1999-2000 Ratings History

Written Asking the Final Question by Bridger Cunningham (Former TVRG Writer)

Change in audience preference was evident in 1999-2000, as gameshows became the latest craze due to ABC's success with Who Wants to be a Millionaire.  Rather than let it grow at a graceful curing, ABC plugged it in every failing timeslot to take the top three shows.  The strategy worked, as the network catapulted back into 1st place by an inflated performance.  Falling down tough, as NBC returned to 2nd place, having ridden the ratings crest for the last 5 years.  Soap fans attributed the fall to cancelling 35-year old Another World, though it is doubtful one soap could sink a ratings titan.  The real culprit was changing tastes and the networks' inability to keep up with the latest  craze and losing aged heavyweights.  CBS experienced the same fortune as well and was hard at work to find "the next big thing."  They lay dormant for a season, as the next big thing.  Little did they know they would be the leading "Survivor" of most of the 2000's. 

To check out other years' ratings, visit the Ratings History Library. 

Trending Hot -- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire became the latest fleeting trend, and ABC spent their fortunes early to earn 1st Place for the last time it would see the gold statue for over 17 years.  Working professionals earned a welcome place on the schedule for CBS as Judging Amy, JAG and Family Law became winners on the schedule.  UPN and CW decided to thrift through the other four network's failed franchises dominating in sitcoms and revived several cancelled shows for 2-3 additional seasons. 

Trending Tepid -- Sitcoms.  NBC had Friends and Frasier perched at the front of the pack, and Will and Grace picked up buzz, but that was where the fortunes stopped for the peacock's sitcoms.  CBS Mondays experienced success with Everybody Loves Raymond, Becker and King of Queens, but their remains stunk worse than a sewer.  ABC had Drew Carey, Dharma & Greg and Spin City as successes, but that was where the train stopped.   TGIF tanked, and too many forgettable sitcoms ran rampant.  FOX's fortunes were modest as it wisely invested in Malcolm in the Middle, but their lineup needed help. 

Trending Cold -- Soaps.  90210 exited the air after 10 seasons, and Party of Five ended after 6.  Dawson's Creek dwindled after initial popularity.  Duplicates, copycats and spinoffs were met with a finger instead of a thumbs up from viewers.  Millionaire's success prompted competition to create gameshows alike, to which none landed in the top 30 and were cancelled.  Saturating news magazines backfired on the big three, and spinoffs crashed and burned this year.  FOX couldn't convince viewers that "Ally" was just a recap clip show with trendy music, and Jennifer Love Hewitt's Time of Your Life perhaps showed up too late as it failed to spin off of Party of Five.  WB also received a blasphemous curse when they tried to duplicate 7th Heaven on Sundays, throwing the word "Beginning" to fool viewers into the title.  Even Millionaire earned ire for covering three nights as ABC played the game too heavily.  TGIF died this season after a successful 11-year run, mainly due to Boy Meets World ending and new hits fleeted the network for the last 4 seasons after Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. 

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