'Idol' Lets Fox Pull Victory From the Jaws of Defeat
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Steven Spielberg may pack 'em in at the multiplex, but on the small screen he's a ratings flop.
"On the Lot," the new Fox reality series executive-produced by Spielberg and reality show guru Mark Burnett, is proving to be a bust for the network. It debuted May 22 with an audience of 7.6 million, despite the 25-million-viewer lead-in provided by the final performance show of "American Idol." Its second airing on Thursday dropped to 5.2 million, losing nearly half of its lead-in.
This week, things got worse for the series in which aspiring filmmakers try to impress celebrity judges with their self-directed mini-movies in hopes of winning a development deal at Spielberg's DreamWorks studio. Monday's and Tuesday's shows averaged just 3.5 million viewers.
Despite the low numbers for "On the Lot," Fox claimed victory in last week's Nielsen ratings race thanks to the final two episodes of "American Idol." Although the series lost viewers overall from past seasons, the final performance and result shows averaged 25.3 million and 30.7 million viewers, respectively.
Fox also debuted the third season of the dance competition series "So You Think You Can Dance" last Thursday. Its audience of 9.5 million won the 8 p.m. time slot, but was down more than 1 million from last May's premiere.
Some notable season finales last week: ABC's "The Bachelor," in which Andy Baldwin chose Washington native Tessa Horst, drew 12.7 million viewers, its most watched telecast since the May 2004 finale; Fox's "24" drew 10.3 million, its second smallest finale in six seasons; NBC's "Heroes" audience of 13.4 million was off about 1 million from the show's season average; and ABC's "Lost" on Wednesday garnered 13.9 million, 4 million below last year's finale.
Meanwhile, no one seemed to notice that the Aaron Sorkin drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" was back on the air. Only 3.9 million viewers caught Thursday night's return episode on NBC.
But, Tom Selleck still has it. His Tuesday night movie "Jesse Stone: Sea Change" on CBS managed to pull in nearly 14 million viewers despite competition from the "Dancing With the Stars" finale, with an audience of 23 million.
The top 10 programs, in order, were: Fox's Wednesday and Tuesday "American Idol"; ABC's Tuesday and Monday "Dancing With the Stars"; CBS's "NCIS"; ABC's "Lost"; CBS's "CSI"; NBC's "Heroes"; CBS's "Jesse Stone: Sea Change"; and ABC's "The Bachelor."