October 16, 2012



Zombies take over the world.

AMC:  As yesterday’s numbers had promised, THE WALKING DEAD was a monster in more ways than one.  With a 5.8 18-49 rating in its 9PM airing and an additional 1.9 for the 10PM rebroadcast, its primetime total of 7.7 was equal to the primetime rating for Sunday Night Football, which means it’s tied as the highest rated television programming of the week, broadcast or cable.  How big was Walking Dead?  It was so big that a rerun of last season’s finale that aired as a lead-in at 8PM was the 2nd highest cable show of the night with a 2.1.  Airing after the 10PM rebroadcast (last season, it aired after the show’s initial airing, so the lead-in was much higher), the season debut of TALKING DEAD scored a 1.2.  By 11:30PM, though, the fans were dissipating, and the season premiere of COMIC BOOK MEN only managed a 0.6.

SHOWTIME:  It was, let’s admit it, a problematic episode of HOMELAND this week.  The continued contrivances by which Abu Nazir and his reporter henchperson use Brody not as a gold-standard infiltrator at the highest levels of government but as a go-to guy for errands is becoming an increasingly serious problem, and the “Pine Barrens” knock-off conclusion to Brody’s Big Adventure didn’t tell us anything about him we didn’t already know.  While Carrie’s crisis was more believably grounded (and Claire Danes, it need hardly be said, played the living hell out of it), the timing of her aborted suicide attempt just moments before she was going to receive her vindication felt, again, like something concocted in a writers room rather than organic.  (On the other side of the ledger, the episode gave Morena Baccarin a showcase to remind everyone that Danes isn’t the only talented actress on the show, and the final scene between Mandy Patinkin and Danes was bliss.)   DEXTER continues to be strong when it deals with the fallout of Deb’s big discovery, and it mercifully provided for the exit of Josh Cooke and his very silly and annoying storyline, but the Russian mobster (Ray Stevenson) who’s thus far serving as the season’s Big Bad is still of very little interest.  Both shows took a hit against the giant AMC competition, with Dexter down 0.1 to 1.0, and Homeland, which only had to contend with the Walking Dead rerun, falling 0.2 to 0.6.  (Both, however, were ahead of the competition on HBO in 18-49s.)

HBO: BOARDWALK EMPIRE and TREME continue to be what they are.  This week’s Boardwalk seemed to be out to prove that an hour could feature some genuinely shocking outbursts of sex and violence and still feel like it was moving at half-speed (the amount of time the show is spending on Nucky’s romance with his showgirl could surely be spent better elsewhere), while either you’re on Treme‘s multitudinous, music-laden wavelength (not many are), or you’re not.  Boardwalk was slightly down to 0.8 this week–again, possibly the Walking Dead effect–while Treme muddled along with its 0.2.  (In the older-skewing total audience measurement, however, Boardwalk beat Dexter, 2.2M vs. 2M.)

BBCAMERCA:  Although the network isn’t making much noise about it, COPPER is nearing its season finale with a rating in 18-49s not much over 0.1, and about half a million people watching in total (around the same as Treme, but much older-skewing).  Interestingly, the show has already solved what was initially its central mystery, explaining the fates of hero Kevin Corcorran’s wife and daughter, leaving its future path somewhat unclear.


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."