03 June 2007

Executive Summary

Jericho: Investigating the Ratings

by Robin Miller

June 3, 2007

(rev. 1:55 p.m.)

e-mail: complex.gal (at) charter.net



Executive Summary:

* For the 11 pre-hiatus episodes, Jericho averaged 10.47 million viewers. The Nov. 29 episode (the final episode in this stretch) retained 91% of the viewers of the Sept. 20 premiere. During these 11 weeks, Jericho was first in its time slot in the total households rating for the two weeks in which it was not up against Dancing with the Stars. In the nine weeks in which DWTS was on, Jericho finished second to DWTS on eight weeks and third (to DWTS and a baseball playoff game) on one week.



* The pre-hiatus A18-49 numbers were also good. During these 11 weeks, Jericho finished first in its time slot once, second eight times, and third on two occasions. Other than for the episode shown on the night before Thanksgiving, Jericho's A18-49 rating was never below 3.0.



* Over its mid-season hiatus, Jericho lost 1.7 million viewers, and never recovered. It lost another million viewers over the course of the 11 post-hiatus episodes. The only reasonable explanation is that CBS’s scheduling gaffe was responsible for the decline in viewership. Viewers didn’t suddenly decide they no longer enjoyed the show. The “Save Jericho” campaign will bring these lost viewers back for season two.



* CBS intends to replace Jericho on its schedule with Kid Nation, a “reality” program that exploits children. According to Variety, "CBS brass have kept the project quiet in part out of fear that the idea of the project -- kids living sans parents -- could kick up a media frenzy and threaten production before it began."



* CBS floundered during the Wednesday 8 p.m. (eastern) time slot for at least the prior two seasons, having tried a half-dozen shows in that slot. Jericho finally provided Criminal Minds and CSI: NY with an effective and appropriate lead-in. Jericho was highly-rated and was thematically compatible with the other two shows. For the 11 pre-hiatus weeks, CBS finished first for the night for total viewers among all five networks on six weeks, and second (to ABC, led by Lost and Dancing with the Stars, both powerful shows) on five weeks. CBS' three Wednesday-night shows formed an extremely powerful package. There is absolutely no reason to break it up.

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