August 3, 2012



Some networks were untouched by the massive Olympics ratings being piled up by NBC, while others appeared to be hit hard.

USA:  Last night’s BURN NOTICE showed the limitations of the USA house format, as what should have been a relatively serious hour following the death of a major recurring character was 90% the usual con-of-the-week hijnks.  (Also not helping:  the network putting a countdown clock over the episode’s final, and only emotional, scene, lest we lose track of how many seconds were left until the next show started.)  SUITS, on the other hand, is doing a fine job this season of breaking out of its will-anyone-find-out-Mike-isn’t-a-real-lawyer box, and while this week’s episode had a pat ending, there were some remarkably strong scenes along the way.  The difference in quality wasn’t reflected in the ratings, however, as Burn fell a slim 0.1 to hold as the night’s highest rated cable broadcast with a 1.3 in the 18-49 demo, and Suits was dead even with last week at 1.2.  Suits was younger-skewing, with a little less than 50% of its viewers in the demo, while for Burn the number was around 40%.

FX:  ANGER MANAGEMENT toppled to its lowest number to date, with a 0.7 that was down a hefty 30% from last week–ironically, this came just days after the network’s leader told the Television Critics Association that a 90-episode renewal was all but certain.  It still skewed nicely young, though, with about 2/3 of its viewers under 50.  The rest of the network’s line-up fell as well.  A WILFRED that managed to combine an extremely off-color storyline with ballroom dancing was down to 0.4 and 800,000 viewers, a 1/3 decline from last week.  And LOUIE, which followed last week’s masterful Parker Posey episode with a much slighter twofer half-hour (albeit with Robin Williams and a couple of hilarious sight-gags) hit 0.3 and 700,000 viewers, down a smaller 0.1 and 100,000 viewers from last week.

MTV:  AWKWARD. was fairly steady, down just 0.1 from last week to 0.7 and almost even in total viewers.  In 18-49s, that tied its unscripted lead-in, the just-renewed SNOOKI & JWOWW, and was impressively 200,000 total viewers higher (this being MTV, the extra viewers could be younger and/or older than 18-49).

TBS:  SULLIVAN & SON fell 0.2 to 0.7, and lost 750,000 viewers.  Even worse, the show’s Big Bang Theory rerun lead-in was almost even for the week in the demo (although it did fall in the older Total Viewers number), so while only 01 of Big Bang 18-49 viewers changed the channel at 10PM last week, 0.3 hit the remote this week.

LIFETIME:  On the unscripted side, PROJECT RUNWAY was even in 18-49s from last week and only down about 10% in total viewers.

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."