ABC, Oscar envelope competish

Alphabet scores highest audience of season

HOLLYWOOD — It took a celebration of the movie industry to put ABC back on top.

Alphabet web scored its highest audience of the season last week, thanks to Sunday’s kudocast of the 74th annual Academy Awards. Oscar ceremony may have posted its lowest ratings ever, but the aud was good enough to help net win the week with adults 18-49 (4.5 rating/12 share) and total viewers (12.95 million).

ABC has won the week with adults 18-49 just one other time this season, when it aired the collegiate Bowl Championship Series in January.

Despite ABC’s kudos fuel, the ratings race was tight last week. Last year, 1.5 rating points separated first-place ABC from second place during Oscar week; this year, the net’s advantage was just 0.3. NBC and CBS tied for second with adults 18-49 (4.2/11), while Fox was fourth (3.6/10). UPN (1.6/4) and WB (1.4/4) followed.

ABC was bogged down by two low-rated figure-skating events last week; net also pulled season lows for Wednesday tentpole laffer “My Wife and Kids.”

Nonetheless, ABC got a lot of juice out of the Oscarcast, which was tops in almost every demo, including total viewers (41.8 million), adults 18-49 (16.1/39), adults 18-34 (14.0/38) and adults 25-54 (18.3/41).

Nonetheless, that was still the lowest total-viewer number since 1997, and worst adults 18-49 entry since the start of people meters. Blame part of it on the show’s historic length, clocking in at 4 hours and 18 minutes.

Show started off at 8:30 p.m. on the East Coast (36.6 million viewers; 13.6/33 with adults 18-49) and peaked at 10 p.m. (44.8 million, 17.3/40). The awards fell back to 38.4 million and 15.4/50 adults 18-49 by its final half-hour.

Kudocast also delivered a nice halo effect to the Alphabet’s “Good Morning America,” which beat NBC’s “Today” in households Monday morning (5.2/18 vs. 5.0/18) for the first time since Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer took over anchoring duties on the ABC show in January 1999.

In other ratings highlights, CBS did well with men last week, thanks to NCAA men’s basketball tournament coverage. Eye won the week among men 25-54, 18-49 and 18-34 (tied with Fox).

NBC continued its post-Olympics shine with regular programming, scoring double-digit year-to-year growth in most demos and total viewers. Fox was tops with teens; UPN also saw double-digit growth in most demos, while UPN and WB had healthy gains in total viewers.

CBS was second with total viewers (11.74 million), followed by NBC (10.59 million), Fox (8.23 million), UPN (3.81 million) and WB (3.32 million).


Don’t blame the other networks if not as many people watched this year’s ABC Oscarcast. The other webs threw an array of moldy leftovers at the kudofest, including the third repeat of “Independence Day” on Fox, the fourth repeat of the theatrical “Executive Decision” on CBS, “Fear Factor” scraps on NBC and repeats of “Off Centre” on WB.

Fox won most of the anti-Oscar crowd, posting a 5.0/12 for the night among adults 18-49 and 11.1 million viewers. CBS was third on the night, averaging 10.2 million and a 3.2/8 rating in the demo.


By airing not one, but two original episodes of “UC: Undercover” Saturday — now known as network Siberia — the Peacock sent some not-so-subtle signs to the actioner that it is on notice. Among adults 18-49, “UC” posted a 1.6/5 at 8 p.m. and a 2.0/6 at 9 p.m., neither as good as a “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” repeat at 10 p.m. (2.7/8).

As usual, Fox was tops with its crimetime TV (3.5/11), and also pulled its best total viewer numbers in a year (9.4 million). CBS was next with NCAA run-over, “The Agency” and “The District” (3.2/10). NBC was third (2.1/7), while ABC went cold with figure skating (1.9/6).


UPN’s Friday movie franchise had been averaging 3 million viewers and a 1.2/4 with adults 18-49. The premiere of “Under One Roof” and repurposed repeat of CBS’ “Amazing Race 2” last week averaged 1.4 million viewers and a 0.6/2 with young adults. Do the math.

Meanwhile, March Madness made for happy numbers at CBS, which won the night among adults 18-49 (4.4/14) and 25-54 (5.1/14).


It’s post-Olympics and apparently people have had their fill of figure skating. Alphabet web pulled a chilly 1.8/5 among adults 18-49 with coverage of the World Figure Skating Championships. It was ABC’s second-lowest Thursday of the season.

NBC won the night with adults 18-49 (7.5/20) with a sked of mostly repeats, save “Leap of Faith,” which held on to 77% of its lead-in, a “Friends” rerun (9.7/27). That’s the best of any regular series’ “Friends” retention this season.

Wait a sec, with a late-season start and Olympics preemptions, wasn’t March supposed to be chockfull of originals? Guess not.

Meanwhile, viewers didn’t take to insta-repeats of “Celebrity Boxing” (2.3/6 adults 18-49) and “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” (1.8/5) on Fox. But hey, points for trying.

UPN’s “WWF Smackdown!” was second in its slot with adults 18-34 (3.5/10), behind only NBC.


ABC laffer “My Wife and Kids” sunk to season lows (3.5/10), while CBS took the night with adults 18-49 (6.2/16) and viewers (14.8 million) thanks to reality doubleheader “Survivor: Marquesas” and “Amazing Race 2.” The latter show scored its best numbers yet with adults 18-49 (6.1/15). Expect declines this week as “Survivor” moves back to Thursday.


Week one of “Andy Richter” controlled the ratings universe posting a 4.9/13 with adults 18-49, dominating its timeslot. The one-two-three punch of “That ’70s Show,” “Andy Richter” and “24” gave Fox a win with adults 18-49 (4.6/12).

NBC, meanwhile, won the night with viewers (10.3 million). But viewers aren’t watching “Watching Ellie” like they used to. In its fourth outing, “Ellie” posted a 3.6/10 with adults 18-49, down 49% from week one.

ABC’s “Philly” posted its best adults 18-49 figure (3.6/10) in six weeks.


Another 90-minute “Fear Factor” gave NBC the edge with adults 18-49 (5.9/15), while CBS was tops with viewers (14.9 million).

Bow of CBS’ “Baby Bob” scored big (5.2/13 adults 18-49, 15.6 million). Yes, apparently viewers were well aware that the show is about a talking baby.

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