January 9, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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NBC comes face-to-face with its post-football Sunday.
NBC:  No doubt the network thought that whatever the quality of its new series version of John Grisham’s THE FIRM (and that quality is quite bad), name value alone would bring it an audience.  Well, not so much:  its disastrous 1.4 put it in last place for 2 hours (tied at 10PM with the certain-to-be-canceled Pan Am).  Where the terrible quality does show is in the constant audience departures throughout the show’s running time.  The Firm‘s blight only affected NBC’s Sunday as a one-time event, but there’s little doubt it will now taint the network’s Thursday nights in its regular timeslot.

CBS:  As expected, the Tebow/Steelers showdown (in overtime yet, albeit the shortest overtime in NFL history) was titanic, and not only gave CBS huge a 7PM boost, but also helped out the network’s other shows.  THE GOOD WIFE (which conveniently had one of the niftiest episodes of its season) and CSI MIAMI both hit or matched season highs, and the network swept the night.  (Next week the even more dramatic Tebow/New England blockbuster airs on Saturday night, and FOX has the late Sunday game with NY/Green Bay.)
ABC:  Once football was done for the night, the network survived the pyrotechnics pretty well.  ONCE UPON A TIME had its highest rating in more than a month, and even DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES hit one of its best numbers of the season.  Only poor PAN AM continued unable to fly its way out of  what will surely be its terminal turbulence.
FOXTHE SIMPSONS ran directly against the Tebow overtime in most of the country, and got slaughtered, hitting a season low.  After that FAMILY GUY improved, but was still at the low end of its season ratings.
Tonight belongs to ESPN.  With the college football championship game airing, both CBS and FOX will be in repeats, with NBC throwing another helping of WHO’S STILL STANDING, FEAR FACTOR and ROCK CENTER at the wall, while ABC airs the female-skewing BACHELOR and CASTLE

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."