ABC Beats CBS Repeats; 'Castle' Hits Season High

Rash Report: Despite 'Plan B' Opportunity, Leno Lags to Tie Season Low

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Night "A" of "Plan B" viewing of NBC's "Jay Leno Show" didn't go so well. After all, if "Leno" is ever going to regain the media mojo it enjoyed week one of the new season, it will be the during the first week of reruns on the other two networks with 10 p.m. shows, CBS and ABC.

'Castle'
'Castle' Credit: ABC
CBS obliged with a rerun of "CSI: Miami," which delivered a 3.1/8 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic, which, although 24% lower than this season's original episode average, still won the hour. And while ABC ran an original, it was of its relatively low-rated "Castle."

But it was ABC that was "Plan B" for many viewers, as "Castle" built a season-high 2.5/7.

"Leno," conversely, tied a season low with a 1.3/4.

"Leno's" failure to convert repeatedly resistant viewers may be a one-night phenomenon, of course. But if the pattern is repeated the next two nights, when CBS will once again run reruns, it may solidify the sense that it's not just that viewers are choosing first-run, often first-rate dramas on other networks, but that many viewers have simply decided against watching Jay Leno in primetime.

Other shows against other CBS repeats, for instance, did perform as well or better, even on beleaguered NBC. "Heroes" (2.5/7), for instance, held last week's audience, while freshman drama "Trauma" (1.9/4) was up a tenth of a ratings point. Still, as is often the case, NBC finished fourth with an overall 1.9/5.

ABC (3.2/8) finished first, as "Dancing with the Stars," which had its third straight week of a 3.6/9, led into "Castle."

Fox finished fourth with a 2.5/6, as a special edition of "So You Think You Can Dance" (2.6/7) ran in place of "House," which Fox had held in case a game seven of the American League Championship Series was to be played there. "Lie to Me" missed its hit lead-in, as it slipped 17% to a season low 2.4/6.

And, while the generation gap -- or gulf -- between CBS and the CW suggests that few viewers unwilling to watch CBS repeats would surf towards the CW, "One Tree Hill" did hit a season high 1.3/3, which was followed by "Gossip Girl," which matched the network's last-place overall average of a a 1.2/3.

Rash gridsEnlarge
See how all the shows did in the ratings.

As for CBS, the network that put all the "Plan B's" in motion? Well, it was still "Plan A" to many, as it was rated second with an overall 3.0/8. And it wasn't just "CSI: Miami" locking up many of its regular viewers: "How I Met Your Mother" (2.6/7), "Two and a Half Men" (3.5/8) and "Big Bang Theory" (3.8/9) held about three-fourths of its regular viewers, while "Accidentally on Purpose" (2.1/5) indexed at 68%.

But as usual on Monday nights, it was ESPN's "Monday Night Football" -- which only runs repeats on ESPN Classic -- that was "Plan A-Z" for loyal fans, with last night's Philadelphia Eagles win over the Washington Redskins scoring a 5.2/14 to be the highest-rated show in the demo on TV.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Tuesday: OK, all this Great Depression/Recession talk calls for the Great Pumpkin (or at least Linus's security blanket). So watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" on ABC.
Wednesday: It's the boys of summer in the fall classic as the World Series between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies begins on Fox.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
The second straight night of second showings on CBS once again creates audience opportunities for its rivals.

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NOTE: All ratings based on adults 18-49. A share is a percentage of adults 18-49 who have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all adults 18-49, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. adults 18-49 population with TVs. Ratings quoted in this column are based on live-plus-same-day unless otherwise noted. (Many ad deals have been negotiated on the basis of commercial-minute, live-plus-three-days viewing.)

John Rash is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun's Compass Media, Minneapolis. For more, see rashreport.com.

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