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Mon, Aug 21, 2017 09:11 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Ramada Inn
NBC, CBS duke it out for top spot
Friends rang in the 2002-2003 television season by being the No. 1 comedy on television. It seems the venerable show is going out of the season with the number one position for the last week of ratings.

Friends beat out CSI which grabbed the number two spot. American Idol capped the season on Wednesday by having 33.7 million people tune in. They hope that the shows on either side of Idol and Joe will retain viewers.

CBS and NBC are still fighting over who is the number one network. In total viewers, CBS would be the number one network with an average of 12.55 million viewers. NBC, however, is the number one network in the 18-49 demographic with an average 4.5 rating. For next year, NBC is looking forward to a jump in the ratings thanks to the finales of Frasier and Friends. These two comedies have helped NBC keep their ratings high. However, with no real replacements for the 9 p.m. Tuesday slot and the 8 p.m. Thursday slot, the network might be in trouble for the 2004-2005 season. It can only hope a hit will emerge like Seinfeld and Cheers did to take over when Cosby and Family Ties finally left the air. Law and Order continues to hover in the top 20 television shows and the contract for those shows does not expire to 2005, so NBC has those shows to fall back on if times get rough. ER is still going strong and won't really need to be revamped at all. However, West Wing took a large nosedive in the ratings and with executive producer Aaron Sorkin leaving, incoming EP John Wells should have his work cut out for him. Luckily, NBC has not placed all of their eggs in the "reality programming" basket, which bodes well for them.

CBS, on the other hand, is staying straight down the middle. That network has built its image on aiming for broad appeal for its series. That is a lot of family oriented comedies and cop shows like CSI. CBS was able to steal Thursday night away from NBC but will have to work hard to catch NBC in the coveted 18-49 demographic. Plus, CBS has seven of the top twenty shows. They plan to stay the course, and who can blame them? With Survivor still going strong, CBS is seeing their stock rise. Luckily, they, too, have not placed too much in the "reality programming" craze.

ABC needs to revamp yet again. Before this season, viewers were tuning off ABC and the alphabet network was hit hard. This year, thanks to The Bachelor and Bachelorette, ABC has reversed the downward trend, but only pulled out of freefall. They now have to try to rebuild what they lost. Comedies like 8 Simple Rules have started bringing viewers back, but only modestly. Now, ABC will introduce four new comedies and pair them with established shows. The network hopes to build from there, but, hey, when you've already lost so much, there isn't too much further to go. ABC was still able to retain the third spot in total viewers, but FOX wasn't too far behind. ABC averaged 9.97 million and FOX averaged 9.96 million. Doesn't seem all that long ago that people laughed at Rupert Murdoch when he started the fledgling network. Now, it is a force to be reckoned with.

UPN and WB are just glad to still be here. WB averaged 4.1 million viewers, most of them in the 12-34 age demographic. WB is amazed that it grew nine percent over last season and is the biggest mover among the networks. The fact that most of the programming was scripted shows means the network stands a good chance of keeping the numbers from this season. In their fall schedule, WB has only one unscripted program.

UPN has a new entertainment president and the network is looking forward to new, and better things. The network lost quite a few viewers this season and especially in the 18-49 demographic. The new president has already tapped Will Smith to produce shows and looks to begin to build on a strong Monday and Wednesday. The comedies of Monday and the action drama lineup of Wednesday have been bringing in viewers, now, the network plans to build Tuesday and Thursday. Thursday has an anchor with WWE Smackdown, but the network can use that base to become competitive.

Notes from the couch

Is it just me or is it just me? Reality television keeps getting even more weird. Mr. Personality was a complete waste of time. Having Monica Lewinsky host the show was nothing more than a publicity stunt and the whole charade was so laughable, it was scary. Instead of wanting to tune in, I wanted to turn it off.

Yes, I know Ruben won, but he and Clay were evenly matched and I agree with a friend of mine who said Ruben won because his personality came through more and was nicer. I have to agree. However, the smear campaign has begun. A radio talk show has said that Ruben dissed people in a restaurant. I think people forget that Ruben and Clay probably have hundreds of people coming up to talk to them. That is a lot and I think I would get testy after the first three or four....cut him some slack, Jack.

ARH
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