CBS Wins Sunday Thanks to the Grammy Awards

Rash Report: But '60 Minutes' Trails NBC Pro Bowl

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Along with Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, Coldplay, and Lil Wayne, the big winner of the 51st-annual Grammy Awards was CBS, which recorded a ratings rise of 17% in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic, according to Nielsen fast-affiliate ratings (final live-plus-same-day data will take into account that the event went well past the 11 p.m. cutoff).

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant perform at the 51st-annual Grammy Awards.
Alison Krauss and Robert Plant perform at the 51st-annual Grammy Awards. Credit: AP
Belting out a 7.6/18 rating and share, the Grammys were a shot in the arm not just for CBS but for an ailing music industry trying to transition from discs to digital delivery.

CBS's Grammy victory gave the network an easy win for the night, as it averaged a 6.5/16, well above ABC's 3.5/9, Fox's 1.9/5, NBC's 1.8/5 and the CW's .4/1. But it wasn't a clean sweep by CBS: "60 Minutes" (3.1/9) was second to NBC's Pro Bowl overrun (3.2/9), as a meaningless exhibition game was found to be as compelling as Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, who recounted to Katie Couric his heroic landing on the Hudson River.

But NBC fumbled its football kickoff, as "Dateline" (1.6/4) was fourth in its time slot, and part one of miniseries "XIII" was minimized as well, indexing only 57% of the ratings for NBC's last miniseries, "The Last Templar," which ran in January.

Just as the relatively low ratings did for "The Last Templar," the 1.3 for "XIII" may make NBC rethink its miniseries strategy, not only because of the costs but because it lost to a "Family Guy" repeat (2.8/6) and "American Dad" original (2.3/5) on Fox, as well as "Desperate Housewives" (4.9/11) and "Brothers & Sisters" (3.1/8) on ABC.

Both of those ABC series were off their season-to-date original-episode averages, with "Desperate Housewives" down 16% and "Brothers & Sisters" slipping 11%. That was most likely due to the Grammys. Emotional moments such as Jennifer Hudson, still grieving after her family's tragedy, accepting an award rivaled anything the ABC melodramas could come up with. Earlier, ABC kicked off the night against NBC's football and CBS's "60 Minutes" with "America's Funniest Home Videos," which was actually up 22%, at 2.8/8. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (3.4/8) was off 8%, however.

The night didn't start off nearly as well for Fox, as schedule-filler "Hole in the Wall" performed like a ratings black hole, mustering up only a 1.0/3. A "Simpsons" rerun (2.2/6) ran afterward, followed by an original "King of the Hill" (2.3/5).

The CW -- which is designed for the demographics that drive not only the music industry but the ratings for the Grammys -- started out the night with an old episode of "Jericho" (.2/1), the nuclear-winter drama that ended its CBS run last spring.

The network then ran 1985's "Teen Wolf," the Michael J. Fox theatrical released the same year "We are the World," which won the Grammy for Record of the Year, was recorded. Perhaps not surprisingly, up against the Grammys, it delivered only a .6/1.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Monday: President Barack Obama tries to stimulate more interest in the stimulus package with his first live news conference, at 8 p.m. on numerous networks.
Tuesday: Skip NBC's "Biggest Loser" for that lovable loser Charlie Brown, who stars in back-to-back Valentine's Day specials on ABC: "Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown" and "A Charlie Brown Valentine."

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Ratings for Fox's "24," which won't have "House" as a lead-in, due to the president's press conference.

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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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