03 June 2007

Jericho: Investigating the Ratings - By Robin Miller

This person has an outstanding way of getting to the core of the facts surrounding the cancellation of Jericho, and I felt it very important that it have a place right here, where everyone can see how Jericho really stood in the ratings, so please give this article your time, the facts speak for themselves.

Jericho: Investigating the Ratings

by Robin Miller

June 3, 2007

(rev. 2:30 a.m.)

Understanding the numbers

There are two principal concepts to understand when it comes to television ratings. The first is that Nielsen Media Research (the “Nielsen ratings”) produces two different measurements. The “rating” is the percentage of the entire population under consideration that watched a particular television program. The “share,” on the other hand, looks only at those people or households who were actually watching TV at a given time and represents the percentage of those people or households that was watching a particular program.

The second important concept is that these measurements can be applied to several different populations. The two most important are (1) all households with TV, and (2) adults age 18 to 49. So a program will have two measurements--a rating and a share—for every population that is being studied. For most shows, the important populations are the two just mentioned.

A complication is that the word “rating” is used in two different ways in discussions of TV ratings. It is used in a generic sense to mean all the measurements that Nielsen releases. It also refers to the specific measurement called a “rating,” described above.

Another complication is that all these numbers are available in two flavors, “fast nationals” and “final nationals.” “Fast nationals” are released by Nielsen first thing in the morning for the previous day’s programming. “Final nationals” are released in the mid-afternoon and are corrected for such things as local schedule changes. They are more accurate, but there isn’t a big difference. I believe that the numbers in the following section of this paper are generally fast nationals.

The Futon Guide’s FAQ is quite helpful:


Ratings: Jericho's results

RM notes: All numbers and comments in this section are taken from Russ T.C.'s blog at entertainmentnow.wordpress.com. (In other words, these are his comments, not mine.) I added the time slot results and competition information. The first pair of numbers is for all TV households, with rating followed by share. The second pair of numbers is for the key demographic of adults age 18 to 49. (If just one number is given, it is the rating, without a share.) The final entry is the total number of viewers (of all ages) for that episode.

Sept. 20 7.5/12 (3.2) viewers: 11.40 million

(no comments)

Time slot results:

Dancing with the Stars: Results Show 10.2/17 (3.7) ABC

Jericho 7.5/12 (3.2) CBS

Bones 4.7/8 (2.5) Fox

The Biggest Loser 4.2/7 (2.7) NBC

America's Next Top Model 3.1/5 (2.4) CW


Sept. 27 7.4/12 (3.7) viewers: 11.38 million

Jericho had a very promising second week, increasing its A18-49 rating from a decent 3.2 last week to a much better 3.7 this week. Comparing the Fast Nationals of last week, it was virtually unchanged in viewers (7.5 HH Rating, 11.40M viewers to 7.4 HH Rating, 11.38M viewers). Finals for last week put the show at 11.66M viewers.

Time slot results:

Dancing with the Stars: Results Show 10.5/17 (4.0) ABC

Jericho 7.4/12 (3.7) CBS

Bones 5.0/8 (2.7) Fox

The Biggest Loser 4.2/7 (2.7) NBC

America's Next Top Model 3.9/6 (3.4) CW


Oct. 4 6.8/11 (3.4) viewers: 10.83 million

Jericho is holding on strongly with 10.83M viewers, down only slightly from last week against stiff competition (ABC’s Dancing Results Show registered its largest audience thus far of the season­17.49M).

Time slot results:

Dancing with the Stars: Results Show 11.6/19 (4.5) ABC

Jericho 6.8/11 (3.4) CBS

Bones 5.1/8 (2.8) Fox

America's Next Top Model 3.7/6 (2.7) CW

Friday Night Lights (R) 3.3/5 (3.0) NBC


Oct. 11 7.0/11 (3.2/9) viewers: 10.90 million

Jericho” (10.90M viewers) continues to deliver the goods, staying consistent in households (even), viewers (+0.07M) and A18-49 (-0.02 points). The series was second in the time period in households (7.0/11), viewers and A18-49 (3.2/9).

Time slot results:

Dancing with the Stars: Results Show 12.3/19 (4.6) ABC

Jericho 7.0/11 (3.2) CBS

MLB Playoffs 5.7/9 (2.6) Fox

30 Rock and 20 Good Years 5.5/9 (2.9) NBC

America's Next Top Model 3.7/6 (2.7) CW


Oct. 18 6.9/11 (3.1/9) viewers: 10.81 million

At 8:00 PM, “Jericho” (10.81M viewers, 3.1/9 A18-49 rating) stayed virtually unchanged from the week before, providing another solid performance for the Eye.

