March 15, 2013



A historically bad night.

FOX:  That sound was every FOX executive’s communal indigestion, as once-mighty AMERICAN IDOL hit its all-time low for a regularly-scheduled episode, a 3.0 that was just barely over X Factor‘s 2.8 season average, down 0.6 from last week and an epic 1.6 points from this time last year.  With that lead-in, GLEE only managed a 2.0, down 0.4 from last week.

ABC:  No one was happy at ABC, either, where GREY’S ANATOMY, the only original show on an oddly scheduled night, had an all-time low 2.6 after 2 weeks of reruns.  The repeat SHARK TANK and SCANDAL that surrounded it were at 1.3/1.2.

CBS:  A chunk of CBS affiliates carried local college basketball playoffs, so some adjustment is in store later this afternoon.  But as of now, THE BIG BANG THEORY was down a full point from last week at 4.5, tying its season low.  More than that, it was down 0.6 from the preliminary numbers from last year’s parallel pre-NCAA Thursday (which was a week earlier on the calendar).  Similarly, 2 1/2 MEN was down 0.6 from last week to a season low 3.3.  PERSON OF INTEREST, however, edged up 0.1 to 2.9 (although half a point behind last year’s parallel night).  ELEMENTARY had its first new episode in 3 weeks, and facing reruns on the other networks, it held even at 2.4.

NBC:  COMMUNITY had a weirdly strong (for NBC) number last week, but last night it clunked back to earth with a series low 1.0, down half a ratings point.  After 2 weeks of reruns, PARKS & RECREATION was up 0.2 to 1.6.  THE OFFICE returned after 3 weeks of reruns with the discarded pilot (for good reason, as it turned out) for what would have been Rainn Wilson’s spin-off series, and it hit an all-time low 1.9.  The new Office lead-in did next to nothing for 1600 PENN, up just a tick to 1.0.  An SVU rerun had a 0.9.

CW:  THE VAMPIRE DIARIES and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST returned with new episodes after 2 weeks off.  Vampire was off 0.2 to 1.1, and Beauty was steady at 0.5.

Most of network TV tonight is new, except 9-11PM on ABC, and the 9PM slot on CBS, the latter killing time until Vegas arrives after college basketball is over.  On Cinemax, BANSHEE has its Season 1 finale.

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."