Monday, January 17, 2011

TeeVee Toons

Cartoons, as we jump into 2011, are well-represented in what is still called Prime Time:

Top Prime Time Shows -- January 3-9

2) The Simpsons -- 12.55 million

5) Family Guy -- 9.33 million

7) Bob'S Burgers -- 9.38 million*

15) The Cleveland Show -- 7.39 million


Fox has clearly cornered the market in nighttime animation. All the scripting is done under the WGAw while the boarding, designing and directing is performed under an Animation Guild contract.

At the time the WGA finally got around to organizing the Simpsons' writers back in 1997, the complaints from other studios were audible. Corporate types said to me over lunch: "Oooh. Disney, Sony, Warner Bros? They aren't happy with what Fox is doing."

I'm sure they weren't, but in my experience big fat conglomerates act in their own perceived self-interest, not according to the wishes of fellow congloms. And in '97, Fox's interest was in keeping the Yellow Family franchise operating smoothly. So when The Simpsons writers got rambunctious and demanded a contract (threatening the flow of News Corp.'s high-rated shows), Rupert's minions did a deal with the Guild. (Leverage = power.)

Obviously the deal has long-since paid off. Being #2 after twenty years on the air ain't shabby.

* Why does a lower-rated show have a bigger audience than a higher-rated show? Because the viewer numbers on the far right represent total audience, and the ratings ranks are determined by the 18-49 demographic. We're dealing with different numbers.


Anonymous said...

" we jump into 2001"

you meant 2011, right? ;-)

Steve Hulett said...


You mean ... it's not 2001 anymore?!

Oh. My. GOD.

(In other words, I corrected the typo.)

Tom Ruegger said...


I think your statistics for this post are a little off.

I am all for prime time animation and want it to succeed spectacularly, and would love to see all animated series in the top 5 or the top 10 or the top 20.

But as you can see by the chart below...the actual prime time top 20 appears to be quite different from the list you provided.

I suspect your list might be a ranking of Fox shows only, and not of all prime time shows. But I don't know. Perhaps you could clarify.



NEW YORK - Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by the Nielsen Co. for Jan. 3-9. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.

1. NFL Playoff Game 2: Jets at Indianapolis, NBC, 33.35 million.

2. NFL Playoff Bridge (between Games 1 and 2), NBC, 31.48 million.

3. NFL Playoff Prekick (Game 2), NBC, 30.54 million.

4. NFL Wildcard Post-Game (Sunday), Fox, 24.86 million.

5. "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 15.36 million.

6. "The Mentalist," CBS, 14.88 million.

7. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 14.22 million.

8. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 13.98 million.

9. "Desperate Housewives," ABC, 12.83 million.

10. "The Simpsons," Fox, 12.55 million.

11. "Mike & Molly," CBS, 12.39 million.

12. "CSI: Miami," CBS, 11.99 million.

13. "Modern Family," ABC, 11.83 million.

14. "Undercover Boss," CBS, 11.75 million.

15. "Wipeout," ABC, 11.69 million.

16. "Grey's Anatomy," ABC, 11.64 million.

17. "Hawaii Five-O," CBS, 11.00 million.

18. "(Bleep) My Dad Says," CBS, 10.79 million.

19. "Law & Order: SVU," NBC, 10.60 million.

20. "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.45 million.

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