NEW YORK -- How low can the XFL go? To history-making depths, much to NBC's chagrin.
Saturday's telecast of XFL football on NBC scored a 1.6 rating, believed to be the lowest-ever prime-time night among the big three networks in Nielsen Media Research history.
Researchers could only find one other single prime-time program to match it -- an ABC News special on drug policy that aired on Aug. 30, 1997, also scoring a 1.6.
But Saturday's XFL game blew out NBC's entire prime-time. As a result, NBC finished third in the ratings for the week, although the network managed to pull out a victory in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic that it targets.
Saturday's XFL game was particularly hurt by CBS' broadcast of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. With 10.2 million viewers on Saturday, the basketball audience was five times that of football.
NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker said Tuesday that he didn't expect the plug to be pulled on the XFL before the season, which has five more games, is complete. Zucker wouldn't comment on its status beyond this year; NBC has planned to bring it back next year.
ABC had a promising debut for its new comedy, "The Job," which finished tied for 40th place with "The Drew Carey Show." ABC's freshman show, "Gideon's Crossing," scored its highest ratings since premiere week thanks to a crossover stunt with "The Practice.
Once again, "Survivor II" on CBS was easily the week's most popular show, with 28.4 million viewers.
ABC won the week with a prime-time average of 12.2 million viewers (8.3 rating, 14 share), CBS had 11.3 million viewers (7.8, 13), NBC had 10 million (6.9, 12), Fox had 8.6 million (5.4, 9), UPN had 3.4 million (2.2, 3), the WB had 3.2 million (2.2, 4) and Pax TV had 1.5 million (1.0, 2).
In the evening news ratings race, NBC's "Nightly News" led with 10.1 million viewers (7.6 rating, 15 share), ABC's "World News Tonight" had 8.9 million viewers (7.0, 14) and the "CBS Evening News" had 8.3 million viewers (6.3, 13).
A rating point represents 1,022,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 102.2 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of March 12-18, the top 10 shows, their networks and ratings: "Survivor II," CBS, 16.6; "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Sunday), ABC, 14.1; "Friends," NBC, 13.9; "Law and Order," NBC, 12.8; "The Practice," ABC, 12.8; "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Tuesday), ABC, 12.2; "The West Wing," NBC, 11.8; "Will & Grace," NBC, 11.6; "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Thursday), ABC, 11.5; "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 11.3;
On the Net:
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.