Viewers who stayed in on Halloween night turned to cable, not broadcast, to get their chills.
Overall television saw ratings decline from the previous week, with kids out trick-or-treating and adults accompanying the treaters, handing out candy or attending parties of their own.
But those who did stay in seemed a bit more interested in cable’s Halloween fare than watching broadcast, where Halloween-themed programming was comparatively lacking.
Sci Fi had the best Halloween of any cable network, and better than one broadcaster, too. The network’s third annual live “Ghost Hunters” marathon, which ran from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., averaged 2.1 million total viewers and 1.4 million adults 25-54, the best Halloween numbers in the network’s history and tops for the night on cable.
It even outscored ABC during primetime among adults 18-34, men 18-49 and men 25-54.
Old favorites proved popular on Halloween as well. Nick at Nite ran a three-hour sitcom block from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. with spook-themed episodes of “George Lopez,” “Home Improvement” and “Family Matters.”
The six shows averaged 2.01 million viewers, or nearly two-thirds more than the 1.26 million who tuned in for the CW’s “Everybody Hates Chris” and “The Game” during the 8 p.m. hour on broadcast.
Disney Channel, meanwhile, broadcast the movie “Mostly Ghostly,” which averaged a 3.7 adults 18-34 rating from 9 to 11 p.m., bettering all the broadcast networks.
There were also a handful of other repeat Halloween movies, including AMC’s “House on Haunted Hill” and Cartoon Network’s “Goosebumps,” that drew more than 1.1 million viewers.
Like most holidays, Halloween isn’t a big night for TV viewing.
Only about half of all television sets were in use Friday, according to Nielsen HUT levels. Broadcast ratings suffered, with every network down from its season average among both 18-49s and households.
Unscripted shows like “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” and “Wife Swap” may mention the holidays, but it’s difficult to build episodes around them. And the theme didn’t really fit in to some of the night’s few scripted programs, like the colonial-era drama “Crusoe.”
That sent viewers flipping to cable, where there were more Halloween choices amid the dozens of ad-supported channels.
Source: Media Life Magazine, By Toni Fitzgerald Nov 5, 2008