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Hour shows get shortchanged

Posted 01-15-99

The Hollywood Reporter

In an article about how syndicated shows running twice a week are experiencing lower Nielsen ratings, the ratings that XWP is receiving being stripped on USA Channel weekdays is discussed.



   Double runs in late-night time periods lower Nielsen numbers 

   Most of the top-rated one-hour action shows and dramas in syndication are
experiencing ratings downturns in key demographics and households, according to
a report due out soon from New York station rep firm Petry Television.

   The report, which uses Nielsen Media Research data for the November sweep,
also indicates some major discrepancies between data for the November books and
weekly syndication national television index numbers.

   For instance, top-rated "The X-Files," which posted a 5.2 household rating in
the latest NTI rankings, scored a 3.0 rating/8 share average for the November

   A spokesman for Twentieth Television, which syndicates the off-network sci-fi
hit, explained that sweeps numbers average in poor ratings from second runs of
the series in ghetto time periods such as 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. This tends to bring
down the overall number, he said. The same applies to most syndicated hour
shows, nearly all of which allow for double runs.

   "The X-Files" number indicated a year-to-year downturn from the 3.6/9 average
for the time periods in which it airs.

   "Xena: Warrior Princess" from Studios USA had a 2.6/7 average, according to
the analysis. This was down from a 3.3/8 a year ago and was also down in key
demographics. In primetime, it posted a 2.8 among women 18-34, off from 3.4 a
year ago. It posted a 2.2 among men 18-34 in primetime, down from a 3.6.
"Xena" posted a 4.1 in its last NTI number.

   "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" from the same studio was at a 2.5/7 from a
3.2/7 a year ago. It was also lower in key demographics. "Hercules" muscled up a
3.4 in the national syndication NTIs.

   Veteran sun-and-surf action hour "Baywatch" averaged a 2.5/6 in November.
While this was down from the 3.2/9 average for the time period last year, it
managed to increase viewer levels among women 18-34 to a 2.5 from a 1.0.
"Baywatch" manged a 3.0 in the NTI outings.

   The off-network hour "ER" from Warner Bros. posted a 2.6/6, down from a
3.5/10 average for all dayparts. It was flat among women 18-34 with a 1.7

   "NYPD Blue" posted a 1.7/8, down from the 1.9/8 average for the time period.
But both off-network shows posted buoyant ratings in most recent NTI rankings.
"ER" was at a 4.9, while "NYPD Blue" posted a 3.3.

   The Petry report will provide data by daypart, including primetime, for the
hour shows.

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