ABC Invents Nightly-Win Machine

Neccesity may be the mother of invention, but invention was the proud parent of a Thursday night ratings win for ABC in the 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen Media Research.

ABC's new reality contest, American Inventor, didn't do Idol numbers--it is from Idol's Simon Cowell--but its 8-10 average of a 5.4 rating/15 share built every half hour to a 6.2/16 at 9:30-10 and was good enough to power ABC to a win on the night in the demo with a 4.7/13.

ABC pointed out that  it was its first Thursday night win in the demo this season. Of course, it wasn't having to go up against Survivor, or CSI, or the much-in-the-news Without a Trace over on CBS.

The new ABC reality show features a panel of judges and a bunch of inventors--most of theearly would-be Edisons were no Einsteins--trying to get their pee-privacy bags or arm shades ("you've invented sleeves," said one nonplussed judge) through to the next round. Cowell does not appear, though there is a judge with an English accent.

NBC was second on the night with a 4.5/12. It's top show was sitcom My Name is Earl, whose raing was a  second-place 4.5/12.

CBS was third at a 4.0/11 for its coverage of NCAA basketball March Madness.

There was a big gap between CBS and fourth-place Fox, which without Simon Cowell could only muster a 2.3/6 for the night. Loopy comedy, The Loop, in only its second airing (it debuted Wednesday night) could only muster a 2/6, losing to a soap on Telemundo.

The tale of the tape from there was Univision, 1.8/5; The WB, 1.1/3; and UPN .9/2.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.