LOST Media Mentions - DarkUFO

Thanks to The ODI for the following article that discusses a possible return date for Lost.

ABC's strategy of targeting women viewers with almost all its new prime-time shows this season is paying off so far. Five of those shows are producing solid women 18-49 ratings—including all three on Wednesday, where ABC is trying to become the first Big Three network in more than 25 years to successfully maintain three new shows on one night for an entire season.

ABC's Wednesday lineup of freshmen—Pushing Daisies, Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money—has cumulatively won the adults 18-49 demo race so far this season with the exception of last week, against Fox's World Series telecast. The last time a Big Three net successfully aired an entire night of new shows through a whole season was NBC in 1982-83, with its Friday lineup of The Powers of Matthew Star, Knight Rider and Remington Steele. The last time a Big Three network accomplished it on a Wednesday was during the 1974-75 season, when NBC aired Little House on the Prairie, Lucas Tanner and Petrocelli.

ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson said he is planning to stay the course on Wednesdays, even when Fox's American Idol returns in January.

"You can't spend too much time worrying about Idol," McPherson said. "Our plan going into the season was to launch a new night of programming on Wednesday and to establish a foothold there. We have done that, and we plan to keep those shows on that night…It's a major accomplishment and more than we could have hoped for."

(McPherson noted that if the lineup stays, it leaves ABC hit Lost as a "wildcard asset" that may end up being scheduled on another night when it returns in midseason.)

While no one expects American Idol to fall off precipitously in the ratings, media agency executives are waiting to see just how strong it will be in its seventh season.

"If you look at the tepid attendance at this summer's American Idol concert tour, it may be an indication that the coming season's Idol may not be the juggernaut it has been in the past," said Brad Adgate, executive vp, director of research at Horizon Media.

ABC's strategy of putting on more shows targeting women is smart in that it taps into an emerging trend in prime-time viewing, Adgate said. In a report on the women's marketplace that he is currently preparing, Adgate said government data shows that the number of women earning $100,000 or more tripled between 1995 and 2005, and 32 percent of all working wives earn higher incomes than their husbands. On top of that, significantly more women are watching prime-time television than men.

"Traditional male-oriented advertisers like home improvement companies, automakers, airlines and even athletic shoe companies are now targeting women as much as men in their advertising," Adgate explained. "So female-oriented shows can now tap into these new revenue streams."

Ed Gentner, senior vp, director of national broadcast for MediaVest, added that "women are the primary decision makers for most purchases. And that's not only working women, that's all women. It makes them an advertiser target in almost every category."

Season to date, Private Practice is averaging a 6.9 rating in both the women 18-34 and women 18-49 demos, Pushing Daisies is averaging a 4.3 women 18-34 rating and a 4.9 among women 18-49, and Dirty Sexy Money is averaging a 4.2 among women 18-34 and a 4.7 among women 18-49.

Regarding ABC's two other freshman successes, Samantha Who? (Mondays at 9:30 p.m.) is averaging a 5.2 and a 6.9 among women 18-34 and 18-49, respectively, while Women's Murder Club (Fridays 9 p.m.) is averaging a 3.3 among women 18-49.

Even the one new drama that has shown disappointing overall viewership numbers, Big Shots, which leads out of Grey's Anatomy at 10 p.m. Thursdays, is still drawing respectable female numbers with a 5.1 among both women 18-34 and 18-49.

Interestingly, the two new ABC shows that are not expected to survive, Tuesday sitcoms Cavemen and Carpoolers, are both skewing more heavily male.

"I believe women drive television viewing as a whole," McPherson said. "A lot of what we developed for this season was with women 18-49 in mind. Women viewers have been a major reason for ABC's rebirth. We still want to reach a broad audience, but I believe that if we target women, along the way the men will come as well."

Source: MediaWeek

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