I can’t believe December’s here and the November sweeps have come to an end. Did you realize it was the season to be glued to the television? Where were the infamous stunts? The big movie star guest appearances? The seedy news media gets? By all accounts, it was all quiet on the network fronts.
You know you’re in trouble when the most salacious your month gets is Rachel Ray sexing it up for Food-TV spots on Thanksgiving. There were no noticeable changes on the major network shows, the CSIs, the Desperate Housewives (both of which helped lead their networks to the number one and two slots) – they plodded along as they always do, with fairly ordinary plots – no lesbians jumping out of cakes or major characters being mysteriously bumped off.
And now that the sweeps have been dampened to look like any other season, it’s a bit boring out there in TV land. It’s kind of like that loud and obnoxious relative who didn’t show up to Thanksgiving this year — you can’t believe how much you miss him. I always expect to sit back in smug condescension during sweeps week and glower at how desperate the networks are to lure viewers. But no more. It was a season run with class and restraint. Whoda thunk it? And don’t think you can count the shenanigans on “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” – those shows are nothing but shenanigans.
So how did the networks fare during this well-behaved November? CBS and ABC are fighting it out for first place. CBS has the CSI shows, and the brilliant new “Criminal Minds ,” while ABC has the aforementioned “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost.”
CBS had the slight edge over ABC, by one tenth of a rating point! But of course, ABC trumped CBS for holiday week ending November 27. But for the sweep, CBS had (see if you can figure out what these numbers mean) 4.4 rating/12 share with adults 18 – 49. If you’re under 18 or over 59, no one cares about you because you’re either watching some raunchy MTV show or non-stop westerns on AMC.
Coming in dead third is NBC, once a major player. It is followed by Fox that has yet to roll out its big fat “American Idol.” To counter, ABC has the Super Bowl and NBC has the Olympics, both in February.
During the Thanksgiving holiday, 25.9 million people watched “Desperate Housewives,” while 25.7 watched CSI. And newcomer, “Grey’s Anatomy” is looking very strong in its spot following “Housewives” with 19.6 million viewers.
With so much of the target demographic under control how will we ever recover the excitement of sweeps week? To some of us it is the most anticipated television event of the year, topping the Oscars, Barbra Walters “Most Fascinating People,” the commercials during the Superbowl, you name it! But, alas, it looks as though the networks have us just where they want us: plopped in front of their hit shows.
Meet the New Boss at CBS News
Meanwhile, CBS is going one step further to turn its nightly newscast, the “CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer,” into something worthy of viewers’ trust by appointing veteran “60 Minutes” producer Rome Hartman. Schieffer is the interim anchor until CBS figures out its permanent one. According to USA Today, they are courting Katie Couric. Is there something wrong with Bob Schieffer? Sure, he was the head anchor back in the ’70s but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still at the top of his game.
I don’t know about you, but there is zero chance I’ll watch the CBS news with Ms. Couric in the chair. I prefer Schieffer – he is elegant, articulate and trustworthy. Why do producers always think they know better? Me, I plan on not missing a single night of Schieffer’s stopgap gig.
Thursday, December 1
George of the Jungle (**), 8 p.m., DISNEY.
Peter, Paul and Mary, 8 p.m., KCET.
Rachel Ray’s Holiday Entertaining, 9 p.m., FOODTV.
The Wedding Singer (**), 9 p.m., TBS.
Friday, December 2
Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again, 9 p.m., CBS.
The Happy Elf, 8 p.m., NBC.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town, 8 p.m., ABC.
Saturday, December 3
A Hollywood Holiday Celebration, 8 p.m., CBS.
The Wizard of Oz (****), 8 p.m., TNT.
The Academy of Country Music’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, 9 p.m., CBS.
Christmas at Water’s Edge, 9 p.m., ABC.
Sunday, December 4
Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, 8 p.m., KTLA.
Pope John Paul II, 9 p.m., CBS.
Paula’s Southern Christmas, 9 p.m., FOODTV.
Gingerbread Championships, 10 p.m., FOODTV.
Monday, December 5
Affliction (***), 8 p.m., IFC.
Speed (***), 8 p.m., FX.
Medium, 10 p.m., NBC.
Tuesday, December 6
A Charlie Brown Christmas, 8 p.m., ABC.
To Kill a Mockingbird (****), 8 p.m., AMC.
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, 10 p.m., CBS.
The Office, 9:30 p.m., NBC.
Wednesday, December 7
The Misfits (****), 7:30 p.m., TCM.
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, 8 p.m., FAMILY.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & The Island of Misfit Toys, 9 p.m., FAMILY.
The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, 9 p.m., NBC.