You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Holiday specials spur ABC in ratings

Football fuels Fox win

Fox squeaked past its rivals last week in primetime thanks to a huge football overrun on Sunday, but it was season leaders ABC and CBS that shined brightest when it came to entertainment offerings.

The Alphabet’s “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” were the week’s top performers among adults 18-49, while CBS remained the most consistent network thanks in part to its boost on Tuesday from rookie “The Mentalist.”

The Simon Baker-fronted drama built on its “NCIS” lead-in in both demos and total viewers for the first time, becoming the first skein since ABC’s “Housewives” to stand as the week’s most-watched program in its rookie season.

Overall, according to “live plus same-day” Nielsen national estimates, Fox won in adults 18-49 with a 2.9 rating/8 share, followed by ABC and CBS at 2.8/8 and NBC at 2.6/7.

CBS led in adults 25-54 (3.6/9) and total viewers (10.9 million), while Fox held the advantage among persons 12-34 (2.4/7).

On Fox, Sunday’s lengthy Pittsburgh Steelers-Dallas Cowboys contest averaged a huge 11.3 rating/31 share in 18-49 and 30.11 million viewers overall during the 7 o’clock half-hour that kicks off primetime.

Fox also was represented well on the entertainment side by Tuesday’s “House” (5.0/14 in 18-49, 12.52m) and “Fringe” (3.6/9, 8.54m) and by a solid premiere on Wednesday for limited-run series “Secret Millionaire” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 7.36m for its two hours).

At ABC, “Desperate Housewives” (6.0/14 in 18-49, 16.09m) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (5.5/14, 15.28m) led the way, with the former delivering its best 18-34 score (5.3/13) since its season preem. And the same night saw “Brothers and Sisters” rack up its best scores in 10 weeks (3.9/9 in 18-49, 10.54m).

Net also was boosted by holiday specs including “Shrek the Halls” (3.3/9, 11.14m) and “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (3.8/9, 11.41m) as well as Saturday’s Big 12 college football championship game between Oklahoma and Missouri (2.9/9, 8.76m).

CBS was led by “CSI” (4.6/12 in 18-49, 17.48m), holiday perennial “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (4.2/12, 11.81m) and “Two and a Half Men” (4.0/10, 13.63m), with “Men” cracking the top 10 even as a repeat.

Also, Tuesday’s “The Mentalist” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 18.74m) continues to mesh well with lead-in “NCIS” (3.7/10, 18.52m).

“Sunday Night Football” was NBC’s top draw despite a below-average result (5.0/12 in 18-49, 13.29m for Baltimore-Washington), and Thursday’s “The Office” (4.4/11 in 18-49, 8.46m) was the week’s top comedy in 18-49, doubling up its soft lead-in, “Kath and Kim” (2.2/6, 4.91m).

Net’s “Life” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 8.15m) and “Law and Order” (3.0/8, 11.31m) were on the high side Wednesday, stepping up in the absence of crime-drama competish from CBS.

MyNetwork averaged 2 million viewers for the first time, drawing a larger overall audience than CW (1.7 million) for a second straight week. Its top program, “WWE Friday Night Smackdown” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.70m), matched its high on the network, topping NBC’s programming in 18-49 for a sixth straight Friday.

USA led the cablers thanks to “WWE Raw” on Monday (1.9/5 in 18-49, 9.97m for its two hours) and six episodes of “House” that ranked among the week’s top 25 cable shows in adults 18-49.

Elsewhere, Nickelodeon averaged a hearty 8.1 million viewers on Friday for its original pic “Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh,” which makes it the net’s most-watched live-action movie ever. It was the week’s top program, broadcast or cable, among kids 2-11 (4.3 million) and tweens 9-14 (2.9 million).

ABC Family saw a strong opening week for the net’s 11th annual “25 Days of Christmas” event, logging its largest average weekly audience on record among adults 18-34 (600,000). “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” kicked things off in a big way on Monday (1.4/3 in 18-49, 3.86m).

More TV

  • ‘Line of Duty’ Adds Kelly Macdonald

    Kelly Macdonald to Star in Hit British Cop Series ‘Line of Duty’

    Kelly Macdonald will be the lead guest star in the next season of Jed Mercurio’s “Line of Duty.” The last season of the serialized cop drama was a ratings smash on the BBC, with the finale in May the most-watched program of the year so far in the U.K., garnering 13.7 million viewers. AMC Networks’ [...]

  • StarzPlay Buys Erotic Thriller Series 'Instinto,'

    StarzPlay Buys Erotic Thriller 'Instinto' and Drama Series ‘Sanctuary’ for U.K.

    StarzPlay has snagged rights to Spanish-produced erotic thriller series “Instinto” and psychological thriller “Sanctuary.” The Starz streaming service has scored both series for the U.K., and for unspecified territories in mainland Europe. Movistar Plus and Bambu Producciones-produced “Instinto” follows Marco Mur, an attractive, successful businessman. A trauma from his past prevents him from getting emotionally [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Rothman Brecher Ehrich Livingston Signs Writers Guild Code

    The Rothman Brecher Ehrich Livingston agency has signed the Writers Guild of America’s Code of Conduct, allowing the agency to return to representing WGA members again. The WGA made the announcement Monday night. RBEL is joining more than 70 agencies allowed to represent WGA members thanks to agreeing to a ban of agency packaging fees [...]

  • Fiona Lang and Ryan Shiotani

    BBC Studios Hires GMs in Further Asia Reshuffle

    BBC Studios the coproduction and rights sales arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation, has appointed Fiona Lang and Ryan Shiotani as general managers in the Asia-Pacific region. Lang, currently COO for the company in Australia and New Zealand, is promoted to become BBC Studios’ GM in the same geography. Her responsibilities cover marketing, advertising, creative, [...]

  • The Lord of the Rings: The

    'Lord of the Rings' Series Renewed by Amazon for Season 2

    Amazon has given an early Season 2 renewal to its forthcoming “Lord of the Rings” series. Pre-production on the project’s first season, which is set to film in New Zealand, is currently underway — although sources tell Variety that the full cast has not yet been set. Several actors, including Markella Kavenagh, Will Poulter, and [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Chinatown' Prequel Series in Development at Netflix From David Fincher, Robert Towne

    A prequel series to the classic film “Chinatown” is in early development at Netflix, Variety has confirmed with sources. David Fincher and Robert Towne, the film’s writer, are attached to pen the script. It will reportedly focus on the exploits of a young Jake “J.J.” Gittes during his early days as a private investigator. Netflix declined [...]

  • TV Roundup: Pop TV Releases Teaser

    TV News Roundup: Pop TV Releases Teaser for 'Schitt's Creek's' Final Season

    In today’s TV news roundup, Pop TV releases a teaser for the final season of “Schitt’s Creek,” and Nickelodeon kicks off the holiday season with “Top Elf.” DATES Nickelodeon’s “Top Elf” series will premiere Nov. 29. “Top Elf” is a new competition series featuring guest judges Frankie Grande, Amirah Kassem, Peyton List, Alex Wassabi and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content