Thanks for visiting!

SS Monday SS Tuesday SS Wednesday SS Thursday SS Friday SS Weekend SS Archives Primes Lineup About Us
InSites On the Buzzer Numbers Game State of Play WLTI Block Party Video Wall Replay News Archive Contact

January 3
January 10
January 17

Opinions expressed in the Numbers Game do not necessarily reflect those held by Game Show Newsnet as a whole.

Copyright Statement

No infringement of copyright is intended by these fan pages; production companies of shows this site covers retain all rights to the sounds, images, and information contained herein. Copyrighted material appearing on this site constitutes fair use, and no challenge to copyright is implied. 

Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

Dropping the Neutron Bombs
January 24

Professor Pepper here, with some more terminology to help you understand the wacky world of TV shows and ratings. Now a 'Neutron Bomb' does not mean we are about to go to war. A 'Neutron Bomb' is a show that you can 'drop' anywhere on the schedule at any time which will cause great damage to any show that occupies that same time slot. The term in the game show world was coined in 1999, when ABC had this little show called 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'. Once it was recognized as a ratings behemoth, it aired 3-5 times a week, but ABC didn't hesitate to air it against premieres of shows or specials in order to try to destroy a series before it got a fan base. For the most part, it worked, until around a year later, when it lost in the ratings against another game show's debut. The show? Survivor - the first show that beat Millionaire in the ratings. After that point, the ABC executives got greedy and added celebrities and other gimmicks, and we all know the result.

Fast Forward to 2002. The year that prime-time Millionaire died is ironically the same year another neutron bomb was in the making. This one, American Idol, didn't have the potency early on that Millionaire did, but it grew to be such. In a practice still held to this very day, Idol has no problems expanding it's schedule to not only make more money for FOX, but to sabotage other network's programming. As a matter of fact, the original idea to expand to 3 nights for the first few rounds of live competition (which started on a Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday rotation when it was originally implemented) was to get some of that Thursday night audience and to weaken enough 'Must See TV' fans in hopes that they could migrate some viewers to The O.C.. The ploy didn’t work, but the strategy is still sound.

As the years grow by, some people take Idol and it's numbers for granted. In fact, many pundits are disappointed in the show's airing this year, despite the fact that at over 30 million viewers, it's head and shoulders over any other show out there. The scary thing is that as you will see this week, American Idol is not the only bomb that FOX has in it's plane. Let's look at this past week to see the scope of the damage.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Idol
30.28 Million Viewers (12.6 Mil for 18-49)

Boom. It lost 10% from Tuesday, but at 30 million viewers, this is a big old Neutron Bomb. And now, you'll see why, as we look at the casualties.

Wife Swap
1/9/08 - 7.8 Million Viewers (3.0 Mil for 18-49)
1/16/08 - 5.19 Million Viewers (1.9 Mil for 18-49) (IDOL Week #1)

Ouch. That's damage to a show that loses over 34% of it's audience - especially in the coveted 18-49 demo. So if this show gets hit with a 7.8 average, how will an opposing game show that was treading water to begin with do?

Power of 10
1/2/08 - 6.71 Million Viewers
1/9/08 - 6.12 Million Viewers (1.8 Mil for 18-49)
1/16/08 - 4.92 Million Viewers (1.1 Mil for 18-49) (IDOL Week #1)

Double ouch. It not only loses around 20% of its audience, but also almost half of the 18-49 demo. In order for CBS to salvage anything from this show, they need to move it to Fridays, where it will face lighter competition. Any sort of rerun will get the same numbers Power of 10 is getting…unless it's reruns of this…

1/9/08 - 1.8 Million Viewers (0.8 Mil for 18-49)
1/16/08 - 1.6 Million Viewers (0.7 Mil for 18-49) (IDOL Week #1)

The only good thing about Crowned is that it didn't have much ratings to lose. What about Deal Or no Deal? Did the Million Dollar Mission help it's cause?

Deal Or No Deal
1/2/08 - 12.2 Million Viewers
1/9/08 - 13.2 Million Viewers (3.5 Mil for 18-49)
1/16/08 - 11.83 Million Viewers (3.1 Mil for 18-49) (IDOL Week #1)

Sort of. Like every other show, DOND did take a hit on the viewers, but only losing 15% of the audience has to be considered a 'victory' of sorts. Now what happens when the Million Dollar Mission ends, which could happen at around the same time that Idol's live competition (and major audience magnet) begins? We'll look at that in around a month. Right now, let's look at Thursday...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?
1/10/08 - 10.8 Million Viewers (2.9 Mil for 18-49)
1/17/08 - 11.5 Million Viewers (3.7 Mil for 18-49)

Miss America winning $175,000 was definitely a draw for the show. The fact that FOX bombarded the viewers with ads for this during Idol couldn't have hurt. That's what the power of any high-rated show will do - you have a much more captivated audience that will see the ads for the network's shows - and sure enough, there will be people that will flock to see said show because of it. This is how one major show will help all of the shows around it. Will this help Wayne Brady as well?

