January 19, 2012



AMERICAN IDOL returned to the schedule, towering over everything… except its own past.
FOX:  Idol came back with a 7.4, which naturally squashed all its competition.  In fact, it beat the ratings of the other 4 broadcast networks combined.  And yet… the number was down 24% from last season’s Wednesday premiere.  Last year’s 9.8 Wednesday premiere translated into an 8.8 Wednesday season average, so if the numbers work out the same way this time, the show could end up with a 6.6 Wednesday average.  That will certainly keep it as the season’s top non-football series, but not quite the monolith it used to be (admittedly, a problem every other network would commit serial murder to have).

NBC:  All the networks choked on FOX’s dust last night, but none more than the Peacock.  The 8-9PM sitcoms plunged, with WHITNEY at a new series low 1.6 and ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA? not much better with a 1.8.  This was followed by by the usual sad 1.1 for HARRY’S LAW, and a new 1.8  all-time low for the once-mighty SVU, which didn’t even have to compete with Idol.
ABC:  All things considered, a decent 2d place for the night, except at 9:30PM where Criminal Minds narrowly beat out HAPPY ENDINGS.  None of the network’s shows were down more than 0.4 from last week (MODERN FAMILY and Happy Endings declined only 0.1), and REVENGE even managed to inch up.
CBS:  With Survivor between cycles, the network aired an NCIS repeat at 8PM, which predictably got smashed.  CRIMINAL MINDS hit a season low, but down only 0.2 from its last fresh episode, which aired against much lighter competition.  The only real disappointment was CSI‘s 2.8, which won its hour but was down 0.1 despite the start of the much-hyped exit of Marg Helgenberger’s character.  
CW:  ONE TREE HILL was down to a 0.7, which is still better than Gossip Girl or 90210 have been doing.  The REMODELED repeat that followed did the same 0.3 as the first run had done the night before.
Tonight, more Idol, with fresh competition from all the other networks, including the second episode of ROB on CBS.

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."