Daytime Emmys Dim on the CW

Rash Report: Ratings Halved from Last Year's ABC Run

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MINNEAPOLIS ( -- The "Daytime Emmy Awards" are usually the daypart's moment in the sun. Or, more appropriately given the prominence of prime time, a moment under the moon, as bright and shiny stars accept bright and shiny awards.

DAYTIME EMMYS: David Rudman (l.) with 'Cookie Monster' and Fran Brill with 'Zoe' accept the award for lifetime achievement.
DAYTIME EMMYS: David Rudman (l.) with 'Cookie Monster' and Fran Brill with 'Zoe' accept the award for lifetime achievement. Credit: John Shearer
But this year, with daytime TV having lost some of its gleam, the awards show moved to the CW, whose affiliates usually run reruns or second-rate talk shows up against the Big Three's soap operas or the comic opera of ABC's "The View."

The result: ratings that were half of last year's ABC telecast and virtually tied with the network's daytime average this July and August, meaning that the very purpose of running daytime awards at night -- exposing the talents to a larger audience than normally available -- was lost.

Of course, it shouldn't be surprising that the network could muster only a .6/2 rating and share in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic and a .3/1 for its red-carpet special at 7 p.m., which resulted in the network finishing fifth with an overall .5/2 (all based on Nielsen fast-affiliate data; final live-plus-same-day data will be released tomorrow). The CW, after all, announced it will abandon Sunday prime time once the fall season starts.

There's been rampant abandonment in daytime as well, with viewers leaving daytime dramas and CBS announcing that "Guiding Light" will go dark a few Fridays from now, leading some to question the entire genre's future.

Conversely, the only question about another form of drama, NFL football, is how much more upside? NBC was the latest beneficiary, as its meaningless preseason game between the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos meant enough to football-hungry fans that the network reported a 3.4/9 -- not only the highest-rated program in the demo on TV last night but, based on household metered-market rating, the most-watched NFL preseason game in five years (the Cowboys played in that one as well). Combined with a 1.3/4 for "Dateline," NBC won the night overall with a 2.8/8.

Fox, which probably lost some viewers from its guy-friendly animation domination lineup to the game on NBC, was second, as repeats of its comedies averaged a 1.8/5. CBS (1.6/5) edged ABC (1.5/4) for third, with the key difference being CBS's "Big Brother," which continued its solid summer ratings with a 2.5/7. ABC's top rating was for "America's Funniest Home Videos," which won the 7 p.m. time slot with a 1.7/6.

Rash grids

See how all the shows did in the ratings.
As for daytime itself, while the "Daytime Emmy Awards" couldn't compete in prime time, the daypart itself has never been more competitive. But that's due more to reduced ratings at night than growth during the day. This summer's July/August averages in adults 18 to 49, for instance, are 55% of ABC's prime-time average and 57% in the key daytime demo of women 18 to 49. Commensurate CBS figures are 43% with adults and 50% for women, while NBC, the lowest-rated daytime network, still averages a 38 index compared with prime time for both adults and women 18 to 49.

Given prime-time pricing, this might make some media buyers reconsider the price/value relationship between the two dayparts. But then again, prime time will quickly come back with the new fall season, while some of daytime's viewers are now back in school.

What's needed are program innovations beyond soap operas, like "The View" was when it made its debut a dozen years ago. Last night, the team was finally rewarded with a Daytime Emmy for best talk-show host. But much like the viewers of the awards themselves, none of the four "View" co-hosts bothered to show up.

Monday: Tonight's preseason tilt between the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans on ESPN should be more interesting than most, given that it will be the first real look at the unretired Brett Favre, who will play quarterback for the Vikings.
Tuesday: Many kids went back to school this week, and all will be back by next. Their parents can learn too, by watching "Nova," "Nova ScienceNow" and "POV" on PBS.

ABC to rock CBS's Monday-night winning streak with the "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock," which features an all-star lineup of country crooners.

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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

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