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How Networks Parse the Numbers

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 29, 2006

Since Thursdays are turning into a quite interesting fight, I'm offering you some different spins on the numbers from that night. First, ABC's release:

For the second straight week, ABC qualified as the #1 network on Thursday night
among Adults 18-49, beating out CBS (6.2/16 vs. 6.0/16).  ABC was also the No. 1
network on the evening with Adults 18-34 (5.7/17) and in all key women
demographics: W18-34 (8.1/22), /W18-49 (8.7/21) & W25-54 (9.8/21). 

* ABC's new Thursday lineup is already delivering impressive returns, as the
Network is up by 9.5 million viewers (17.1 million vs. 7.6 million) and by 205%
in Adults 18-49 (6.7/18 vs. 2.2/6) over the first two Thursdays of last season. 

“Ugly Betty” (8:00-9:00 p.m.)
From 8:00-9:00 p.m. ABC's debut telecast of “Ugly Betty” opened as the most-
watched new show of the season (any network), with 16.1 million viewers and a
4.9 rating, 14 share in Adults 18-49, taking a very strong second to CBS' time
period veteran “Survivor” on both counts.  From start to finish, “Ugly Betty”
saw its audience soar by 3.2 million viewers (14.5 million to 17.7 million) and
by 33% in Adults 18-49 (4.2/12 to 5.6/15)...edging out “Survivor” at 8:30pm in
viewers (17.7 million vs. 17.5 million) and Adults 18-34 (4.6/13 vs. 4.5/13). 
Incidentally, against “Betty” “Survivor” was down from last week in both viewers
and young adults.  “Ugly Betty” won its time period, beating “Survivor,” across
the women demographics: W18-34 (5.9/17 vs. 4.9/14), W18-49 (7.0/18 vs. 6.7/17) &
W25-54 (8.3/19 vs. 8.1/19). 

* The debut of “Ugly Betty” attracted ABC's largest audience with a scripted
program in the time period in nearly 11-1/2 years - since 4/27/95, with an
episode of “Matlock.”  No other regular scripted program has delivered a higher
Adult 18-49 rating for ABC in the Thursday 8 o'clock hour in more than 12 years
- since 8/25/94, with the series debut of “My So-Called Life.”

“Grey’s Anatomy” (9:00-10:00 p.m.)
For the second straight week, ABC's “Grey's Anatomy” beat CBS' “C.S.I.” to rank
No. 1 in the time period across the key adult demographics: AD18-34 (8.7/23),
AD18-49 (9.4/22) & AD25-54 (10.3/22).  In the key Adult 18-49 sales demographic,
“Grey's” beat “C.S.I.” by 19% (9.4/22 vs. 7.9/19). 

* For the second week in a row, ABC’s “Grey's Anatomy” stood as Thursday night's
No. 1 TV program in all key adult and women demographics.
* In Total Viewers and Adults 18-49, “Grey's” is producing ABC's strongest
scripted series numbers in the time period in at least 15 years - since at least
September of 1991, the start of the Nielsen electronic database.

“Six Degrees” (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
During the 10 o'clock hour, ABC's “Six Degrees” outpaced its CBS' drama
competition (“Shark”) among young adults (AD18-34/AD18-49) and across the key
women demographics.  In Adults 18-34, “Six Degrees” beat out “Shark” by 57%
(4.4/13 vs. 2.8/8). 

* On average in its first two telecasts, “Six Degrees” has improved ABC's
performance in the hour by 5.1 million viewers (11.7 million vs. 6.6 million)
and by 133% in Adults 18-49 (4.9/13 vs. 2.1/6) over the same nights last season.

Now here's CBS's treatment of the same night.

In the second match up of the season, CSI beat "Grey's Anatomy" in viewers and was the night's most watched program, SURVIVOR: COOK ISLANDS topped the highly promoted premiere of "Ugly Betty," and SHARK took a bite out of its competition, placing ahead of "ER" and "Six Degrees," leading CBS to a first place finish in viewers and adults 25-54, according to preliminary Nielsen live plus same day ratings for Sept. 28.

CSI was first in viewers (23.49m), second in households (14.1/21), adults 25-54 (9.7/21) and adults 18-49 (7.9/19).   Compared to last week, CSI was up +3% in both households (from 13.7/21) and adults 18-49 (from 7.7/18), +2% in adults 25-54 (from 9.5/21) and added +910,000 viewers (from 22.58m, +4%). 

CSI moved ahead of "Grey's Anatomy" by +180,000 viewers (after trailing by -2.83m last week) and is now trailing the ABC drama by --0.8 rating points in households (from -2.1), -0.6 rating points in adults 25-54 (from -2.3) and -1.5 rating points adults 18-49 (from -3.3).   

        The third episode of SURVIVOR: COOK ISLANDS won its time slot in viewers (16.60m), adults 25-54 (7.1/18), adults 18-49 (5.8/16) and adults 18-34 (4.2/13).  Compared to last week and against the heavily promoted premiere of ABC's "Ugly Betty", SURVIVOR retained 98% of its household delivery (from 9.8/16), 93% of adults 25-54 (from 7.6/19), 89% in adults 18-49 (from 6.5/18), 93% in adults 18-34 (from 4.5/14) and 95% of viewers (from 17.43m).   

SURVIVOR: COOK ISLAND increased its delivery in the second half-hour:  +9% in households (10.0/16 from 9.2/15), +17% in both adults 25-54 (7.7/18 from 6.6/18) and adults 18-49 (6.3/16 from 5.4/16), +18% in adults 18-34 (4.5/13 from 3.8/12) and added +1.81m viewers (17.51m from 15.70m, +12%). 

At 10PM, SHARK won its time period in viewers (14.72m), was tied for first in households (9.5/16, with NBC), second in adults 25-54 (5.5/13) and third in adults 18-49 (4.2/11, -0.2 behind ABC).   Compared to last week's premiere, SHARK was up +2% in adults 18-49 (from 4.1/11) and even in adults 25-54 and viewers (from 14.74m).

For the night, CBS was first in households (11.1/17), viewers (18.27m), adults 25-54 (7.5/18) and second in adults 18-49 (6.0/16, -0.2 behind ABC).   

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