September 27, 2011

THE SKED: Week 1 + 1 – Network Scorecard

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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None of the networks should be throwing a parade after the first 8 days of the new season, but some may be in more of a marching mood than others.
FOX:  It was all going so well for FOX.  NEW GIRL launched as strongly as the network could possibly have wished.  X-FACTOR may not be a blockbuster, but it looks like it’ll provide 2 solid nights of ratings each week and win the marquee night of Thursdays.  Despite their age, Sunday’s animation anchors are holding up like champions.  Even the FRINGE nerds (I’m one of them) showed up for the series premiere.  Sure, GLEE seems to have passed its prime, but at least for now it’s performing fine.  And then came TERRA NOVA, after one airing already on the bubble between disappointment and failure, and with a giant price-tag attached.  Still, one bad hour can’t undo all the rest of the week:  B-plus.

CBS:  The Eye is having the Monday night of a network’s dreams–not just one hit show after another (including the brand-new 2 BROKE GIRLS), but the increasingly rare kind of hits that should even hold up in reruns.  Plus the network’s stalwarts like the NCIS franchise and CRIMINAL MINDS continue to do their jobs, and even more satisfyingly, the network won the battle of the reboots, with the Ted Dansonified CSI spanking Law & Order:  SVU in their shared timeslot.  The less good news is that except for Broke Girls, none of the new shows are showing much:  UNFORGETTABLE, PERSON OF INTEREST and A GIFTED MAN are meh at best, and that’s without post-premiere declines.  Their other daring scheduling move, putting THE GOOD WIFE on Sundays, doesn’t seem to have helped that show and may be hurting CSI MIAMI.  For a lot of the week, the network is just running in place:  B.
ABC:  The Marketing department deserves a pat on the back, because neither REVENGE nor PAN AM were sure things, and both were beautifully launched.  (Particular credit for effectively making sure viewers knew that of the season’s 1960s nostalgia specials, Pan Am and not Playboy Club was the one to watch.)  On the other hand, CHARLIE’S ANGELS seems to be going nowhere.  While MODERN FAMILY is a bigger hit than ever, in the other 9PM slots that count, DANCING WITH THE STARS, GREY’S ANATOMY and especially DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES are showing their age.  ABC still has plenty of shows to premiere, with Suburgatory starting tomorrow, and Last Man Standing, Man Up and Once Upon A Time to come in October, but for now a very mixed bag:  B-minus.  
NBC:  The Peacock is exactly one hour away from being Sunday Night and the Six Dwarfs:  if it weren’t for Thursday 9-10PM, where THE OFFICE is holding up well (so far) and WHITNEY is looking strong (so far), the network would literally not have a single non-football series on the air with so much as a 2.5 rating.  PLAYBOY CLUB, FREE AGENTS and PRIME SUSPECT are all flopping, UP ALL NIGHT is mired in 4th place in its timeslot, the opportunity to rejuvenate SVU was utterly squandered, and the decision to throw Monday night to the wolves by not finding a way to bring back The Voice has been a disaster.  Since it’s hard to credit management with doing anything to earn that football rating other than writing a big check:  D-plus.
CW:  Teen shows can only hold their audience for so long, and except for VAMPIRE DIARIES (which isn’t really a teen show), the CW’s veterans are sagging.  HART OF DIXIE and RINGER had unimpressive launches, H84 is an utter flop, and even SECRET CIRCLE, which gets the Vampire lead-in, is hardly setting Nielsen meters aflame.  How long can a network last with only one show that gets over a 1.0?  I guess we’ll find out:  D.  
Tonight, we’ll see how New Girl and Unforgettable hold up in their second appearances–look for our Pilot + 1 reviews for both.

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."