December 19, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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This isn’t the way Flex Time was supposed to work.
NBC:  As part of its multi-billion dollar deal with the NFL, NBC is supposed to have the right, during the last few weeks of the regular football season, to change the designated Sunday night game and choose one that’s more valuable, usually in terms of playoff implications.  But we’re in the Flex Time part of the season, and for reasons that haven’t been fully explained, NBC wasn’t permitted to air what was clearly the marquee game of the day, New England vs. Denver, and its Battle of Good and Evil showdown between Tom Brady and Tim Tebow.  Instead, it was left with Baltimore vs. San Diego, a perfectly decent game that had a playoff storyline… but not at all the same.  The result was a Sunday football rating that will be one of the season’s lowest.  Sucks to be NBC, Part 462…

CBS:  As the network to win the Brady vs. Tebow sweepstakes, CBS got a massive 7PM overrun, which pushed 60 Minutes up (no, those huge numbers weren’t deeply committed Meryl Streep fans).  Even with that push, as the night wore on, it appears (subject to final ratings adjustment) that the SURVIVOR finale and reunion were down from last year.
FOXALLEN GREGORY finished its ignominious run by barely holding on to two-thirds of a SIMPSONS repeat number.
ABC:  The network’s best hour was a moderate 1.5 for AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOSONCE UPON A TIME continued not to repeat well with a 1.2, and then America had little interest in another run of SANTA CLAUSE 3, which did a Grinchy 1.3.

Tonight’s “event” is the 2-hour season finale of TERRA NOVA, which has a fair chance of also being its series finale.  NBC will launch a short run of the game show WHO’S STILL STANDING, and then proudly continue its run of FEAR FACTOR.  Little that’s new on the other networks.

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."