February 14, 2012



NBC can’t put away that Alka-Seltzer just yet.
NBC:  THE VOICE, down only around 10% from last week’s huge rating, is in great shape at 8PM, and those 2 strong hours pretty much guarantee NBC Monday wins the rest of the season.  So far so good.  But nightly wins aside, an enormous amount of NBC’s stature and even its identity has been wagered this season on SMASH, and that part of the night is still unsettled.  Last night, Smash‘s 2.8 was down about 25% from last week, and as Mitch Metcalf details, that number went down sharply at the half-hour mark.  Right now the show can still fairly be called a hit, winning its hour against CBS and ABC.  But its margin of victory was a shrinking 0.2 (and really it only won the 10-10:30PM half-hour), so the show needs to stabilize quickly.  As I noted in my Pilot + 1 review, creatively the 2d episode started to show some dramatic strain, and NBC will hope those are rectified before more viewers depart. 

FOX:  The Voice is killing ALCATRAZ, which fell by almost half an additional ratings point to another season low.  (Terra Nova fans, stop grinning.)  The show has dropped 40% from its premiere rating.  HOUSE also fell to a new season low, but by a slimmer 0.1, and besides, the series is now officially a lame duck, so its troubles are more short-term.
ABC:  THE BACHELOR and CASTLE continue to hold their own against the NBC competition, with Bachelor down only 0.1 from last week and Castle (with a much-hyped 2-part Bourne-type spy plot) dead even.
CBS:  What the hell happened to HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, 2 BROKE GIRLS and 2 1/2 MEN last night?  All of them had steep falls to new season lows, down 0.6, 0.6 and 0.5 from last week even though competition from The Voice was lower this week.  (And so much for any Grammys halo effect.)  Any and all theories are welcome.  MIKE & MOLLY and HAWAII 5-0 were down a more modest 0.1 each, although that still marked a new season low for each of them.
CW:  GOSSIP GIRL, on the downswing of its illustrious career, was down 0.1 to a 0.5, beaten by stablemate HART OF DIXIE, which was even at 0.6.
Tonight ABC finally brings back COUGAR TOWN, with LAST MAN STANDING as the least compatible possible lead-in for that show this side of Man Up!  After that, the network will hope that THE RIVER doesn’t collapse further from its unimpressive debut.

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."