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October 06, 2008

CW's MRC block tanks; 'American Dad' grows

Easy_money_2 The CW renting its Sunday night bridge-to-nowhere primetime block isn't about to cause any seller's remorse.

The new lineup programmed by production company Media Rights Capital premiered last night and its ratings matched the numbers that prompted the network to sell the evening in the first place.

Reality show "In Harms Way" (676,000 viewers,  0.3 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and a 1 share) was on par with "Online Nation" in the slot last season. Drama "Valentine" (1.1 million viewers, 0.4/1) matched "Life is Wild" in the slot. And 9 p.m.'s "Easy Money" (1.1 million, 0.4/1) did about half of  an "America's Next Top Model" encore scored in the time period last year.

Promotion has to be one factor here. Aside from some CW on-air ads, MRC was on its own to promote the primetime block, which must be more challenging for an independent production company than a network. As for critic response, "Valentine" received mediocre reviews while "Money" scored fairly positive responses (the two linked THR reviews here are typical, according to the shows' Metacritic scores).

Otherwise, ABC edged out competitors to win the night in the preliminary returns, though that has a fair shot of changing in the nationals since NBC was only a tenth of a point behind and aired live football.

The premiere of "America's Funniest Home Videos" (9.1 million, 2.7/8) was up a notch over last year and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (11.7 million, 3.8/10) was up a tick from last week. But "Desperate Housewives" (15.5 million, 5.8/13, the highest-rated show of the night) was down 18% from last week's premiere and "Brothers and Sisters" (10.6 million, 4.0/10) fell 13%.

NBC was led by "Sunday Night Football," Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars (12.8 million, 4.8/11). The numbers expected to improve in the nationals, yet remain lower than last week's game.

Third-place CBS’ ratings, particularly “60 Minutes” at 7 p.m. are skewed by a half hour of NFL overrun ("Minutes," by and by, aired a timely summary of how the sub-prime mortgage meltdown became a worldwide financial crisis, a video of the full segment is below). Still, from 8 p.m. on, every CBS show grew week-to-week, which will likely sustain in the nationals to some general degree, if not the specific percentages.

“The Amazing Race” (13.6 million, 3.7/9) was up 16%, “Cold Case” (10.7 million, 2.9/6) up 7% and “The Unit” (10.7 million, 2.9/7) grew 12%.

Fox came in fourth place, its down from last week, save one: “American Dad” (6.8 million, 3.5/8), which climbed 9%. That’s interesting because last week “Dad” was the only premiere in the comedy block to increase compared to last year and now, here it is, growing again.

Last night “Dad” was higher than “King of the Hill” (6.6 million, 3.3/8) and almost tied “The Simpsons” (7.4 million, 3.6/10). Of course, “Family Guy” (8.4 million, 4.3/10), continued to lead the lineup. But “Dad,” long the overlooked odd-man-out on Sunday nights, might be worth keeping an eye on.   




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