November Sweeps Aftermath
The numbers have come out and...they're pretty much what everyone expected. If you aren't familiar with the term, "Sweeps" are the bi-annual time periods where advertising rates are set based on the strength of ratings. During November sweeps, the networks roll out their best stuff, rarely show a rerun, and often resort to extreme measures to rope in viewers. As expected, ABC won sweeps, and pretty handily. NBC and CBS tied for second, however, and this is a pretty large upset. NBC had fallen into fourth place last year, but it looks as if it's new batch of shows has helped push them back to respectability. Another factor is NBC's new Sunday Night Football, which brings NBC ratings while hurting ABC, who had Monday Night Football last year.
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FOX finished fourth, but I don't think the network is fretting over it. Their fortunes will change in January, when American Idol and 24 return, with them the guarantee of monstrous ratings. I know FOX is confident in those two giants, but you'd like to see them come up with some quality new shows, rather than the now-canceled dreck they wheeled out in the Fall. The CW didn't disclose their numbers, but claimed to reach a seven percent increase in viewers over both the WB and UPN's ratings last year. One Tree Hill, Veronica Mars and America's Next Top Model have all increased their viewers over last year. For the specific numbers, TV.com has those. ABC doesn't look to be leaving the top spot any time soon. All their massive hits (Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars) are now firmly established; there's not one fluke among them and they all have staying power. It's crazy to think that the network was in dire straits just a few years ago. None of this is earth-shattering, but you could say that NBC is the big surprise here, although it'll be interesting to see how things shake out by May sweeps. -Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

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