February 28, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Salem


SMASH-watch continues, on a very atypical night.
NBC:  With NASCAR unexpectedly occupying FOX’s primetime, CBS down and ABC up, the great news for NBC was that SMASH stabilized and even creeped up 0.1 from last week, a level that would leave the network very happy if the show can just stay there.  Even better, Smash will be facing repeats for at least the next few weeks, because Hawaii 5-0 and Castle are full-season series that need to conserve most of their final new episodes for the end-of-season May sweeps push.  This should enable Smash to conserve its base and maybe even build a little.  (Creatively, things were more mixed.  If last week’s episode resembled an ABC soap, this week had touches of CW:  how will nice Karen make the mean chorus girls like her?  On the other hand, Ellis was kept in the background, suggesting signs of sanity behind the scenes.)  NBC’s downside for the night was a season low for THE VOICE, which the network will hope was due to NASCAR fans tuning out.

CBS:  The racing on FOX took a big bite out of CBS’ schedule, as every show but one hit a new season low that went below even the previous season bottoms set just 2 weeks ago.  (The exception was HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, which managed to rise 0.2 above that mark, although it was down from last week.)  MIKE AND MOLLY was particularly hard-hit, down half a ratings point from the previous low.
ABC:  NASCAR was no problem for ABC, where THE BACHELOR and CASTLE were both up from last week (albeit in both cases just 0.2 above season lows).
FOX:  All this tumult was just great as far as FOX was concerned:  the final NASCAR number should more than double the ratings that House and Alcatraz have been getting.  (Scheduling footnote:  it seems that the result of the disruption is that Alcatraz, rather than airing its season finale as part of next week’s 2-hour episode, will instead broadcast the finale on March 12 as a lead-in to the repeat of TOUCH‘s pilot.)  
CW:  GOSSIP GIRL and HART OF DIXIE both aired their last new episodes until April. and each was at a mediocre 0.5, which was steady for Gossip and down slightly for Dixie.  
Tonight NBC airs the season finale of its eternally underrated, under-watched PARENTHOOD (let’s hope the network’s Promo Dept left something unspoiled from the episode).  FOX has a special 2-hour AMERICAN IDOL before its 4-sitcom Tuesday debuts next week.  Meanwhile, CW continues its curious scheduling decision to give a new RINGER episode the lead-in of a repeat Hart of Dixie.  (After that, for at least a couple of weeks, Tuesday will be the only new scripted night on its schedule.)

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."