March 15, 2012



Look away.
FOX:  The only network with anything to boast about, and even that has a couple of asterisks.  AMERICAN IDOL will probably edge out The Voice for bragging rights to the week once final numbers are in (right now, Idol is up by 0.1), but that required a highly-publicized disqualification on Idol, and The Bachelor‘s season finale as competition for The Voice.  

ABC:  Welcome to Season Low Theatre.  All 4 of ABC’s sitcoms matched or hit season lows, which means not enough viewers saw MODERN FAMILY‘s guest star Ellen Barkin or clown battle between Eric Stonestreet and guest Bobby Cannavale, or HAPPY ENDINGS‘ invocation of Never Been Kissed.  At 10PM, REVENGE FOR REAL was a dismal 1.2.
CBSSURVIVOR and CRIMINAL MINDS were both down 0.3 from their last new episodes, but CSI managed to creep up 0.1 with an episode promoted to look like Project X.
NBC:  But really, if you want to revel in the torture of terrible ratings, where else can you go but NBC?  The network’s average for the entire night was 0.8, which if it isn’t the lowest in-season, non-Saturday nightly average in television history is certainly down there.  WHITNEY matched its season low 1.4, and that was the good news.  ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA hit 1.0 (that’s with a new episode, not a repeat), a rerun SVU slumped to a cable-level 0.7 (no, seriously:  the 9 millionth run of an SVU episode on USA Tuesday night hit a 0.8), and ROCK CENTER managed to fall even farther to 0.6.
CWONE TREE HILL‘s 0.7 tied or beat 2 hours of NBC’s primetime schedule.  TOP MODEL couldn’t keep up that blistering pace, though, and fell to 0.5.
Tonight ABC premieres its Ashley-Judd-as-Liam-Neeson vehicle MISSING at 8PM (our review is here).  It airs against the return of NBC’s COMMUNITY, which won’t garner much of a rating, but will make a certain select group of viewers very happy.  FOX re-airs the pilot of TOUCH at 9PM, before starting new episodes in the slot next week.  AWAKE will try not to slip farther into dreamland at 10PM.  CW returns new episodes of VAMPIRE DIARIES and SECRET CIRCLE to the air.  And all of this airs against NCAA BASKETBALL 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."