September 21, 2011

THE SKED: Tuesday Ratings – Network Scorecard – 9/20/11


Two of the fall’s most publicized new shows premiered last night, to very different results.
FOX:  The House of Murdoch won the night, as well as the biggest headline:  all those ads showcasing the goofy charm of Zooey Deschanel paid off big-time, and NEW GIRL‘s 4.8 rating (slightly updated from Mitch Metcalf’s report) was about as good a number as the network could have wished for.  Even after the show settles down to a post-premiere level, the series should still be one of the half-dozen highest-rated sitcoms on all of broadcast TV, and if the show’s quality holds up, there could be plenty of potential upside.  The only bad news for FOX was that one reason New Girl looked so good was that its lead-in, the season premiere of GLEE, was significantly down from last year’s premiere–meaning that New Girl rose 20% from its lead-in (unlike 2 Broke Girls, which did a much bigger number than New Girl but lost more than 30% of its 2 1/2 Men lead-in).  The Glee number supports the idea that while it’s still a hit show, its moment in the zeitgeist may have passed.  Also, RAISING HOPE didn’t particularly benefit from its golden lead-in, and was only up around 10% from last season’s average. 

CBS:  The network has to be a little disappointed with its UNFORGETTABLE premiere, even though the show won its timeslot:  they marketed the hell out of the series all summer, and while its 20% decline from the NCIS: LA lead-in was OK, it’s nothing to get excited about.  Assuming that Unforgettable settles into a post-premiere number in the mid-2’s, that’ll just barely win the timeslot, and doesn’t suggest a breakout hit (in comparison, the network’s Hawaii 5-0 and The Mentalist, both in the same genre, typically exceed a 3).  The good news was that the 2 NCIS shows were utterly solid in their season premieres, and if Glee slips any more, CBS could have a chance of taking over the night.
NBC:  The aging BIGGEST LOSER was down from last season, and its 2.3 only keeps the show safe because it’s on NBC.  On the upside, PARENTHOOD (which has quietly become one of the best dramas on network TV) was barely touched by the arrival of Unforgettable, and could find itself quite competitive at 10PM once the new show subsides.
ABC:  The network is waiting till October to launch its 8PM sitcoms, so they aired a low-rated DANCING WITH THE STARS special in the slot that doesn’t mean much.  However, the Dancing results show at 9 was way down from last year’s Tuesday installment, and that series, too, may have seen its best days (although given the celebrity component, it can always be hyped up with exciting new blood, assuming any is available).  BODY OF PROOF held up fine at 10PM, despite the direct procedural competition from CBS.
CW:  Not good.  RINGER (see our Pilot + 1 review) lost a scary chunk of its audience and dipped below a 1 rating, particularly bad because since it’s a serialized show, those viewers are unlikely to come back.  However, the series did increase 20% from its 90210 lead-in, which has already dipped below last season’s average.  Ringer can probably survive at this level, considering it’s the CW, but any further declines would be very dangerous.

Tonight, 2 more big network bets arrive:  FOX’s X-FACTOR extravaganza and ABC’s REVENGE

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."