Football draft scores, but 'Love' is not enough

By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The National Football League draft attracts nearly 8 million viewers and is crowned a ratings behemoth; a Hallmark Hall of Fame telefilm starring Winona Ryder attracts just over 7 million viewers and is pronounced a dismal failure. Because everything is relative.

Here's a look at the week's winners and losers:


NFL draft Round 1. And you thought televised football requires action? The annual slo-mo unveiling of draft picks on ESPN drew more viewers Thursday night than any program on any other TV network except CBS. About 7.7 million people watched the four-hour orgy of name announcing, which ESPN telecast in prime time for the first time ever, causing its 23 percent year-to-year ratings jump. CBS's lineup -- "Survivor," "CSI" and "The Mentalist" -- commanded 13 million viewers that night.

"Direct Access With Big Tigger." Friday's repeat of WDCW's new Saturday late-night talk show beat all broadcast network shows that night in the Washington market among the coveted 18-to-34-year-old crowd. The rerun of the show hosted by DJ Big Tigger (Darian Morgan) logged about 21,000 viewers in that age bracket on the same night Fox's "Glee" rerun averaged 700 of them in our market, and Jimmy Fallon attracted 2,800. The Friday rerun logged 29,000 viewers of all ages -- which, oddly, was more than twice as many people as saw the episode the first time around, when it aired the previous Saturday. The episode includes interviews with cast members from the new flick "Death at a Funeral," and an interview with Ludacris conducted when the rapper was in town promoting the 2010 Census.

"Southland." To the surprise of many, Time Warner-owned TNT went ahead and renewed the Time Warner-owned, Warner Bros. TV-produced cop show because, as TNT/TBS/TCM programming chief Michael Wright told the trades in a ringing endorsement, "the ratings were not terrible, nor were they fantastic." Plus, it's TNT's youngest-skewing original show.

"America: The Story of Us." The History network bagged its best ratings ever for a special with the Sunday launch of this 12-hour project, produced by former Discovery chief Jane Root through her UK/Chevy Chase-based Nutopia production company. Nearly 6 million people watched the premiere. Lest you think History is going to abandon its reality-series ways and return to running programs about, um, history: Right before "America" was unveiled Sunday night, new episodes of "Pawn Stars" logged 5 million viewers, catapulting the network to its biggest prime-time night in, um, history.


"AC360." As Fox News Channel celebrates its milestone 100th consecutive month in first place among cable news networks, CNN celebrates a new Milestone in Flailure: For the month of April, for the first time ever, MSNBC's reruns of Keith Olbermann's show and Rachel Maddow's show beat Anderson "Does This News Story Make Me Look Fat" Cooper's "AC360" among the 25-to-54-year-olds who are the target demographic for news programming -- and among viewers of all ages.

"Fly Girls"/"High Society." The Meryl Streeps of Ratings Losers, these two CW reality series last week continued to deliver breathtaking performances, turning an "America's Top Model" lead-in audience of 3 million into about 850,000 viewers between them.

"When Love Is Not Enough." Remember when Hallmark Hall of Fame flicks used to top the ratings charts? Remember when Winona Ryder was a big movie star? Sunday's "When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story," starring Ryder and Barry Pepper, about the Al-Anon co-founder and her alcoholic husband Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, barely attracted 7 million viewers.

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