No walk in park for ‘George’

Alphabet show slips in key demographic

ABC News’ hipped-up “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” slid last week to No. 4 among young adults — the very audience the revamped Sunday morning program was supposed to draw in.

According to Nielsen Media Research, “This Week” drew a 0.7 rating in the key news demo of adults 25-54. Fox Broadcasting’s “News Sunday” — generally No. 4 in all categories — drew a 0.9 rating in the demo to place third.

CBS News “Face the Nation” ran second (1.0), with longtime leader NBC News’ “Meet the Press With Tim Russert” (1.5) comfortably on top.

In terms of total aud, “This Week” placed third, drawing 2.4 million viewers. “Meet” averaged 4.7 million; “Face,” 3 million; and “News Sunday,” 2 million.

Preemptions hurt

ABC News, which relaunched Stephanopoulos’ show on Sept. 14, said “This Week” was preempted in more than 13% of the country because of figure skating in certain markets and the Southern California fires.

The redesign of “This Week” was led by “Nightline” exec producer Tom Bettag, who said a more sophisticated show would draw more viewers in general and younger viewers in particular.

On the weekday morning landscape, NBC News’ “Today” ended a brief slump and once again showed slight growth over last year across key categories. “Today” was up 2% in total viewers and 5% in adults 25-54.

But ABC News’ “Good Morning America” saw a higher margin of growth than did “Today,” up 7% in total viewers from last year and up 17% in adults 25-54. CBS News’ “The Early Show” also continued to show gains, up 22% in adults 25-54.

In latenight, NBC’s “Tonight Show With Jay Leno” continued to hold a wide lead over CBS’ “Late Night With David Letterman.”

Cartoon brightens

While Kids WB and Nick continue to see less than spectacular Saturday ayem results, the Cartoon Network saw brighter notes. Tadpole and Nick still remain market leaders but season to date, Cartoon finds itself in third place in kids 6-11 delivery (508,000 viewers).

This season, net revamped its slate with an all new lineup of contemporary shows. And while none has yet to enter the top 10 (“Code Name Kids Next Door” comes closest in 18th place), numbers have been steadily improving. For last week, net was up 20% in the kids 6-11 demo compared to last year.

The struggling Fox lineup will add a new series in February. Slate is programmed by 4 Kids, which has picked up U.S. broadcast rights to 26 half-hours episodes of Italian animated series “Winx Club.”

Action/fantasy skein takes place in the land of Magix at fairy training school. One fairy enlists the helps of her classmates to form the anti-witch Winx Club. Italian fashion designers were enlisted to help create the look of “Winx Club.”

Show is based on an original concept by Iginio Straffi, founder and CEO of Italian animation house Rainbow SRI, which licensed skein to 4 Kids. Straffi serves as show’s exec producer and director.

Addition of show to the Fox sked is the first shift 4 Kids has made from its boy-centric slate.