Commercial TV (Literally and Figuratively) Rules Ratings

Rash Report: 'Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials,' 'American Idol' Score Big

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- DVRs. Mute buttons. PBS. There are a lot of ways viewers seek to avoid commercials. Except, that is, when the commercials are good. Every year people pay the price of a movie ticket to see spots from "The British Television Advertising Awards." And just last night more people in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic watched CBS's "Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials" than any other show in its time slot.

'Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials' won its time slot last night.
'Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials' won its time slot last night.
The special delivered a 2.9/9 rating and share, beating ABC's repeat of "Modern Family" (2.4/7) and an original episode of "The Middle" (a series-high 2.7/8), NBC's "Mercy" (1.6/5), the CW's "Life Unexpected" rerun (0.5/2) and "Human Target," which, having to run before and not after "American Idol" on Fox, hit a series low 2.4/7.

"Idol," of course, won its time slot, with a 7.8/21 to power Fox to first place with an overall 5.1/14. It, too, is somewhat of a commercial, or at least a celebration of clever marketing, as embodied by the omnipresent Coke logos in front of the judges. But viewers don't seem to mind that either, as it cruised past ABC's "Modern Family" (3.9/11) and "Cougar Town" (2.9/8), CBS's "Criminal Minds" (3.8/10), NBC's "Law and Order: SVU" repeat (0.9/3) and the CW's rerun of "Gossip Girl" (0.2/1).

But at 10 p.m., the show that was to be fall's most friendly to advertisers, NBC's "Jay Leno Show," was last with a 1.2/4, losing to ABC's canceled "Ugly Betty" (1.4/4) and CBS's "CSI: NY" (3.4/10).

For the night overall, following Fox was CBS (3.4/10), ABC (2.5/7), NBC (1.2/4) and the CW (0.4/1).

WHAT TO WATCH:

Rash gridsEnlarge
See how all the shows did in the ratings.
Thursday: The capacity on your DVR, as the first February sweeps night brings new episodes for every program on each broadcast network.
Friday: Last year's annual Harris poll on the popularity of film stars still listed amongst the top ten John Wayne, even though he passed away in 1979. Find out why as TCM runs "True Grit" and "The Shootist."

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
It's been a tough two weeks for new series "The Deep End" on ABC, and that's without having to run against "Survivor" on CBS. It's not yet time for the reality show's latest season, but the network's "Surviving Survivor" special probably means "The Deep End" itself won't survive.

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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, Minneapolis. For more, see rashreport.com.

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