Recall Election: ABC Yanks Its 'Commander in Chief'

Geena Davis as the president in the series that riled Prince George's County with a recent episode.
Geena Davis as the president in the series that riled Prince George's County with a recent episode. (By Peter Stone -- Abc)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Prince George's County won't have "Commander in Chief" to be kicked around by anymore.

Just days after county bigwigs went thermonuclear over an episode in which faux POTUS Geena Davis sends in the troops to quell crime in the county (she was also seen in front of a restaurant advertising sweet potato pie, pork chops and chitlins), ABC quietly pulled the plug on the White House drama for the rest of the season. While county big cheeses no doubt wish they could claim embarrassment caused ABC's decision, honestly, the series was done in by ABC's very tight race with Fox to finish the season in first place among young viewers.

Here's a look at the week's better and worse:

WINNERS

Fox . With four weeks left in the 2005-06 TV season, Fox squeaked ahead of ABC among the 18-to-49-year-olds coveted by advertisers. Through last week, Fox averaged 5.2 million viewers in the demographic to ABC's 5.19 million. Last year, Fox needed the Super Bowl to eke out its first-ever season win in the age bracket; this year, it will edge out ABC -- the network that hosted the football game, which is annually the most watched broadcast of the season by a huge margin.

"Boston Legal." ABC has renewed its Monday legal drama that last week nearly doubled its "Less Than Perfect" lead-in audience. This season's "Legal" is averaging about a million more viewers than ABC snagged last year in the time slot with its "NYPD Blue" swan song and short-lived "Blind Justice."

"House." Fox's doc drama posted another record audience -- nearly 25 million -- hanging on to nearly 90 percent of its "American Idol" lead-in -- the best retention ever for any regularly scheduled program following the reality series ratings monster.

LOSERS

"Commander in Chief." Behind-camera discombobulation has done in the most promising new series of this television season. Once the most watched new series in the prime-time firmament -- a hefty crowd of more than 16 million saw the debut -- behind-camera problems caused ABC to yank the show for long periods, during which young viewers found other viewing habits. Last week, "CiC" clocked just 6.5 million viewers in its Thursday time slot, and a disappointing 1.8 percent of viewers in the golden 18-to-49 age bracket.

Daytime Emmy Awards . Despite a move to Los Angeles, an airdate earlier in the May sweeps ratings race and Rick Springfield's opening performance , only 6.1 million people tuned in to the trophy show Friday -- a fraction of the 22 million who watched in the early 1990s to see if Susan Lucci would ever win a Daytime Emmy.

The week's 10 most watched programs, in order, were: Fox's Tuesday and Wednesday "American Idol"; CBS's "CSI"; Fox's "House"; ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy"; CBS's "CSI: Miami," "Without a Trace" and "Survivor: Panama"; and NBC's Monday "Deal or No Deal."

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