February 28, 2012

The Sked: Cable Ratings February 21-27

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>The top two programs on cable this week aired on Sunday against the not-what-it-used-to-be but still very big Academy Awards on ABC.  Most notable was Walking Dead on AMC at 9:00 pm, just when the awards ceremony was getting rolling.  Facing the huge entertainment special, Walking Dead actually was up over last week, from a 3.6 to a 3.8 rating this week with Adults 18-49.  The zombie drama scored a very credible second place to the Oscars (11.7) and far ahead of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice original episode (1.8), FOX’s Family Guy repeat (1.6) and CBS’s Mentalist repeat (0.9). 

Earlier in the evening, the NBA All-Star Game faced off mostly against the Red Carpet arrivals shows on ABC and E!.  The offense-heavy game (final score 152-149) scored a 3.3 rating from 7:16 pm on, ahead of the first half hour of ABC’s Red Carpet arrivals (2.8 from 7:00-7:30) but falling to a solid second place to ABC’s 7:30 (4.0) and 8:00 (6.2) Red Carpet half hours.  The 7:30 portion of the Red Carpet arrivals on E! peaked at a 1.5 rating, a very good number for the second-tier cable network but nothing close to what ABC was able to deliver at the same time.  

Personally, I never understood why broadcast networks, which pay huge license fees to the movie, music and TV academies (as well as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association), don’t demand exclusive rights to broadcast live from the Red Carpet.  Yes, it’s only a 1.5 rating that E! is delivering, but most of that rating could be added directly to the network’s own arrival show.  Of course, Comcast owns both NBC and E! — so let’s put the Golden Globes aside because there is a corporate interest to allow E! at the Beverly Hilton.  But for what ABC pays the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, they should own the event entirely.  If E! wants a live camera, let them set up on a public sidewalk on the other side of Hollywood Blvd.   

Jersey Shore has bottomed out a 2.9 rating Thursday at 10, still enough to make it #1 in the time period this week (ahead of the 2.6 for The Mentalist on CBS).  The 2.0 for Gold Rush on Discovery Friday at 9 pm also puts it comfortably in first place in that hour, ahead of second place Grimm on NBC (1.5).  As we move down the list, the numbers start to fall behind the broadcast competition.  For example, Pawn Stars on History (1.8 Monday at 10:00 and 1.9 at 10:30) falls just behind ABC’s Castle (2.1) for fifth place in the hour.


About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.