February 15, 2013


Valentine’s Day didn’t heart network television, especially early in the evening.

ABC:  About the best that can be said about the 1.3 debut of ZERO HOUR is that it edged out NBC and CW for 3rd place in the hour.  It’s a terrible start for a densely-plotted, serialized show that’s unlikely to lure many viewers mid-run.  GRAY’S ANATOMY fell 0.4 from last week for an all-time low 2.7.  In that context, the 2.8 for SCANDAL (which launched its typically deranged second story arc of the season, already teeming with spies, brutal murders and plenty of illicit sex), while merely steady from last week, looks awfully good, especially since it may have been the first time Scandal has pulled ahead of its Shonda Rhimes stable-mate.

NBC:  We may never know why last week’s COMMUNITY season premiere blipped so much higher than expected, but by last night things were at their anticipated dismal level, down an awful 0.8 to a series-low 1.1 (the episode itself, intended for Halloween when the show was supposed to debut in the fall, was notably worse than last week’s as well).  PARKS & RECREATION slumped 0.5 to 1.5, and a 1-hour THE OFFICE was down a tick to 2.0, although that was far ahead of what 1600 Penn has been doing at 9:30PM.  An SVU rerun at 10PM had a 1.0, which was at least better than Do No Harm‘s historical lows in that slot.

FOX:  AMERICAN IDOL was down 0.5 to 3.6, and this may have been the first time it was beaten through the entire hour by CBS.  GLEE was also down 0.5 to 1.7.

CBS:  The night’s easy winner, but even it took a hit.  BIG BANG THEORY fell 0.8, although any other show on television would be happy to have that loss and end up with a 5.4.  2 1/2 MEN dropped 0.3 to 3.8, then things stabilized as couples returned from Valentine’s dinners, with PERSON OF INTEREST slipping just 0.1 to 3.0, and ELEMENTARY even at 2.2.

CW:  Oddly, of all the 8PM shows, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES held best, down a mere 0.1 to 1.0.  BEAUTY & THE BEAST was also down 0.1, but that put it at a mediocre 0.5.

All the networks have fresh programming tonight, except CW is taking the night off for a run of the flop theatrical PAPER HEART.


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."