Holy mess: CBS pope movie tanks too
Draws a paltry 1.6 rating in adults 18-49
December 5, 2005
It has become very clear that TV viewers aren’t at all interested in the broadcast networks’ take on the life of Pope John Paul II.
Part one of CBS’s miniseries Pope John Paul II averaged a 1.6 overnight rating among viewers 18-49 from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. last night, getting a late start due to NFL football runover.
The disappointing ratings come just a few days after ABC’s biopic, Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II, bombed similarly, averaging a 1.4 overnight rating on Thursday night.
For CBS, last night’s 1.6 was down 56.8 percent versus last week, when the holiday movie Silver Bells averaged a 3.7 overnight rating among 18-49s. Compared to part one of its last miniseries, last month’s Category 7, CBS was down 68 percent.
When Pope John Paul II died in April, both ABC and CBS rushed to produce projects based on the late pontiff’s life. After a four-hour Hallmark movie made in Europe averaged strong ratings in September, it seemed the broadcast versions would at least find some audience.
But perhaps the commercial nature of broadcast (Hallmark’s version had no ads) or the big-name actors in the productions, such as Jon Voight as the pope in CBS’s version, turned viewers off. Poor reviews for both movies didn’t help, either.
Or perhaps the movies just came too late after Pope John Paul II’s death, well into the term of new Pope Benedict XVI. For whatever reason, these two movies will be remembered as two of the biggest flops in recent broadcast history.
As usual on Sunday, ABC led the night with a 7.4 average rating and an 18 share. CBS finished second at 3.5/8, Fox third at 3.3/8, NBC fourth at 2.7/5 and the WB fifth at 0.8/2.
CBS started the night in the lead with a 5.7 average rating at 7 p.m. for NFL football runover and the first half hour of 60 Minutes. ABC was second that hour with a 2.9 average for America’s Funniest Home Videos and Fox third with a 2.8 average for a repeat of The Simpsons (2.5) and a new King of the Hill (3.0).
ABC took the lead for good during the 8 p.m. hour, averaging a 6.4 among 18-49s with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. CBS was second during the hour with a 4.2 average for the last half of 60 Minutes and the first half of a Cold Case repeat and Fox third with a 3.8 average for repeats of The Simpsons (4.3) and The War at Home (3.4).
ABC increased its lead during the 9 p.m. hour, averaging an 11.0 rating for Desperate Housewives, the highest-rated show of the night. NBC and Fox tied for second at 3.4, NBC for Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Fox for repeats of Family Guy (3.7) and American Dad (3.1), while CBS was fourth with a 2.4 average for the last half hour of its Cold Case rerun and the first 30 minutes of Pope John Paul II.
At 10 p.m. ABC led once more with a 9.4 average for Grey’s Anatomy. NBC was second that hour with a 3.6 average for Crossing Jordan and CBS third with a 1.6 for Pope.
ABC finished first for the night among households as well, averaging an 11.1 rating and a 17 share. CBS was second at 8.5/13, NBC third at 6.6/10, Fox fourth at 4.3/6 and the WB fifth at 1.5/2.
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