February Roundup

Fox wins; NBC loses

Why This Matters

How the Shows Stack Up

How the Shows Stack Up

American Idol

Reality phenom American Idol (left) is Fox’s most valuable player, killing the competition on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On Feb. 15, the Tuesday edition nabbed a 5.6 rating/14 share in 18-49s and 14.2 million. The next night, the Wednesday show scored an 11.5/27 in 18-49s and 26.3 million total viewers. Also, medical drama House is enjoying a ratings pop as Idol’s lead-out.


The Feb. 17 premiere of Survivor: Palau (left) posted the series’ best 18-49 numbers—a 9.1 rating/ 23 share—since 2003’s Survivor: Amazon. CBS’ potent combination of Survivor and CSI means it dominates Thursdays.


The one-time 18-49 king is facing a fourth-place finish. Without Friends, Thursday nights are bleak. Joey (left) and Will & Grace are no match for Survivor; the Law & Order trilogy has also slowed.

Monday Nights

A wasteland earlier in the season, Mondays are now hot. Fox’s 24 is flourishing, up 24% in 18-49s from last season. NBC’s Medium (left) wows, and CSI: Miami remains vibrant. ABC struggles to find a replacement for Monday Night Football.


How the Shows Stack Up

What a difference a sweeps makes. After a fourth-place finish in November, Fox is positioned to win the February sweeps in the key 18-49 demo and total viewers.

Fox benefited from monster ratings for the Feb. 6 Super Bowl. Although it’s the first time the big game fell in the ratings period, researchers say Fox would probably have won anyway. The reason: American Idol on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Now Fox is adding a third installment on Mondays. Says Magna Global USA EVP of Audience Analysis Steve Sternberg, “That may be just what Fox needs to seal the sweeps deal.”

By the Numbers
Sweeps performance
18-49 Rating/Share Total Viewers (million)
* Change in rating
SOURCE: Nielsen Media Research data 2/3-23/05, 2/5-25/04
2005 3.8/10 10.1
2004 3.2/9 9.0
Change 19%* 12%
2005 3.9/10 12.6
2004 4.3/11 14.4
Change -9%* -13%
2005 7.0/18 16.9
2004 4.2/11 9.7
Change 67%* 75%
2005 3.6/9 10.2
2004 4.9/13 12.3
Change -27%* -17%
The WB
2005 1.4/4 3.5
2004 1.7/4 4.0
Change -18%* -13%
2005 1.3/3 3.2
2004 1.7/4 3.9
Change -24%* -20%

After winning November, CBS is placing second in February in 18-49s and total viewers. Season-to-date, Fox and CBS are neck and neck among 18-49s.

ABC sits in third place in February, with Desperate Housewives and Lost powering its ascent. The network “still needs to strengthen many other hours, and they could use more comedies,” notes Shari Anne Brill, VP/director of programming for Carat North America.

As for NBC, its ratings woes continue. After winning the coveted 18-49 demo for the past four seasons, the Peacock is in fourth place. The WB and UPN, both off slightly from a year ago, round out the broadcast standings. February sweeps officially ends March 3. Here’s a look, to date, at the winners, losers and a few surprises.