October 22, 2012



We’re 4 full weeks into the season, and it’s time to ask:  What do we know now that we didn’t know a week ago?

Reruns Are Bad.  In the past few days, ABC has ordered extra episodes of GREY’S ANATOMY, MODERN FAMILY, THE MIDDLE and CASTLE, increasing their orders to 23-24 episodes each for the season, and FOX did the same with RAISING HOPE, NEW GIRL and THE MINDY PROJECT.  This is an expensive gambit, especially for expensive veteran series like Grey’s and Family that cost many millions per episode, but the idea, of course, is to minimize repeats in the spring, when viewership is down and a couple of skipped weeks in a row may lose eyeballs that won’t come back.  (Note:  BEN AND KATE didn’t share in FOX’s Tuesday night extra episodes jackpot because FOX plans to shelve it at midseason for THE GOODWIN GAMES.)  It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see NBC order some additional REVOLUTION hours, or CBS invest in some extra BIG BANG THEORY or NCIS episodes.

Cable Is Getting Closer.  Last night was the second Sunday in a row when the highest non-football rating of the night belonged to AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD, and on Wednesday, AMERICAN HORROR STORY beat 2 of the 3 broadcast networks (behind CSI on CBS by a bare 0.1).  A week ago Tuesday (last week’s debate skewed the night on broadcast TV), SONS OF ANARCHY roared past everything on network TV at 10PM.  Meanwhile, the broadcast networks get closer and closer to the point where a sub-1.0 rating is considered good enough for renewal.  The days when cable was in the “niche” business are passing fast.

ABC Is In Trouble.  The fact that ABC only issued low-cost additional script orders to LAST RESORT, THE NEIGHBORS and 666 PARK AVENUE, instead of ordering additional episodes (and NASHVILLE, which began its run after the other 3, isn’t looking very strong either) is a sign of recognition that none of the network’s fall shots are working.  The good news is that the Alphabet is stocked with more midseason product than any other network; the bad news is that there’s a reason those shows didn’t premiere in the fall.

MOB DOCTOR Is Staying Put.  FOX’s announced schedule for November includes the much-maligned Mob Doctor airing throughout the month in its regular Monday 9PM slot.  The network had already announced that TOUCH and THE FOLLOWING wouldn’t arrive until January, but has apparently decided to stick with its tiny Mob Doctor numbers rather than sub in a reality show or reruns.  The question, of course, is whether people will remember to come back when the network is finished running test patterns in the hour.

NBC Is Going to Ride THE VOICE Until It Drops Dead.  The network announced today that The Voice will air 3 times during the week of November 2 (and that week’s 4th night is Election Day, with no entertainment programming at all on any network other than CW), with episodes on Monday, Wednesday (2 hours each) and Thursday.  There’s no doubt this will give a huge lift to NBC’s numbers in the first week of November sweeps, and for now the series is still riding high… but that won’t last forever, and the faster it falters, the faster the bottom will drop out of NBC’s 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."