Yankees -- and Fox -- Avoid Sweep as Sweeps Begin

Rash Report: Game 2 Wins Night 1 of November Sweeps

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- The networks may have entered sweeps, but the Philadelphia Phillies won't after their 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees, which means there will be at least 5 games, which will make sweeps all that harder for Fox's rivals. As it is, Fox easily won Thursday's ratings race with Game 2, which scored a 5.3/14 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 rating from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. (The game ended at 11:25 p.m., which will be reflected in final live-plus-same-day data to be released Friday afternoon.) Once ratings are released, it will indicate if Game 2 kept up the momentum of Game 1, which was the highest rated series opener in five years.

Fox easily won Thursday's ratings race with Game 2 of the World Series.
Fox easily won Thursday's ratings race with Game 2 of the World Series. Credit: AP
The game brushed back other networks, but, for the most part, they hung in there. Second-place ABC (3.8/10), for instance, saw "Grey's Anatomy" (5.1/12) and "Private Practice" (3.6/9) within two-tenths of a ratings point of recent levels. Serialized sci-fi drama "Flash Forward" fell backward again, however, as the viewers who have lost track of the intricate plotline aren't being replaced by new viewers who won't attempt to catch up. If the 2.7/8 holds it will be the lowest rating of the year and is a drop of 13% from last week and nearly a third from its prime-time premiere.

CBS (3.5/9) finished third, with "Survivor" hitting its 3.7/10 season average and "The Mentalist" (3.5/9) just a tenth of a ratings point below its usual level for an original episode. But Laurence Fishburne is no Mariano Rivera: Unlike the great Yankees reliever, he can't close with "CSI" fans, as the show continued its slide since he took over for original star William Peterson. Last night "CSI" delivered a season low for an original episode, 3.4/8.

That delivery is only about 81% of NBC's "The Office" (4.2/10), which used to be a scrappy, quirky underdog comedy but now has been embraced as a mainstream hit. It's lead-out "30 Rock," however, could only hold about 71% of "The Office's" audience as it matched its season premiere 3.0/7. In the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. hour both "Parks and Recreation" and "Community" delivered a 2.1 rating, which is about even with relatively recent levels. And if ever Jay Leno was going to get beaned it was last night, given Game 2 and scripted hits "The Mentalist" and "Private Practice." But "The Jay Leno Show," while last in the timeslot, matched last week's 1.6/4 and was up a tenth from the night before. Overall, however, NBC was fourth with a 2.4/6.

And even though the CW finished fifth with a 1.7/4, its rookie, "Vampire Diaries" (2.0/5) had the highest rating since its prime-time premiere, as did "Supernatural" (1.3/3). Sure, it's hardly the stuff of the World Series, but like the Yankees (and Fox) it doesn't appear to be a sweep the first night of sweeps, either.

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

WHAT TO WATCH:
Friday: Halloween cinema doesn't have to be all about "Halloween" and other slasher flicks, as proven by "Young Frankenstein," which runs on AMC.
Saturday: Nothing will be more entertaining than cute trick or treaters at the front door, but in-between it's a great night for sports, as Game 3 of the World Series plays on Fox and college football games on NBC, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.
Sunday: Can't wait until next week's "V" premiere on ABC? Syfy runs "V: The Final Battle."

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Think things are tough for NBC now? It gets harder come January when "Sunday Night Football" has its last whistle. This Sunday should be a good indication when it takes a week off, yielding to the national pastime on Fox and running "National Treasure," the 2004 theatrical, instead.

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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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