Charlie Brown Feasts, Madonna Gets the Crumbs

By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Charlie Brown outstripped Madonna last week -- in the ratings. That's among kids, teens, young adults, old adults. Everybody. And for this, we give thanks.

Here's a look at the week's gravy and mincemeat:


"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving." This year, about 9.4 million people gobbled up this old holiday feast on ABC -- its biggest Thanksgiving crowd in five years. Later in the week, Horsy Girl, cracking her whip on her "Confessions Tour" over on NBC, clocked about 5 million fewer viewers -- Charlie's never done that badly on ABC. Also, the "Peanuts" character, who was born the same decade as Madonna, snared about twice as many young viewers as Madge. He also thumped her in every other demographic, including older viewers and kids. In fact, this holiday classic and a new "He's a Bully, Charlie Brown" are now this TV season's two most-watched broadcasts among kids.

"Heroes" hit a series high of 16 million viewers. Save the Cheerleader: Save NBC.

CBS will win the November ratings sweeps, which end tonight, making it six in a row the network has won among all viewers. Best of all, 97 percent of CBS's lineup was regular programming, interrupted only by one hour of election-night coverage and this past Sunday's "Hallmark Hall of Fame" flick.

ABC will win the sweeps among the 18-to-49-year-olds advertisers want to reach -- the network's first outright November sweeps win in the demographic group since the glory days of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in the late 1990s.


Madonna. Only 4.6 million viewers caught Faux Brit Girl on NBC Wednesday.The network doesn't seem to have much luck with Kabbalah Girl. At various points in her Wednesday 8-10 p.m. slot, she got beat by the likes of William Shatner ("Show Me the Money"), Mandy Patinkin ("Criminal Minds"), Steve Martin ("Cheaper by the Dozen") and Univision's telenovela "La Fea Más Bella." Back in '03, when she sat down with Matt Lauer to discuss her fabulousness, it resulted in the lowest-rated Tuesday "Dateline" of the season, though, in fairness, her appearance on "Will & Grace" that same year, playing a limber secretary in a bad wig, scored nearly 18 million viewers.

"The Real World: Denver." Only 1.5 million watched the debut of the 18th edition of MTV's aged reality-series franchise. That's at most half the audience logged by the first episode of the 17th edition, "The Real World: Key West"; the nearly 4 million who caught Episode 1 of the 16th edition, "The Real World: Austin"; the 3.3 million for the opener of the 15th edition, "The Real World: Philadelphia"; and the 4 million for the first installment of No. 14, "The Real World: San Diego." Which leaves us pondering whether it was the "Denver" or the Thanksgiving Eve debut that rendered this one DOA.

"Tony Bennett: American Classic." Mom's gonna kill me for putting Tony in the Losers column, but his 0.9 rating among the 18-to-49-year-olds that NBC chases put him squarely in 86th place out of 89 shows last week in that age bracket, ahead only of three CW reruns. It's about ratings, Mom.

"The Nine." ABC yanked this serialized drama after a paltry crowd of 4.1 million made it the week's least-watched show on ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox.

The American Music Awards scored their smallest crowd since at least the early '90s, though, ABC pointed out, it was up among young adult viewers, while shedding older ones and kids, which, yes, in their world, is a good thing.

The week's 10 most-watched programs, in order, were: ABC's "Desperate Housewives"; CBS's "CSI: Miami"; ABC's "Grey's Anatomy"; CBS's "CSI" and "NCIS"; NBC's Monday "Deal or No Deal"; CBS's "Criminal Minds"; NBC's "Heroes"; CBS's "CSI: NY"; and NBC's Sunday football.

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