MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Cliff Lee, the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher who shut down the New York Yankees in Game One of the World Series, wasn't the only one with an impressive opening performance last night: The game itself scored 31% more ad-centric adults 18-49 than last year, and according to Fox, it was the most-watched opener in five years.
Delivering a 6.3/17 rating and share, Fox easily won the night overall, followed by ABC (2.4/6), CBS and NBC (each 2.1/5), and the CW (1.1/3).
With Lee and the Phillies dominating the Yankees, a closer match-up might have been between two kids' shows, NBC's "Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space," which ran the same episode back to back, and ABC's "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," which itself ran on back-to-back nights, in part because Tuesday's showing was preempted in New York due to a mayoral debate (which for kids is the TV equivalent of Charlie Brown getting a rock in his trick-or-treat bag).
Showing one of "Monsters vs. Aliens" scared up a 2.2/6, while the repeat had a still strong 1.8/5. Meanwhile "Great Pumpkin" delivered a 2.0/6, which was a relatively strong retention rate of 71% from the night before.
But beyond the adult demo, we could be witnessing a shift in what's considered a seasonal classic as the very young demographic might not have the same regard for a franchise as their parents do.
With children age 2-11, for instance, the first half hour had "Great Pumpkin" with a 2.2/7 rating and share in that demo, which was 58% of the 3.8/12 for "Monsters and Aliens." And despite baseball being, at its essence, a kids' game, it's mostly adults that watch it, as Game One notched a 2.0/7 with children 2-11.
Ratings results were relative similar among children 6-11: "Monsters vs. Aliens" won with a 3.7/12 in that demo. But baseball (2.1/7) beat "Great Pumpkin" (1.9/5).
Not until one gets to the teens do the young guys on the Yankees and Phillies win: Game One had a 2.8/11 teen rating, compared to a 1.5/5 for "Monsters vs. Aliens" and a 1.2/4 for "Great Pumpkin."
Of course, the test is not pure, because "Great Pumpkin" also ran the night before. Then again, ask any parent how often a child can watch the same show. And the scheduled repeat of "Monsters vs. Aliens" may have led some to watch "Great Pumpkin" first and "Monsters" second. But clearly "Great Pumpkin" -- which suffered demo declines the night before as well -- had a down year, and the Peanuts franchise may be losing some of its resonance and relevance with some kids.
And while it's not a kids' show (although it often portrays childlike behavior) the CW's "America's Next Top Model" strutted a season high 1.6/4 for adults 18-49.
There were some good match-ups at 9 p.m. as well, particularly between police procedurals, which pitted criminal monsters on CBS's rerun of "Criminal Minds" and NBC's new episode of "Law and Order: SVU." Not surprisingly, "SVU" (2.8/7) beat the repeat of "Criminal Minds" (2.5/6) but not by much, as only 12% separated the two shows. And the competition during the hour on ABC was more intra-mural, as "Cougar Town" (3.2/8), which beat its "Modern Family" (3.7/9) lead-in when both programs premiered, has now reverted to a more regular pattern of a 14% gap between the two.
|See how all the shows did in the ratings.|
And at 10 p.m. the competition should have been between ABC's "Eastwick" and NBC's "Jay Leno Show," as CBS's CSI: NY" was a rerun. But "CSI: NY" won anyway with a 2.2/6, above "Eastwick" (1.8/5), which only held 56% of its lead-in, and "Leno" (1.5/4), which only held 68% of the "SVU" viewers.
But overall, the night belonged to the Phillies. And, of course, to Fox -- which has to now hope that the National League club isn't too good, lest it match sweeps, which begin tonight, with one of its own.
WHAT TO WATCH:
Thursday: The memory available on your DVR, as the first night of sweeps brings all new episodes, as well as Game Two of the World Series.
Friday: Halloween cinema doesn't have to be all about "Halloween" and other slasher flicks, as proven by "Young Frankenstein," which runs on AMC.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
After a few nights running against reruns on CBS, now it gets really tough for NBC's "Jay Leno Show," as it now faces new sweeps episodes of ABC's "Private Practice," CBS's "The Mentalist" and Game Two of the World Series on Fox
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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.