Mundane news about the TV biz is overshadowed by the strike drama these days, but in the late afternoon today I caught up with the fact that Sunday was a pretty good night for business, for all but NBC. I can't believe I missed the rare opportunity to enjoy a primetime oater with part one of CBS' three-part Larry McMurtry mini, "Comanche Moon," a "prequel" to "Lonesome Dove." (That's what screeners are for.)
Fox's pre-strike decision to hold "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" back for midseason paid off, with a big assist from the NFC playoff game between the Giants and Cowboys. Sure, the football overrun with a gazillion viewers and 35 share in adults 18-49 helped it get off the tarmac but "Sarah Connor" didn't fold in its second half-hour, which was a good sign.
(Pictured left, Linda Cardellini and Steve Zahn in "Comanche Moon.")
It finished out with 18.3 million viewers and 7.6/18 in the key demo -- at the half it lost about 2.5 million viewers and three adults 18-49 share points, a repsectable retention level by any measure. "Sarah Connor" (pictured below) performed mightily enough to rank as Fox's top series debut since 2000, topping previous title holders "Dark Angel" in 18-49 and "Malcolm in the Middle" in total viewers.
CBS' return to the "Lonesome Dove" (pictured above) well brought in a good-sized crowd. The tune-in was clear as dawn in Big Sky country at 9 p.m., when the start of the oater jumped to 17.1 million viewers, from a healthy "Amazing Race" lead-in of 11.9 million viewers. "Moon" finished out with 15.8 million viewers, enough to make it primetime's most-watched telepic in more than two years, since CBS' Hallmark Hall of Fame-r "Silver Bells." It did OK in 18-49 (3.3/8) and better than OK in adults 25-54 (4.7/10).
ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" had the faithful turn out for the 8 p.m. repeat (10.8 million, 3.8/9 in 18-49) and the 9 p.m. original (13.9 million, 5.5/12), a work-around for the fact that ABC's "Desperate Housewives" cupboard is bare. Alphabet's "Brothers and Sisters" held up at 10 p.m. with 10.9 million viewers and 4.2/10 in 18-49.
The numbers for NBC's Globe-themed specials and coverage of the news conference at the Beverly Hilton -- from afar, in a field of pique laid down at the "Access Hollywood" studio in Burbank. The first hour of the "Dateline" clip special hosted by Matt Lauer had to be flirting with historic lows for the night during the regular season for the net, drawing 3.7 million viewers and 0.9/2 in 18-49. Things improved somewhat at 8 p.m. with the second hour (5.2 million, 1.3/3), but not so much at 9 p.m. with the main event (5.8 million, 1.7/4), such as it was.