World Series Wins in the Ratings

Rash Report: But Competition Wasn't All That Fierce

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Chase Utley's first-inning two-run homer gave the Philadelphia Phillies a lead it didn't relinquish in what turned out to be a low-scoring game. The same could be said for Fox, as its baseball coverage won the chase in a relatively low-rated night in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic.
The Phillies' Chase Utley hit a first-inning two-run homer in the first game of the World Series.
The Phillies' Chase Utley hit a first-inning two-run homer in the first game of the World Series. Credit: AP

The game delivered a 4.8/13 rating and share, which was down 17% from last year's game one of the Boston Red Sox vs. Colorado Rockies World Series. But it was up 33% from game one of 2006's Detroit Tigers vs. Houston Astros fall classic.

The pre-game delivered a 3.0/10, which underperformed last year by 12%. But repeating the pattern of the game itself, the pre-game was up 88% over 2006. Altogether, Fox finished with a 4.5/13, easily topping CBS's 3.5/9, ABC's 2.3/6, NBC's 1.9/5 and the CW's 1.6/4.

'Model' still alluring
The relatively competitive average for the CW was due to a 2.1/6 at 8 p.m. for "America's Top Model," which couldn't beat America's pastime but did beat the American Broadcasting Company's "Pushing Daisies," last year's great hope for a creative and commercial hit that instead wilted into last place in the timeslot with a 1.9/5.

NBC's "Knight Rider" (whose lease was extended for the entire season earlier this week) also stalled. It fell to its lowest rating yet, a 2.2/6. Conversely, CBS sitcoms "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2.4/7) and "Gary Unmarried" (2.5/7) were both up 9% from last week.

At 9 p.m. the CW couldn't fashion a similar result for "Stylista" (1.1/3) as the program premiere of the reality show was 47% lower than "Top Model." Since it's probably unlikely many of those watching the catwalk (and catfights) on "Model" switched to the ballgame, ABC's female-focused "Private Practice" seemed to benefit most, as it was up 15% from its most recent showing to a 3.0/8.

NBC plugged the timeslot with its programming version of baseball's utility player -- "Deal or No Deal" -- which dealt a 1.9/5. The timeslot winner was CBS's "Criminal Minds," which posted a 4.1/10.

"Criminal Minds" was off by 5% from its last episode two weeks ago, as perhaps some switched from solving crimes to stealing bases. And 10 p.m.'s "CSI: NY" (3.9/10) was off 9%, as even more of CBS's more traditional audience were probably lost to the grand old game.

Suddenly out of synch
ABC's less traditional celebration of the gilded age (you know, like two months ago?), "Dirty Sexy Money," was off 14% from its season average to a 1.9/5. NBC's exploration of the same ethos, "Lipstick Jungle," fell 19% from its average to a season-low 1.7/4.

But the decline of those shows may have more to do with the meltdown downtown on Wall Street, as it might not be the best time for series celebrating the go-go TV tonality of "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Lipstick Jungle." Indeed, it just might be the time for some to rediscover a game regulated -- or umpired -- with unwavering, clearly defined rules, like the World Series.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Thursday: A good night for TV, as the Series continues on Fox with game two while serial "Grey's Anatomy" runs on ABC and the unserious news of "Weekend Update" gets its Thursday run on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" special.
Friday: The World Series has the night off, but you can still get your baseball -- and drama -- fix on TCM, which runs "Bang the Drum Slowly" and "Eight Men Out."

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Last week's "Saturday Night Live" had its highest ratings in 14 years. Can Thursday's prime-time offshoot beat Saturday's late-night main event?

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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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