Many more disclaimers can be seen on the individual pages, but the most basic one is that the listed schedules are fall lineups, even when midseason replacements may have done much better. (I try to mention those midseason replacements that did better.) Please also note that the 2003-04 thru 2005-06 numbers still contain the "old" A18-49+ scores from before I filled in the missing data from those seasons. So those numbers will change (slightly) when the 2014-15 numbers are entered this summer.
More 2001-03 Schedules Plus updates: ABC | CBS | NBC | Fox | CW
|2001-02||The Weakest Link||Third Watch||Crossing Jordan||103|
|2002-03||Fear Factor||Third Watch||Crossing Jordan||111 |
|132 (+46%)||106 (+4%)||95 (-20%)|
|2003-04||Fear Factor||Las Vegas||Average Joe||141 |
|143 (+9%)||121 (+14%)||158 (+66%)|
Fear Factor made its first regular season appearance in January 2002 and then spent the next three full seasons in the Monday 8:00 slot. Third Watch headed for Friday in 2003-04 and NBC got better numbers for a couple seasons out of Las Vegas. And Crossing Jordan had a significant sophomore slump that probably had a lot to do with CBS' introduction of CSI: Miami to the slot. Its numbers bounced back a bit in the next two seasons on Sunday (but were never as good as its season one ratings in 2001-02). Average Joe helped lift the nightly average considerably in 2003-04, but it was ultimately one of those quick flame-out reality concepts for which Fox was (in)famous.
|2002-03||Just Shoot Me||In-Laws||Frasier||Hidden Hills||Dateline||88 |
|62 (-2%)||74 (-2%)||119 (-25%)||104 (-21%)||86 (-14%)|
|68 (-2%)||111 (-23%)|
|2003-04||Whoopi||Happy Family||Frasier||Good Morning Miami||Law and Order: SVU||100 |
|66 (+6%)||69 (-6%)||102 (-14%)||101 (-3%)||132 (+53%)|
|68 (-1%)||102 (-9%)|
Perhaps NBC's most problematic timeslot at the height of its empire was this Tuesday 8:00 hour before Frasier. But the problem here didn't really get any worse over the course of these three years, while several other hours (including Frasier itself) did. The introduction of SVU at 10/9c was an improvement on the declining Dateline, but as we'll soon see, it was not that much of an improvement over the huge numbers it was already pulling on Friday.
|2001-02||Ed||The West Wing||Law and Order||139|
|2002-03||Ed||The West Wing||Law and Order||114 |
|81 (-6%)||111 (-30%)||149 (-14%)|
|2003-04||Ed||The West Wing||Law and Order||104 |
|71 (-12%)||97 (-13%)||144 (-3%)|
Even at their very worst, all three of these shows produced ratings that NBC has had a lot of trouble replicating over the last decade. In the ten years since what's listed above, only four times has one of these hours gone higher than the relatively low 2003-04 numbers; at 8/7c, NBC did slightly better with Deal or No Deal in 2007-08 and Revolution in 2012-13, but even those were not close to league average. And 9/8c was only briefly improved with Bionic Woman in 2007-08 and SVU in 2010-11. Law and Order's collapse was more a bit more graceful and drawn-out than that of The West Wing, but it was also pretty sharply downhill from here.
|2001-02||Friends||Inside Schwartz||Will and Grace||Just Shoot Me||ER||247|
|2002-03||Friends||Scrubs||Will and Grace||Good Morning, Miami||ER||221 |
|263 (-13%)||186 (+5%)||224 (+0%)||154 (-18%)||249 (-16%)|
|225 (-7%)||189 (-8%)|
|2003-04||Friends||Scrubs||Will and Grace||Coupling||ER||218 |
|300 (+14%)||166 (-11%)||186 (-17%)||154 (-0%)||250 (+0%)|
|233 (+4%)||170 (-10%)|
Just like Wednesday, the Thursday numbers have proven impossible for NBC to replicate... although in this case, the numbers are so high that it's a lot easier to forgive them. (2001-02 Friends and ER were only the biggest comedy and biggest broadcast drama of the era, respectively.) Only once was an above hourly number beaten in the subsequent ten years, and that was the very next year at 9/8c (the first time The Apprentice aired in the fall).
|2001-02||Providence||Dateline||Law and Order: SVU||93|
|2002-03||Providence||Dateline||Law and Order: SVU||85 |
|64 (-14%)||71 (-11%)||119 (-4%)|
|2003-04||Dateline||Miss Match||Third Watch||71 |
|70 (+10%)||60 (-16%)||84 (-30%)|
We've got a new record-holder for biggest Friday series in A18-49+ in the era, as SVU was an absolute beast by Friday standards in its years on the night. That show helped make Friday yet another night whose strongest NBC averages came in the early years, but the other two hours were not quite as unbeatable going forward. In fact, last season of Grimm was NBC's biggest Friday 9/8c number since what Dateline did in 2001-02.
|2001-02||The Weakest Link||Law and Order: CI||UC: Undercover||84|
|2002-03||American Dreams||Law and Order: CI||Boomtown||97 |
|87 (+13%)||118 (+19%)||87 (+17%)|
|2003-04||American Dreams||Law and Order: CI||The Lyon's Den||91 |
|78 (-10%)||117 (-1%)||78 (-11%)|
Though it had a big brand name attached, the third Law & Order series was not that strong out of the gate; its rookie season A18-49+ was just over half of what the mother series was getting at the time. But it took a noticeable step up in season two. It had some help from some better surrounding pieces in 2002-03 (and the end of key drama competitor The X-Files on Fox may have helped as well).