Roseanne Gets Reality Check

The Real Roseanne Show debuts to tiny audience; The O.C. does a bit better

By Joal Ryan Aug 12, 2003 7:35 PMTags

For Roseanne, reality sorta bites.

The former sitcom queen's prime-time return, in the form of her own reality series, was greeted by just 5.5 million subjects. Overall, ABC's The Real Roseanne Show was the 59th "most" watched show for the TV week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The premiere ran third in its 9 p.m., Wednesday time slot, behind the second hour of Fox's 2003 Teen Choice Awards (41st place, averaging 6.8 million viewers for the two-hour telecast) and way, way behind CBS' Big Brother 4 (10th place, 10.2 million).

ABC spun the ratings the best it could, noting The Real Roseanne "pulled its strongest numbers among Roseanne's core demo of women [aged] 25-54." Translation: Hey, somebody watched.

It's a far cry from the era when Roseanne needed no creative numbers crunching. Her 1988-97 Emmy-winning sitcom, Roseanne, reigned as the TV nation's number one during the 1989-90 season.

The Real Roseanne Show trails its titular star as she develops a cooking/lifestyle show, Domestic Goddess, that will premiere on cable's ABC Family Channel in September.

If the really real Roseanne is looking to chill, she may want to consider driving to The O.C., which got off to a cool start last week for Fox. The drama series, about the hell that is living among the tanned and fit in Newport Beach, California, premiered to 7.5 million viewers (27th place).

The Tuesday night show ran behind only the season finale of NBC's Last Comic Standing, which averaged 8.2 million viewers (20th place) for its two-hour, Dat Phan-crowning telecast.

Elsewhere, CBS' Big Brother bullied the reality-show competition. Its three installments were watched by a combined 26.4 million, an average of 8.8 million viewers per telecast. Wednesday's episode was the top performer, followed by Tuesday's (14th place, 8.9 million) and Friday's (31st place, 7.3 million).

NBC's top unscripted show remained Who Wants to Marry My Dad? Last week's penultimate episode, narrowing dad Don Mueller's field of prospective brides to two, was watched by 9.2 million (12th place). The network estimates Monday's finale, in which the old man's brood selected bachelorette Christena as his intended, was witnessed by 11.1 million.

Rounding up the other top reality players: NBC's For Love or Money 2 banked it with 8.7 million (16th place); CBS' The Amazing Race 4 ran with 8.3 million (19th place); and NBC's The Restaurant cooked for 7.5 million (26th place).

Fox's pint-sized American Juniors, airing just once last week, perked up to 36th place, with 7 million viewers.

A new time slot didn't help Cupid's aim. Simon Cowell's CBS dating show, moved to Tuesdays from Wednesdays, fell to 57th place, with just 5.7 million viewers.

NBC stumbled again with Race to the Altar (69th place, 5 million), while ABC continued to burn off its reality bomb, The Family (73rd place, 4.7 million).

Overall, CBS, led by a rerun of CSI (first place, 14 million), was the most watched network, averaging 7.9 million viewers. NBC was a distant second, with 6.8 million. ABC, boosted by a pre-season NFL matchup (fourth place, 11.1 million), ran third, with 6.6 million. Fox flailed in fourth, with 5.4 million. UPN edged the WB, 2.5 million to 2.4 million.

Here's a rundown of the 10 most watched shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:

1. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 14 million
2. Without a Trace, CBS, 11.22 million
3. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 11.18 million
4. AFC-NFC Hall of Fame Game, ABC, 11.1 million
5. CSI: Miami, CBS, 10.9 million
6. King of Queens, CBS, 10.613 million
7. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NBC, 10.606 million
8. 60 Minutes, CBS, 10.397 million
9. Law & Order, NBC, 10.357 million