October 7, 2011

THE SKED: Thursday Ratings – Network Scorecard – 10/6/11


Once-glorious Thursdays continue to become just another broadcast network night.
NBC:  Before the season started, all the attention on THE OFFICE was focused on how the show would replace Steve Carell.  But it’s turning out that the bigger problem this season is the weirdly dark tone the series has taken–last night’s episode had a premise that sounded funny (the warehouse guys hit the lottery and quit en masse), but chose to delve into the bleak depression of Daryl, who repeatedly begged Andy to fire him and put him out of his misery.  Viewers apparently feel the same way, as ratings have gone steadily down since the premiere; last night the show was almost 25% below last season’s average.  As The Office goes, so goes WHITNEY, which like its fellow back orderee Up All Night is now doing a barely-passable 2.3 rating.  The rest of the the night was even worse, with COMMUNITY, PARKS & RECREATION and PRIME SUSPECT all under a 2.

ABC:  The news wasn’t much better at the Alphabet.  Last night’s GREY’S ANATOMY was 30% below last season’s average, although that was still good enough for 2d place in the hour.  PRIVATE PRACTICE was also down over 20% from last year, which thanks to Prime Suspect was again good enough for 2d.  CHARLIE’S ANGELS is just playing out its string; it wouldn’t be a surprise to see double-pumped episodes of ONCE UPON A TIME in this slot, once it premieres in 2 weeks.
CBS:  With last night’s drop, THE BIG BANG THEORY is running even with last season, so that’s a success story.  HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN was fairly steady behind it but lost a hefty chunk of its lead-in, and the question for CBS is whether they think RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (currently scheduled for the limbo of Saturdays) would do better in the slot.  PERSON OF INTEREST is an unacceptable 4th place in its hour (will the network try a run of Unforgettable there to see if it can find a foothold?), but THE MENTALIST perked up to win at 10PM.
FOX:  X-FACTOR is winning the night for FOX by a 25% margin, and that’s all that matters.  (But no one will be watching tonight’s deciding Phillies-Cardinals playoff game with more attention than FOX executives.)
CWVAMPIRE DIARIES is holding fairly steady with last season (down about 15%).  But even with that lead-in, SECRET CIRCLE isn’t doing better than the network’s other new shows that have less help.  However, none of them would be as compatible with Diaries as Circle is, not to mention that the network will want to keep Kevin Williamson happy, so a back order should be coming soon.
Tonight, the main interest will be to see if the scrutiny of A GIFTED MAN becomes a death watch.

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."