Like a granny leaving her longtime home for a less taxing condo, ER may soon be vacate its longtime TV home for a less showy night of the week.
The aged medical drama could be moved from Thursday to Tuesday or Wednesday next fall to make way for the new Matthew Perry series, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, the Hollywood Reporter said.
NBC will make the call when it unveils its 2006-07 lineup on Monday.
ER has aired on Thursdays at 10 p.m. since its September 1994 debut. In its and its network heyday, it was the star of Must-See TV, averaging as many as 30 million viewers a season.
This season, ER is averaging 12.1 million for the now struggling NBC, all in all, not bad for a show that’s lost more stars (George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, Julianna Margulies, etc.) than some shows ever had.
But these days, ER is so not appointment TV that not even a guest spot by the returning Noah Wyle rates much interest. The second half of a Wyle story line set in war-torn Darfur ranked a so-so 27th (11.8 million viewers) in the latest Nielsen Media Research rankings. By comparison, CBS’ Without a Trace, the new king of 10 p.m. Thursday, ranked eighth (19.1 million) for the TV week ended Sunday.
ER, which has already been renewed for next season, turns 13 seasons old in the fall.
In other ratings-related news:
Monday night’s final (we think) 7th Heaven went off without a hitch, except in the wedding department, with an estimated 7.2 million seeing off the WB family drama.
David Blaine’s fishbowl act averaged an estimated 9.9 million for ABC on Monday night. And while David Blaine: Drowned Alive ran an unimpressive fourth in its 8-10 p.m. time slot, viewership climbed an impressive 93 percent from start to breath-holding finish, the network said. (The 7th Heaven and Blaine ratings will be reflected in next week’s rankings.)
Apparent death(s) became ABC’s Lost, which just missed the Top 10 (11th place, 15.6 million).
Crunch time on Fox’s American Idol means Wednesday’s results show (first place, 29.3 million) is the bigger draw than Tuesday’s performance show (second place, 28.6 million).
Sunday night advantage back to ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (fifth place, 22 million) over ABC’s Desperate Housewives (sixth place, 21.3 million).
Once upon a time, ER was NBC’s standard-bearer. Now, it’s Howie Mandel and the Monday night edition of Deal or No Deal (16th place, 14.4 million).
CBS’ Ghost Whisperer (30th place, 11.1 million), NBC’s Crossing Jordan (31st place, 10.7 million) and ABC’s Supernanny (35th place, 10.3 million) enjoyed respectable season finales; ABC’s According to Jim (90th place, 4.5 million) did not.
The WB’s One Tree Hill (113th place, 3.1 million) gave the CW something to think about before it finalizes its fall schedule–a third-season cliffhanger up 11 percent from its season-long average.
The 1980s are over. Dynasty is over. The CBS reunion special, Dynasty: Reunion: Catfights & Caviar (73rd place, 5.4 million), never got started.
Overall, CBS and Fox continued to dominate the May sweeps: CBS won the week in total viewers (12.3 million); Fox won the week in 18-to-49-year-old viewers.
CBS took second in the demo, while Fox took second in viewers (10.7 million).
Left to fight for leftovers, NBC finished third in viewers (8.9 million), and fourth in the demo; ABC placed third in the demo, and fourth in viewers (8.7 million).
Here’s a look at the 10 most watched prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:
1. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 29.3 million viewers
2. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 28.6 million viewers
3. CSI, CBS, 26 million viewers
4. House (Tuesday), Fox, 22.7 million viewers
5. Grey’s Anatomy, ABC, 22 million viewers
6. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 21.3 million viewers
7. CSI: Miami, CBS, 19.3 million viewers
8. Without a Trace, CBS, 19.1 million viewers
9. House (Wednesday), Fox, 17.2 million viewers
10. Survivor: Panama–Exile Island, CBS, 17 million viewers