THANKS TO ‘IDOL,’ FOX MAY CATCH UP TO ABC, CBS

Magna Global Predicts 18-49 Race Will Get Even Closer

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Just how big of a driver is “American Idol” for Fox? So big that the latest research out of Magna Global predicts the network will catch up to adult 18-to-49 ratings leaders ABC and CBS by March.
The latest research out of Magna Global predicts the network will catch up to adult 18-to-49 ratings leaders ABC and CBS by March.

Fox has already passed by NBC to move into third place among adults 18-to-49 with a 3.4 rating and a 9 share.

Season to date, NBC is off 16% from last year in adults 18-to-49 and ABC is the only network to register growth, up 3%. CBS remains the stable households leader and is just a tenth of a rating point behind ABC’s first place 18-to-49 rating and share (4.0/11 adults.)

With the Olympics in February, TV networks are programming almost as if there are two midseasons -- one pre-Olympics and one post-Olympics. While ABC is in the lead, a pair of its heavily promoted midseason replacements, “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” and “Jake in Progress” is gone. Media buyers will be watching to see what the network rolls out after the Olympics. NBC will use the Olympics to promote its midseason shows and its Thursday night comedy block. It’s already shelved the controversial “Book of Daniel.” CBS has several programs, including the Julia Louis-Dreyfus sitcom “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” that it will either launch or bring back after the games.

Meanwhile Shari Anne Brill, VP-director of programming at Carat USA, takes a look at the broadcast network news show in a ratings analysis out yesterday. All three networks’ evening newscasts are down over the past two weeks versus the same period a year ago. The Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff combo on ABC’s “World News Tonight” came in down 16.7% in adults 25-to-54, CBS’s “The Evening News with Bob Schieffer” is off 8.7% and NBC’s “Nightly News with Brian Williams” has dropped 12.9%.

The networks, she notes, may try to blame the drops on the spike in 2005 ratings because of the tsunami, but Ms. Brill said the disaster coverage had subsided by this time last year and a look at the ratings versus two years ago reveals no tsunami impact.

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