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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Local Stations: Where the News Comes First

Three words: Lame. Local. Latebreaking.

A new Gallup poll reveals a shocking truth: in a day and age where a vast wealth of information is available to everyone by a variety of media, viewers still prefer getting their news the old fashioned way: from their local newscasts.

I guess Americans need the day's top stories delivered using cliche-ridden copy and in newscasts peppered with news choppers, bad feature reports ("Can your tap water... KILL you?") and a "SuperDoppler9000." Plus! The fat, wacky weatherguy's unbelievably inaccurate 12-day forecast- right after this!

Ratings Roundup

CBS dominated this week's rerun-heavy ratings race, easily topping all other networks in ratings, demos, and total viewers. NBC was second, with the relative strength of the Apprentice 2 finale goosing their numbers a tad. While hoping for higher numbers from Mr. Trump, it was still their largest Thursday audience since the Frasier finale bowed last May.

A repeat CSI: allowed ABC's smash Desperate Housewives to sneak in as the week's most-watched show in viewers and tie in the all important 18-49 demo.

Heading to the new year, things to watch for:

- How far will NBC's Thursday (with the Apprentice 3 in tow) fall?
- Will ABC finally find a compatible lead in for Alias when it premieres following Lost?
- What will happen to ABC's overall rating once Monday Night Football gets replaced by The Bachelorette et al?
- Will anyone ever watch a show on FOX again?

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research for Dec. 13-19:

Network Rankings:
1. CBS (12.6 million viewers, 3.8 rating/11 share among adults 18-49)
2. NBC (9.8 million, 3.6/10)
3. ABC (9.6 million, 3.4/10)
4. Fox (5.8 million, 2.5/7)
5. UPN (3.5 million, 1.5/5)
6. WB (3 million,1.3/4)

Top 20 Primetime Programs:
1. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 22.3 million viewers.
2. CSI: Miami, CBS, 20.5 million viewers.
3. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 19.5 million viewers.
4. 60 Minutes, CBS, 18.6 million viewers.
5. The Apprentice 2, NBC, 16.9 million viewers.
6. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 16.2 million viewers.
7. Without a Trace, CBS, 16.2 million viewers.
8. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 15.9 million viewers.
9. CSI: NY, CBS, 15.6 million viewers.
10. Cold Case, CBS, 14.8 million viewers.
11. NCIS, CBS, 14.6 million viewers.
12. NFL Monday Night Football: Kansas City at Tennessee, ABC, 13.8 million viewers.
13. CSI: Thursday Special, CBS, 13.6 million viewers.
14. Boston Legal, ABC, 12.7 million viewers.
15. The West Wing, NBC, 12.5 million viewers.
16. Lost, ABC, 11.6 million viewers.
17. CBS Sunday Movie: Fallen Angel, CBS, 11.5 million viewers.
18. According to Jim, ABC, 11.3 million viewers.
19. Law & Order, NBC, 11.3 million viewers.
20. George Lopez: Special, ABC, 11.2 million viewers.

B.W. Still Kickin' A.

While ABC is screaming it's closing the gap, Brian Williams still outrated Peter Jennings last week by a hearty 700,000 viewers. In the Rather department, Dan was once again an also-ran.

Slippage was inevitable, but Mr. Williams is showing some stamina. Should be a good one, folks.

Wednesday Trivia: Friends Redux

Which of the following items about Friends is faker than Jennifer Aniston's schnozz?

A) Courteney Cox was originally asked to play Phoebe, but she asked to play Monica instead after reading the parts.
B) James Michael Tyler was given the part of Gunther because he knew how to operate a cappucino machine.
C) Jon Cryer was originally offered the role of Chandler Bing.
D) The first member of the cast to get a role in a Hollywood film was Marcel the Monkey.

Answer tomorrow.