March 19, 2012



Fairy tales rule… but watch out for the zombies.
ABC:  We won’t know for sure until later today, but odds are that the highest-rated show on TV last night was the season finale of The Walking Dead on AMC (our season finale review is here).  In the world of broadcast networks, ONCE UPON A TIME led the way with a 2.9 that didn’t make up for the arrival of Daylight Savings Time (tying the season low), but didn’t slip any further, either.  The telecast also featured a 2-minute-long commercial from Warners for Tim Burton’s slapstick revamp of Dark Shadows (it looks more like Beetlejuice than Shadows)–the movie doesn’t open for almost 2 months, so the buy suggests that the studio is planning to heave money in the movie’s direction between now and then.  DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, with an relatively subdued episode about the funeral of a major character, fell 0.1 but has been fairly steady for the past few weeks.  GCB, though, slumped 0.3 to a 2.0 that was still enough to tie for the lead in its hour; it was another episode of campy hostility that marked one viewer’s last attempt to sit through it.

CBS:  The NCAA TOURNAMENT continued to do well, even if it only provided a 43-minute overrun at the beginning of the night.  That means all the network’s numbers are subject to later adjustment, but preliminary figures have the network starting strong and declining in the course of the evening, until the newly-renewed GOOD WIFE fell under a 2.  (Due to the basketball overrun, most of CSI MIAMI aired out of primetime in the majority of the country.)
NBC:  Oh, for the Sundays of football!  HARRY’S LAW tied its terrible 1.1 from last week (and even though the network likes to point to its popularity among the aged, the show was in 3d place for its hour in total viewers too).  CELEBRITY APPRENTICE tied its series low 1.8, although in preliminary numbers it built enough in its 10PM hour to tie GCB for the timeslot lead.
FOX:  The animated line-up was very steady.  BOB’S BURGERS showed a little pep with a 0.2 increase from last week that held most of the SIMPSONS audience, and FAMILY GUY won its timeslot handily.   
Tonight is very big for ABC:  the network debuts the Spring cycle of DANCING WITH THE STARS, and will hope to pull the show out of its winter doldrums and put a dent into THE VOICE.  That result may affect CASTLE at 10PM, so SMASHWatch will be on the alert.  CBS is also all-new, and FOX airs the penultimate ALCATRAZ

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."