February 15, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Salem

Viewers didn’t spend their Valentine’s Day evening watching network TV.

ABC: The network pretty much left COUGAR TOWN to fend for itself in its season premiere, and it sank rather than swam. The only thing one can say about its anemic 1.8 start was that it held more than 80% of the 2.2 lead-in it got from LAST MAN STANDING (itself just 0.1 above a season low), which isn’t bad, especially considering how incompatible the 2 shows are. However, it one assumes that Cougar Town is likely to decline further from its premiere, its prospects look dim. And thinking of dim, THE RIVER was down an ugly 30% from its own premiere to a 1.7 that means the Magus won’t be getting too much farther up the Amazon. And yet, worse was still to come: BODY OF PROOF hit a new series low 1.2 that would even get it canceled on NBC.

FOX: Even with a burst of publicity because this week’s episode coincidentally featured a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” GLEE hit a series low 2.8 that was 30% below last year’s average. NEW GIRL followed suit with a new low 3.2, and RAISING HOPE, despite a major episode that finally advanced the show’s romantic storyline, could only hover at a 2.1, 0.1 above its low.

NBC: BIGGEST LOSER was also 0.1 above its all-time low with a 2.0. PARENTHOOD, with only 2 more episodes remaining this season, refuses to make it easy for NBC to make a renewal decision, tying its all-time 1.6 low. It’s a show the network should want to bring back because of its high quality, but at those numbers, it’s a tough call.

CBS: It would be mean, I guess, to suggest that the CBS audience is too old to have anything else to do on Valentine’s Night but snuggle by the tube. Notwithstanding that, the network won every hour of the night (tying 9-9:30PM with New Girl), and NCIS LA and UNFORGETTABLE were both up a bit from last week, while NCIS was down only by comparison with the much-hyped 200th episode,

CW: The network had an odd strategy for the night: lead off with a rerun HART OF DIXIE that could only score a 0.3, then follow it with a new RINGER that could do no more than match that terrible number.

Tonight ABC airs the big REVENGE episode that brings the series back to the pilot’s opening flashforward, concluding its initial arc. FOX has a 2-hour AMERICAN IDOL on tap.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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."