While the country prepared to shut down for four days to watch football
and eat turkey, four of the six broadcast networks were busy crowing about their
performances in the November sweeps.
NBC dominated in adults 18 through 49, while ABC was edging toward second place in the
demo, up from fourth last year.
Two networks -- Fox and UPN -- had a little less to sing about.
NBC earned its biggest margin of victory in adults 18 through 49 in six years,
beating second-place ABC by a full ratings point, according to Nielsen Media Research.
NBC also could win the sweeps in households and viewers -- a surprise even to
NBC -- although CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said he expects his network to skirt by NBC
in those categories when the sweeps numbers are tallied through this
Although NBC has very few holes in its prime time schedule, the network plans
to launch three new series between January and March: Mister Sterling,
AUSA and Kingpin.
The Julia Louis-Dreyfus vehicle, Watching Ellie, which had a limited
run last season, will also return in March, NBC Entertainment president
Jeff Zucker said.
Mister Sterling will premiere Friday, Jan. 10, at 8 p.m., in
Providence's time slot.
Providence may not be as canceled, as previously
thought, with Zucker saying he is considering keeping the show on the air after
NBC will launch AUSA during February sweeps and Kingpin in
ABC surprised and delighted itself with a second-place finish in 18 through 49 led
by the performance of The Bachelor on Wednesdays at 9 p.m., a title ABC
will hold all by itself or in a tie with CBS.
ABC's lack of programming power on Thursday nights has hurt it, and to try to
fix that, the network will premiere Dinotopia on Thanksgiving.
ABC plans to keep fresh reality programming on Wednesdays at 9 p.m., hoping
to capitalize on The Bachelor's momentum without wearing out the
The Bachelorette, which only goes six episodes,
premieres Jan. 8.
Besides another edition of The Bachelor, ABC has six other reality
series in the pipeline to fill the time slot through May sweeps.
Those are: Get Me Out of Here, I'm a Celebrity, All-American
Girl, Celebrity Mole, Family Trust, Are You Hot?
and The Will.
ABC also has several midseason replacements in the works, with
Dragnet and Miracles ready to fill the space left by Monday Night
Football after the Super Bowl.
Other shows waiting in the wings are adventure hour Veritas and
comedies Lost at Home and Regular Joe.
While CBS did well in November sweeps, the network had a good shot of ending
up in second or third in every demo, including households, viewers and adults 18 through 49
and 25 through 54.
ABC's sprint to the finish and NBC's successful use of stunts within its
major series left CBS a little winded.
With Moonves saying his only problem areas are 'two hours on Wednesdays and
two hours on Fridays,' there isn't much space available in the schedule for
Still, four shows are waiting: Star Search, Queen Supreme,
Charlie Lawrence and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Star Search will premiere Thursday, Jan. 9, at 8 p.m., in
Survivor's time slot.
Fox is having a hard time leaving baseball behind and, as a result, it was
down 16 percent year-to-year in adults 18 through 49 during the sweep.
Still, it was No. 2 in its key demo, adults 18 through 34, and No. 1 on
Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays in adults 18 through 34 and 18 through 49.
January will see several schedule changes for Fox, with the 90-minute
premiere of American Idol Tuesday, Jan. 21, followed by another
90-minute special Wednesday, Jan. 22.
After that, the show will settle into its regular time periods on Tuesdays
from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Wednesdays from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
American Idol will bump That 70s Show to Wednesday nights at 8
p.m., pushing Bernie Mac and Cedric the Entertainer Presents
back to 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
That puts Bernie and Cedric up against ABC's The
Bachelorette and whatever other reality shows ABC chooses to throw at
American Idol's finale will come May 16, in the heart
Fastlane, the current occupant of the Wednesday 9 p.m. slot, will move to
Fridays at 8 p.m., while Firefly goes on hiatus.
Berman said Fox has no intention of canceling Firefly, but it wants to
find the show a better time period.
Two shows Fox had on its fall season -- The Grubbs and
Septuplets -- will not be aired, Berman said, because neither lived up to
the network's creative expectations.
Finally, UPN also is down this season, mostly because the netlet could not
post the same numbers this premiere season as last, when Buffy the Vampire
Slayer and Enterprise premiered to huge numbers.
As the season has gone on, UPN's numbers have flattened
out, leaving it down 14 percent in persons 12 through 34 and adults 18 through
34 as of Sunday, Nov. 22.