Fox on top in Feb; NBC languishing at the bottom

MUMBAI: Buoyed by the success of American Idol US broadcaster Fox has come out on top in February. This is the broadcaster's first-ever sweeps month victory among all viewers.

Meanwhile NBC which is struggling to plug the gap left by the exit of Friends, Frasier has been relegated to fourth spot.


An AP report states that sweeps are held four months a year, when Nielsen Media Research ratings are closely watched to set local advertising rates. The rankings are set even though the current sweeps period runs through today. Fox is also expected to win among the 18-to-49-year-old age demographic that advertisers pay a premium to reach.

NBC's pride has taken a severe drubbing. Nielsen ratings for the primetime block for the week 21-27 February 2005 clearly show just how hard a struggle it is having. The broadcaster does not have a single show in the top 10. The hospital drama ER enters at number 12. Joey which is the Friends spinoff has singularly failed to make a mark. ABC has enjoyed tremendous momentum with Desperate Housewives which recently completed its first run. ABC is in third spot.



As had earlier been reported by the Oscars on ABC saw a decline in viewership to the tune of two million. However the 42.1 million figure that ABC achieved took it to the top. American Idol is a distant second with 28.3 million viewers. CBS' show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation attracted 28.1 million viewers. In India the show airs on AXN. More Oscar pull comes courtesy ABC's Oscar Countdown special which attracted 27.7 million viewers.

Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman was quoted in another media report saying, "Our goal is to win the season, and that will be reflected for our advertisers. I hesitate to make a prediction about the season, but we are excited about being competitive.''

At the same time it must be pointed out that Fox's first sweeps month win since the network began prime-time broadcasting in 1987 is slightly deceptive. Take the Super Bowl out of the equation, and Fox would finish third behind CBS and ABC.

Media planner Geoff Robison lamented the failure of NBC to replace the earlier mentioned departed sitcoms. He feels that NBC is in desperate need of a Housewife. It also needs to get Lost.. Joey is ranked way down at number 31.

NBC needs to do something and fast. The General Electric owned broadcaster will negotiate ad rates in May. Meanwhile besides American Idol Fox has also had success especially in the 18-49 demographic with shows like the drama The O.C. The big question though is what will happen to Fox once American Idol' s current season comes to a close.

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