December 12, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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As football season approaches its regular-season climax, viewers just can’t get enough of it.
ABC:  The network’s female-oriented line-up is meant to survive football, but ABC has been shooting itself in the foot in recent weeks.  Last night was the 2d time in 3 weeks that ONCE UPON A TIME was the only regular ABC scripted series to air on a Sunday night, and the odd scheduling is taking its toll.  Serving as lead-in to a horribly rated rerun of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the pivotal episode of Once dipped to a new season low for the third week in a row.  It’s probably lucky that the show is done with new episodes for the year, to return in January.

CBS:  In TV terms, Tim Tebow is practically–well, a miracle.  Not only is he charismatic and controversial, but his games aren’t determined until the last possible second or beyond, keeping ratings through the roof, and yesterday was another overtime finish that went well into primetime.  That propelled 60 MINUTES, THE AMAZING RACE and even THE GOOD WIFE, all of which were near or at season highs.  (The buzz had worn off, though, by the time CSI MIAMI aired.)
FOX:  With less of a football overrun, THE SIMPSONS and the rest of the animation line-up was down, but THE CLEVELAND SHOW held far better to the Simpsons audience than Allen Gregory had been doing.
NBC:  A meaningful match-up between marquee teams that went down to the last second:  it doesn’t get better for NBC than this.  Unfortunately for the network, for reasons that still haven’t been entirely explained, NBC was unable to use its “flex time” rights to get what should be the Avatar of regular-season football games next week:  Denver vs. New England.  That blockbuster will air on CBS in late afternoon.
Tonight CBS tries something a little different:  although its 9-11PM shows are regularly-scheduled originals, it’s going to try a new 2 BROKE GIRLS episode in place of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER at 8PM (with a repeat Girls at 8:30).  NBC, for its part, is bringing FEAR FACTOR back into our lives.  And FOX will hope for something in TERRA NOVA‘s ratings that justifies bringing it back for another season.

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."