You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nielsen bows to Fox ‘Idol’

Leno-Couric switcheroo, Sorenstam generated strong ratings

HOLLYWOOD — Fox joined Ruben Studdard as a big winner during the last full week of May, as “American Idol” hit some of the net’s highest ratings notes ever.

For the week of May 19-25, according to Nielsen, Fox prevailed in all key demo categories including adults 18-49, where its 5.7 rating/17 share topped second-place NBC (3.4/10) by a whopping 68%. Net won five nights, led by the two-hour conclusion of “Idol,” which crowned Studdard its champ and set all-time Wednesday records for the network (14.9/36 in 18-49, 34.2 million viewers overall).

Fox also led the frame in total viewers (13.2 million) — just the fifth time in history that it has won a week by this measure without the help of major sporting events.

The week included the final three nights of the May sweep, which saw Fox edge out NBC in adults 18-49 (4.7 to 4.4) and CBS lead in overall audience (12.9 million).

The Wednesday seg of “American Idol” finished the season as the No. 3 program in both adults 18-49 (10.3/25, behind “Joe Millionaire” and “Friends”) and total viewers (21.93 million, behind “CSI” and “Joe Millionaire”).

Fox also received a strong perf from Tuesday drama “24,” whose season finale set a series high in total viewers (14.2 million).

Standout performer for NBC, second for the week in key demos, was Monday made-for “Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart,” whose 18-49 rating (5.2/12) was the best for a single-part movie on any net since March 2002.

CBS, third in both 18-49 and 25-54, had a big Monday with the expanded season finales of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “CSI: Miami,” which tied as the week’s top scripted program in 18-49 (7.4/18).

ABC was fourth in 18-49 and third in 18-34, led by the season finales of “NYPD Blue” (5.0/13 in 18-49), “Extreme Makeover” (4.8/12 in A18-49) and “My Wife and Kids” (4.0/10).

The WB finished fourth in both persons 12-34 and women 18-34, led by the finales of its top two shows: “Smallville” (5.1/13 in A18-34) and “7th Heaven” (3.7/11).

UPN remained sixth but delivered its best weekly average in adults 18-34 (1.7/5) since January, bolstered by the series finale of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and a credible start for reality skein “America’s Next Top Model.”

* * *

NBC’s sweep stunt of Jay Leno and Katie Couric switching duties for a day generated strong ratings.

Final ratings for May 12 show that “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” featuring “Today’s” Couric as a special host, achieved a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 8.9 million viewers overall — the best scores for the latenight skein since May 2, 2002. It was also the best result for “Tonight” on a Monday in seven years.

Leno’s guest-hosting duties on “Today” generated a 2.8 rating among adults 25-54 and 6.6 million viewers overall, helping the NBC show open up a commanding 44% winning margin over ABC’s “Good Morning America” that day.

* * *

Annika Sorenstam’s historic day at the Colonial golf tournament produced record ratings for the opening round of a regular PGA tour event on the USA Network.

According to Nielsen, May 22 coverage of the first woman to play in a men’s professional event in 58 years produced a 1.6 rating in the roughly 87 million U.S. homes with cable television, meaning that about 1.5 million viewers were watching.

The previous record for the first round of a regular PGA Tour event on USA was a 1.58 rating at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

More TV

  • Mr. Peanut to Appear in His

    Mr. Peanut to Appear in His First Super Bowl Commercial

    The monocle-wearing Mr. Peanut is about to offer snack fans an entirely new lens on Super Bowl advertising. Planters, which has featured the anthropomorphic legume for more than a century as its spokes-character, will place him in a 30-second ad slated to appear in the second quarter of CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl LIII on [...]

  • DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi

    DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi Mystery Series ‘The White Wall’

    Scandinavian sci-fi series “The White Wall” is coming to the international market, starting at NATPE, after DRG picked up international rights to the upcoming project. Finland’s Fire Monkey and Nice Drama, part of the Nordic Entertainment Group, are making “The White Wall” for Swedish pubcaster SVT and its Finnish counterpart, YLE. It will feature a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • R. KellyR. Kelly in concert at

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Producers on the Lifetime Doc's Ripple Effect

    The ripple effect of “Surviving R. Kelly” continues to widen more than a week after the documentary aired on Lifetime, renewing public interest — and outrage — over the litany of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. Lady Gaga and Phoenix have apologized for working with him. Chance the Rapper and other artists are said to [...]

  • Yellowstone

    Viacom Lays Off Paramount Network Staffers Amid Reorganization (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom has laid off a number of staffers in its entertainment group, with the majority of the affected employees hailing from Paramount Network, Variety has learned exclusively. A Viacom spokesperson declined to comment. But a source with knowledge of the situation that the number of affected employees was fewer than 20, or less than 2% of [...]

  • The Last OG

    TV News Roundup: 'Last O.G.' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on TBS

    In today’s TV News Roundup, “The Last O.G.” announces its Season 2 return date and Variety has the exclusive first look at Fox’s new legal drama “Proven Innocent.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has announced its new limited series “Black Earth Rising” will launch on Jan. 25. The contemporary thriller series stars Michaela Coel as Kate Ashby, a Rwandan girl [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content