'America's Next Top Model' Surges in Ratings for Finale

Rash Report: But 'Stylista' Doesn't Retain a Lot of Viewers

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- McKey is America's next top model. And "America's Next Top Model" is the key to the CW's current and future success.
The finale of 'America's Next Top Model' won 21% more viewers than its season average in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic.
The finale of 'America's Next Top Model' won 21% more viewers than its season average in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic. Credit: The CW

The hit reality show had its season 11 finale last night, and Brittany Sullivan -- known more by her middle name, McKey -- won the competition as the show won 21% more viewers than its season average in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic. Strutting a 2.3/7 rating and share, it finished third in the timeslot, well above series that were supposed to be models in attracting young viewers: NBC's "Knight Rider" (1.5/4), which skidded 29% lower than its season to date average, and ABC's "Pushing Daisies" (1.7/5), which pulled in 15% fewer viewers than usual.

"Model" was just below CBS sitcoms "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2.4/7) and "Gary Unmarried" (2.7/7), which fashioned audience increases of 14% and 17%, respectively. Fox's "Bones," as usual, won the timeslot by hitting its season average of a 3.2/9.

"Top Model" has stayed top of mind by showcasing compelling contestants (who spend as much time in catfights as on the catwalk) each season, and highlighting the judges (especially creator Tyra Banks), who are characters in their own right. Fox's "American Idol" has the same TV template, as each year viewers cheer and jeer both singers and judges alike.

"Top Model" also made "Stylista" (1.0/3) more attractive to 11% more viewers than usual, but in general the new reality show hasn't been able to replicate the ratings of CW's hit, as it only held 43% of "Model's" viewers. But if the network can capture lightning in a bottle again with a new concept or construct, it could prove it has talent for luring the ad demo, particularly women 18-34.

For the night, CW finished fifth with a 1.7/4, just below NBC (1.8/5), which continues to struggle with shows new ("Knight Rider"), recent (second year series "Life," which was down 11% to a 1.7/4) and old ("Law & Order," which locked up a season average 2.2/6).

ABC wasn't much better, as three second-year series put the network in third with an overall 2.0/5. Besides "Pushing Daisies," ratings were pushed down 20% for "Private Practice" (2.4/6), and 19% for "Dirty Sexy Money" (1.7/5).

Fox was second with a 2.7/7, as "Bones" ran into a rerun of "House" (2.1/5).

And while few would call CBS flashy, maybe that's in fashion in these back-to-basics, recessionary times. Indeed, far from being demographically dowdy, police procedurals "Criminal Minds" (4.3/11) and "CSI: NY" (3.8/10) were up 5% and 3%, respectively, giving the network an overall first place 3.5/10.

True, "Criminal Minds" top cop David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) and his "CSI: NY" cop counterpart, Mac Taylor (Gary Sinese), won't turn as many heads as McKey. But they turned dials, which is always in fashion in network TV.

Thursday: With layoffs a corporate contagion -- particularly in the financial services and media industries -- it may not be the best time to tune in NBC's "The Office." Then again, maybe it's exactly what's needed. Because if you don't laugh, you'll cry.
Friday: Most of you reading are media professionals, so you can call it "viewerism" instead of voyeurism: Ashley Dupree, the call girl who hung up Eliot Spitzer's political career, is interviewed by ABC's Diane Sawyer on "20/20."

Viewers seem to have come to the conclusion that highly hyped Australian import "Kath and Kim" lost something in translation. If the NBC sitcom's first-year ratings don't improve, will there be a next year?

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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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