Sweeps Still Too Close to Call
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/11/2003 8:00:00 PM
The finale of American Idol next week may give Fox the adults 18-49 win in the May sweeps, but NBC is expected to retain its 18-49 season crown by a scant three-tenths of a rating point.
|How They're Faring|
Source: Nielsen Media Research
Sweeps-to-date (April 24-May 7), NBC was in the lead by a hair in adults 18-49, at a 4.4 rating/12 share. But Fox was right on NBC's heels with a 4.3/12, and the two-night finale of American Idol May 20 and 21 is expected to draw huge ratings that could easily push Fox over the top.
Meanwhile, NBC is seeing strong performances from its scripted shows—such as Friends, Will & Grace and all three Law & Order franchises—as they move toward their finales.
CBS and ABC were battling it out for third place, with CBS slightly ahead with a 3.4/10 and ABC right behind with a 3.3/9.
In viewers, CBS is ahead of NBC by 650,000 viewers season-to-date, with CBS tallying 12.8 million viewers and NBC 12.1 million. Season-to-date, CBS is further ahead in the category, with 12.34 million to NBC's 11.37 million.
Fox is dominating adults 18-34, with a 4.5/15 in the first two weeks of the sweeps period. Its closest competitor is NBC, with a 3.8/12.
NBC is maintaining its leadership in adults 25-54 with a 5.1/13. Surprisingly, CBS and Fox are nearly tied in the older adult demo, CBS coming in at a 4.4/11 and Fox at a 4.3/11. Season-to-date, NBC wins the demo with a 5.4/13, followed by CBS with a 4.8/11 and Fox with a 4.6/11.
Across the board, Fox is showing the most growth, up 19% in adults 18-49, 25% in adults 18-34 and 26% in viewers. The WB is the only other network to show consistent growth sweeps-to-date, jumping 5% in persons 12-34, 5% in adults 18-34 and 6% in adults 18-49.
Both NBC and UPN are down sweeps-to-date vs. last year. NBC dropped 19% in adults 18-49, 21% in adults 18-34, 16% in adults 25-54 and 17% in viewers; last year, NBC's celebration of its 75th anniversary boosted its ratings. UPN is down 12% in persons 12-34, 12% in adults 18-34, 22% in adults 18-49 and 17% in viewers.
Halfway through the sweeps, several big events remain. CBS's Hitler miniseries is slated for May 18 and May 20, and NBC airs a Martha Stewart biopic starring Cybill Shepherd on May 19. The May sweeps concludes Wednesday, May 21.
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