March 29, 2012



NBC’s sitcoms don’t get a fond farewell.
NBC:  How bad was the network’s night?  Its highest rating was a 1.5 for the season finale of WHITNEY.  About the best you could say about that number was that it was stable:  the show’s ratings have stayed within the same 1.4-1.6 range for the past 6 weeks.  That was more than ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA? could claim with its own season finale, which fell to a 1.2, below both its lead-in and last week, and only 0.1 above the series low.  Our reviews of those finales are here and here.  In terms of quality (all things being relative), BENT was the best of the NBC comedies, thanks to more emphasis on the ensemble cast and less on the non-chemistry between Amanda Peet and David Walton–but you wouldn’t know it by the ratings, which fell from last week’s debut to an even-more-horrible 0.9 and 0.8 for the back-to-back episodes.  The night mercifully ended with another 0.8 for ROCK CENTER, behind repeats on the other networks.

ABC:  Another sparkling episode of HAPPY ENDINGS (a show where the repartee is so fast, you might need to backspace your DVR to catch all the jokes) was tossed down the drain as the only new programming on a night of repeats.  Somewhat impressively–all things considered–it held 100% of the lead-in it got from a MODERN FAMILY repeat, rising from last week even though the Family repeat declined.  What has to be worrisome, though, is the MISSING repeat at 10PM falling 30% from last week’s repeat, perhaps setting the stage for a bad number for the new episode tonight. 
FOX:  AMERICAN IDOL won the night with a 5.0 that was essentially even with last week (albeit still substantially down from last season) and comfortably above this week’s The Voice.  
CBSSURVIVOR had the same (non-special episode) series low 2.8 for the 3rd time in 6 weeks.  The CSI repeat won its hour, and the CRIMINAL MINDS retread was a strong 2d place.
CWONE TREE HILL fell a bit to 0.6 in its last episode before next week’s 2-hour series finale.  AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL, climbing slightly to a 0.7, came within 0.2 of the new programming on NBC.
With the NCAA Tournament finished with Thursday/Friday rounds, tonight’s TOUCH faces a new PERSON OF INTEREST for the first time, although it still has the advantage of repeats on ABC and NBC.  Similarly, MISSING will face a new BIG BANG THEORY for the first time, and AWAKE has to do battle with a new MENTALIST.

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."