September 27, 2011

The Sked: MONDAY RATINGS September 26

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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One of the most highly-anticipated premieres last night (of a show with a long and torturous road through development and on to the air) came and went very quietly.  FOX’s Terra Nova didn’t exactly flop, but it certainly has to be rated a big disappointment.  In contrast, CBS has positioned itself as the network to beat Monday nights, as ABC fades and NBC is barely able to make a sound. 

FOX executives in Century City have to be shaking their heads this morning.  With all the promotion, all the off-network marketing, with all the buzz: Terra Nova did a 3.0 rating in its two-hour premiere.  The best they can claim is that the night is up from last year, but that comes with a gigantic asterisk.  On this same night last year (9.27.2010), FOX averaged a 2.5 rating for the night, but it was really a tale of two shows: House (3.8 rating) and the second — and final — episode of Lone Star (1.0 rating).  So FOX was able to jump over an incredibly tiny hurdle at 9 pm but badly underperformed at 8 pm.  We expect Terra Nova to settle in at around a mid-2 rating in coming weeks, about what we projected for the fall in our ShowBuzzDaily ratings projections.

CBS had all the heat last night.  The Eye averaged a killer 4.6 rating for the night — number one by far.  The night was paced by a terrific 7.2 rating for Two and a Half Men and a series high 4.9 for Mike & Molly (which premiered last night).  2 Broke Girls moved to its 8:30 time period with a 4.5, up a tick from the very good 4.4 for How I Met Your Mother.  Oh yeah, Hawaii Five-O won its time period at 10 pm with a 3.3, giving CBS wins in each half hour from 8-11 pm.  On this night last year, CBS averaged a 3.8 rating: How I Met Your Mother (3.9 rating), Rules of Engagement (3.2), Two and a Half Men (4.8), Mike & Molly (3.7) and Hawaii Five-O (3.6).  Executives in Studio City are extremely happy this morning.  CBS has to be given the award for Best Scheduling of the young season for the way it rolled out its Monday line-up.  Making How I Met Your Mother a one-hour stunt in week one (maximizing its potential) and resisting the temptation to do the same with Two and a Half Men (allowing it to showcase promising newcomer 2 Broke Girls) was brilliant.  Then establishing its regular comedy schedule in week two gave it the best of all worlds and time period dominance on Monday nights. 

Over in Universal City, NBC executives are going to be morose.  The Sing-Off sunk to a 1.7, and The Playboy Club stumbled to a 1.3 in week two (in a race to the bottom with Free Agents), giving NBC a very weak 1.6 for the night.  On the second Monday of last season, NBC averaged a 2.3 rating.  Chuck started with a 2.0 rating, followed by a 2.9 for The Event, and a 2.1 for Chase.  Ultimately, the bottom fell out from both Event and Chase, but NBC would gladly take those ratings today.

ABC executives in Burbank aren’t on suicide watch, but they have to be extremely nervous about the Dancing with the Stars franchise.  ABC averaged a 3.2 for the night, with Dancing sinking to a 3.3 and Castle doing the best it can do with a diminished lead-in (a 2.9 rating).  This night last year, ABC won the night with a 4.1 rating: the 8-9 pm hour of Dancing with the Stars (4.3), the 9-10 pm hour of Dancing (5.2), and Castle (2.8).  Things aren’t going to get much better for this cycle of Dancing: the cast is the cast.

THE CW got off to a sluggish start with its Monday line-up: both returning Gossip Girl and newcomer Hart of Dixie logged a 0.8 demo rating, about what the network averaged last week.

MONDAY FALL 2011    Estimates         Episode Rating      
                    May   Sep   #1   #2   #3   #4   #5   #6   Avg
 800 Dancing        3.7   3.6   4.0  3.1
 900 Dancing        4.4   4.2   4.0  3.4
1000 Castle         2.6   2.6   3.2  2.9
 800 How I Met      3.3   3.3   4.9  4.4
 830 2 Broke Girls  3.0   3.2   7.1  4.5
 900 2.5 Men        4.1   4.2   10.7 7.2
 930 Mike & Molly   3.4   3.6   4.9
1000 Hawaii Five-O  2.7   2.7   3.4  3.3
 800 The Sing-Off   2.2   2.3   1.9  1.8
 900 The Sing-Off   2.4   2.5   1.9  1.7
1000 Playboy Club   2.1   2.1   1.6  1.3
 800 Terra Nova     2.7   2.5   3.0
 900 House          3.4   3.3   10/3
 800 Gossip Girl    n/a   n/a   0.8

 900 Hart of Dixie  n/a   n/a   0.8

An important note:  the ratings estimates are for original episodes across the entire Fall (from mid-September through mid-December).  Generally, a series will premiere at a high level and then settle into a more normal number by week four-six.  The important number to look at as the season unfolds is the average-to-date column at the far right.  By the time episode four rolls around, look at the average of episodes one-four and you should have a pretty good idea how the fall — and the entire season — will sort out. 

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.