May 11, 2012


Not all season finales are created equal.

NBC:  THE OFFICE and PARKS & RECREATION aired their season finales last night to no viewer excitement whatsoever:  Office was slightly down from the previous week to 2.2 (0.1 above its all-time low), and Parks was an even 1.7.  The newly-renewed COMMUNITY and 30 ROCK were respectively at 1.4 and 1.5, which for 30 Rock was up a bit.  AWAKE rose 0.2, meaningless since all it did was get the show to 0.9.


CBS:  THE BIG BANG THEORY certainly didn’t make one with its season finale, down half a ratings point to 4.2.  That was still the night’s highest rating, but this was the 2d time in 3 weeks Big Bang dropped steeply–the first time, its excuse was the NFL Draft, what clobbered it this time?  The rest of the network line-up barely moved from last week, with RULES OF ENGAGEMENT even at 2.7, PERSON OF INTEREST slightly down at 2.6 and THE MENTALIST slightly up at 2.4.

ABC:  Stability reigned at the Alphabet, with none of its shows moving more than 0.1 from last week:  MISSING (new low 1.1), GREY’S ANATOMY (3.4) and SCANDAL (2.0).

FOX:  In the preliminary numbers, at least, AMERICAN IDOL fell slightly to tie its all-time 3.9 low, but thanks to Big Bang‘s dip, that was good enough to hand the night to FOX.  The newly-renewed TOUCH was even at 2.0.

CW:  More underwhelming season finales:  THE VAMPIRE DIARIES slipped to 1.1, and THE SECRET CIRCLE stayed at 0.5.

Tonight FRINGE airs the 2d half of its season finale, and since THE FINDER is canceled, its final episode is actually a series finale.  Over at CBS, BLUE BLOODS and CSI NY also bid adieu for the season (and in the latter’s case, maybe longer).  Now that the broadcast networks are finishing their season, it’s time for USA to flex its summer muscles, which it will begin tonight by premiering its latest light procedural, the cop show COMMON LAW.

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."