Respectable Opening for NBC’s Community

Friday, September 18, 2009
Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:

CBS Wins; Respectable Sampling for NBC’s Community

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not

On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options 

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
TV Trivia Time:

Mary’s New Neighbor


CBS Wins; Respectable Sampling for NBC’s Community

Thursday 9/17/09


CBS   6.0/10
Fox    5.3/ 9
NBC 5.0/ 8
ABC 3.1/ 5
CW    2.1/ 4

-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, September 18, 2008):

Fox: +56, NBC: +35, CBS: – 6, ABC: -18, CW: -25
-Yesterday’s Winners:

Survivor: Samoa (CBS), Bones (Fox), CSI R (CBS), The Office (NBC), Community (NBC), The Jay Leno Show (NBC), The Mentalist R (CBS)

-Honorable Mention:
Fringe (Fox)
-Yesterday’s Losers:
Parks and Recreation (NBC)
-Ratings Breakdown:

CBS moved into the Thursday overnight winners circle, with a seven-tenth of a rating point advantage over second-place Fox. Third overall was NBC, which had more positive results last night, followed by repeat-riddled ABC and The CW.  


CBS’ veteran Survivor: Samoa opening on a dominant note, with a 6.1 rating/10 share in the overnights, but the franchise continues to lose steam. Comparably, this was down by 19 percent from the two-hour launch of Survivor: Gabon on Sept. 25, 2008 (7.5/12), and 30 percent from opening levels for Survivor: China (8.7/14) on Sept. 20, 2007. The double-digit losses could be of benefit to ABC’s upcoming FlashFoward, which kicks-off next week. As for the show itself, I am personally addicted already, but the choppy editing gave us no clue that Ashley was also a target last night. 


A very close second in the 8 p.m. hour was the season-premiere of Fox’s underappreciated Bones (5.9/10), which built by a considerable 103 percent from two episodes of short-lived year-ago occupant Hole in the Wall (avg. 2.9/ 5). Next were the season-premiere episodes of NBC’s SNL Weekend Update Thursday (#3, 4.1/ 7) and Parks and Recreation (#3: 3.5/ 6), which was not worthy of renewal, followed by a repeat of Grey’s Anatomy on ABC (3.1/ 5), and week two of The Vampire Diaries on The CW (2.3/ 4). Comparably, The Vampire Diaries dipped by a hefty 28 percent from its debut one week earlier (3.2/ 5 on Sept. 10). Normal overnight erosion for any new series in week two is generally 10 to 20 percent. As for Parks and Recreation, since HUT levels are normally higher at 8:30 p.m., erosion of 15 percent out of SNL Weekend Update Thursday makes it a loser. 


A repeat of CBS’ CSI led the 9 p.m. hour, with a 5.8/ 9, but there was also good news for NBC and Fox. NBC’s The Office, which always scores among adults 18-49 (as well as other demos) opened its new season with a third-place 4.8/ 8 in the overnights. Comparably, that built from Parks and Recreation by a hefty 37 percent. The debut of lead-out Community, a Mr. TV favorite, moved into the No. 2 spot with a 4.9/ 8 at 9:30 p.m. Considering regularly scheduled occupant 30 Rock rarely maintains The Office lead-in this is very good news. Don’t forget that 30 Rock returns to the time period on Oct. 15, with Community moving into the 8 p.m. half-hour on Oct. 8. 


The second-season premiere of Fox’s Fringe was also amply sampled, with a third-place 4.8/ 8 from 9-10 p.m. Comparably, the retention out of lead-in Bones was a comfortable 81 percent. But before Fox is too optimistic (or NBC for that matter), don’t forget that aforementioned CSI and another episode of Grey’s Anatomy on ABC (#4: 3.9/ 7) were in repeats. Supernatural on The CW capped off the hour with a 2.0/ 3, with retention of a comfortable 87 percent out of The Vampire Dairies. While the retention is good, too bad the overall performance for The CW for the evening was not better. 


At 10 p.m., there was more good news for NBC’s The Jay Leno Show, which finished first with a 6.4/11 — one-tenth of a rating point ahead of a repeat of The Mentalist on CBS (6.3/11). Yes, this was Leno’s lowest overnight performance to-date and, yes, The Mentalist will surely control the hour next week when season two begins. But overnight growth of 31 percent out of Community keeps it in the winner’s circle. Chances are, though, that the young adult demos will not be as strong as must see Community.


Here is Jay Leno’s four-night overnight track:


The Jay Leno Show (NBC)

9/14/09: 12.1/20

9/15/09: 8.0/14

9/16/09: 9.2/16

9/17/09: 6.4/11


A repeat of Private Practice on ABC finished a distant third in the 10 p.m. hour, with a 2.4/ 4 in the overnights. Keep in mind that next Thursday it is a night of all original programming. Let the games begin!

Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)

Ratings Box:

What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Record The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV:

The new season of The Ultimate Fighter kicked-off on Spike TV in the Wednesday 10 p.m. hour with a new high for any show on the cable network: 4.1 million viewers. The previous record on Spike TV was 3.4 million for The Joe Schmo Show season finale in 2003. Comparably, The Ultimate Fighter finished first in the time period on men 18-34, men 18-49, men 18-24 and men 25-54. 


