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Broadcast TV Ratings for Friday, May 16, 2008

CBS’s trio of finales (Ghost Whisperer, Moonlight, and Numb3rs) led the network to an easy Friday night victory, out-drawing its closest competitor ABC (who itself stayed afloat thanks to a finale of its own via America’s Funniest Home Videos) by nearly 2 million viewers and 23%.

Elsewhere on the evening, The CW got a rare reprieve from the bottom, as its WWE Smackdown pulled the network into third place among households and viewers (tied for third among adults 18-49).

Continue reading for a look at the entire nights ratings, including my full analysis of the nights programming, PLUS ratings charts for the entire season’s of the three scripted series that had their season finales last night.

CBS finished in first place for the evening with a 5.5/10 household rating/share, 8.55 million viewers and a 2.0/7 rating/share among adults 18-49.

  • Last Week:
    • 5.5/10 HH rating [#1]
    • 8.52M viewers [#1]
    • 2.0/7 A18-49 [#1]
  • 8:00 p.m.: The third season finale of Ghost Whisperer (5.6/11 HH rating/share, 8.36M viewers, 2.0/8 A18-49 rating/share).  The show got the network off to a strong start, but it was unable to draw an increase of viewers from the week prior, despite its season finale airing.  Not exactly a good thing.  Looking at the chart below, you’ll notice that with the exception of a couple peaks up and down, it’s been mostly consistent, with the trend line showing a slight downward movement.  It was also off from its year-ago season finale numbers (HH: -8%, Viewers: -790,000/9%, A18-49: -26%).  Overall viewership isn’t too significant, but that decline of viewers within the A18-49 demographic is definitely cause for concern.
    • Week-to-week numbers:
      • Households – 5.6/11 to 5.6/11
      • Viewers – 8.78M to 8.36M
      • Adults 18-49 – 2.1/8 to 2.0/8
    • Season finale comparison (5/11/2007 – season two finale):
      • Households – 6.1/12 to 5.6/11
      • Viewers – 9.15M to 8.36M
      • Adults 18-49 – 2.7/11 to 2.0/8
    • Season three average (9/28/2007 to 5/16/2008–18 episodes):
  • 9:00 p.m.: The first season finale/series finale of Moonlight (4.9/9 HH rating/share, 7.36M viewers, 1.8/6 A18-49 rating/share).  I know that Moonlight fans are quite angered by the fact that CBS has decided to cancel the series, but all you really have to do is check out the posted chart below.  While the trend line indicates a mostly consistent season performance (just slightly down), what really did the show in was the slow and steady loss of viewership starting with episode #12.  After posting the series’ third highest viewer mark (8.32M viewers), viewership fell right back downward, concluding with the season/series finale which could end up being the show’s third lowest viewer mark (depending on what the final national numbers show).  Overall, the series dipped by 12% over that period (960,000 viewers).  Another issue with the show is that it’s A18-49 demographic was always weak, and it never managed to build or maintain the audience of its lead-in.  The result was it skewed old, with less than 40% of its viewership in the prime A18-49 demographic.  The new dramedy The Ex List moves into the time slot this fall.  CBS is no doubt hoping it goes better with Ghost Whisperer than Moonlight did.
    • Week-to-week numbers:
      • Households – 4.9/9 to 4.9/9
      • Viewers – 7.61M to 7.36M
      • Adults 18-49 – 1.9/6 to 1.8/6
    • Season three average (9/28/2007 to 5/16/2008–16 episodes):
  • 10:00 p.m.: And CBS closed the night with the fourth season finale of Numb3rs (6.1/11 HH rating/share, 9.73M viewers, 2.3/7 A18-49 rating/share).  In contrast to both Ghost Whisperer and Moonlight, Numb3rs shows a slight increase in its trend line as you can see in the posted chart below.  It was also off only slightly from its year-ago finale numbers (just 450,000/4% among viewers).  But like Ghost Whisperer, a problem exists among the A18-49 demographic.  Compared against last season’s finale, the show was off by 18% in the demo.  It was at or above 10 million viewers five times during the season.  Judging by the upward trend line, there’s no reason to believe that the show can’t stay above 10 million viewers next season and produce a better rating in the demo, so long as its lead-in The Ex List launches strongly.
    • Week-to-week numbers:
      • Households – 5.9/11 to 6.1/11
      • Viewers – 9.33M to 9.73M
      • Adults 18-49 – 2.2/7 to 2.3/7
    • Season finale comparison (5/18/2007 – season three finale):
      • Households – 6.7/12 to 6.1/11
      • Viewers – 10.18M to 9.73M
      • Adults 18-49 – 2.8/9 to 2.3/7
    • Season four average (9/28/2007 to 5/16/2008–18 episodes):

ABC followed in second place for the evening with a 4.2/8 household rating/share, 6.60 million viewers and a 1.7/6 rating/share among adults 18-49.

