February 29, 2012



Did PARENTHOOD buy itself another season?
NBC:  Creatively, PARENTHOOD‘s season finale wasn’t the show at its best (too many storyline conclusions crammed into too little time).  But its 1.9 rating built on last week’s increase, and “tied for 1st place” isn’t a phrase NBC gets to hear very often these days in reference to any timeslot.  The show at least gave itself a fighting chance.  Parenthood‘s number was particularly impressive because it was just 0.1 below its BIGGEST LOSER lead-in, which was close to a season low thanks to the atypical competition on FOX.

FOX:  The night’s AMERICAN IDOL number could be viewed as half-empty or half-full.  On the one hand, as Mitch Metcalf noted, the rating was down a horrific 41% from last year’s parallel episode.  But in the context of this season, it was more or less even with what seems to be Idol‘s new ratings level.  (In any case, the bragging rights to the season’s biggest non-football show are now THE VOICE‘s to lose.)
ABC:  Some may have noticed yesterday that Josh Hopkins, one of the leads in COUGAR TOWN, has signed to a pilot in “second position,” which for the uninitiated means he’s committed to the new show unless his current one is renewed.  No one likes to recast a new show that’s managed to get ordered, so these deals are typically made only when an actor’s current series is circling the drain.  Mistakes are made (Damon Wayans Jr made a 2d position deal last year for New Girl and then Happy Endings was renewed), but Cougar Town did itself no favors with last night’s season-low 1.5.  Also heading upstream without a paddle:  THE RIVER, with a matching 1.5.  Both of those look good, though, next to BODY OF PROOF and its disastrous 1.3.(and Body didn’t have the excuse of facing Idol).
CBSNCIS, while still a strong 2d in its hour, hit a season low that completed a startlingly bad February stretch (by its standards), with a track of 4.2/3.9/3.6/3.4.  NCIS LA has been more up and down during the month, and last night was up to a very decent 3.1.  UNFORGETTABLE tied for the hour’s lead, but those words are less magic at CBS than they are at NBC, and the show hit a season low with a symbolically painful 1.9, slipping below a 2 for the first time.
CW:  Only the network knows why it’s been giving RINGER a repeat HART OF DIXIE lead-in for the past 2 weeks.  Last night Dixie‘s 0.3 led Ringer to a series low 0.4.
Tonight, the final night of February sweeps, features new episodes schedule-wide (but get ready for a whole lot of repeats in March).  CW premieres the latest cycle of AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL, this time with Americans vs. Brits.



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."