For CBS, Monday still seems a sure bet
Powerful primetime, even with 'Raymond' gone
September 21, 2005
When the fall television season begins tonight, it will be the first time since 1997 that Everybody Loves Raymond isn’t anchoring CBS’s long-dominant Monday lineup.
But while NBC suffered terribly from a similar loss on Thursdays last year, the first season after Friends finished its run, media researchers fully expect CBS to continue outperforming all competitors. Researchers explain that the solid ratings for returning hits Two and a Half Men and CSI: Miami, coupled with high expectations for new sitcom How I Met Your Mother, virtually ensure CBS will retain its hold on No. 1, at least in the 25-54 demographic and most likely also among adults 18-49.
CBS last season averaged a 6.3 rating in the 25-54 demographic, far outpacing its nearest competitor on Mondays. NBC had a 4.7. ABC and Fox each had a 4.5 rating.
CBS had a 5.2 adult 18-49 rating, compared to 4.2 for NBC and a 4.1 for both ABC and Fox.
They have a lock on Monday night, says Shari Anne Brill, vice president and director of programming at Carat.
Their Monday night could conceivably be as good as a year ago or up because ˜King of Queens’ is returning to Monday nights. And they will be further bolstered by ˜How I Met Your Mother,’ which has the makings of a really great sitcom. ˜Out of Practice’ [at 9:30 p.m.] will benefit from a good time period. And ˜CSI: Miami’ fills out the night at 10 p.m.
Until first quarter, CBS will be competing with ABC’s Wife Swap and Monday Night Football. NBC has the new science-fiction drama Surface and the returning Las Vegas and Medium. Fox has the low-rated comedy Arrested Development and the new Kitchen Confidential, followed by Prison Break, which two weeks ago ranked No. 8 among all shows. On the WB, Seventh Heaven is followed by the new Just Legal, while UPN continues with its comedy block.
Still, Jordan Breslow, director of broadcast research at MediaCom, thinks CBS will retain a solid lead in key demographics.
I absolutely think they will, he says. ˜Two and a Half Men’ is a strong comedy in a [television] landscape with few solid new comedies. And if you look at the night, other than UPN’s African-American-skewing sitcoms, you only have Fox’s two comedies. Everything else is drama, and then there is football.
Both Brill and Breslow note that CBS will face tougher competition after fourth quarter, but both think CBS will again maintain its lead.
On ABC, after football ends in January, the network will roll out a relatively weak lineup with the fading Bachelor, new sitcom Emily’s Reasons Why Not, with Heather Graham, and the returning but low-rated Jake in Progress. ABC wraps up the night against CBS’s CSI: Miami and NBC’s Medium, both hits, with new comedy-drama What About Brian.
I don’t think CBS will have problems with ABC, but I do think they will have some problems against Fox, says Breslow.
Fox will revamp its lineup in January by moving House from Tuesdays, which will be followed by the returning 24. House premiered last week with a strong 5.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic.
It will be a more competitive night for younger viewers, the 18-34 side of things, says Brill. There is way more choice for them. And ˜24′ loyalists will certainly go back for more when it returns in January.
Meanwhile, NBC is expected to generate decent ratings on Mondays, but will likely be held down by anticipated weak ratings for Surface. And both UPN and the WB will be modest competitors, attracting mostly young viewers while CBS’s strength is in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 and 25-54 demographics.
Come first quarter, I think Fox may make inroads in 18-49s and 25-54s, says Breslow. I think Fox has a chance of coming in at No. 2 [behind] CBS.
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