Maybe dividing the audience with MTV wasn't such a good idea, after all. NBC didn’t get much of an audience for its premiere of quarterlife, a 20-something take from veteran drama creators Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick that started on the Internet.
NBC and MTV teamed up to promote the show by airing it on the same day -- MTV in the afternoon, NBC in primetime. But if the early ratings for the much-hyped show are any indication, quarterlife won't have much of a half-life.
The show's debut at 10 p.m. averaged a mere 1.6/4 in the key 18-49 demo for third place behind CBS' Jericho and a Primetime hidden-camera special on ABC. It also lost a big chunk of its audience from the first to second half-hours, dropping from a 1.8/5 to a 1.4/4.
The second coming of Jericho isn't setting this or any alternate worlds on fire, either, averaging a 2.2/6 and also beaten by Primetime (2.8/8), though CBS points out Jericho was up considerably from the 1.9/4 it averaged the week before.
NBC might have done as well at 10 p.m.-11 p.m. by picking up what may be the last debate between Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.), which aired on co-owned MSNBC.
Fox won the night easily with American Idol, averaging a 9.4/23 and led by Idol's 11/27 from 8 p.m.-8:30 p.m. That was enough of a lead-in to give the return of Kelsey Grammar sitcom Back to You a win, as well, averaging a 4.5/11 from 9:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
NBC was second with a 2.5/7, able to balance the underperformance of quarterlife with two hours of The Biggest Loser (3.2/8).
CBS was third with a 2.3/6, topped by Big Brother with a 2.4/6.
ABC was fourth with a 1.8/5, getting no punch out of its 9 p.m.-10 p.m. sitcoms, with According to Jim averaging a 1.4/3 and Carpoolers a 1.2/3. And in a night bracketed by hidden-camera shows, Just for Laughs didn't hold up its end, averaging a 1.3/3 for a new and repeat episode back-to-back.
The CW was fifth with a 1.1/3, with One Tree Hill averaging a 1.4/3, actually doing better in its second half-hour than quarterlife did in its.