MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Just as it has all season, reality topped scripted series Wednesday night, especially in prime time's first hour, as four reality series -- CBS's "Survivor," NBC's "Chopping Block," the CW's "America's Next Top Model" and Fox's two-hour "American Idol" -- had six times the ratings of ABC's scripted sitcoms "Scrubs" and "Better off Ted." The rival reality shows were topped by "Idol," as its Motown-tribute show delivered a 9.3/24 rating and share in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic, which easily gave Fox first place for the night.
"Survivor" did not thrive after having to shift nights to accommodate tonight's resumption of the NCAA basketball tournament. Its 2.3/6 was just 56% of its normal rating. It was even worse for NBC's "Chopping Block" cooking show, which sliced 31% off of its original-episode average to the lowest levels (.9/2) so far in its three-week run. And while the CW's "America's Next Top Model" once again beat bigger broadcaster NBC, its 1.4/4 was a 22% tumble from its normal average.
It was the second week for ABC's "Ted" (1.8/5), and a 14% fall from week one makes it more unlikely to last long. Lead-in "Scrubs" (2.1/6) was off only 5% but may also face a similar fate once schedules for next year are announced in mid-May. "Lost," of course, will last into next year, but it, too, is losing viewers. Its 4.1/10 was an original-episode season low. And while the network can find some solace in an 11% increase for "Life on Mars" (2.0/6), it has already canceled the show. Overall, ABC was third for the night, with a 2.7/7.
CBS's night got better after "Survivor." "Criminal Minds" (3.4/8) held 92% of its regular viewers, and "CSI: NY," while declining 12%, won the 10 p.m. time slot with a 3.0/8, as CBS slipped by ABC for a second-place 2.9/8.
The night got better for NBC, too, although after "Chopping Block" it could hardly get worse. Sophomore series "Life" (1.4/3) increased 55% from "Chopping Block" but indexed at only 88% and finished fourth in the time slot. Like ABC's "Lost," NBC's "Law & Order" doesn't face the same cancellation threat, but its 2.2/6 was still less than three-fourths the result for "CSI: NY," which is just one of the reasons NBC finished fourth, with a 1.5/4.
On the fifth-place CW (.9/2), another rerun of "90210" at 9 p.m. delivered a .4/1 after its "Top Model" lead-in.
WHAT TO WATCH:
Thursday: Talk about baptism by fire: ABC's new sitcom, "In the Motherhood," premieres against CBS's NCAA Tournament and Fox's "American Idol."
Friday: It's the second day of the Sweet Sixteen as March Madness continues on CBS.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Even though "In the Motherhood" is in such a tough time period, its internet roots should give it better sampling than "Better off Ted."
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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.