'American Idol' Impact -- in October

Rash Report: 'So You Think You Can Dance'; 'Glee' help Fox Tie CBS in Key Demo

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- As usual, Fox's "American Idol" won the ratings race last night. Of course the show itself doesn't start until January. But its impact is being felt this fall, as both shows on Fox's Wednesday night grid were undergirded by the network's mega-hit.

'So You Think You Can Dance'
'So You Think You Can Dance' Credit: Fox
"So You Think You Can Dance's" creator, after all, is Simon Fuller, the creative force behind "Idol." And the summer season springs right out of the highly rated "Idol" finale, giving the show a promotional platform to not only be a summer hit, but to win the first hour of a fall Wednesday night in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic with a 2.8/8 rating and share, which was up 12% from last week.

"Dance's" partner, "Glee," had it one better, with an "Idol" lead-in for its innovative spring prime-time premiere. It's become a fall favorite as well, with a competitive 3.4/9 with adults 18-49 and dominating with teens, tweens and young adults. Together, "Dance" and "Glee" harmonized to deliver a 3.1/9, which tied it for first with CBS.

CBS's success was due to duets of its own: First-hour sitcoms "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2.1/7) and "Gary Unmarried" (2.3/7) were up 11% and 5%, respectively, from last week and are winning against ABC's comic combination of "Hank" (1.6/5) and "The Middle" (2.1/6), which were even with last week.

Then "Criminal Minds" (3.8/10) and "CSI: NY" (3.2/9) won the 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. timeslots, respectively, beating ABC's sitcom block of "Modern Family" (3.6/10, up 6%) and "Cougar Town" (3.3/8, a tenth of a ratings point ahead of last week). But at 10 p.m., "Eastwick" is going south, hitting a season low 1.7/5, which is 57% of its broadcast bow a month ago. For the night ABC was third with a 2.3/7.

NBC, which will have an "Idol-" like event in February, the Winter Olympics from Vancouver, to launch new series, struggled with its big new one, "The Jay Leno Show," as for the ninth time in ten nights it failed to crack a 2.0 rating, this time settling on a 1.8/5. The stripped "Leno" show shed "Law and Order: SVU" from its more natural 10 p.m. timeslot, and it's showing, as the 2.6/7, despite tying a new fall season high, was off 28% from last year's original episode average. At 8 p.m. "Mercy" (1.9/6) provided little to NBC's woes, as it's down 17% from its series premiere a month ago. Overall, NBC finished fourth with a 2.1/6.

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

And while the CW's "America's Next Top Model" is no "American Idol," by CW standards the 1.4/4 is a powerful prime-time platform to launch another show. But unfortunately, the closest connection to "Idol" is that it's a solo act, as the network squanders the audience opportunity by running a rerun of "Melrose Place," which chased away all but a .3/1, dropping the fifth-place CW to a .9/2 overall.

Thursday: The silly sitcom with a bit of genius behind it, "30 Rock," has its season debut on NBC, right after "The Office."
Friday: Play ball! Or at least watch it. Fox begins its coverage of the American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels a night after TBS's opening pitch of the NLCS between the defending World Series winner, the Philadelphia Phillies, who play the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Based on recent ratings, the next case for CBS's "CSI" is the disappearance of many viewers. It faces another tough timeslot tonight, up against ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," NBC's "The Office" and "30 Rock" and even Fox's "Fringe."

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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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