March 23, 2012



Maybe everyone went to see The Hunger Games last night.
FOX:  With lower than usual competition on all the other networks, TOUCH debuted with its first regular episode to a 3.3 that wasn’t as good as it looked.  This was probably the last time the show won’t face new episodes from any of The Office, Grey’s Anatomy or Person of Interest, so next week (when only ABC will be in repeats) will be a better test.  Earlier in the evening, American Idol got clobbered–it’s not clear by what–and fell half a rating point to 4.0, a season low that was still the highest-rated show of the night and enough to give FOX the nightly win.  

ABCMISSING plummeted half a rating point to a dismal 1.6, about the same number the network had been doing with Wipeout.  After that, Grey’s and Private Practice repeats were out of the running.
NBC:  With news that showrunner Paul Lieberstein is leaving The Office, as well as other senior writers and very possibly some major cast members (whose contracts are all up for renewal), NBC has to be gnashing its teeth.  Last night the network tried out a 30 ROCK episode in the 9PM slot and fell a full point from recent Office numbers to 1.5.  (And this was, again, against atypically low CBS and ABC competition.)  The show may also have hit the meta-comedy wall:  how do you top Billy Baldwin playing the TV-movie version of Alec Baldwin’s character and Tracy, in a delirium, insisting that his real name is Tracy Morgan and he stars in a TV-show-within-a-TV-show?  After that, you couldn’t really blame UP ALL NIGHT for falling 0.3 to a season low 1.4.  You could, however, blame AWAKE for falling into the sleep of the (nearly) dead with a 1.2 that means viewers are decidedly rejecting the show’s convoluted premise.  The (comparatively) good news of the night?  COMMUNITY, although down 0.5 from last week, had the night’s highest rating with 1.7, which was good enough to beat the first half-hour of Missing on ABC.
CBSNCAA TOURNAMENT coverage of the Round of 16 only reached a 2.3, below last year’s parallel round and below all of the network’s normal programming on the night.
CWTHE VAMPIRE DIARIES was only 0.3-0.4 below ABC and NBC for its hour with 1.3. THE SECRET DIARIES fell back to earth with a 0.7, still fine for CW.
FRINGE returns to FOX tonight with its final burst of episodes for the season (reports are that the show isn’t quite dead yet, and the network and studio are discussing a possible return).  It’ll face a repeat Grimm on NBC and continuing NCAA coverage on CBS.


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."