  • Last Week:
    • 4.2/8 HH rating [#2]
    • 6.42M viewers [#2]
    • 1.7/6 A18-49 rating [#2]
  • 8:00 p.m: The two-hour season finale of America’s Funniest Home Videos (4.3/8 HH rating/share, 6.80M viewers, 1.7/6 A18-49 rating/share) drew comparable household figures from its week ago Sunday showing, but suffered in terms of viewers (-840,000/11%) and adults 18-49 (-29%).
    • Episode-to-episode numbers (Sunday, May 11 – 7:00):
      • Households – 4.3/8 to 4.3/8
      • Viewers – 7.64M to 6.80M
      • Adults 18-49 – 2.4/8 to 1.7/6
    • Last week’s numbers (TV’s All Time Funniest)
      • Households – 4.3/8
      • Viewers – 6.51M
      • Adults 18-49 – 1.6/6
  • 10:00 p.m.: 20/20 (4.2/8 HH rating/share, 6.21M viewers, 1.9/6 A18-49 rating/share) remained even from its week ago numbers.
    • Week-to-week numbers:
      • Households – 4.1/8 to 4.2/8
      • Viewers – 6.20M to 6.21M
      • Adults 18-49 – 1.9/6 to 1.9/6

The CW finished in third place for the evening with a 2.4/4 household rating/share and 4.02 million viewers and was tied for third among adults 18-49 with a 1.2/4 rating/share.

  • Last Week:
    • 2.4/4 HH rating [#4]
    • 4.12M viewers [#4]
    • 1.3/5 A18-49 rating [#4]
  • 8:00 p.m.: Friday Night Smackdown! (2.4/4 HH rating, 4.02M viewers, 1.2/4 A18-49 rating).  It’s hard to imagine that The CW will be losing ‘Smackdown!’ next season, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen as it moves over to My Network TV.  It consistently draws over 3 million viewers, and occasionally, as evidenced by this week and the week prior, hits over 4 million.  It’s true that its audience makeup is outside the key demo and the network doesn’t see much revenue out of the show, but it just seems incredibly foolish to cast away a 3.5M+ viewer show.  At the same time, I’m very intrigued to see how the networks new Friday night comedy block fares next season.
    • Week-to-week numbers:
      • Households – 2.4/4 to 2.4/4
      • Viewers – 4.21M to 4.02M
      • Adults 18-49 – 1.4/5 to 1.2/4

NBC followed in fourth place for the evening with a 2.2/4 household rating/share and 3.10 million viewers, but was a last place fifth among adults 18-49 with a 1.0/4 rating/share.

  • Last Week:
    • 3.8/7 HH rating [#3]
    • 5.38M viewers [#3]
    • 1.4/5 A18-49 rating [#3]
  • 8:00 p.m.: A repeat of American Gladiators (2.0/4 HH rating/share, 2.51M viewers, 0.9/3 A18-49 rating/share).
  • 9:00 p.m.: Dateline NBC (3.1/6 HH rating/share, 4.27M viewers, 1.4/4 A18-49 rating/share) did the best it could do with its dismal lead-in.  Though it dropped by more than 1.5 million viewers from the week prior, it should be given some credit for managing to build from its lead-in by a significant amount (+55% among households, +70% among viewers and +56% among adults 18-49).
    • Week-to-week numbers:
      • Households – 4.2/8 to 3.1/6
      • Viewers – 5.94M to 4.27M
      • Adults 18-49 – 1.5/5 to 1.4/4

FOX finished in fifth place for the evening with a 2.0/4 household rating/share and 2.98 million viewers, but managed a third place tie among adults 18-49 with a 1.2/4 rating/share.

  • Last Week:
    • 2.2/4 HH rating [#5]
    • 3.39M viewers [#5]
    • 1.1/4 A18-49 rating [#5]
  • And that leaves us with Fox, which managed to dip below 3 million viewers with another one of their movie presentations.  Congrats on another fifth place showing Fox.
  • 8:00 p.m.: The theatrical film Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2.0/4 HH rating/share, 2.98M viewers, 1.2/4 A18-49 rating/share).
    • Last week’s numbers (Film – Man of the House):
      • Households – 2.3/4
      • Viewers – 3.44M
      • Adults 18-49 – 1.1/4


Note: Network average numbers from the week prior are based on fast national data. Comparison’s from the week prior (or episode-to-episode, etc.) on specific shows are based on final national data. Ratings for the current day are based on fast nationals. (Expect all three scenarios to be the case at all times, unless otherwise noted). The final rating for first-run episodes that aired this evening will be reported the following week. So for example, the final rating for tonight’s episode of “Numb3rs” will be reported in next weeks report for Friday, May 23, 2008.

Also keep in mind that because these are fast national ratings, numbers may increase or decrease when the final nationals are released.

Source: Fast/Final National Ratings Data from Nielsen Media Research. Daily ratings figures can be found at PIFeedback and Zap2It.