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Ratings: Jersey Shore is Even Bigger Than You Thought

Tuned In
Lots of repeats on the broadcast networks, though not so much on Fox: Led by American Idol, it pulled far away from its rivals last week. Among viewers under 50, Fox averaged a 3.4 in the demo — far ahead of runner-up CBS (2.1) and more than ABC and NBC combined (both averaged a 1.5). Things were closer in overall audience, but Fox's average tune-in of 9.79 million viewers was just a tad ahead of CBS (9.76 million) ABC (5.4 million) finished in third, with NBC fourth (5.2 million).

Tuned Out
The CW really ought to consider banning repeats altogether, no matter what short-term financial advantages there might be to reruns. With most of its shows airing encores last week, the C-Dub's average audience sank to just 1.1 million viewers and a 0.4 in adults 18 to 49. How bad is that? Well, we counted more than 150 different prime-time cable broadcasts last week which scored higher than a 0.4 in adults 18-49 — both repeats and originals. The good news for CW is that, prior to this wave of spring reruns, the network was averaging a 1.0 in adults 18 to 49, up 11 percent from last season.

Behind the Numbers
It's no secret that Jersey Shore is a big hit, but because cable and network ratings get reported separately, the show actually doesn't get enough credit for just how massive it's become on the overall Nielsen landscape. Last week, for example, the show's 3.7 rating among viewers 18 to 49 was big enough to make Jersey the No. 5 show in all of TV — just a tenth of a ratings point behind The Big Bang Theory and well ahead of prime-time staples such as Survivor, The Bachelor, and CSI. As noted, a number of hit shows were in repeats last week; still, for much of its run this season, Jersey has ended up in Nielsen's top ten. The show's success is perhaps the clearest sign yet that, with the right program, cable can produce hits just as big (if not bigger) than many network shows.

Photo: MTV