Time slot results:

Dancing with the Stars: Results Show 12.6/20 (4.9) ABC

MLB Playoffs 7.2/11 (3.2) Fox

Jericho 6.9/11 (3.1) CBS

30 Rock and 20 Good Years 3.9/6 (2.3) NBC

America's Next Top Model 3.4/6 (2.5) CW


Oct. 25 6.8/11 (3.2/9) viewers: 10.54 million

At 8:00 PM, “Jericho” (10.54M viewers, 3.2/9 A18-49 rating) was virtually unchanged from the week prior. It did lose some audience and A18-49, but the losses are far too minimal to be of any sort of concern. Barring a mass exodus, this one should be around a while.

Time slot results:

Dancing with the Stars: Results Show 13.2/20 (5.1) ABC

Jericho 6.8/11 (3.2) CBS

30 Rock and 20 Good Years 3.9/6 (2.1) NBC

America's Next Top Model 3.7/6 (2.7) CW

The War at Home (two repeat eps) 3.5/6 (2.1) Fox


Nov. 1 6.1/9 (3.1/8) viewers: 9.96 million

At 8:00 PM, “Jericho” (6.1/9 HH rating, 9.96M viewers, 3.1/8 A18-49 rating) experienced its first real substantial decline from its premiere, going down in households and viewers from the week prior. Then again, Adults 18-49 stayed pretty much even from the week before, so it wasn’t all bad.

Time slot results:

Dancing with the Stars: Results Show 12.8/20 (4.9) ABC

Jericho 6.1/9 (3.1) CBS

Bones 4.7/7 (2.7) Fox

30 Rock and 20 Good Years 3.3/5 (1.8) NBC

America's Next Top Model 2.9/5 (2.1) CW


Nov. 8 6.2/9 (3.0/8) viewers: 9.79 million

At 8:00 PM, “Jericho” (6.2/9 HH rating, 9.79M viewers, 3.0/8 A18-49 rating) stayed even but is down about 1M viewers from two episodes (the last time the show was above 10M viewers).

Time slot results:

Dancing with the Stars: Results Show 13.8/21 (5.2) ABC

Jericho 6.2/9 (3.0) CBS

Bones 4.8/7 (2.8) Fox

The Biggest Loser 4.6/7 (3.1) NBC

America's Next Top Model 3.5/6 (2.6) CW


Nov. 15 5.6/9 (3.0/8) viewers: 9.41 million

At 8:00 PM, “Jericho” (5.8/9 HH rating, 9.41M viewers, 3.0/8 A18-49 rating) dipped slightly from the week prior and is now struggling to reach back up to 10M viewers. Its still holding steady in adults 18-49 though.

Time slot results:

Dancing with the Stars: Results Show 17.6/27 (7.0) ABC

Jericho 5.6/9 (3.0) CBS

Bones 5.0/8 (2.9) Fox

The Biggest Loser 4.0/6 (2.8) NBC

America's Next Top Model 3.1/5 (2.2) CW


Nov. 22 6.2/11 (2.5/8) viewers: 9.75 million

(no comment)

Time slot results:

Jericho 6.2/11 (2.5) CBS

Show Me the Money 5.2/9 (2.1) ABC

Movie: Cheaper by the Dozen 3.6/6 (2.2) Fox (8-11 pm)

Madonna: The True Confessions Tour 3.2/5 (1.8) NBC

America's Next Top Model 2.7/5 (2.2) CW


Nov. 29 6.4/10 (3.1/9) viewers: 10.35 million

(no comment)

Time slot results:

Jericho 6.4/10 (3.1) CBS

Christmas in Rockefeller Center 6.2/10 (2.6) NBC

Bones 5.5/9 (3.2) Fox

Show Me the Money 5.3/8 (2.2) ABC

America's Next Top Model 4.0/7 (2.8) CW



Feb. 14 (recap episode) 5.0/8 (2.1/6) viewers: 7.69 million

8:00 p.m.: The special Return to Jericho (5.0/8 HH rating, 7.69M viewers, 2.1/6 A18-49 rating) drew okay ratings ahead of the return of the show next week. It will certainly be interesting to see if the extended layoff helped, hurt or had no effect on this freshman drama.

Competition: Bones, Friday Night Lights, George Lopez and Knights of Prosperity, Beauty and the Geek (season finale)


Feb. 21 5.7/9 (2.4/6) viewers: 8.65 million

The return of Jericho (5.7/9 HH rating, 8.65M viewers, 2.4/6 A18-49 rating) drew disappointing numbers, most likely due to the fact its now going up against American Idol. The show was down 1.6M viewers, 10% among households and 23% among adults 18-49 for a series low.

