With CBS’ victory already in the can, ABC and NBC were duking it out for the silver medal Wednesday night as November sweeps drew to a close.
Alphabet web had already secured a second-place finish among adults 18-49; Peacock was on track to tie ABC, depending on final Wednesday results.
Through Tuesday night, with one day to go, CBS led the demo pack with a 4.5 rating/12 share (up 7%), followed by ABC (4.0/11 — up 8%) and NBC (4.0/10 — down 9%), then Fox (3.0/8 — down 3%), WB (1.6/4 — flat) and UPN (1.5/4 — down 6%).
Deciding to “let the numbers speak for themselves,” ABC opted not to hold a conference call regarding its November performance. Over at NBC, execs Wednesday said they were putting their ratings declines “in context.”
“We can’t say we like being beat by CBS,” said NBC Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly. “But we limited our losses to single digits, which is a true accomplishment in the post-‘Friends’ era. … We don’t have a breakout hit like ABC has, and that has colored the fall.”
Reilly and NBC Universal TV Group prexy Jeff Zucker said they believed they’d regain some momentum in midseason, announcing premiere dates for several new winter series.
“Although we’re going into tough time periods with all of these shows, we expect to see incremental increases in all of these (slots),” Reilly said.
That includes the boxing reality skein “The Contender,” which had originally been slated for fall, but will now bow with a 90-minute premiere on Monday, Feb. 21 at 9:30 p.m. Show moves into its regular, Tuesday 8 p.m. slot the following week (on March 1).
Reilly said he wasn’t concerned Fox didn’t find much success with the rival “Next Great Champ.” Referring to NBC’s delayed launch of the Mark Burnett/DreamWorks/Sylvester Stallone series, Reilly said the net “took our time with this show.”
“‘The Contender’ (was) preceded by another show that came and went that no one looked at and that didn’t even come close in quality,” he said.
Meanwhile, NBC will launch the Glenn Gordon Caron thriller “Medium” on Mondays at 10 p.m. beginning Jan. 3, and plans to bow the Eileen Heisler/DeAnn Heline laffer “Committed” in its Tuesday 9:30 p.m. slot starting Jan. 4.
To make room for “Committed,” critical fave “Scrubs” moves up to 9 p.m. Peacock is still mulling what to do on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. between the finale of “The Biggest Loser” (which goes live with a 90-minute finale on Jan. 11) and the launch of “Contender.”
Also new to the net, “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search” preems in its Wednesday 8 p.m. slot on Jan. 5.
Show will follow 12 finalists as they live together in Los Angeles and compete for a modeling contract. Pariah, PB&J TV and Sports Illustrated produce.
NBC will still announce premiere dates for “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” “The Office” and “Revelations” at a later date.
Meanwhile, Reilly admitted it stung to lose the Thursday night 18-49 crown to CBS. Given that “The Apprentice” had been downgraded from “phenom” to “successful,” it may be tough to end the year on top on the night.
“I don’t like (not) being No. 1 on the night,” Reilly said. “But for us, this is still an unbelievably strong night of TV, an unbelievably profitable night for us.”