April 1, 2012

The Sked: SATURDAY RATINGS March 31 — CBS scores; NBC airs test pattern

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>CBS led the way Saturday night with a preliminary 5.0 Adults 18-49 rating from 8-11 pm ET.  The end of the Louisville-Kentucky game peaked at a 5.8 rating from 8:00-8:30 pm (though some of that rating contains viewing on the west coast to the thrilling end of the second game).  CBS drifted down to a 4.2 in the 8:30 half hour as the network prepared to air Ohio State-Kansas, which scored a 4.7 in the 9:00 half hour, 5.2 at 9:30, 4.9 at 10:00 and 5.0 at 10:30.  The ratings after 11:00 pm, including the climax of the thrilling Kansas comeback victory are not available.  CBS Sports had a night to forget in the final seconds of the game, when the network missed two of the final three seconds of live game play because it was in a replay.  Last year on this night, CBS coverage of the Final Four semi-finals finished at a 5.2 rating from 8-11 pm in the official nationals.

FOX and ABC each hovered around a 1 rating, fairly typical for the sleepiest night of the broadcast week (Cops 8:30 1.3 rating, Cops 8:00 1.0, 20/20 My Extreme Affliction 0.9, Shark Tank repeat 0.8 and Bones repeat 0.8).

Meanwhile, NBC found new depths at 8 pm with the premiere of Escape Routes, an advertiser-supplied reality contest featuring heavy doses of the Ford Escape.  This infomercial circled the drain with a 0.2 rating, perilously close to the dreaded “hashmark” ratings status (when a rating falls below a 0.1).  On a financial spreadsheet, Escape Routes will appear profitable — Ford actually paid NBC for the time to air the show to an empty theater (there was no program license fee forked out by NBC).  But the damage was not contained to one hour on the schedule.  The entire night averaged a 0.4 rating.  True, only down one tenth of a rating point from the past two NBC Saturdays, but at this rate a hashmark-night could be possible.  The Firm was dragged down to a 0.3 at 9 pm, while a repeat Law & Order SVU (doing its best impression of the Phoenix) battled to a 0.7 at 10 pm. 


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.