Source: Nielsen Media Research data


On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options

Friday 9/18/09

 8:00 p.m. The 2009 ALMA Awards

10:00 p.m. 20/20

 8:00 p.m. Ghost Whisperer (R)

 9:00 p.m. Medium (R)

10:00 p.m. Numbers (R)

 8:00 p.m. Dateline (two hours)

10:00 p.m. The Jay Leno Show

 8:00 p.m. Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (season finale, heads to first-run syndication on Monday)

 9:00 p.m. Glee (R)


 8:00 p.m. Smallville (R)

 9:30 p.m. The Beautiful Life (R)

 8:00 p.m. Friday Night Smackdown!
Saturday 9/19/09
 8:00 p.m. Saturday Night Football

 8:00 p.m. CSI: Miami (R)

 9:00 p.m. CSI (R)

10:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery (R)

 8:00 p.m. The Office (R)

 8:30 p.m. Community (R)

 9:00 p.m. Law & Order (R)

10:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (R)

 8:00 p.m. Cops

 9:00 p.m. America’s Most Wanted

Sunday 9/20/09
 7:00 p.m. Movie: King Kong

 7:00 p.m. 60 Minutes

 8:00 p.m. The 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards


 7:00 p.m. Football Night in America

 8:00 p.m. Sunday Night Football Pre-Game

 8:20 p.m. Sunday Night Football (Giants at Dallas)


 7:00 p.m. American Dad (R)

 7:30 p.m. The Simpsons (R)

 8:00 p.m. The Simpsons (R)

 8:30 p.m. The Simpsons (R)

 9:00 p.m. Family Guy (R)

 9:30 p.m. American Dad (R)


 7:00 p.m. Movie – Wargames: The Dead Code (from 6 p.m.)

 8:00 p.m. The Beautiful Life (R)

 9:00 p.m. Melrose Place (R)

-Of Note on Cable:

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO, season premiere): 9 p.m. ET

Bored to Death (HBO, series premiere): 9:30 p.m. ET


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest


-The End of a Daytime Era:

Daytime staple The Guiding Light, the longest running soap opera in production in the history of all broadcasting, is closing shop today after a combined radio and television run of 72 years. Debuting on NBC radio on January 25, 1937, The Guiding Light moved to CBS radio in 1947, where it remained through June 29, 1956. Four years earlier, on June 30, 1952 to be exact, it debuted on CBS and was simulcast on both television and radio for four years. The final scenes of The Guiding Light were shot on August 11, with the official conclusion today. A new version of game show Let’s Make a Deal, hosted by Wayne Brady, will step into the hour on Oct. 5.


-AFHV Celebrates 20 Years:

ABC’s perennial America’s Funniest Home Videos, which debuted on January 14, 1990, is celebrating 20 years on the air with a retrospective look back at the show’s funniest moments in November. Former host Bob Saget will co-host the special with current host Tom Bergeron.


-Handicapping The Emmys:

Here goes, folks, Mr. TV’s predictions for Outstanding Comedy and Drama. The winners will all be unveiled at The 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on CBS on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. ET.


Outstanding Comedy Series


The Nominees:

Entourage (HBO)

Family Guy (Fox)

Flight of the Conchords (HBO)

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

The Office (NBC)

30 Rock (NBC)

Two and a Half Men (CBS)


Who Should Win: The Office

Who Will Win: 30 Rock


With 22 nominations, 30 Rock leads the pack this year, which is all the more reason to believe it will snag its second consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. Personally speaking, however, I do think that Entourage and The Office had better seasons creatively. But Emmy loves 30 Rock and there is no way of stopping it. Since it is always fun to root for an upset, keep a small eye on HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, which was praised to the hilt. And forget about Family Guy, How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men. Any chance they have of winning is slim.


Outstanding Drama Series

The Nominees:
Big Love (HBO)

Breaking Bad (AMC)

Dexter (Showtime)
House (Fox)
Lost (ABC)

Mad Men (AMC)


Who Should Win: Lost

Who Will Win: Mad Men


Don’t shoot the messenger please, but I just do not get all the whoopla about Mad Men. Good, yes, but worthy of the constant critical accolades? I just don’t think so. Regardless, if you are a gambling man (or woman), place your dollars on Mad Men, which is poised for its second straight victory as Outstanding Drama Series. Although AMC’s Breaking Bad could pull an upset, I would not count on that happening, or any other show winning. And that’s too bad for Lost, which continued to keep viewers on the edge of their seats with a completely new twist in the story-telling. Who knows what awaits in the upcoming final season. 

TV Trivia Time:

Mary’s New Neighbor


Who played Mary’s new neighbor when she moved to the high rise apartment building in season five of The Mary Tyler Moore Show?


a)      Delta Burke

b)      Joanna Kerns 

c)      Judith Light

d)      Penny Marshall

e)      Rosie O’Donnell


The answer to yesterday’s question…


Which one of the following series never switched networks?


a)      Bonanza

b)      Family Matters

c)      Matlock

d)      My Three Sons

e)      Something So Right


Is: a) Bonanza, which was a staple on NBC for 13 ½ seasons.   From our resident TV guru, Bob Ingersoll:


-Family Matters moved from ABC to CBS for its last season (1997-1998) and couldn’t find a stable time period there. CBS aired it in two different half-hours until it removed the show in January, then brought it back for an hour-long slot in June to blow-off the unaired episodes.

-Matlock moved from NBC to ABC in 1993.

-My Three Sons moved from ABC to CBS after its fifth season in the fall of 1965 and stayed at CBS longer than it was at ABC. That’s very unusual since most shows that switch networks do so late in their runs.

-Something So Right was on for only two seasons: NBC in 1996-97, then ABC one year later.


-Current kudos goes to:
John Brooker, Annie Courtney, Maureen Goldman, Elizabeth Guzman, Kevin Harlan, Kevin Hughes, Bob Ingersoll, David Jackino, Tom Kilgallon, Libby Kirk, Michael Lehman, Michael McCray, Jim Moore, Gordon Purcell, Marc Schacher, Ted Zavales, Ted Zawislak