October 19, 2012


Sometimes stunt casting works.

CBS:  On a night when most of broadcast TV was even at best, 2/2 MEN was up a healthy half-ratings point from last week to 4.0, by far its best Thursday rating thus far.  The reason seems to be a much-hyped appearance by Miley Cyrus, who may have brought some new eyeballs to the aging show.  Of course, those new viewers might not stay with the series (Cyrus is scheduled to re-appear at least one more time), but for the moment, it’s given CBS the powerhouse hour the network was looking for when it moved Men off Mondays.  THE BIG BANG THEORY was also up by a milder 0.2 to 4.7, still a bit below its numbers in the first 2 weeks of the season.  The rest of the night was less happy, as PERSON OF INTEREST slipped a bit to 2.8, its lowest rating of the fall, and ELEMENTARY slumped to 2.3, still enough to win the 10PM hour (and probably guarantee a back order) but hardly a breakout hit.

NBC:  In terms of quality, it was an dim night for most of the network’s sitcoms.  30 ROCK was fine with one of its patented meta-romps (this one centering around a version of Adam Carolla’s recent remarks about women not being as funny as men), but UP ALL NIGHT was disagreeable even by its own standards, THE OFFICE flailed about yet again as it tried to find a proper tone for the Ed Helms and Catherine Tate characters, and even PARKS & RECREATION was strangely off its game, spending a lot of time with what was probably meant to be a Michelle Bachman and husband parody that felt dated and over-broad.  In the numbers, 30 Rock held even at 1.3, while Up All Night‘s increase by 0.3 back to its 1.4 from 2 weeks ago is probably attributable to the fact that The Office was back at the other end of its hammock (after being preempted last week for the Vice Presidential Debate).  Office itself fell to a new all-time low of 2.0, as NBC squeezes the last drop of its blood on the way to the boneyard, and Parks fell 0.3 to tie its 1.6 all-time low.  At 10PM, ROCK CENTER was down a tick to a pathetic 0.9.

ABC:  At the moment, THE LAST RESORT is up slightly to 1.7, but that includes padded numbers from a San Francisco simulcast of the 49ers football game, so it’ll probably come back down.  The show seems to have hit a creative wall, too, with last night featuring yet another macho confrontation (this time with a grenade) that threatens serious consequences and then doesn’t happen.  GREY’S ANATOMY, perhaps hurt by its extremely dark storyline so far this season, fell half a ratings point to 3.3 (still easily winning the hour), while a terrifically twisty, entertaining episode of SCANDAL held even at 2.0.

FOX:  As the network prepares for the seeming inevitability of a St. Louis vs. Detroit World Series, another lousy NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS number at 1.4 (which will come up a bit as San Francisco ratings are factored in this afternoon).

CW:  Unlike Arrow, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST didn’t hold up in its 2nd airing, plunging half a ratings point–which in this case meant almost half its rating–to 0.7, a merely passable number with THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (itself down 0.4 to 1.2 from its season premiere) as its lead-in.

NBC and CBS continue to air makeshift programming in the 8PM slot tonight, while FOX has more baseball.  CW has the season premiere of NIKITA bringing up the rear of its fall season launches.  On cable, the Season 2 finale of BOSS airs on Starz, while Cinemax launches its new action thriller THE HUNTED.

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."