Competition: American Idol, George Lopez and Knights of Prosperity, Friday Night Lights, Beauty and the Geek (reunion)


Feb. 28 5.6/9 (2.4/6) viewers: 8.69 million

Jericho (5.6/9 HH rating, 8.69M viewers, 2.4/6 A18-49 rating) once again struggled against American Idol. Though it didn’t lose audience from the week prior, the A18-49 rating is cause for concern, especially when it had previously been hitting around a 3.0 in the demo. In CBS’s continuing quest to reach a younger demo, they may decide against renewing this series. Time will only tell if they stick with it.

Competition: American Idol, George Lopez and Knights of Prosperity, Friday Night Lights, America's Next Top Model (season premiere)


March 7 5.4/8 (2.2/6) viewers: 8.22 million

Jericho (5.4/8 HH rating, 8.22M viewers, 2.2/6 A18-49 rating) continues to struggle against the AI juggernaut, well behind its Fall 2006 numbers. If it continues to do this poorly, it will most likely not make it to a second season.

Competition: American Idol, George Lopez and According to Jim (R), Dateline NBC, America's Next Top Model


March 14 5.1/8 (2.3/7) viewers: 7.76 million

Jericho (5.1/8 HH rating, 7.76M viewers, 2.3/7 A18-49 rating) continues on its downward trend. Not even the benefit of not having to air against ‘Idol’ helped the show, as it hit another series low among households and total viewers.

Competition: Bones, George Lopez and According to Jim (R), Dateline NBC (R), America's Next Top Model


March 28 5.4/9 (2.4/7) viewers: 8.43 million

Returning from a brief one-week hiatus was CBS’s only new show on the evening, Jericho (5.4/9 HH rating, 8.43M viewers, 2.4/7 A18-49 rating), though it was able to make slight increases across the board, the fact that it had to settle for a third place tie among adults 18-49 with The CW’s American’s Next Top Model doesn’t bode well for the future of the series.

Competition: Bones, Friday Night Lights, The Great American Dream Vote, America's Next Top Model


April 4 5.1/9 (2.1/6) viewers: 7.91 million

Jericho (5.1/9 HH rating, 7.91M viewers, 2.1/6 A18-49 rating) though not down by much, took yet another dip downward. The show could only manage a fourth place finish for the hour among the key A18-49 demographic.

Competition: Bones, George Lopez (two episodes), Friday Night Lights, America's Next Top Model


April 11 5.3/9 (2.3/6) viewers: 8.25 million

Jericho (5.3/9 HH rating, 8.25M viewers, 2.3/6 A18-49 rating) showed some growth week-to-week and despite the series still in a slump and a rating fairly low among adults 18-49, it was #1 for the hour among households and viewers.

Competition: 'Til Death (season finale), George Lopez (two episodes), Friday Night Lights (season finale), America's Next Top Model


April 18 5.2/8 (2.3/7) viewers: 7.78 million

(no comment)

Competition: Bones (R), According to Jim, Thank God You're Here, America's Next Top Model


April 25 5.0/9 (2.1/6) viewers: 7.67 million

Jericho (5.0/9 HH rating, 7.67M viewers, 2.1/6 A18-49 rating) unfortunately dipped yet again, dropping most among adults 18-49 (-9%) with the added hour of American Idol.

Competition: American Idol, According to Jim, Thank God You're Here (R), America's Next Top Model (clips)


May 2 5.1/9 (2.2/7) viewers: 8.16 million

(no comment)

Competition: Bones, According to Jim, Thank God You're Here, America's Next Top Model


May 9 5.3/9 (2.1/7) viewers: 7.77 million

The season (or possible series) finale of Jericho (5.3/9 HH rating, 7.77M viewers, 2.1/7 A18-49 rating) failed to rebound in any major sort of way. Though there was a slight uptick among households, it lost more ground among viewers, and adults 18-49, where it was tied for a disappointing last place on the hour. As you can see from the numbers below (and more in a moment), from beginning to end, the series lost 3.89M viewers, 30% of households and 34% of its A18-49 audience. As has been talked about frequently in the past, the loss of viewership seems to be the fault of the mid-season break. Ratings show that before the break, the series was still doing well: 11/29/2006 ­ 6.3/10 HH rating, 10.25M viewers and a 3.1/9 A18-49 rating, it was down only slightly from its premiere (only 3% among the key A18-49 demo), but everything fell apart when it returned in February: February 27: 5.5/9 HH rating, 8.30M viewers and a 2.3/6 rating among adults 18-49. The show never regained that lost audience, and as you can see, actually lost a tad bit more. So what does the future hold? There were rumors that CBS was going to pick up the show, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Odds are if it does return, it’ll return in a different time slot and most likely, day. We’ll know for sure in the upcoming week.

