Going steady with Nielsen

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A tentative first date has turned into a lasting relationship. Blind Date earned just a 1.3 household rating in its debut week, according to Nielsen Media Research, but has won several upgrades in its sophomore season, including double-runs on WWOR-TV New York, KTWB-TV Seattle and KPLR-TV St. Louis.

And, for the week ended May 28, Blind Date earned its best numbers ever for women 18-34, improving 33% to a 2.0. In households, the show also posted a 2.0, an 18% climb from the previous week.

Blind Dates' guerrilla approach to boy-meets-girl is an offbeat take on the time-honored ritual, but its distributor, Universal Worldwide Television, wouldn't have it any another way. "The younger demographic finds it compelling because it's a fresh concept," says Matt Cooperstein, senior vice president of domestic television.

The show also corrals more males than many other syndicated shows. In the week ended May 14, for instance, among men 18-49, Blind Date (1.2) topped Change of Heart (1.1), Judge Joe Brown (1.1), Judge Mathis (0.8), Divorce Court (0.8) and Judge Mills Lane (0.7).

"If you're going to bring men to the party, you need a show that has a component that's attractive to males but isn't alienating to any other demographic group," said Cooperstein.

Cooperstein also sees Blind Date in a long-term relationship with stations.

"Voyeurism is big now. You're seeing it becoming popular on the networks with [CBS'] Survivor and Big Brother," he said.

Blind Date will take several road trips next season, setting up singles in New York, Chicago, Dallas and Miami. The traveling "adds a great creative point of view but also adds great local station exposure," said Vice President of Marketing and Creative Services Lori Shackel.

Blind Date is cleared in 92% of the U.S.

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