ABC has had both good and bad news season-to-date. The
network had high hopes for its nostalgic drama Pan Am early on, but it
crash-landed after a few airings, while Charlie's Angels never earned it
ratings wings and was cancelled early on. On the other hand, juicy drama Revenge
seems to have found an audience and is holding steady, while landing on
many critics top new show lists. Fairytale drama Once Upon a Time proved
to be a sleeper keeper, often winning its time period in the 18-49 demo.
Wednesday comedy Suburgatory has been performing fairly well out of The
Middle, especially in younger demos, while Modern Family has risen
to its highest ratings ever this season. In fact, Modern Family is now
the third highest-rated scripted show in adults 18-49 behind CBS' TheBig
Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men.
In addition, Tim Allen's new comedy Last Man Standing,
while not a hit, is pulling in good enough numbers to give it a full season
On the flip side, the alphabet net's new comedy Man Up!
was a complete flop and the network has seen Desperate Housewives and Grey's
Anatomy sink down considerably from last season in the 18-49 demo. ABC's
highly-promoted new drama GCB premiered after Desperate Housewives
this week and retained about 97% of its lead-in audience and garnered a 5.0
household rating. That rating's good, but not a "star" replacement for Desperate
once it goes off the air.
ABC's ratings bonanza -- Dancing With the Stars -- continued
to perform well, especially among older viewers, though it also witnessed
ratings declines. And midseason reality entries The Bachelor, Celebrity Wife
Swap, Wipeout and Shark Tank all performed or are performing as
The eye network finds itself flat in adults 18-49 and in
positive territory in households (up 1.5%). CBS is also flat or up a tick in
almost all demos versus last season. But the net is sitting pretty, way ahead
of the pack as the No. 1 network in total viewers and households. It also has
11 of the Top 20 rated programs in the 18-49 demo season-to-date. Not too shabby!
CBS saw strong ratings for Two and a Half Men with
new cast mate Ashton Kutcher, giving lead-out show Mike &Molly
a bump versus last season and giving a lift to How I Met Your Mother
earlier in the evening as well. And while the ratings have slipped for Men versus the early premiere weeks, it
is still ahead of last year.
CBS has more bragging rights in the top new comedy 2
Broke Girls, whose co-creator is, ironically, Whitney Cummings of NBC's
low-performing sitcom Whitney.
CBS also has the top-rated scripted show on television in most older-skewing
demos in NCIS (enjoying season nine and obviously still going strong).
In addition, two of its new dramas Person of Interest
and Unforgettable are performing fairly well and look good for
second-season pickups. Person of Interest has actually hit season highs
in recent weeks, which is a very good indication that it will be back next
On the down side, like almost all the networks, ratings for
most of the CBS returning dramas have dropped versus last season, while its new
comedy How to Be a Gentleman was a big miss for the network. Friday's
new drama, A GiftedMan, has also only been performing at
adequate levels for the night and may not make a second season.
As for midseason, the new comedy ¡Rob! performed slightly better
than expected leading out of The Big Bang
Going into first quarter 2012, Fox had the distinction of
being the network with the biggest season-to-season gains. The X Factor
certainly changed Fox's fourth quarter fortunes, even though it was not the
blockbuster the network had hoped it would be.
With the addition of New Girl and X Factor,
Fox edged out CBS to win the November sweeps in adults 18-49, a feat Fox had
only done one other time in its history. In addition, based on total
programming, Fox took the fourth quarter adults 18-49 crown-again, only the
second time in its history that this has happened.
Adding to its fourth quarter ratings bounty was the fact
that the World Series went to an exciting seven games, which hasn't happened
since 2002. The NFL also scored for Fox in some of its primetime spillover.
As for bad news, a bit disappointing for Fox was the
highly-anticipated Steven Spielberg production Terra Nova, which did
respectable numbers in the 18-49 demo but languished in total viewers and will
not be back on Fox next season. Sunday animated comedy Allen Gregory was
also a huge disappointment, losing 30-40% of its lead-in Simpson's demo,
and was cancelled.
Still, thanks to The X
Factor and New Girl, Fox was in
positive double-digit gains in fourth quarter versus last season despite
weakness elsewhere on the schedule, particularly their Sunday animation block
and House, which faded fast and will
not be back.
But in first quarter, American Idol returned and has
not performed as well as hoped. Unfortunately for Fox, Idol ratings have
sunk quite a bit, especially in adults 18-49, which is seeing more than a 25%
drop versus last season. Other midseason shows have not been able to pull the
ratings weight back up. New drama Alcatraz has been pulling in about a
4.8 household rating; however, Bones spinoff drama The Finder
couldn't find an audience, even leading out of Idol. The result is that Fox now finds itself in negative ratings
In the fourth quarter, NBC was VERY thankful for NFL
telecasts which remained strong in the ratings since most of the Peacock's new
offerings did not click with viewers. While NBC announced early full-season
pickups for both Up AllNight and Whitney, neither show is
getting ratings to write home about. In addition, NBC had the dubious honor of
having had the first cancellation of the new season with The Playboy Club,
followed shortly behind by the axing of the disastrous Free Agents.
Adding to its woes was the return of Chuck to the
schedule, which should have been cancelled years ago, and RockCenter
with Brian Williams. Those are two of the lowest-rated shows in broadcast
primetime, even when you include The CW shows.
NBC did have some partially good news in the fourth quarter.
Its new fairy tale Grimm has been performing moderately well, albeit not
a real ratings grabber, on Friday nights, but increasing double-digits from its
The start of the midseason has also proved a bit rough for
NBC. New comedy Are You There Chelsea? is not performing well and new
drama The Firm premiered to the
lowest ratings for a drama ever on NBC. The network made an order for 22
episodes so it will be interesting to see what they ultimately do. And to make
matters still worse, Thursday night returning comedy 30 Rock premiered to its lowest first-run numbers yet.
Now for some good news in midseason: NBC's decision to air
the second season premiere of its singing competition show The Voice
after the Super Bowl to help it gain a wider audience worked big-time. The
Voice has now become a breakout hit for the network, scoring close to American Idol-size ratings in its first
few weeks. Other midseason newcomer Smash premiered big and while the
ratings have settled in quite a bit lower, it is still doing better than many
of the other shows on the NBC schedule.
Believe it or not, NBC finds itself only 5% down in most
demos for the season in regularly scheduled programming. In addition, while NBC's
primetime lineup might be in need of some resuscitation, the network is still
the leader in early morning, evening news and late night, albeit with shrinking
It's not pretty at The CW, where not one of its new
offerings this season has emerged as a winner. The Secret Circle did get
sampled at first, but slipped down below the 1.0 territory among the 18-49
demo. And ratings for Sarah Michelle Gellar's comeback show, Ringer,
along with the network's other new drama Hart of Dixie, have been
Despite that, the network gave all three new series full
season orders. One presumes the network needs time to figure out what to do
Adding to The CW's troubles is its mainstay ratings
performer America's Next Top Model,
which fell off by double-digit this season, while midseason reality
entry Remodeled premiered to a disastrous 0.3 adult 18-49 rating. The
network as a whole is down between 11-33% depending on the demo.