Competition: Bones, According to Jim, Thank God You're Here, America's Next Top Model


RM note: That ends the comments taken from Russ T.C.'s blog. Everything that follows was written by me.

Some overall comments

During the 11 pre-hiatus episodes, Jericho averaged 10.47 million viewers. Its numbers declined a bit over that stretch, although they rebounded nicely at the end. The Nov. 29 episode (the final episode in this stretch) had 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, while good, were not great. Who else was watching, I wonder? Was it the 50+ audience (like me), or children and teens watching with their parents? Jericho's weekly results in this demo largely tracked its overall results. During these 11 weeks, Jericho finished first once, second eight times, and third on two occasions. Other than for the Nov. 22 episode, Jericho's A18-49 rating was never below 3.0. While it fell to 2.5 for that episode, shown on the day before Thanksgiving, it still won its time period for that week, as the demo simply wasn't watching TV that night.

For the 11 post-hiatus episodes (not counting the Feb. 14 recap episode), Jericho averaged 8.12 million viewers. The trend during this interval was slightly down, with the first five episodes averaging 8.35 million episodes and the next five averaging 7.95 million. Then the season finale was even lower at 7.77 million. The A18-49 numbers were poor. Jericho was up against American Idol for four of these 11 episodes, including the first three. Les Moonves' statement--that Jericho's ratings continued to deteriorate over the course of the season--was essentially correct. But the slow erosion of viewership during these episodes was minor compared to the massive loss of viewers caused by the scheduling hiatus.

The bottom line: Jericho's pre-hiatus ratings merited renewal. Its post-hiatus ratings probably did not. Jericho lost an amazing 3.63 million viewers from the premiere to the finale, most of those over the hiatus. Our argument is that the tremendous publicity received by the "Save Jericho" campaign will bring back the viewers who lost track of the show over the hiatus.

Note that I’m not addressing the effect of New Media, or the accuracy of Nielsen ratings. I’m saying that, even if we limit ourselves to the data CBS apparently considers most valuable--information provided by Nielsen Media Research--Jericho did very well before the network’s huge scheduling mistake, the midseason hiatus.

Ratings of episodes at tv.com are all "great" (8 out of 10) or "fabulous" (9 out of 10):


The rating of the series as a whole at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)) is 8.1/10, based on 3,965 votes as of June 1:


Kid Nation

CBS proposes to fill Jericho's time slot with Kid Nation, which the network describes as "a reality-based series in which 40 kids will have 40 days to build a new world - in a ghost town that died in the 19th Century. These kids, ages 8-15, will spend more than a month without their parents or modern comforts in Bonanza City, N.M., attempting to do what their forefathers could not - build a town that works." CBS has already completed filming the 13-episode cycle, 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."

In other words, CBS wants to replace Jericho with a “reality” program that exploits children.

For background, see:

Kids to rule reality on CBS, Variety, May 15, 2007


CBS' preview:


For criticism, see:

Brian Lowry, The kids aren't all right: 'Nation' the latest show to use tykes for profit (Variety, May 25, 2007)


Blog entry by Lisa S. (May 16, 2007)


"All that said, would I let my son go off to join Kid Nation? Not on your life."

Evan Narcisse, Whose Kid Nation is it anyway? (May 17, 2007)


"the thing that really worries me about this show is these kids’ extreme vulnerability to the reality TV genre’s bag of tricks”

Mandi Bierly, 'Kid Nation': Childsploitation or fine family viewing? (EW, May 17, 2007)


Besides, how is Kid Nation a good lead-in to Criminal Minds?

Another thing to note is that, since Kid Nation is only a 13-episode cycle, the time slot will be available for the spring. While CBS may intend to bring The Amazing Race (currently being held for mid-season) back in that slot, perhaps we can simply regain it for Jericho in January.

History of the time slot for CBS

In the 2005-2006 season, CBS tried five different shows in the Wednesday 8 pm (eastern) time slot:

Still Standing and Yes, Dear (half-hour comedies)

Courting Alex and Out of Practice (half-hour comedies)

The Amazing Race

All of these shows, other than The Amazing Race, were cancelled by the end of the season. CBS had no effective lead-in for Criminal Minds (this was its first season) and CSI: NY.


In the 2004-2005 season, CBS ran 60 Minutes II in this time slot. That show was cancelled before the start of the following season. CBS ran sitcoms at 9 pm and the first season of CSI: NY at 10 pm.


Bottom line here: After CBS floundered during the Wednesday 8 pm (eastern) time slot for at least the prior two seasons, 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) 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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