December 13, 2011



Forget about prestige drama and comedy:  it turned out all NBC needed was some dining on bugs.
NBCFEAR FACTOR returned to the airwaves with a tremendous 3.4 average over 2 hours.  This is great news for a network that sorely needs some, but it’s worth noting that in this same holiday period last year, against mostly specials and repeats, The Sing-Off did a 3.6, a level that prompted the network to bring the show back as a fall series… and we all know how that worked out.  So Fear Factor may be more of a seasonal curiosity than an enduring hit.  Still:  success!  It turns out the cow blood audience doesn’t overlap that much with the newsmagazine crowd (who knew?), so the glad tidings didn’t extend to ROCK CENTER

FOX:  The positive spin on TERRA NOVA matching or setting a season low (depending on football adjustment) is that it was facing much more powerful competition on NBC than it’s had all season.  Well, maybe–but it was also yet another lousy (and almost dinosaur-free) episode, as the series prepares next week for its season, and possibly series, finale.  Nobody showed up for the HOUSE repeat at 9PM.
CBS:  The 8PM experiment of putting 2 BROKE GIRLS in HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER‘s slot wasn’t a huge success, scoring a few tenths below Mother‘s usual number.  On the other hand, most networks would drool for a slot-winning 4.1 rating at 8PM, so the test was hardly an abject failure.  The combination of a Broke Girls repeat at 9:30 and the strong male-oriented competition on NBC hurt 2 1/2 MEN and MIKE & MOLLY; the former set a new season low, and the latter was just a bit above its low.  HAWAII 5-0 was also near the bottom of its range, despite facing a repeat on ABC.
ABC:  Barely present, with ratings for yet another Charlie Brown Xmas special, the flop game-show YOU DESERVE IT and a CASTLE repeat all below a 1.5.
CW:  Repeats, repeats.  
Tonight CBS and FOX air new regular-series episodes, while NBC tries a Prince William & Kate special at 8PM, and ABC, oddly, has a new LAST MAN STANDING leading into a night otherwise in repeats.

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."