×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Everyone’s watching Post-Katrina coverage

Hurricane draws big auds for nets

Fox got “Prison Break” off to a good start last week but viewers’ attention then shifted to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, as both the broadcast and cable nets drew large auds for their special coverage.

NBC News’ one-hour “Dateline” spec on Wednesday was primetime’s top-rated program for the week of Aug. 29-Sept. 4 in both adults 25-54 and total viewers (12.18 million), with an ABC News spec on the same night also in the top five, according to Nielsen.

Same nets also shined in their evening news perfs for the frame. NBC’s Brian Williams-anchored “Nightly News” set the pace during the week with an average of 10.58 million viewers (up 31% vs. the previous week), which would have ranked sixth if included among the primetime rankings.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” was a solid second with 9.47 million viewers (up 20% week-to-week), which would have ranked ninth.

Fox News Channel averaged 4.06 million viewers in primetime (up 65% week-to-week) and CNN 3.15 million (up 246%). Third-place news cabler MSNBC drew 1.23 million.

Viewership peaked Thursday, when Fox News averaged 4.83 million in primetime and CNN 3.92 million. By comparison, entertainment skeins on CBS drew 7.41 million, and second-place ABC’s combo of a movie and newsmag drew 5.37 million.

The Aug. 29-Sept. 4 frame also marked the end of the unofficial 14-week summer season, which saw the six broadcast nets combine for a mere 33 share in adults 18-49, down from 39 one year ago, when they benefited from NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics.

Overall primetime television usage was virtually unchanged from a year ago, according to Nielsen, with basic cable up 3 shares in 18-49 year-to-year (50 vs. 47) and pay cable down 1 share (6 vs. 7).

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” was the summer’s No. 1 series in both 18-49 and total viewers, with Fox also appearing twice among the top five in the demo with newbies “Hell’s Kitchen” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” After “Stars,” the top 10 was all CBS and Fox (see chart).

Looking at the final week of summer, CBS and Fox tied for the lead in adults 18-49 with a 2.3 rating/7 share, with ABC and NBC both at a 2.0/6. The leaders finished in a virtual draw for the summer in this demo, with Fox pulling away in 18-34 and CBS in adults 25-54.

The Eye also swept the summer frames in total viewers.

CBS was paced by Monday repeats of “CSI: Miami” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 11.59 million viewers overall) and “Two and a Half Men” (3.6/9, 10.74m), while unscripted music skein “Rock Star” established highs on both Tuesday (3.2/9, 6.67m) and Wednesday (2.8/8, 6.32m).

Eye devoted less time to Hurricane Katrina than its rivals but popped with a special “48 Hours” on Wednesday at 8 (2.5/8 in 18-49, 8.28m).

At Fox, “Prison Break” (4.6/12 in 18-49, 10.51m) busted out to promising numbers with its two-hour premiere (Daily Variety, Aug. 31) and held up pretty well in its second seg on Monday of the current week (prelim 3.9/9, 8.5 million). Its preem was last week’s No. 1 show in 18-49 and 18-34 (4.8/15).

Net also was solid with Wednesday’s “So You Think You Can Dance” (2.9/9 in 18-49, 7.94m), which held up well on a night when Katrina coverage drew big auds on other nets.

At NBC, Wednesday’s special “Dateline” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 12.18m) dominated the 9 o’clock hour, logging the best demo score for a Peacock series in 12 weeks (“Hit Me Baby One More Time”). Friday’s “Dateline” on the Katrina aftermath also dominated its hour (3.4/11, 10.72m).

“Tommy Lee Goes to College” continues to fade (2.0/5 in 18-49, 4.81m), but the net got a boost Sunday from NASCAR’s “California 500” (3.0/10 in 18-49, 8.45m) — its best showing on the night since May 15.

ABC was propped up by Monday’s Rams-Lions NFL preseason game (3.2/9 in 18-49, 8.63m) and Wednesday’s 10 o’clock news special (3.5/10, 9.34m) but didn’t do much else the rest of the week.

Fox News led the ad-supported cablers for the week in total viewers, but TNT finished on top in adults 18-49 (1.19 rating) thanks to “The Closer” and plays of “Forrest Gump” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. “Closer” was the week’s top cable program in adults 25-54 (2.1/5).

“Closer” ended its initial season as the year’s most-watched cable series (5.45 million), hitting 6.39 million with its finale on Monday of the current week.

At HBO, week two of “Rome” premiered to an average of 3.03 million viewers on the eve of Labor Day.

More TV

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Faces Prison, Career Ruin if He Lied About Attack

    Jussie Smollett is facing prison time and the implosion of his career if it turns out he lied about being the target of a hate crime, legal and public relations experts say. “The best thing that Jussie can do is pray and pray a lot,” said Ronn Torossian, founder of 5W Public Relations. “If he [...]

  • BETTER THINGS "Chicago" Episode 1 (Airs

    TV Review: 'Better Things' Season 3

    A few episodes into the new season of “Better Things,” fed-up mother Sam (creator Pamela Adlon) tries a new tactic to break up one of the countless petty fights between her daughters. Instead of forcing them apart and hoping for the best, she throws up her hands and decides to just let them go at it, [...]

  • Anna Paquin, Sophie Okonedo in Flack

    TV Review: 'Flack' Starring Anna Paquin

    There’s a familiar, acrid aftertaste to “Flack,” Pop’s new drama about the controlled chaos of the publicity industry. The grim behind-the-scenes machinations of the glossy entertainment industry have always been one of TV’s favorite subjects, as are the people tasked with pulling the strings without anyone ever realizing. Over just six episodes, the show manages [...]

  • Jee Young Han

    NBC Comedy Pilot 'Like Magic' Casts Jee Young Han in Lead Role

    Jee Young Han has been cast in the lead role of the NBC single-camera comedy pilot “Like Magic,” Variety has learned. The project is a workplace comedy that follows an optimistic young woman (Jee) pursuing her dream to be a headlining magician in the eccentric and ego-driven world of the Magic Palace. Jee will play Holly. [...]

  • Sharon Case from The Young and

    NATAS Announces 2019 Daytime Emmys Pre-Nominations for Drama Performer Categories

    The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences have announced the pre-nominations for all of the drama performer categories ahead of the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. “The Young and the Restless” lead the pre-nominations with 21 candidates, but “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives” are close behind with 20 and 19 candidates, respectively. [...]

  • Childrens Hospital

    'Childrens Hospital' Team Reunites at Netflix for Comedy Series 'Medical Police'

    The team behind the Adult Swim series “Childrens Hospital” has come back together at Netflix. The streamer has ordered 10 thirty-minute episodes of a new scripted series called “Medical Police,” which is written and executive produced by Rob Corddry, Krister Johnson, Jonathan Stern, David Wain. In addition to his onscreen role, Corddry created “Childrens Hospital,” [...]

  • mike colter luke cage portrait

    'Luke Cage' Alum Mike Colter Joins CBS Drama Pilot 'Evil'

    Mike Colter has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot “Evil” from Robert and Michelle King, Variety has learned. Colter will play David DaCosta, a Catholic priest in training, tasked by the Church to assess unexplained phenomena to see if there is a supernatural or scientific explanation. He joins previously announced [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content