Christmas Ratings comparison, US v UK.

5 01 2007

Below are the top 10 rated television programmes for the week of 25-31 December in the UK and the US. Christmas is usually a strange time for ratings in the UK, as this is when faded stars dust themselves off for a Christmas special that invariably win the ratings war.

However this year only one show managed to do that, Dawn French’s sitcom The Vicar of Dibley winning Christmas day with a figure much lower than even a couple of years ago. Has the UK audience fragmented so dramastically (It’s a new word)? Or was everyone just watching DVD’s and playing with their Wii’s? The decline of Christmas day Eastenders from its 25 mil Christmas Heyday is also surprising. I’m sure it still commanded about 16 mil a couple of years back. I have a theory that as viewers of the show are dying, they aren’t being replaced. I know I’m right. Anyway, here are the numbers.

1. The Vicar of Dibley, BBC1, 12.1 million viewers/47% audience share.

2. Eastenders (Mon), BBC1, 11.02/43%

3. Pirates of the Carribean, BBC1, 10.23/42%

4. Eastenders (Thurs), BBC1, 10.02/43%

5. Coronation Street (Mon), ITV1 9.91/39%

6. Eastenders (Fri), BBC1, 9.68/42%

7. Coronation Street (Wed), ITV1, 9.51/36%

8. Eastenders (Mon 18.30), BBC1 9.43/44%

9. Doctor Who, BBC1, 9.28/38%

10. Emmerdale (Fri), ITV1, 9.03/39%

In the US, a new episode of Deal or No Deal won Christmas night for NBC. If you are in the UK, and have never seen the US version, it’s a totally different show. It moves at a lightning pace, the boxes are opened by models in swimsuits (or did I imagine that?) and it’s always loud, never quiet. All dramas were in repeats, and comedies just don’t make these lists in the US anymore… all the figures seem very low, maybe more people turn off at Christmas in the US, or watch that channel that playes the roaring fire?

1. Deal or No Deal, NBC, 16.33 million viewers.

2. CSI, CBS, 13.84 million.

3. NBC Sunday Night Football: Green Bay at Chicago, NBC, 13.36 million.

4. NCIS, CBS, 11.88 million.

5. 1 Vs. 100, NBC, 11.76 million.

6. NFL Postgame Show, Fox, 11.06 million viewers.

7. CSI: NY, CBS, 10.57 million viewers.

8. Criminal Minds, CBS, 10.03 million viewers.

9. Kennedy Center Honors, CBS, 9.94 million viewers. (I don’t know what this is, and I’m not prepared to look it up!)

10. Shark, CBS, 9.72 million. (This may have been a new episode, may explain why it made the top 10)

What conclusions can we draw from this comparison? that people will watch anything at Christmas? Maybe. That networks don’t try anymore over the festive period? Definitely? That ratings are a surefire sign of quality TV, on both sides of the atlantic? Not bloody likely!

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20 07 2008
tv ratings comparisons

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