October 24, 2012


3 sitcoms at 9PM were 1 too many.

NBC:  THE VOICE, and its network, won the night, but Monday’s decline may not have been due to the shortened episode and combination of sports and Presidential debate.  Last night’s Voice was down half a ratings point again, its 4.1 one of its lowest Tuesdays of the fall thus far (ahead of only its pre-season premiere and a clip show).  Next week, when the show airs 3 times in 4 days, will be instructive.  GO ON and THE NEW NORMAL, at 2.5 and 1.8 respectively, was similarly at new lows aside from the week they followed the Voice clip show.  (In terms of quality, New Normal left out Ellen Barkin’s character for the week and was somewhat less aggressively alienating.)  PARENTHOOD was also pulled down slightly to 1.9, but that was enough to win its hour and marked the first time the 10PM show increased from its New Normal lead-in.  (NBC is characteristically rewarding Parenthood by preempting it for at least the next 2 weeks, because of a 2-hour Voice next week and then election coverage.)

ABC:  It was obvious that scheduling 3 pairs of single-camera sitcoms in the same hour was a suicidal move for at least one network, and that network turned out to be ABC.  After a mediocre 2.2 lead-in from DANCING WITH THE STARS (the same as the results show had been doing at 9PM), HAPPY ENDINGS debuted to 1.9, 4th place for the hour and more than half a point behind its nearest competition.  DON’T TRUST THE B– didn’t do a bad job of holding its lead-in with 1.7 (and that was only 0.1 behind The New Normal), but it was still in 4th place.  The now officially-concluding PRIVATE PRACTICE fell to 1.4, tying its all-time low.

FOX:  RAISING HOPE was steady at 1.7, and BEN AND KATE was up by 0.2 from last week’s debate night when it didn’t have New Girl as lead-out, but 1.4 still means its days are numbered.  NEW GIRL, steady at 2.7, won the battle of the sitcoms and tied CBS for the lead in its half-hour.  After that, the network aired a version of the X FACTOR episode that never finished airing last week due to a baseball rain delay, scoring a 2.4 that was low for X Factor but better than Mindy Project has been doing in the slot.

CBS:  The NCIS pair were both at season lows with 3.2 and 2.7, although the latter was enough for NCIS LA to win its hour.  One has to wonder what CBS was thinking with its hasty back order for VEGAS, which promptly collapsed by half a ratings point to a new low 1.5, handily beaten by NBC in the hour and just barely ahead of ABC (as usual, it did own the hour in older-skewing total viewers).

CW:  Any doubt that EMILY OWENS MD is a disaster are gone after the show plunged to 0.3, which even for CW is a horrible number.  Prior to that, HART OF DIXIE was down a bit to 0.5.

The World Series begins its run on FOX tonight (last year’s Game 1 had a 3.8 rating).  The other networks are all new, and the particular hour to keep an eye on is 10PM, where NASHVILLE and CHICAGO FIRE are flailing (and FX’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY is scaring up 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."