September 30, 2011

THE SKED: Thursday Ratings – Network Scorecard – 9/29/11


On what used to be network TV’s marquee night, only one series had a rating over a 4…
NBC:  …and it certainly wasn’t on NBC.  THE OFFICE is now the only non-football show on NBC to exceed even a 2.5 rating.  So far, Office is holding up pretty well post-Carell (down about 20% from last year’s season average), although its number isn’t all that impressive compared to comedy hits on all the other networks.  Still, that’s by far the network’s good news.  WHITNEY‘s plunge means that not a single new NBC fall series is any kind of success.  (Under the “you can’t cancel everything” rule, that doesn’t mean all these failures will be thrown off the schedule.  In fact, it’s very possible several of them may get back orders for spring, not because NBC is suddenly talent-friendly–ah, the spin!–but out of sheer desperation, since apart from Smash, the network’s midseason shows are midseason for a reason.)  NBC may be a couple of weeks away from a very difficult decision:  if they can’t save both Whitney and Up All Night, which one gets the life-raft of the Office lead-in?  Meanwhile, at 10PM PRIME SUSPECT is on the critical list with a dire 1.5 rating.  From 8-9PM, COMMUNITY and PARKS & RECREATION provide some stability, albeit of the low-rated kind.

CBS:  THE BIG BANG THEORY is the hit of the night, with a terrific (and stable) 4.8.  But after that, things are a lot bumpier.  HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN didn’t open (meaning that CBS Marketing was only able to get 2 Broke Girls any kind of debut sampling this fall, and that was because of the 2 1/2 Men lead-in) and is probably headed downhill from there.  It’s not just that PERSON OF INTEREST is running 20% below CSI‘s rating in the same timeslot last year– it’s about 13% below the number CSI is doing now in its weaker Wednesday 10PM slot.  And THE MENTALIST is 20% below last season’s average, despite NBC being a non-factor in the timeslot.
ABC:  It’s just a matter of time till the misbegotten CHARLIE’S ANGELS heads to the trash-heap.  GREY’S ANATOMY, unable to capitalize on NBC’s and CBS’s problems, is running 20% below its average last year, but at least in its season debut, PRIVATE PRACTICE hit last year’s average. 
FOX:  Once again, when all the smoke had cleared, X FACTOR may have declined a bit from last week, but it gave FOX an easy win for the night.  Next week’s experiment with a repeat New Girl at 9:30PM is sure to have a strong lead-in, and the results should be interesting.
CWVAMPIRE DIARIES continues to be by far the network’s strongest show, and even ticked up a bit this week, while SECRET CIRCLE seems to have settled in to a 0.9 rating, which ain’t much, but is above-average by CW standards.
Tonight, CBS will hope that viewers watching A GIFTED MAN, unlike the show’s protagonist, won’t be seeing dead people.  Look for our Pilot + 1 Review later.

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."