MediaFile

Fox chief: American Idol results shows were boring

Update: I made some changes here. The folks at Fox say that Tony Vinciquerra said he found the results shows in season seven boring — not the finale. They were right and I was wrong. Here is the entry, with my corrections (I rewrote the headline too.

You can’t say that Fox Chief Executive Tony Vinciquerra isn’t clear about what he wants from the American Idol staff. In short: he wants a less boring season finale with more interesting coaches for the contestants… and while we’re at it, more interesting contestants.

Talk about tough love from the big boss!

Here is what Vinciquerra said at a conference earlier on Wednesday when asked about News Corp’s Fox Network and the popular show that turns ordinary people into super-celebrities: The season seven finale (no — the result shows) were boring.

As for the celebrities who showed up as coaches, there was someone from Broadway whom “no one had ever heard of.” Then there was Dolly Parton: “A wonderful performer, but not what you want in developing the 18-49 audience.” And Neil Diamond: “Not the person you would want to be bringing in very young consumers, which is the audience of the show.”

And then there was one more critique: “I’m actually hoping the contestants have some personality this year, unlike last year.” Then he asked the moderator and the audience at the show to please not tell anyone that he said that.

Television ratings in deep freeze

Since we’re coming up on year’s end, it’s worth a quick review of the television season so far. It has stunk. There. That’s about all you need to know.

Don’t take our word for it, look at the weekly Nielsen numbers that came out yesterday. The lone exception is CBS, which continues to hold up relatively well in the face of all the challenges facing the TV market.

Here’s the Hollywood Reporter’s roundup:

Following its 12th consecutive weekly victory in total viewers, CBS became the first major broadcast network this season to move into positive year-to-year territory since premiere week.

Watch Gannett layoffs in slow motion

It’s layoff week at Gannett — even the second N and T might be redundant.

The largest U.S. newspaper publisher and owner of USA Today, the nation’s biggest-selling daily paper, is slashing payroll just in time for the holidays. We read about layoffs everywhere these days, but if you want to see the slow-motion car crash version of how Gannett is doing it, look to Gannett Blog, run by former company reporter Jim Hopkins.

With no newspaper job to keep him busy, Hopkins chronicles nearly every event that he hears about Gannett. That includes a dose of rumor, but much of what he reports is more right than wrong.

Desperately seeking hits: MPG

Are people going to watch more TV because they’ve no money to go out? According to media buying and planning agency MPG — a subsidiary of Havas, the world’s sixth-largest ad firm — the answer is no, unless the TV networks come up with better shows.

“That’s inventory for us, that’s our supply,” MPG Chief Operating Officer Steve Lanzano told the Reuters Media Summit in New York. “The thing is, there are no hit shows out there on the big networks,” he added. “And if there’s no supply in the marketplace, that just makes it harder and harder for us.”

With the economy seizing up and people seeking more stay-at-home entertainment, this could be the perfect time for the big networks to hook people on to some new shows and boost ratings. That would bring in advertising revenue at a time when many advertisers are scaling back spending.

What you watched on TV last week…

First President-Elect Barack Obama sparked a run on newspapers, and now his appearance on 60 Minutes helped deliver CBS the largest weekly audience of any network this season. The news program, featuring Obama’s first post-election interview, drew more than 25 million viewers, the biggest number since January 1999.

Not surprisingly, that helped CBS win the week in total viewers and in the 18-49 year-old category.  Season-to-date, CBS is tops in total viewers, and essentially tied with ABC for the 18-49 crowd. Here are the Nielsen figures for the week ending Nov 16::

Total Viewers (’000, change from 2007-08)

CBS 12,314, +3 percent

ABC, 10,467, +1 percent

NBC, 7,742, -6 percent

Fox, 6,782, -21 percent

Adults 18-49 (ratings, change from 2007-08)

CBS, 3.3, no change

ABC, 3.1, -9 percent

NBC, 2.9, -6 percent

Fox, 2.7, -21 percent

Week’s Top shows for Adults 18-49 (network, rating)

Sunday Night Football, NBC, 7.4

60 Minutes, CBS, 6.3

Desperate Housewives, ABC, 6.2

Grey’s Anatomy, ABC, 5.7

House, Fox, 5.5

CSI, CBS, 5.1

CMA Awards, ABC, 5.0

Two And A Half Men, CBS, 4.9

Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick, NBC, 4.6

Dancing With the Stars, ABC, 4.2

Family Guy, Fox, 4.2

How I Met Your Mother, CBS, 4.2

(Photo: Reuters)

NBC, Fox join forces in Philly

Want proof that Philadelphia is still the City of Brotherly Love? NBC and Fox are joining forces in Philadephia to gather and distribute video coverage to other local media.

The service will be managed by Fox Television Stations and NBC Local Media, which hope to roll the program out to other markets. For now, local media in Philadelphia will have access to the news service’s video footage — presumably at a cost.

