More than 7 million people watched President Bush speak at the Republican National Convention on Fox News Channel last week -- a real coup for the cable net. On the other hand, more than 12 million people tuned in to NBC for its new cartoon lion comedy. Meanwhile, cable shows like "Nip/Tuck" bagged record audiences opposite the RNC confab. We report, you decide.
Here's a look at the week's full and empty:
Fox News Channel beat ABC, CBS and NBC coverage of the GOP convention in head-to-head competition. Unlike all the other news operations, FNC fared much better covering the Republican confab than the Democratic one. At its peak, FNC scored more than 7 million viewers Thursday night when Bush gave his "acceptance" speech, stepping on NBC's 5.9 million, ABC's 5.1 million, CBS's 5 million, CNN's 2.7 million and MSNBC's 1.7 million.
"The Daily Show." The best news and information program on TV (according to the Television Critics Association) copped 1.4 million viewers -- its biggest audience ever -- with its "Indecision 2004" convention coverage. And, just like Fox News Channel, the Comedy Central program did a bigger number at the GOP soiree than during the Democratic bash (1.3 million viewers). Hmmm.
"Dog the Bounty Hunter." The debuting reality series about a convict turned bounty hunter and his kin clocked A&E's biggest series debut audience ever -- 3.1 million viewers -- Tuesday opposite California Gov. Arnold "Don't Be an Economic Girlie Man" Schwarzenegger, speaking at the GOP infomercial.
"Nip/Tuck." Opposite convention coverage Tuesday at 10, FX's plastic surgery series carved out 4.3 million viewers -- its biggest audience ever. That, coincidentally, is also the number of viewers who chose to watch the GOP dog and pony show on ABC in that hour. Hmmm again.
"Father of the Pride." NBC drowned its 1,200 hours of Summer Olympics coverage with promos for this adult cartoon series about a family of Siegfried & Roy lions. Even so, the premiere came in nearly 3 million short of the opening audience for "Whoopi" on a Tuesday last fall. Still, with 12 million viewers, "Pride" is the most watched show of last week.
Latin Grammy Awards. This trophy show bombed Wednesday, with only 3.3 million viewers. That's CBS's smallest audience going back at least as far as 1991.
"Fear Factor." An early premiere date did not help NBC's skeevy reality series, which posted 10.8 million Monday -- down nearly 3 million compared with last season's debut.
"Hawaii." NBC's new hottie-cops-in-Hawaii drama bagged nearly 11 million viewers in its premiere last Wednesday, which is good. But 6.2 million were 50 and older, which is bad if you're a network that says it does all its ad sales based on 18-to-49-year-olds. It appears that CBS's "60 Minutes" crowd, seeing their show was preempted for the Latin Grammys, migrated to NBC's sunny clime in the time slot.
Because Nielsen's number-crunching facility is in hurricane-torn Florida, final stats for the weekend won't be out until today. But based on preliminary numbers, last week's 10 most watched programs, in order, were: NBC's "Father of the Pride" premiere; CBS's "60 Minutes" (preliminary); ABC's Monday preseason football; NBC's "Hawaii" premiere; CBS's "CSI: Miami" rerun; NBC's "Fear Factor" season debut; CBS's "Two and a Half Men" rerun, "Everybody Loves Raymond" rerun, "Amazing Race 5" and "Cold Case" repeat (preliminary).