February 24, 2012



Ow, says FOX.  See FOX say Ow.
FOX:  AMERICAN IDOL‘s 4.4 rating was its lowest since the show began as a summer series 10 years ago.  That was down 14% from last week, 38% from the first hour of last year’s parallel episode, and 43% from last season’s Thursday average.  The combined Wednesday/Thursday average for this week was more than 20% lower than NBC’s rating for Monday’s The Voice.  Oh, I could go on.  The question is what–if anything–can FOX do to reverse the trend?  The show is locked into its format and judges, so look for some high-profile theme nights and other stunting.  The network may also have to give Idol some of the valuable promo time that would otherwise have gone to launching shows like Touch.  Meanwhile, THE FINDER was down to the rating it was getting before it had Idol as a lead-in, although considering that  Idol was down 1.4 rating points from the lead-in it provided 2 weeks ago, Finder‘s 0.2 decline wasn’t at all alarming.

NBC:  The lower Idol numbers on FOX didn’t do anything for 30 ROCK or PARKS & RECREATION, both of which were even with last week’s season lows (if you exclude 30 Rock‘s oopsie DVR listing episode).  This is too bad, as both featured first-rate episodes this week, especially 30 Rock with its inspired Leap Day William concoction.  THE OFFICE is also on a creative upswing, although the Tallahassee gambit that’s perking the show up is by definition a temporary one.  Office, facing The Finder instead of Idol, was up a decent 0.3 from last week, still far from its numbers earlier this season.  UP ALL NIGHT also had a 0.3 boost with the higher lead-in.  The last rerun GRIMM before Awake arrives next week received little interest with a 0.9.
ABCGREY’S ANATOMY tied its season low, and PRIVATE PRACTICE took a big 0.4 hit from last week’s crossover episode.  
CBSTHE BIG BANG THEORY is now the unquestioned king of the 8PM slot, although ROB slipped a bit to a new low (at 3.0, it’s still in pretty good shape).  PERSON OF INTEREST benefited from the reduced FOX competition at 9PM and rebounded 0.3, but THE MENTALIST tied its season low.  (The 10PM ratings in general support the idea that in the absence of strong programming, this is when people are catching up on their DVR playlists, since Mentalist and Private Practice were both down, and no one was watching NBC.)
CW:  Already in repeat mode for the night (new shows won’t return till mid-March), with a SUPERNATURAL thrown in instead of the usual SECRET CIRCLE at 9PM and garnering an unremarkable 0.3. 
No special events for the evening tonight, just fresh sweeps episodes of all the regular shows (except at CW).


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."