January 16, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Salem


Football is like crack for TV networks.
FOX:  The NY Giants/Green Bay playoff game was massive, and since it ran until 8:12PM on the east coast, the giant SIMPSONS number, currently a 6.8, will end up adjusted.  Given the atypically huge lead-in for the evening and the adjustments, it’s hard to tell just how well NAPOLEON DYNAMITE really did (and the next few weeks will be spotty:  next week FOX has the Giants/49ers game in primetime, so none of the animation shows will air, then they’ll be back the following week, but the week after that they’ll either be preempted or repeats against the Super Bowl).  What is clear, though, is that the show got all the sampling FOX could have wished.

NBC:  With all the (as it turned out, unjustified) hype over Ricky Gervais setting fire to the Golden Globes ballroom with his fiery wit, the network has to be a little disappointed that the show will be down 5-10% from last year.  The reason may be the lack of any hit movie (other than The Help) among the frontrunners, and given that the same crop will be back for the Oscars and that the host is Billy Crystal, greatly respected but not exactly an icon for young audiences, ABC may have reason for concern.
ABC:  The Globes are very female-skewing, so ABC’s decision to air new episodes of its soaps as competition is somewhat puzzling.  The result was a very down night for the whole line-up:  ONCE UPON A TIME, while above its December low (when it was lead-in to low-rated movies), was down 0.4 from last week, and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and PAN AM both tied season lows.
CBS:  Similarly, a new episode of THE GOOD WIFE (a very good episode it was, too) got walloped by the Globes, down from a 2.7 to a painful season-low 1.9.  What makes CBS’s choice to air Good Wife even more puzzling is that following it, the network put on a repeat CSI MIAMI.  Earlier in the evening, the season premiere of UNDERCOVER BOSS did an OK 3.0, down from its 3.4 average last season.
Tonight’s big event is FOX’s 2-hour premiere of ALCATRAZ.  As competition, NBC will tap the seemingly inexhaustible viewer love for Betty White, with a 90th birthday special followed by a “preview” of her new reality show OFF THEIR ROCKERS.  Also, after years months in repeats, new episodes of GOSSIP GIRL return to CW.

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."