South Park reaps reward of public strife

By Colin Mahan

Mar 25, 2006

South Park returned on Wednesday, and Nielsen Media reports it was the highest-rated episode since 2004. Elsewhere, ABC's American Inventor did well against CBS's live NCAA basketball coverage.

The creators of the animated series South Park have been involved in a high-profile battle with Tom Cruise and Scientology over the past week, and the public feud appears to have helped ratings. The series returned for its 10th season Wednesday night and was watched by 3.5 million people. That's the highest-rated South Park episode since December of 2004, and it easily topped last season's average by one million viewers; more importantly, the episode was the highest-rated South Park season premiere since 2002 in the desirable 18-49 demographic.

On Thursday, March Madness put CBS in the lead, but American Inventor helped ABC conjure up second place for the night.

The Simon Cowell-produced series posted a 4.4 in the 18-49 demographic in its first half hour against CBS's broadcast of the LSU/Duke game. After the game ended at 9:30, the series rose to 5.7 in 18-49s. Overall, the show earned a 5.1 average in 18-49s, down slightly from the 5.4 it had earned in its first week. Next week, CSI returns to the schedule, and the real fireworks begin.

In the 8 p.m. hour, CBS shot and scored with an 8.5 overall rating for basketball coverage, followed by ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition--After the Storm at 7.0. NBC was third with Will & Grace earning 6.0/10 and a My Name Is Earl repeat getting 5.5. Fox was fourth with That '70s Show and The Loop, and UPN landed fifth with Everybody Hates Chris at 2.5 and Love, Inc. at 1.6. A Smallville repeat on the WB came in sixth.

At 9 p.m., CBS continued to dominate the court with basketball earning 9.7. ABC remained in second place with American Inventor getting 8.0. NBC came in third with a new Earl snaring 6.8/10 and a repeat of The Office clocking in at 5.4. Fox was fourth with The O.C. earning 3.6, and the WB's Supernatural repeat tied with UPN's Eve and Cuts at 1.0.

At 10 p.m., NBC took the lead with ER at 9.1, ABC's Primetime scored a 7.0, and CBS's basketball coverage earned 6.4.

Overall, CBS won with an average 8.2, ABC finished second at 7.3, NBC was third at 7.0, Fox was a distant fourth at 3.4, the WB was at 2.0, and UPN brought up the rear with 1.8.

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  • Deznaj Apr 28, 2006

    The tenth season of South Park is very good, but they are over the hill. It's no wonder they poke fun at a show like Family Guy, it took over their nr. 1 position concerning adult cartoons. While FG is still fresh, SP shows signs of wear. Characters aren't what they used to be, and the episodes aren't nearly as hilarious anymore. Still good though!

    The scientology 'debate' could be just to play the media, with a dumb*ss like Cruise grabing the bait. Stone and Parker are smart guys, really smart. Unlike some half-pint-over-the-hill-turned-wacko-religious actor.

    One more thing: South Parks 'coverage' of the Mohammed cartoons was weak, they have done far worst to other things (like jesus). But the Muslim faith gets of easy...fear perhaps???

  • pandasplatter05 Mar 27, 2006

    You know whats boring and annoying and lame? People who just post comments saying "boring" Guess what guys, nobody cares. Unless you have something critical to say (and you can back it up well) or something good to say then please, shut it.

  • marvelfan89 Mar 27, 2006

    Making fun of Scientology=Big ratings. lol
    I'am not surprised.

  • ejwlover Mar 26, 2006


  • arab_prince Mar 26, 2006

    south park owns, but i missed the episode:( said one time, but i get a tv listing mag and it said another time, so i missed out:( man this sucks

    but yeah boo american inventor, whatta dumb idea, same with american idol...

  • PerfectDark0Fan Mar 26, 2006

    they both suck.

  • calicow Mar 26, 2006

    Yay South Park, even though I was sad to see Chef bite the big one (but Isaac Hayes deserved it for being a jerk).

  • Jamin_Jamin Mar 26, 2006

    South Park on a come back!!!woot!!!

  • BeachfrontGlass Mar 25, 2006

    Wasn't an American Inventor style show done by a cable channel already last year.... It was sponsored by one of those home shopping networks I think...

  • IllyriaRules Mar 25, 2006

    South Park is great. w00t!

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