’s biggest Friday 8:30-9 p.m. homes rating since Jan. 14, 1994 (Daily Variety, Nov. 22). At 10 p.m., an interview with Dudley Moore helped ABC’s ”20/20” to its largest audience since Jan. 8.

”Happy Gilmore” teed off the competition with Fox’s best Friday adults 18-34 score in three years.

Thursday

NBC held onto Thursday, despite ”Millionaire” competition, though ABC took the night in teens, marking the first time UPN’s wrestling has been topped in that age group.

”Millionaire” helped ”Whose Line Is It Anyway” improvise ABC’s best regular-series Thursday 8-8:30 p.m. rating since Feb. 15, 1995.

The WB’s ”Popular” attracted its best-yet viewers 12-34 results, despite ”Millionaire” competition.

Wednesday

Another night, another win for ABC and its ”Millionaire,” which earned the net’s best Wednesday 8:30-9 p.m. 18-49 rating with ”regular programming” since May 17, 1995 (”Ellen”).

The Nielsen votes failed to materialize for a ”20/20” interview with George W. Bush, sending the newsmag to its second-lowest Wednesday 18-49 rating this season.

UPN’s ”Star Trek: Voyager” climbed to its highest 18-49 orbit since February.

Tuesday

A ”Millionaire” lead-in helped ”Dharma & Greg” tie its highest homes rating ever (Daily Variety, Nov. 18).

Fox’s ”That ’70s Show” grooved in a special 8 p.m. showing, attracting the net’s best women 18-49 demos with series fare in the slot since January 1994. That sent NBC’s ”Just Shoot Me” to its lowest regular-slot firstrun homes rating ever.

”Buffy” and ”Angel” got chased to the WB’s lowest Tuesday homes rating ever with firstrun regular fare.

Monday

”Millionaire” kept NBC in the money Nov. 15 despite soft N.Y. Jets-New England football (Daily Variety, Nov. 17).

Each household rating point represents an estimated 1 million 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. The share is also a percentage, but measured against only the homes or viewers watching TV during the timeslot involved.

More TV

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez 'Absolutely' Wants to Direct Film and Television

    Jennifer Lopez epitomizes the phrase “she’s done it all” — but there’s still more that the superstar would like to do. Lopez recently directed her first music video, “Limitless,” the track featured on her new rom-com “Second Act,” and it seems the multi-hyphenate has caught the directing bug. “Absolutely, absolutely,” Lopez responded when asked by [...]

  • Kaya Scodelario

    Kaya Scodelario Joins Netflix Ice Skating Drama 'Spinning Out'

    Kaya Scodelario has signed on for the lead role in the upcoming Netflix drama “Spinning Out,” Variety has learned. Scodelario takes over the role that was previously held by Emma Roberts, who bowed out in October. She stars as Kat Baker, an up-and-coming, high-level single skater who’s about to turn in her skates after a disastrous [...]

  • Kevin Hill

    Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia's Seven Bucks Productions Names Kevin Hill Head of TV and Digital Content

    Seven Bucks Productions, the production company co-founded by Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia, has named Kevin Hill the head of television and digital development. In this role, Hill will identify, develop and produce new scripted and unscripted projects for Seven Bucks Productions and Seven Bucks Digital Studios. His background includes a six-and-a-half year stint at WME working [...]

  • Cardi B iHeart Radio Music Awards

    iHeartRadio Music Awards Move to Fox

    iHeartMedia and Fox Broadcasting Company today announced the return of the iHeartRadio Music Awards in 2019. The show will air live on Thursday, March 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and will also stream online and broadcast live on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide. Performers will be announced in [...]

  • Best TV Shows of 2018

    The Top 20 TV Episodes of 2018

    This year provided TV fans with one of the most promising pilots in years (“Barry”) and an all-time-great series finale (that of “The Americans”), but there was plenty in between, too. The following are 20 of Variety’s critics’ favorite episodes to have aired all year, across genres. Of note: while episodes of “Atlanta,” “Barry,” “BoJack [...]

  • Jennifer Garner J.J. Abrams

    Jennifer Garner, J.J. Abrams Reunite for Limited Series at Apple

    Apple has given a straight-to-series order to a limited series starring Jennifer Garner and executive produced by JJ Abrams, Variety has learned. “My Glory Was I Had Such Friends,” based on the 2017 memoir of the same name by Amy Silverstein, follows a group of women who supported Silverstein as she waited for a second life-saving [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content