Nearly 32 million catch Bush speech
Big Four turnout up 66 percent over June Iraq chat
September 19, 2005
President Bush has been beaten up badly in the press and in public opinion polls over the federal government’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina. Last night he held a televised chat to discuss his administration’s proactive plans to rebuild the Gulf Coast region.
Americans were very interested, as the Big Four broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox combined to average 31.8 million viewers during the 9-9:30 p.m. half hour, according to Nielsen overnights. That’s a 66.5 percent increase over the 19.1 million who tuned into the Big Four for Bush’s last televised speech, a June 28 discussion of the war in Iraq.
That total is, however, slightly lower than the nearly 32.8 million who tuned in to watch Bush on the first day of May sweeps as he discussed Social Security and energy.
But that got an assist from the original programming airing on all the networks. Last night most shows were still in reruns.
The Big Four combined for an 11.1 adults 18-49 rating for the speech.
Boosted by the season premiere of Survivor as a lead-in, CBS led the Big Four with 14.2 million viewers for the Bush speech. ABC was second with 7.3 million, NBC third with 6.2 million and Fox fourth with 4.1 million.
The Survivor premiere was the night’s highest-rated show among 18-49s, averaging a 6.4 rating during the 8 p.m. hour. That’s down 28.9 percent versus the 9.0 rating the premiere of Survivor got last season (Feb. 17), and a 15.8 percent drop versus a 7.6 rating for last fall’s premiere of Survivor: Vanuatu.
The February premiere did have CSI as a lead-out. Yesterday CBS aired two CSI reruns instead, giving Survivor no help.
CBS still led the night comfortably among 18-49s with a 5.3 average rating and a 15 share. Fox was second at 2.4/7, NBC third at 2.1/6, ABC fourth at 2.0/6, the WB fifth at 1.4/4 and UPN sixth at 1.0/3.
CBS led at 8 p.m. with its 6.4 average for Survivor, followed by a 3.0 average for an original The O.C. on Fox. NBC was third that hour with a 2.0 average for repeats of Joey (2.0) and Will 7 Grace (1.9).
At 9 p.m. CBS led with a 4.6 average for its 25 minutes of coverage of the Bush speech and the beginning of a CSI rerun. NBC was second that hour with a 2.3 average for Bush (2.5) and a repeat of Scrubs (2.1), and ABC third with a 2.1 for an entire hour of Bush coverage and analysis.
CBS completed the sweep at 10 p.m. with a 4.9 average for CSI. ABC was second with a 2.2 for Primetime and NBC third with a 1.9 for a repeat of ER.
Among households, CBS led the night with a 9.7 average rating and a 16 share. ABC finished second at 4.9/8, NBC third at 3.5/6, Fox fourth at 3.4/6, the WB fifth at 2.2/4 and UPN sixth at 1.7/3.
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