« NBC schedules geneology series, casts Sarandon | Main | Cable ratings: 'Tara,' 'Trust,' SAG Awards »

January 27, 2009

Fox moves into 1st place for season

Judge4 It’s only two weeks after the premiere of "American Idol" and already Fox has leapfrogged rivals and caught CBS as the top-rated network for the entire broadcast season.

Just last month Fox was in fourth place in the advertiser-friendly adults 18-49 demographic.

As of Tuesday, driven primarily by the eighth season debut of “American Idol” (but also strong supportive showings from “House,” “24,” “Fringe” and new show “Lie to Me”), Fox has become the highest-rated network yet again.

Though the season’s ratings race is far from set in stone, once an “Idol”-fueled Fox takes the lead it's  unlikely that any network can catch up (or, as in this case, continue to tie). Only the Super Bowl is a large enough event to shake up the standings, and this year struggling NBC is airing the game. In all probability, Fox will win its fifth consecutive season in the demo. 

Rival CBS remains out in front among total viewers, however, a fight that will give Fox a tougher time. That’s a battle that could stretch all the way until May.

The Fox headline comes despite some annual ratings slippage for “Idol,” with last week taking a larger-than-usual knock due to the inauguration of Barack Obama. The more typical Wednesday episode (25.9 million viewers, 9.8 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and a 25 share) was down about 10% from last year, with the jury still out on whether the show’s format changes will benefit the season overall.

Fox also had the premiere of new series “Lie to Me” (12.4 million, 4.9/12), which thanks to its “Idol” lead-in became the highest-rated series debut this season. While Monday’s combo of “House” (15 million, 5.5/13) and “24” (12.1 million, 4.1/9) allowed the network to rule CBS’ usual stronghold.

“Lie” faced some tough competition Wednesday from the premiere of ABC’s “Lost” (11.4 million, 5.0/12). The thriller was down about 24% from last year, yet still helped ABC rank second in the overall standings last week. ABC’s Thursday night drama “Grey’s Anatomy” (14.4 million, 5.7/14) was the highest-rated scripted series, while Monday’s “The Bachelor” (10 million, 3.6/8) continues to surprise, growing each week.

CBS ranked third, with “CSI” (17.6 million, 4.9/12) modestly lower than usual during the show’s first week without William Petersen. CBS continues to be the only network that’s up year-over-year in a major demographic (up 4% in viewers). On Friday, CBS’s import “Flashpoint” (10.2 million, 2.4/7) posted gains for the third week in a row.

NBC ranked fourth, with Thursday’s “The Office” (8.8 million, 4.6/11) ranking as the network’s best-rated show. NBC boasts “The Biggest Loser” (10.3 million, 4.0/9) continuing to perform strong against “Idol.”

2008-09 season-to-date averages

Fox 8.6 million / 3.2 (-14%)
CBS 11.9 million / 3.2 (0%)
ABC 9.1 million / 2.9 (-9%)
NBC 7.9 million / 2.8 (-15%)
The CW 2.1 million / 0.9 (-18%)

Average difference vs. last year for Big 4 nets: -10%


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Fox moves into 1st place for season:

Sign up for The Live Feed daily email newsletter:

If you wish to only receive the morning ratings, get the Hollywood Reporter's ratings alert.
Follow us on Twitter;
Subscribe using RSS.
New: The Live Feed mobile-friendly version.
Get headlines delivered to your Google or Yahoo homepage:
 Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Ain't It Cool News - Coaxial
Deadline Hollywood Daily
Drudge Report
Fark: Showbiz
Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Wiretap
Huffington Post
Just Jared
Lisa de Moraes
Michael Ausiello
NY Post: Vulture
Perez Hilton
Pop Candy
Reality Blurred
Television Without Pity
The Futon Critic
The Wrap
THR BLOGS: Heat Vision Blog
THR BLOGS: Hollywood Reporter Pilot Log
THR BLOGS: Risky Business
Tim Goodman: The Bastard Machine
Time's Tuned In
TV Barn
TV by the Numbers
TV Decoder
TV Squad
TV Tattle
TV Tracker
Warming Glow

The Hollywood Reporter is Your Complete Film Resource

The columnists and bloggers who write for The Hollywood Reporter have their collective finger on the pulse of the boxoffice. From Martin Grove and the rest, THR columnists deliver their thoughts on the film industry in an uncompromised style. Subscribe to THR today and get the latest views from these film experts and get the latest movie reviews as well.