Here’s how the companies described it in a release:

NBC Local Media and the Fox Television Stations will provide newsgathering and transmission resources to the local news service: including a helicopter, personnel and equipment, while also maintaining their own separate capabilities. The news service management will independently identify the stories to be covered each day and make arrangements to gather and transmit the video back to each of the stations. The stations will each decide how the material is to be used in their own newscasts, using their own writing and editorial voice. All employees involved in the local news service will remain part of their respective companies.

What you watched on TV last week…

What you — and everyone else –  watched on TV was the election, apparently. More than 71 million Americans tuned in to see the end of the presidential campaign, and coverage on ABC and NBC ranked among the top 10 shows during primetime last week, according to the latest Nielsen numbers.

Election night, combined with Sunday night football, left little room in the top 10 shows for regularly scheduled dramas and comedies. But it should be noted that ABC managed to squeeze in the top two rated dramas among 18 to 49 year-olds, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. ABC and NBC shared honors for the highest ratings among the 18-49 crowd for the week.

Total Viewers (’000)

CBS 11,040

ABC 10,400

NBC 8,900

Fox 5,870

Adults 18-49 (ratings)

ABC 3.2

NBC 3.2

CBS 3.0

Fox 2.3

Week’s Top Shows for Adults 18-49 (network, rating)

Sunday Night Football, NBC, 6.7

Grey’s Anatomy, ABC, 6.0

Desperate Housewives, ABC 5.9

SNL Presidential Bash ’08, NBC 5.6

CSI, CBS 5.1

Vote 2008, ABC 4.9

Two and a Half Men, CBS 4.6

Decision ’08, NBC, 4.5

Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick, NBC, 4.3

The Office, NBC, 4.3

How bad is local advertising? Ask Fox

We’re guessing Rupert Murdoch isn’t smiling quite so much right now. Not after News Corp reported a larger-than-expected drop in quarterly profit and cut its full year outlook.

The problem? In case you haven’t heard, advertising, particularly at the local level, is in terrible shape. Any company with local TV stations — and News Corp is one of them — is hurting right now.

Indeed,  Fox Television Stations’ first-quarter operating income fell 48 percent from the same period last year. Overall, News Corp profit fell 30 percent.

What you watched on TV last week…

It was all about sports last week as the World Series and a couple of big football games ranked among the most-watched prime-time shows. Fox was the big winner, according the the latest Nielsen figures.

With the World Series Game 5, the hospital drama “House,” and the comedies “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy,” Fox brought in the highest ratings among adults 18-49 for the week ending Nov 2. Year over year, Fox boosted its ratings last week by 26 percent.  Just wait until ”American Idol” and “24″ return.

Total Viewers (’000, change from 2007-08)

CBS 11,384, down 8 percent

ABC 10,140, down 11 percent

Fox 9,527, up 36 percent

NBC 7,529, down 6 percent

Adults 18-49 (ratings, change from 2007-08)

Fox 3.4, up 26 percent

ABC 3.1, down 14 percent

NBC, 2.8, down 7 percent

CBS, 2.8 down 22 percent

Week’s Top Shows for Adults 18-49 (network, rating)

World Series Game 5, Fox 6.2

Sunday Night Football, NBC 6.2

The Simpsons, Fox 6.2

Desperate Housewives, ABC 5.8

Grey’s Anatomy, ABC 5.7

House, Fox 5.4

Family Guy, Fox 5.1

Office, NBC 4.8

CBS, CBS 4.8

The OT, Fox 4.4

Saturday Night Football, ABC 4.4

What you watched on TV last week…

Helped by the World Series, Fox last week scored five of the top 10 shows among 18-49 year-olds. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Fox ratings were nonethless down 22 percent for the week, and are down 17 percent year-to-date, according to the latest Nielsen data.

Fox isn’t alone. Season-to-date ratings for NBC and ABC are down similar amounts. That leaves CBS on top. But even CBS is down 6 percent, so it’s dubious honor.

Total Viewers (’000, change from 2007-08)

CBS 11,351, up 2 percent

Fox, 10,875, down 21 percent

ABC 9,958, down 11 percent

NBC 6,098, down 13 percent

Adults 18-49 (rating, change from 2007-08)

Fox 3.6, down 22 percent

CBS 3.0, no change

ABC 3.0, down 19 percent

NBC 2.2, down 15 percent

Week’s Top Shows for Adults 18-49 (network, rating)

Desperate Housewives, ABC 5.8

House, Fox, 5.6

CSI, CBS 5.5

Grey’s Anatomy, ABC 5.4

Two and a Half Men, CBS 5.1

Fox World Series Game 4, Fox 5.1

The OT, Fox 5.0

Fox World Series Game 1, Fox 4.8

Fox World Series Game 4-Pre, Fox, 4.4

Survivor Gabon, CBS, 4.4

(Photo: Reuters)