Don't Forget the Lyrics
1/10/08 - 6.7 Million Viewers (2.3 Mil for 18-49) (Gray's Anatomy Season Finale)
1/17/08 - 8.77 Million Viewers (3.4 Mil for 18-49)  (Gray's Anatomy Goes into Repeat mode)

It sure will. This is a very healthy boost of almost 33% from last week in both total viewers and 18-49's. Also helping it - no more original episodes of Gray's Anatomy or CSI, which are both now relegated to repeats for the rest of the season. So not only will this help out Wayne…

Celebrity Apprentice
1/3/08 - 11 Million Viewers (4.5 Mil for 18-49)
1/10/08 - 8.3 Million Viewers (3.9 Mil for 18-49) (Gray's Anatomy Season Finale)
1/17/08 - 8.99 Million Viewers (3.9 Mil for 18-49) (Gray's Anatomy Goes into Repeat mode)

…it will also help out The Donald. Not only does the 8.99 make it a good sign of the predicted rebound from last week, but the 3.9 is the highest 18-49 ratings of ANY show during Thursday night. That includes the CSI and Gray's Anatomy repeats. So the chances of seeing another Apprentice edition (celebrity or non-celebrity) is looking very promising.

Friday, January 18, 2008
1 vs. 100
1/4/08 - 8.59 Million Viewers
1/11/08 - 7.69 Million Viewers (1.9 Mil for 18-49)
1/18/08 - 7.16 Million Viewers (1.8 Mil for 18-49)

1 Vs. 100 is still sinking, losing another close-to-10% of it's audience. Note to CBS: With your Friday night line-up now going into repeats, Power of 10 has a much better chance against a flailing 1 vs. 100 than a debuting American Idol. For Drew's sake, please move the show out of Wednesdays.

Sunday, January 20, 2008
This is Neutron Bomb, part 2. Yes, it's from FOX. No, it has nothing to do with American Idol.

NFC Championship Game
48.11 Million Viewers (18.5 Mil for 18-49)

BOOM. That's not a typo. 48 Million viewers watched the Giants upset Brett Favre. That's over 33% MORE than the vaunted American Idol. That is the highest NFC game in the past 12 years. So the Patriots, who have a shot at a perfect season, go up against the Giants, who were actually up on New England by 12 before losing the game by 3 for Super Bowl 42. This could be the highest watched Super Bowl ever, and good luck to whoever has to counter-program against THAT. That is a MASSIVE neutron bomb. As a football fan, I watched this live and recorded the finale of The Amazing Race. I'm guessing a lot of people did the same because…

Amazing Race
1/6/08 - 11.54 Million Viewers
1/13/08 - 11.63 Million Viewers (3.8 Mil for 18-49)
1/20/08 - 9.67 Million Viewers (3.1 Mil for 18-49)

The Amazing Race survived Giants Vs. Cowboys, but not Giants Vs. Packers, as it loses almost 20% of it's audience. It did take second place in it's time slot, and the numbers well before the finale more than guaranteed it's renewal. Could it average an 11 or better next year? It could…

Monday, January 21, 2008
Deal or No Deal
1/7/08 - 10.93 Million Viewers
1/14/08 - 15.0 Million Viewers (5.0 Mil for 18-49)
1/21/08 - 14.13 Million Viewers (4.4 Mil for 18-49)

DOND did slip a tinsy bit from last week, but it easily wins its time slot and the 14 is very healthy. It should stay healthy through next week, when we see TEN Million Dollar Cases (again, thanks, NBC for ruining Wednesday's show on the DOND Website and giving more people reason to watch American Idol. FOX thanks you.)

American Gladiators
1/7/08 - 10.73 Million Viewers
1/14/08 - 10.66 Million Viewers (4.6 Mil for 18-49)
1/21/08 - 10.08 Million Viewers (4.3 Mil for 18-49)

Though it's stil a solid 10.0, you still have to note that the numbers are going downwards. Hopefully, it will stabilize next week, but that's not a good trend that week #2-#3 had a higher drop with week #1-#2. Still, it did win it's time slot and the show did get a renewal, and if it stays over 9, then it will be worth it.

Dance Wars
1/7/08 - 10.97 Million Viewers
1/14/08 - 10.50 Million Viewers (2.9 Mil for 18-49)
1/21/08 - 9.86 Million Viewers (2.6 Mil for 18-49)

If the numbers from AG are a small concern, then the numbers for Dance Wars should be a higher one. Apparently, a chunk of the audience did not like what they saw last week, and I can't imagine the people who stuck around were too thrilled about the format this week. Next week's numbers could be very telling, as to whether they stabilize or continue to drop off.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

American Idol
1/15/08 - 33.24 Million Viewers (13.8 Mil for 18-49)
1/22/08 - 29.05 Million Viewers (11.7 Mil for 18-49)

It looks like the show (based on Wednesday's results earlier) will stabilize at around 30 million viewers. Though it's 12% below last year's numbers, it's still a juggernaut and still a Neutron Bomb. We use The Biggest Loser to illustrate this point.

The Biggest Loser 5
1/1/08 - 8.5-12.72 Million Viewers
1/8/08 - 8.48-12.13 Million Viewers (5.2 Mil for 18-49)
1/15/08 - 7.28 Million Viewers (3.0 Mil for 18-49) (IDOL Premiere)
1/22/08 - (AGAINST IDOL (8-9)) 7.01 Million Viewers (2.9 Mil for 18-49)
1/22/08 - (NOT AGAINST IDOL (9-10)) 10.87 Million Viewers (4.5 Mil for 18-49)

This is the power of American Idol. The Biggest Loser looks anemic against it, but when TBL doesn't see Idol as a competitor, it did better this week than both American Gladiators and Dance War. There is clearly interest in the show, and NBC did a good thing by renewing it. Unfortunately for the show, it's going to have to deal with this every single week of it's run, since I don't see Idol going anywhere.

So that is the moment of truth this week. Next week - we see the TV version of The Moment of Truth and gage it's first numbers, plus our first look into syndie-land. That all in 7 days. Join us then, won't you?


Gordon Pepper still has that Idol Cannon ready to fire... Give him a willing target at