January 7, 2013


NBC began the second half of its season, but the story was still football.

FOX:  The overrun from the Seattle/Washington NFL WILD CARD GAME coverage, which was cunningly pushed even farther into primetime by FOX with the postgame show extended to around 8:03PM, gave Rupert Murdoch’s troops the night.  The overrun itself had a massive 12.1 preliminary rating, and there’s no point in comparing the network’s animated shows’ numbers to their previous airings, because with that lead-in, they were all up 30-40% from the last time they were seen.  (Next week, CBS will get a similar punch with its late Sunday playoff game.)  THE SIMPSONS had a 4.4, BOB’S BURGERS a 3.1, FAMILY GUY a 3.5, and AMERICAN DAD a 2.8.

NBC:  All things considered, NBC had to be pleased with its first post-football Sunday night rating of the season.  After a 1.5 for a 2-hour DATELINE, a “preview” episode of THE BIGGEST LOSER scored a strong 2.9.  (That’s up half a ratings point from last year’s premiere, but it’s not apples-to-apples as the 2012 show aired on a Tuesday night.)

ABC:  The good news was that ONCE UPON A TIME returned from his holiday hiatus steady at 3.1, despite the strong competition on FOX.  That was the end of the good news, as REVENGE (which continued its frustratingly idiotic path of pursuing super-villains “the Initiative,” who seem to have wandered in from a season of 24) fell to a new low 2.3.  At 10PM, the burn-off of HAPPY ENDINGS and DON’T TRUST THE B– episodes (a genuine shame in the case of Happy Endings, which had another hilarious half-hour) made 666 Park Avenue look good, managing only 1.0/0.9.

CBS:  A mixed bag.  60 MINUTES was down half a point (airing against the Wild Card game) to 1.4, THE GOOD WIFE was even with 1.8, and THE MENTALIST, no longer airing against football, matched its season high 2.1.

Tonight’s biggest rating will almost certainly be from ESPN and the BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, which this year features an Alabama/Notre Dame marquee match-up.  CBS won’t try to compete, offering reruns, and CW hasn’t started its midseason yet, while the only new programming on FOX will be the final hour of its dead MOB DOCTOR.  But the more female-oriented NBC will offer another 2 hours of Biggest Loser followed by the premiere of melodrama DECEPTION, and ABC will have new episodes of THE BACHELOR and CASTLE.  In addition, ABC Family premieres the second half of the first season of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s BUNHEADS.

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."