Fox wins TV ratings week with sports, sci-fi

Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:55pm EST
 
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By Paul Thomasch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sports and science fiction helped propel the Fox network to victory in the weekly television ratings race, as the Hollywood writers' strike left audiences with few of their usual prime-time favorites.

Figures from Nielsen Media Research released on Tuesday showed News Corp's Fox taking the crown for viewers aged 18 to 49 -- those most prized by advertisers -- followed by CBS, NBC and ABC for the week ending January 13.

All the networks except CBS, a unit of CBS Corp, showed marked audience declines from the same week a year ago.

Television programming has been hard hit by the 10-week-old screenwriters strike, which has cut down the number of fresh prime-time dramas and sitcoms the broadcast networks have to offer audiences.

Fox, however, won the week with the help of a strong premiere of its new sci-fi action drama, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," one of a handful of scripted shows set for a winter mid-season launch and one of the most anticipated.

More help for Fox came from the strong showings posted by a National Football League playoff game and the college football national championship between LSU and Ohio State.

CBS also benefited from an NFL playoff game, as well as one of its few remaining original episodes of "CSI," the hit crime drama, and "Comanche Moon," a miniseries set in the Old West.

With no end to the strike in sight, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox have filled their winter schedules with more specials, sports, game shows and reality TV to make up for a growing scarcity of scripted dramas and comedies.   Continued...

 
<p>Actor Howie Mandel arrives on the red carpet at the 22nd Annual Gemini Awards in Regina, Saskatchewan October 28, 2007. REUTERS/Todd Korol</p>