‘Millionaire’ munificent

Alphabet out in front after first sweeps week

ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” continues to suffer slight devaluations as its November run continues, but Wednesday’s seg helped lift every one of the show’s ABC skedmates to season-best ratings.

“Millionaire” has now lost viewers with each of its last three airings, in contrast to the steady growth of its initial run in August, but the falloffs are relatively small and largely attributable to varying timeslots and their overall viewership levels.

The Nov. 10 “Millionaire” seg counted up 20.07 million viewers and a 7.7 rating, 21 share, in adults 18-49, down 1.02 million from its Tuesday viewer tally. That was still good enough to win the 8:30-9 p.m. slot by about 9 million viewers and 8 shares in adults 18-49. It was ABC’s top 18-49 rating in the slot since Dec. 10, 1997.

And in contrast to Tuesday’s performance, the show’s Wednesday success seemed to rub off on skedmates, as all of ABC’s Nov. 10 fare hit season-high marks. Most impressively, a live “Drew Carey” at 9 p.m. (19.17 million, 9.3/24 in adults 18-49) drew that series’ liveliest 18-49 numbers since March 11, 1998.

Big Wednesday for ABC

Overall, it was ABC’s top Wednesday viewer count since March.

Thus far, “Millionaire” has effectively invigorated ABC lineups that feature other highly promotable components, such as Wednesday’s live “Drew” or last Sunday’s “Annie.” But within Tuesday’s more routine schedule, “Millionaire” failed to spread the Nielsen wealth to any significant degree.

Wednesday’s competition held up fairly well vs. ABC’s big night. An 8-9 p.m. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Forever” spec (11.32 million, 3.7/10) strummed CBS’ second hottest number in that slot this season, despite “Millionaire” competition, and the 9-11 p.m. “Shake, Rattle & Roll, Part 2” (12.43 million, 3.8/10) beat CBS’ Wednesday-pic season average by 9% in adults 18-49.

From 9-10 p.m., NBC’s “The West Wing” (13.66 million, 4.6/12 in adults 18-49) collected its highest viewer vote count since Oct. 6.

Alphabet sweeping up

Wednesday’s results conclude the first week of the November sweeps, and “Millionaire’s” Nielsen riches are keeping ABC solidly in first. In total viewers, the Alphabet web leads by 2.08 million over NBC; in adults 18-49, the ABC’s edge over the Peacock is 2 shares.

ABC is up 31% and 30%, respectively, by those two measures, while each Big Four competitor is showing losses in both cases. Fox’s declines are biggest, down 26% in viewers (9.36 million vs. 12.57 million last year) and down 23% in adults 18-49 (4.6 vs. 6.0).

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 viewers watching TV during the slot involved.