Football Wins On Sunday Night, Not on Monday Night

Rash Report: On Tuesday, Heather Locklear Not Yet Saviour of 'Melrose'

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Nielsen data delays have made today's Rash Report a Rash Roundup. Here's how the first part of this week shook out.

Heather Locklear was back on 'Melrose Place' on Tuesday night, but wasn't able to give the network a ratings boost.
Heather Locklear was back on 'Melrose Place' on Tuesday night, but wasn't able to give the network a ratings boost. Credit: CW
Sunday:
Football fans are still debating Bill Belichick's big gamble, in which his New England Patriots' failed fourth down conversion turned the tide for the late-charging Indianapolis Colts. While it didn't pay off for the Patriots, it did for NBC, which scored an 8.6/22 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic, to tie it for the second-highest rated "Sunday Night Football" game of the year. Combined with "Football Night in America" (2.9/8), NBC easily won the night with an overall 7.3/19.

Fox was second with a 5.6/14, as it, too, was football-fueled, with an 11.7/35 NFL overrun running into post-game show "The OT" (5.3/15). Fox comedies "The Simpsons" (4.3/11), "Cleveland Show" (3.4/8), "Family Guy" (4.2/10) and "American Dad" (3.0/7) followed, with the latter laughers down double digits, most likely due to the ratings rise for NBC's game.

It's unlikely, of course, that Fox's "Animation Domination" viewers switched to ABC's primetime soap operas "Desperate Housewives" (5.0/12) and "Brothers and Sisters" (3.2/8), but both had good nights, with "Housewives" tying a season high. And the early end of the evening was good for ABC as well, as "America's Funniest Home Videos" (2.3/6) also tied a season high and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (3.7/9) set a season high. Overall ABC was third with a 3.5/9.

Coach Belichick's call wasn't the only one that didn't pay off. CBS rolled the dice with new Sunday drama "Three Rivers," and it, too, is coming up short, only delivering a 1.8/4, which hurts lead-out "Cold Case" (2.1/6). And earlier, CBS's franchise "60 Minutes" (2.2/6) had a typical delivery up against a football overrun, but "Amazing Race" kept its amazing ability to bounce right up, as it increased 54% to a 3.4/8. But for the night, CBS finished fourth with a 2.4/6.

Monday:
Maybe Sunday's gridiron grid finally wore out fans, as ESPN's "Monday Night Football" got sacked for a loss, delivering its lowest rated game of the season, a 4.1/11 (or it could have been the Baltimore Ravens win over the lowly Cleveland Browns).

Sunday, November 15, 2009
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Monday, November 16, 2009
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009
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See how all the shows did in the ratings.

Instead on broadcast, viewers made Monday a big hit night. But they did it on two different networks: In the first hour, Fox's "House" dominated the demographic most marketers invest in, adults 18-49, with a 5.0/13 rating and share. Then many seemingly switched to CBS, as the next hour had nearly identical ratings, with "Two and a Half Men" (4.7/12) and "Big Bang Theory" (5.0/12) easily winning the hour. Then at 10 p.m., "CSI: Miami" (3.7/10) beat ABC's "Castle" (2.5/7, tying a season high) as well as NBC's "Jay Leno Show" (1.4/4).

Fittingly, Fox and CBS ran neck and neck, with CBS finishing first with a 3.9/10, and Fox right behind with a 3.8/10. "House's" lead-out "Lie to Me" (2.7/7) was a tenth of a ratings point lower than its normal levels for an original episode, as was CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" (3.4/9), while "Accidentally on Purpose" (2.8/7) was down 10%.

ABC was third with a 3.4/9 as "Dancing with the Stars" (3.9/10) led into "Castle." NBC finished fourth with a 1.8/5 as "Heroes" (2.2/6) hit a series low and "Trauma" tied a series low with a 1.8/4. The CW, as usual, was fifth, but at least consistent, as both "One Tree Hill" and "Gossip Girl" hit their season-to-date averages of 1.2/3.

Tuesday:
Some pop culture has the power to make people nostalgic for an era they never experienced. Witness "Mad Men," with its formal dress, but informal behavior, standing in stark contrast to today's casual Fridays, but formal political correctness.

But despite its original auspices as another drama set in an ad agency, the CW's "Melrose Place" is no "Mad Men" -- even by bringing back its female version of Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Amanda Woodward (Heather Locklear), as it did in a much-hyped episode Tuesday night. Indeed, "Melrose" didn't spike with the moms who watched it originally, or their daughters who are the current desired demo for the CW, as the .8/2 was actually a tenth of a ratings point below its season-to-date original episode average. Lead-in "90210" -- another remake from a previous generation -- did hit its 1.1/3 average, as the CW finished fifth with a .9/3. (All Tuesday data based on Nielsen fast affiliate ratings.)

The night's winner was CBS, which is looking forward with new dramas "NCIS: Los Angeles" (3.4/9) and "The Good Wife" (2.6/8), and one that has been revived, "NCIS" (4.1/11).

NBC (3.0/8) was second, as it led off with a genre designed for nostalgia -- a holiday special. But this, too, was new, as "Merry Madagascar" debuted with a 2.9/8. A 90-minute "Biggest Loser" (3.7/10) followed, leading into "The Jay Leno Show" (2.0/6).

Fox was fourth with a 2.4/7 for the night and for "So You Think You Can Dance." And ABC (2.7/7) was third, as "V" (3.1/8) fell 18% from last week. But that didn't dampen "Dancing with the Stars," which was up 7% over its regular level with a 3.2/8. At 10 p.m, however, "The Forgotten" (1.9/5) was down a tenth of a point.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Wednesday: A culmination of weeks of catwalks (and cat fights) as "America's Next Top Model" is chosen on the season finale of the CW show.
Thursday: Your DVR capacity, as every show has an original episode on the last Thursday of November sweeps.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Talk show ratings. On the eve of the "New Moon" movie premiere, CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" has booked star Robert Pattinson, while Jay Leno has "Larry the Cable Guy" and Conan O'Brien gets guests Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, "famous for being famous" reality retreads.

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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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