Bush boosts Frog, busts Fox

Diminished competition sees WB ratings jump

President Bush’s press conference on Tuesday may have been a bummer for Fox’s sked, but it proved to be a boon for the WB.

Frog’s ratings jumped up Tuesday, thanks in part to diminished competition on the other nets due to the presidential speech and Q&A, with rookie drama “One Tree Hill” hitting new highs.

According to Nielsen, Tuesday’s roughly one-hour press conference averaged 41.04 million viewers (42% of those watching TV at the time) on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. By comparison, his State of the Union address in January attracted 43.41 million.

Numbers for this portion of the evening were sustained by Nielsen and will not count in averages, but NBC drew the most viewers, according to fast-affiliate ratings. Fox News dominated on the cable side, with its 5.17 million roughly tripling CNN (1.74m) and about six times greater than MSNBC (0.87m).

The Bush speech, announced on Monday, wreaked the most havoc on Fox, which was forced to reschedule “American Idol,” “24,” “That ’70s Show” and “Arrested Development.”

‘Gilmore’ gels

On the other hand, things couldn’t have worked out better for the WB, whose “Gilmore Girls” aired an original seg Tuesday for the first time in six weeks. Not only did it not have to face Fox’s “American Idol” (which shifted to Wednesday), but it faced mostly repeats and the Bush press conference on the other nets.

“Gilmore” (2.1/6 in adults 18-49, 4.95 million viewers overall) was up over its February sweep averages, while “One Tree Hill,” continuing its ratings ascent after an anemic start to its rookie season, achieved series highs in adults 18-49 (2.0/5), femmes 12-34 (4.3/12) and total viewers (4.81m).

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