What I've Learned Over
Sweeps - May 24
Well, here we are. Tonight and tomorrow are the last
nights of sweeps. Which means no more of "Sweeps, the
Universe, and Everything." The Feud is tucked safely
away in reruns, while the other three of the big four
syndies are in cycles until at least June. We'll have
three new champions in 36 to 48 hours. One will have a
seven-figure sum. One will have a six-figure sum. One
will walk away a superstar.
What have we learned?
Let's go to the numbers...
1) Fear is no longer
a factor for anyone. Looking at the past four weeks
in "Fear Factor"... Last night... we're still waiting
on. Last week... wasn't even airing. Week before... a
5.4/9, hardly the hit it was in its heyday when it was
right before "The Weakest Link." On the plus side:
number one in adults 18-49 (2.8/9). Hmm... something's
wrong here. Adults 18-49 are quite possibly the only
ones watching the show... and yet NBC pulls the plug
until midseason. My guess: NBC finally sees that there
is life outside target demographic.
The week before, a 5.4/8
in the fast nationals. Also, a number one finish in
A18-49. But this season was plagued with a dip in
ratings. Conclusion: NBC was probably in its right mind
giving the show a break. After all, it's become
formulaic after a while. Even the most diehard of
diehards will tell you.
2) If you go up
against American Idol, you will lose. Tuesday shows
have fared phenomenally well, almost doubling over their
nearest competition (An average 14.5 percent ratings
over their average 8). Wednesdays, different margin,
same story (average of 15 over averages of 6 to 7). And
NBC's so-called "Idol Killer" "Revelations" turned out
to be anything but, which brings me to thing I learned
3) Quoting Matt
Damon: "I've seen what happens to the proud when they
take on the throne." If you remember, ratings for
"Fallen Idol" paled in comparison to the show from which
it was inspired, as neither controversy nor constant
news coverage could put a dent into the American Idol
juggernaut. And text messengers are at the ready for
4) Champions will
make the strong stronger... but the Pope rules all.
Due to some preemptions for the installment of Pope
Benedict XVI, Only about 1.7 million adults 18-49 tuned
in to the Ultimate Championship on Jeopardy (matching
its season low with a 6.9 household rating). But that
was special in the circumstances. We'll have to wait for
at least another week before we get the judgment on the
show as Ken Jennings makes his appearance at long last.
And to think, just last
year... we were watching him sprout legs.
6) Everyone loves a
hero. It doesn't mean that everyone love
loves a hero. With "Desperate Housewives" in the
competitive mix, the "Survivor" finale isn't as much
"appointment television" as it once was. And while the
most deserving winner arose in Tom Westman, an NYC
firefighter, the women of Wisteria Lane outpointed the
castaways on all fronts. Doesn't necessarily mean that
no one is watching, though. The finale was a potent
ending to a potent (if not at all dominating) season.
The final numbers: 11.9/17 in the overnights, 20.31
million viewers and a 7.6/18 among adults 18-49 from
8-10 p.m. The live Survivor: Palau Reunion at 10 p.m.
was also second with an approximate 9.6/15 in the
overnights, 16.72 million viewers and a 6.9/16 among
adults 18-49. Proving again that most people tend to
just tune in to see the result.
7) The Amazing Race
will always have a happy ending. And there will be
someone watching. The finale of "The Amazing Race 7"
earned some of the show's best ratings ever. CBS got a
9.1/14 from the first half of "The Amazing Race" finale.
The conclusion posted a 10.1/16, beating NBC's "Law &
Order: SVU," 9.8/16. Obviously the finale will climb as
time goes forward, because a) more people are watching
less networks, and b) momentum is coming to a head.
Overall, the show notched a hefty 10.7/16 in the
overnights, 15.99 million viewers and a 6.7/16 among
adults 18-49 from 9-11p. Definitely an audience for the
newest top racers, Uchenna & Joyce Agu.
8) Attaching a famous
name to a title will not a hit make. The prelude to
the Contender finale, in which Sergio Mora and Jesse
Brinkley will fight for a million bucks, was dead last
among the big four networks in overnights (3.8/8),
viewers (5.94 million); A18-49: #4, 2.5/7). About the
same as every episode before it. As a result, the show,
manned by boxing-legend Sylvester Stallone ("Rocky"),
one-third of the Dreamworks powerhouse Jeffrey
Katzenberg, and reality impresario Mark Burnett, was
cancelled by NBC in the upfront presentation last week.
Tonight's show will be the series finale.
9) Real people still
cry. Doesn't make for an exciting finale though, as
"The Apprentice" (the new title for realtor Kendra Todd)
is trounced by the second-half of the "CSI" season
finale. In its second hour, "CSI" exploded with a
20.3/31, completing what will probably be a record
breaking night for the drama. Viewers, meanwhile, showed
only tepid interest (9.1/14, roughly half of CSI's
audience... the norm this season with Trump) in watching
Kendra win the third season of "The Apprentice" on NBC.
Perhaps "truthful hyperbole" pales in comparison to the
truth. Hopefully, Martha will do her best to dispel
And finally... 10)
Networks still don't get it. And it's not just about
CSI vs. TPIR either, although I still don't get that one
myself. Subpar reality gets subpar numbers, yet cablers
still see it as fitting television. Need a hit? Don't
have the money? Throw together a reality show! Hey,
worked for MTV.
Yeah, worked so much
that UPN gave us their own twisted tales of newlyweds...
Just goes to show you that viewing audiences in general
are smarter than networks tend to believe. Call that
We're going to take a
little recess from crunching numbers until the summer.
Until then, remember... the numbers never lie.
asked Travis for #7. Anything you learned this sweeps?
Let's hear about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.