News Column

Hispanic Viewers Hooked on the New American Idol: Barack Obama

Jan. 29, 2009


hispanic viewers, television ratings, nielsen ratings, american idol, barack obama

U.S. Hispanics tuned into the festivities of the newly inaugurated president on Tuesday night and gave President Barack Obama and his crew of crooners, celebrities, homeboys, and cabinet secretaries high ratings. ABC's broadcast of this year's inaugural balls and celebrations earned a rating of 4.4 and was the fourth most-watched English-language program for the week of January 19-25

The only English-language shows to capture more viewers than the dance moves of the new American idol-in-chief and his wife Michelle were the tryouts for the next American Idol, which again took the first and second ratings as most-watched English language shows for the week, while Grey's Anatomy captured the third spot, according to numbers released by the Nielsen Media Group.

This week's American Idol auditions occurred in the big city of San Francisco and middle-America Louisville, Kentucky. Critics panned the proceedings as unbearably dull, while judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Kara DioGuardi strove to enliven the proceedings with their own bickering, quips, and hum-alongs. As usual, Cowell's sharp wit administered an electric shock or two to the lifeless proceedings. To one young aspiring singer, he remarked that her quavery version of "Summertime" rubbed him the wrong way: "It was like you were drunk -- and I'm not talking one or two bottles, I'm talking a crate."

A new show breaking into the top-ten ratings is Lie to Me, which premiered on January 21. Lie to Me is a crime detective drama. Unlike Medium with its reliance on the psychic insights of its star Allison DuBois (Patricia Arquette) or The Mentalist, where the hero Patrick Jan (Simon Baker) solves crime with his exceedingly sharp observation skills, Lie to Me features Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth), an expert who can read the human face, body and voice to discover the truth in criminal investigations. Lie to Me earned an impressive 3.8 rating among Hispanic viewers on its first outing.

Among Spanish-language programs, Univision scored again. It's primetime telenovelas, or soap operas, were one, two and three in the ratings. Fuego En La Sangre (Fire in the Blood), the number-one program, gained more than triple the viewers of the top offering of Telemundo, the second-largest Spanish-language network in the United States.

Univision's success demonstrates why the supply of soap operas from Mexican production company Televisa is all important to the United states' number one Spanish-language network. This last week, the two media companies settled a dispute over royalties, with Univision paying Televisa $25 million in cash and an additional $65 million in free advertising, while Televisa reaffirmed its commitment to supply telenovelas exclusively to Univision until 2018.

Despite Univision's ratings dominance, the nightly offerings of second-tier Telemundo also garnered respectable numbers. Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso was 13th with a 7.4 rating, Cartel was 14th with a rating of 6.8, and Rostro de Analia was 15th and pulled in 5.7.

The following TV ratings are based on Hispanic viewership. Nielsen's ratings include viewers who watched the program while it aired and those who viewed the shows via digital video recorder within 24 hours of their airing. Nielsen says that the Hispanic TV audience represents more than 11.63 million television households in the United States. The rating is the percentage of households watching a TV program out of the potential audience of 11.63 million households.

Top 10 English-language shows and ratings (January 12-18, 2009)
1. American Idol Wednesday (Fox) 7.4
2. American Idol Tuesday (Fox) 6.5
3. Grey's Anatomy Thursday (ABC) 5.0
4. Neighborhood Inaugural Ball Tuesday (ABC) 4.4
5. CSI Thursday (CBS) 4.3
6. Private Practice Thursday (ABC) 4.1
7. Two and a Half Men Monday (CBS) 3.9
7. Eleventh Hour Thursday (CBS) 3.9
7. AMW: America Fight Back Saturday (ABC) 3.9
10. Lie To Me Wednesday (Fox) 3.8

Top 10 Spanish-language shows and their ratings (January 12-18, 2009)
1. Fuego En La Sangre Five-day Ave. (Univision) 21.4
2. Cuidado con el Angel Five-day Ave. (Univision) 20.5
3. Don Francisco Presenta Wednesday (Univision) 17.8
4. Tontas No Van Cielo Five-day Ave. (Univision) 17.6
5. Rosa De Guadalupe Thursday-Friday (Univision) 15.8
6. Aqui Y Ahora Tuesday (Univision) 14.6
7. Cristina Monday (Univision) 14.3
8. Sabado Gigante Saturday (Univision) 12.6
9. Quien Tiene Razon? Sunday (Univision) 11
10. Hora Pico Sunday (Univision) 9.6

Next week in the ratings: Will American Idol defeat the high-powered football fun of the Superbowl?

Source: (c) 2009. All rights reserved.

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