Magazine article Variety

CBS, ABC Play by the Script

Magazine article Variety

CBS, ABC Play by the Script

Article excerpt

Hot reality shows and major sports like the NFL are certainly good ways to boost bottom-line averages, but when it comes to the overall strength of a network, the best measuring stick is still dramas and comedies.

And as this season wraps, one could easily make the case that CBS - which will finish No. 2 to Fox in the key 1&49 demo but dominates among scripted skeins - is primetime's strongest network. Also, ABC may well finish a bit behind NBC for third place, but the Alphabet is clearly farther along on the comeback trail than the Peacock.

Among the season's top 30 scripted shows in 18-49 (well, top 31 since there's a tie at 30), CBS can claim 14 of them. Fox, whose top show is "American Idol" and whose top new show was "The X Factor," airs eight of the shows, ABC has seven and NBC just two.

While Fox usually doesn't stack up well in such rankings because it programs seven fewer hours a week than CBS, the network clearly has some work to do on the scripted side - especially drama, where three of its eight top-30 shows from this season (retiring "House" and canceled rookies "Terra Nova" and "Alcatraz") won't be returning.

NEC's third-place ranking, meanwhile, was propped up for the first half of the season by the NFL, and then got off to a strong start with singing contest The Voice. …

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