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Ratings History 2000-01 -- Survivor Catapults CBS Back Into 1st Place, ABC Trades the Gold for 3rd



Written Fighting for Immunity by Bridger Cunningham

What a difference one season made.  CBS, who faded into 3rd Place the season before, was yet again 1st, a place they would stay until early 2008.  With a reality TV platform catching every sensational journalistic piece, a hip new procedural called CSI and an ever-successful Monday night comedy block taking TV by storm, they earned their victory.  They decided to forego the gimmicky gameshows and multiplying their news magazines over 4-5 nights a week like other networks had done over the last two seasons, and viewers responded.  NBC was in a holding pattern from the season before, yet ER resurged in 2nd place, mainly due to the buzz over Julianna Margulies' exit and a powerful bipolarism and alcoholism tale being told by Maura Tierney and Sally Field.

Image result for ER sally field maura tierney

NBC's sitcom woes continued as Friends and Frasier faded with age, yet Will and Grace provided enough oomph to keep Must-See-TV burning on Thursdays.  ABC began what was yet again another set of doldrums after a brief renaissance from the last season.  In a desperate play, they saturated Who Wants to Be a Millionaire over five evenings, deflating the franchise's once-refreshing change to what aired on our screens.  Their sitcoms were in tatters, and few original programs emerged this season.  Their sitcoms performed so poorly, FOX outrated them by a full-point in average.  FOX experienced a mild gain of 3% due to their sitcom stable sweeping the early 2000's and giving the network something to cheer about as their dramas waned.  They also unleashed Temptation Island, which spread its leg-up on the reality TV trend to land in the top 20.  WB and UPN were also down so far, FOX outrated the two network's averages put together.


Trending Hot -- Reality TV swept the nation by storm this season, a trend which would continue with varying success for an ongoing 17 years.  Procedurals also appeared to be on the rise again as CBS swept the Friday lead with CSI.  Sitcoms on CBS Mondays also became the rage, matching NBC Thursdays in hype.  FOX sitcoms also redefined the game with an animated infusion and cornering the dysfunctional market.  Revived sitcoms played within standards on UPN and WB, who managed to turn other networks' shows from trash to treasure.  The greatest buzz came from UPN snatching Buffy, the Vampire Slayer from WB.

Trending Tepid -- NBC.  Their fortunes were mixed or hinged on a limited few successful shows in the top 20.  Their brand of comedy seemed dated to the mid-90's, and audiences tuned in elsewhere.  They had not learned their lesson with too much news and saturated audiences with so many Datelines, people began shredding calendars.  Copycat syndrome ran rampant with mixed success.

Trending Cold -- ABC, UPN and WB.  Duplicates again received a finger instead of a hand from viewers, and ABC had the biggest finger in the problem with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.  What was left beyond the inundation was two aging shows in the top 30, a tattered sitcom franchise and little original programming emerging from the rubble.  WB held steady from the last season and enjoyed the successes of Charmed and 7th Heaven, and that was where the promise stopped.  Dawson's Creek and Felicity were trending down at younger shelf life, the network lost tentpole Buffy, the Vampire Slayer to rival UPN and its entire sitcom lineup was aged or floundering.  UPN managed to score two hits above 3.0 with WWF Smackdown and Star Trek: Voyager, yet Voyager ended after 7 seasons.  The rest of the lineup was abysmal at best, and the network was in a cemented 6th place.