September 27, 2012



There was a time, not that many years ago, when Thursday was the night that network television was all about.  Fueled by the enormous amounts movie studios spend to promote their openings the next day, the night was stuffed with every network’s brightest offerings–and for more than a decade, it was dominated by one network’s Must See TV line-ups.  Those days are no longer, though, and sadly, now Thursday is just another night in the war.

8PM:  30 ROCK/UP ALL NIGHT (NBC) vs. LAST RESORT (ABC) vs. THE BIG BANG THEORY/2 1/2 MEN (CBS) vs. THE X FACTOR (FOX):  CBS and its sitcoms should comfortably hold this hour, especially with X Factor slumping in its 2d season.  NBC’s heyday is long over, and the final 13-episode run of 30 Rock won’t change that.  The wild card in the hour is at ABC, where Last Resort is a promising drama in a seemingly ill-fitting slot, both too early in the evening and incompatible with its female-skewing companions.

9PM:  THE OFFICE/PARKS & RECREATION (NBC) vs. GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC) vs. PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS) vs. GLEE (FOX):  Grey’s is far from the blockbuster it used to be, but it still handily won this hour last season–it should hold serve, although there is some risk that Glee, itself on the downswing, will poach some of Grey’s younger viewers.  If that happens, Person Of Interest could be poised to move up, but it was still running a full point behind Grey’s late last season, so it’s probably still a length behind. The awful start for NBC’s comedies last week, when they didn’t even face regular season competition, suggests that they won’t be a factor.

10PM:  ROCK CENTER (NBC) vs. SCANDAL (ABC) vs. ELEMENTARY (CBS):  One of the more interesting hours of the week.  NBC isn’t even trying, which will essentially leave a head-to-head battle of CBS against ABC.  Scandal hit its series high with last year’s season finale, which completed a run that started out creatively shaky but found itself in a big way as the weeks went on.  Elementary is one of the season’s most marketable new shows.  Both should be solidly in the mid-2s, and may duke it out over the course of the season.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."