Monday: What we do know is that “Two and a Half Men” isn’t going anywhere. The season premiere, which killed off Charlie Sheen’s character and introduced Ashton Kutcher’s, had it’s biggest ratings to date with 28 million viewers and a whopping 10.3 in the 18-49 demo (10.3 million overall viewers would be considered a huge success). Those are “American Idol” ratings. However, to be fair, even I watched it, and I’ve only seen one other “Two and a Half Men” episode in my life. The Dharma and Greg appearance was amusing, but dear God that show is terrible. I expect the ratings will return to a relative normal tonight.
It was also a huge opening for the season premiere of “How I Met Your Mother” (12 million), too, and more than enough viewers stuck around for “2 Broke Girls” (19 million) after “Two and a Half Men” to make it an instant hit. We’ll see how it holds up in its new time slot tonight, after “How I Met Your Mother.”
As usual, “Dancing with the Stars” was a huge hit (18 million viewers), while the “Sing Off” stumbled (5.6 million viewers, 1.9 in the demo) against fall competition.
In the 10:00 hour, both “Castle” and “Hawaii Five-0” performed well (a 3.3 and a 3.4, respectively, in the 18-49 demo) while “The Playboy Club” deservedly died on arrival (a 1.6 in the demo). For comparison’s sake, last season’s “Lone Star,” which was cancelled by Fox after two weeks, debuted with a 1.7. “The Playboy Club,” even on NBC, won’t make it to mid-season.
Tuesday: CBS, again, was the night’s big winner with its “NCIS” mainstays (19 million for “NCIS” and 16 million for “NCIS: Los Angeles”). “Unforgettable” held up OK with a 14 million viewers, but only a 2.3 in the demo. That was even with ABC’s “Body of Proof” in the demo, though it scored 4 million more viewers.
For our demographic purposes, “Glee” continues to decline (9 million viewers), but Zooey Deschanel’s “The New Girl” was a huge hit. In fact, it built on “Glee’s” audience (10 million viewers, with a whopping 4.7 in the demo, the biggest show of the night among 18-49 year olds). Following “The New Girl,” “Raising Hope” was about even with last year, and should perform better with “The New Girl” lead-in this season.
Meanwhile, “Parenthood,” which still doesn’t do solid numbers, was under 6 million viewers, but hung on to a 2.1 in the demo. “Parenthood” is also one of the more popular shows on DVR, so it looks safe for now and likely the season.
Wednesday: Simon Cowell’s “The X-Factor” stumbled out of the gates, drawing less than 12 million viewers. That would’ve been considered a modest hit, but for the fact that Simon Cowell said that, if he didn’t get 20 million viewers, he’d consider the show a failure. Ha! “Survivor” continued to perform decently at 8:00 and, surprisingly, so did “The Middle.” The hour-long episode fetched 10 million viewers and a 3.0 in the demo. “Up All Night” didn’t fare as well (a 2.3 in the demo), but for NBC, that’s a hit. “Free Agents” (a 1.3 in the demo), however, was not. It’s definitely due for a quick cancellation.
Meanwhile, “Modern Family” was huge (a 6.0 in the demo), handily beating “The X-Factor”), and kicking the crap out of “Harry’s Law (a 1.2 in the demo).
In the 10:00 hour, “Revenge” opened quite well, with a 3.4 in the demo. It could be a break-out hit for ABC.
Thursday: Thursday night was ugly for “Community” fans, as the season premiere gained only a 1.7 in the demo. That’s a lousy number for a regular episode, and doubly so for a season premiere. When “30 Rock” returns in the winter, one of the NBC shows may get the ax. Will it be “Community,” “Whitney,” or both? “Whitney” scored a 3.2 in the demo. Granted, it had “The Office” lead-in (3.9), but “Community” is not getting it done ratings-wise. I’d like to see NBC at least give it a shot in the post-“The Office” slot to see how it fares compared to “Whitney” before it pulls the plug. Sadly, all the animted GIF posts on the Internet may not save “Community” in the long-term. “Parks and Recreation,” however, held its modest 2.0, again a decent number for NBC in the hour.
Look, I’m not a soulless television executive who only cares about the bottom line, but if I were, my strategy would probably be to quickly cancel “Free Agents” and “Whitney.” I’d then move “Up All Night” to the 9:30 slot, after “The Office” to give it some time to gain a bigger audience and then, when “30 Rock” returned in the winter, I’d dump “Community” and move “Up All Night” to that slot. I suspect that NBC suits will likely consider something similar.
Meanwhile, “Persons of Interest” had a modest debut (3.1 in the demo), while “Grey’s Anatomy’s” audience continues to shrink, year over year. The show that was once the biggest drama on TV but now only draws a 3.9 in the demo. Both were beaten handily by “The X Factor” results show (4.4).
Unfortunately, ABC scored a 2.1 for “Charlie’s Angels.” That’s not good, but in that hour, it’s good for ABC. It will probably make it to mid-season.
More bad news, at least from my perspective, was the poor 1.8 that “Prime Suspect” drew for NBC at 10. That’s desultory, and not any better than “The Apprentice” in that slot last year. I hope the show catches some viewers this week. It’s my favorite new drama of the season so far and I’d hate to see it cancelled quickly. But, that is prime advertising real-estate, so NBC may not want to waste it trying to build this show.
Friday: “A Gifted Man” had strong overall numbers out of the gate (9 million overall viewers) but didn’t perform well in the demo (1.3). That’s “Ghost Whisperer” numbers and probably as good as CBS can expect on a Friday night. In overall viewers, the closest thing to it was a “Modern Family” rerun, with 3.9 million viewers. The only other show of interest on Fridays is “Fringe,” which debuted softly with 3.5 million viewers and a 1.5. Those are bad numbers, but I think “Fringe” gets to finish out this final season anyway. Damnit. If Fox would pull the plug, it’d save me the trouble of watching it.
Sunday: On Sunday, ABC’s “Pan Am” had a promising start (3.1, 10 million viewers) and actually built on a struggling “Desperate Housewives.” The Fox animated block was roughly in line with where it was last year (“The Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” were the top rated programs in the demo for the night, excluding Sunday Night Football). And, “The Good Wife” (2.2) was down from its debut last year, although football overruns wreaked havoc on the CBS Sunday night schedule. I watch those games but CBS needs to do something about the football overrun problem. Instead of beginning the night 45 minutes behind, they should fill the rest of 7:00 hour with NFL highlights and simply begin the night on time at 8:00.
New Fall Hits: “2 Broke Girls,” “The New Girl,” “Revenge” “Pan Am,” and, to a lesser extent, “Up All Night.”
Will Be Cancelled Before November: “Free Agents.” “The Playboy Club,” and “Harry’s Law.”
It Doesn’t Look Good For: “Whitney,” “Community,” “Prime Suspect.”
Could Go Either Way: “Persons of Interest,” “A Gifted Man.”
The First Show to be Cancelled: Probably “H8r” over on the CW.
I bet someone is wishing they’d picked up that “Rockford Files” pilot right about now.