MAGNA: Midseason fixes help TV, hurt cable


So far, the post-holiday, midseason prime-time Nielsen ratings are "on
the upswing" for weeks 15 and 16 (through Jan. 12), according to MAGNA
Global USA's latest analysis.

MAGNA also noted that the six broadcast networks are enjoying new season
highs in households and many demo breakouts.

Those gains are being fueled by various midseasoners' debuts
("especially the reality genre") and the cold weather, MAGNA senior vice
president Steve Sternberg noted.

The broadcasters' prime-time comeback has caused the basic-cable networks'
numbers to fall behind their strong fall-2002 performances.

The six broadcasters' combined share rose two points in households for week
16 versus the prior week, three points in adults 18 through 49 and four points
among persons 12 through 34, he added.

Looking at specific shows, Interpublic Group of Cos.' MAGNA
media-buying entity dubbed NBC's political drama Mister Sterling a
"respectable" Friday addition in key adult demos, although lacking the impact
and buzz of reality newcomers The Bachelorette (ABC) and Joe

CBS' Friday add of legal drama Queens Supreme, though far
behind NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, did boost CBS'
showing among adults 18 through 34 and 25 through 54 compared with the axed
Robbery Homicide Division, Sternberg pointed out. (NBC continues to
promote SVU as "Friday's No. 1 show," just as it plugs Law
& Order
as "Wednesday's No. 1 show.")

Elsewhere, he noted that The Guardian was CBS' lowest-rated
hour on Tuesday but "still topped NBC's waning Frasier." And yet, he
added, the latter sitcom remained "a powerful force against Fox's 24" in
the 18-through-34 demo.