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Uncle Eric's Guide to Understanding TV Ratings



For a long time, the bane of my existence as a TV critic was the "sweeps" periods in November, May and February.

Viewership_graph They always produced loads of statistics that each local station would manipulate to their own benefit, and woe be to any TV writer who didn't at least acknowledge their spin. The first numbers we always got were the easiest to understand and the most worthless: household ratings.

These numbers estimate what each household in the Tampa Bay area watched during February. they are useless, because advertisers don't use household numbers to gauge what they will pay for advertising. They want to know viewing numbers of specific types ofDrphil people -- say, viewers age 18 to 34. Those numbers come later this month.

Still, household numbers can show trends. February's sweep ended Wednesday, for example, and we see WFLA-Ch. 8 and WTVT-Ch. 13 fighting for supremacy in most major news time periods. We see that Dr. Phil's  monster numbers at 5 p.m. are still helping Tampa Bay's 10 (Channel 10) rise to Number 2 at 6 p.m.

Ellen DeGeneres may be popular elsewhere in the country, but WFTS-Ch. 28's telecast of Ellen at 4 Ellen1 p.m. gets lower numbers than the shows on any other major TV station -- even behind reruns of Reba on WTOG-Ch. 44.

And the Tampa Bay area loves American Idol like everywhere else, making the show's Tuesday and Wednesday episodes the most-watched shows in prime time for the month.

Here's the raw numbers -- provided by WTSP-Ch. 10 -- and the first number is the rating (percentage of all TV households in the market), second number is the share (percentage of all households with TVs turned on at the time).

Last I checked, there were about 1.6-million TV households in the Tampa Bay area, so you can do your own math, if you like.  Play TV executive and come up with your own spin!American_idol_800x600

Mon to Fri., 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.:

WTVT   3.1/15; WFLA   2.7/13;  BN9 (Bay News 9)  1.1/6; TB10 News (WTSP-Ch. 10)  1.1/5; WFTS   0.9/5

Mon to Fri., 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.:

WFLA   5.1/19;  WTVT   4.5/17; BN9   1.6/6; WFTS   1.6/6; TB10 News  1.4/5.

Mon. to Fri., 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.:

WTVT-Judge Judy 7.1/16; WFLA – Oprah 6.3/14; TB10 – Life Around the Bay 2.3/5; WTOG – Reba 1.7/4; WTTA – Maury 1.5/4; WFTS – Ellen 1.5/3.

Mon to Fri., 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.:

TB10 - Dr. Phil  6.7/13; WTVT    6.4/13; WFLA   6.4/13; WFTS   1.8/4.

Mon. to Fri., 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.:

WFLA   7.9/14; TB10   7.3/14; WTVT   5.7/10; WFTS   2.6/5.

Mon. to Fri., Late News:

WFLA   7.9/15; TB10   7.2/14; WFTS   4.2/8; WTVT 11p  4.1/8; WTVT (10p-11p) 7.3/11.

Top Prime Time Network Shows in the Tampa Bay market:

American_idol 1) WTVT/FOX  American Idol, Weds, 21.0/29
2) WTVT/FOX  American Idol, Tuesday 19.1/27
3) TB10/CBS  CSI   16.7/23
4) WTVT/FOX  House   16.3/23

5) TB10/CBS  CSI: Miami  14.7/23
6) TB10/CBS  NCIS   13.5/19
7) TB10/CBS  2 Half Men  12.6/17 #1 comedy
8) WFLA/NBC  Law & Order  12.4/20
9) TB10/CBS  60 Minutes  12.2/17 #1 news magazine
TB10/CBS  Criminal Minds  12.0/17

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:38pm]


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