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Lost vs Criminal Minds

by Brett Love, posted Oct 6th 2006 4:12PM
Lost - Criminal MindsA lot has been made of the big showdown on Thursday nights between Grey's Anatomy and C.S.I. Meanwhile, somewhat under the radar, another battle is brewing that could be just as intriguing. Bob reported yesterday on the Lost premiere being the most watched program of the night. Looking at the numbers though, I'm not convinced that the castaways have a secure hold on the top spot.

While it was the most watched show with 19 million viewers, that is 4 million less than the season two premiere. That's a pretty big drop. Of course, that didn't stop ABC from spinning the numbers in their press release. They make a big deal of the fact that the premiere scored Lost's highest viewer numbers since Jan of 06. Now, call me the cynic, but I read those numbers a completely different way.

To me, that means that the show managed to bleed 4 million viewers by January, and never got them back. In fact, it proceeded to lose even more. If this season trends anything like the last, and the show starts from a base with 4 million less viewers, there could be a challenger to that Wednesday at 9:00 throne.

And that challenger would be the CBS procedural Criminal Minds. Going head to head with the season three premiere of Lost, Criminal Minds managed 15.1 million viewers. That's a pretty sound defeat, but nothing that puts the serial island adventure out of reach. We've already seen that Lost is capable of dropping that many viewers. Add to this the fact that the Criminal Minds had a household rating of 10. That is a big jump from the 7.7 it garnered last season at this time. In its second year, the show is still building its audience.

So, am I reading too much into the ratings? Has Lost bounced back from the slump it suffered last season? Based on the mixed reactions from the pilot, I'm not convinced it has. The possibility for the continuing erosion of viewers is there. Criminal Minds may or may not be able to overtake them, but it will be fun to watch.

An interesting aside to this comes from the quasi-official Lost site, The Fuselage. Damon Lindelof, responding to someone he thought was implying that they wouldn't pull off the ending for season two, said, "...either keep watching and try to be nice every once in awhile...Or as I've suggested before, go check out CRIMINAL MINDS. It's awesome and they solve THEIR mysteries every week." You can read the full post, archived here. It was a funny line at the time, but it looks like some people might have taken him up on the suggestion.

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karla

I personally think that more viewers would watch it if there were less "main charactors". It bounces, one episode they leave off with kait, sower, and jack struggling to understand what the "the Others want". Pretty much a cliff hanger...then next episode they dont even show scenes whith them in it. So you wait two weeks to acually find out whats going on. On top of it like last year, the played re-runs like crazy, I personally think many viewers stopped watching it because of the re-runs. I like the theme and the actors are amazing, but to many main charactors and to many re-runs.

October 21 2006 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dale

^I'm sorry but you have to get your facts straight! First of all, ABC DOES care about Lost losing millions (not a few) viewers. The DVD sales don't make that big of a difference. Lost could sell millions of DVDs but if no one actually watches it when it's on, then there's no point of airing it anymore is there? They could always choose to do a "straight to DVD" thing.

Second, yes you are right in the fact that nobody owns Criminal Minds on DVD...but maybe that's because CM just started last year and the Season 1 DVD has yet to be released. It's pretty hard to own a DVD that doesn't exist!

Third, Criminal Minds isn't available on iTunes and thats why no one downloads it. Once again, it's hard to download episodes that aren't there!

I really don't have any preference of Lost or CM but you should know what your talking about when you post!

October 19 2006 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat Twist

It's not all about ratings anymore. With the gazillion DVDs L O S T sells, and the fact that it's consistently the # 1 iTunes download week after week, ABC isn;t worried about losing a few viewers. I mean seriously, so ANY of you know ANYONE who owns seasons of Criminal Minds on DVD? Or donloads eps of Criminal Minds from iTunes? Didn't think so.

October 19 2006 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DaveTehWave

I haven't watched 'Live TV' since Feb of 2001.

Ok I take that back... I *rarely* watch Live TV.
Only when I run out of shows on my two TiVos am I forced to do so.

I watch both LOST and CM -
Both have great eye candy, and appeal to me for different reasons.

CM: I like procedural, crime 'cop' shows: NCIS, CSI, NUMB3RS, etc.

LOST: I'm interested in how they are going to tie all the loose ends up... hopefully better than Alias.

October 08 2006 at 8:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

I usually decide what to watch "realtime" by whether or not I get to see them in HD or SD. My stupid NBC & ABC locals won't allow me to watch the East Coast feed HD channels from DirecTV and my local CBS & Fox stations do. Therefore I usually end up watching those two networks live and just Tivo the rest when I have conflicts.

Personally, I would rather watch LOST live over Criminal Minds however I prefer even more to watch one show in HD and one SD than having to watch BOTH in SD.

October 07 2006 at 10:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mary

I watched the 1st and half of the 2nd seasons of Lost. I stopped watching I because I realized that there are no answers. By the time the show is brave enough (or desperate for ratings) to answer some of the ongoing questions, it will be not be as good as the elaborate scenarios you had in your head.

I love CM. its a good procedural. the show needs a few tweaks (cant wait for whats-her-name to leave the show). but all in all, good show for wednesday nights.

How are the ratings gathered? its my understanding that a sample of the population volunteers to have their tv watching monitored by Neilsen. Using the sample, they then forecast what the rest of the nation is watching. I assume location, socioeconomic status, gender, age, etc. are all taken into acct. If this is true, then how is the inaccurate? businesses still use this to find what trends the American people are into. from fashion to food to the drugs you buy.

October 07 2006 at 4:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Derek

After watching both LOST and CRIMINAL MINDS this week I'd have to say that I enjoyed CM more. LOST's premiere was a huge disappointment to me while CM had a pretty good ep.
And for the record I'm not a septegenarian so the "only old people watch CBS" theory doesn't apply to me.

I also agree with erroneous_nick that there has to be some change m,ade to the antiquated Nielsen system. People don't watch Tv today like they did 30 years ago and to use the same ratings system is asinine.

October 07 2006 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bo Link

Criminal Minds is just another one of CBS's tired crime prcedurals. The only reason it gets watched is because everyone's grandma or grandpa never changes the channel off of CBS. They're still hoping Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman will come on next.

October 06 2006 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeff

Not to mention itunes downloads and streaming the show on abc's website.

October 06 2006 at 9:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony C

PVR recordings *are* being taken into account, but it only affects the ratings if the program is watched the *same day*. Not a very big play window there when the program ends at 10pm...

October 06 2006 at 7:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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