After a strike-ridden year with just one bonafide hit (CBS’s “The Mentalist”) and a couple of decent freshman shows (notably Fox’s “Fringe”), the broadcast networks came back with a more robust lineup of newbies.
As expected, it’s a mixed bag when it comes to performance. Let’s go over the new shows network by network:
CBS: This network had the fewest holes to fill and has held up okay, though a few of its aging shows have lost significant steam – especially “Cold Case.” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” averaging 17-million plus viewers, has held a bulk of the crowd that watches “NCIS,” now TV’s most popular show at 20 million. The excellent drama “The Good Wife” on Tuesdays after “NCIS: Los Angeles” has held a consistent 13 million viewers. Jenna Elfman’s “Accidentally on Purpose” is a mediocre offering on Monday nights but is doing adequately sandwiched between “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men.” The maudlin “Three Rivers” is doing poorly on Sunday nights after “Amazing Race,” averaging fewer than 8 million viewers and skewing very old.
NBC: Clearly, no “ER” or “Friends” in the horizon. “The Jay Leno Show” is barely holding its own at 10 p.m. Reviews have been brutal and many nights it’s not even able to get a 1.5 rating among 18 to 49 year olds, the minimum the network has promised to advertisers. The EMT drama “Trauma” is a bust on Monday nights, averaging fewer than 6 million viewers (though ratings did stabilize after the second episode.) Wednesday night’s nurse drama “Mercy” is doing better, averaging 7.4 million viewers after five episodes. Sitcom “Community” on Thursday has been a disappointment, averaging 5.7 mlilion viewers to date.
ABC: The network’s sci-fi thriller “V” debuts next week. “The Forgotten” on Tuesdays starring Christian Slater hasn’t done a particularly good job holding the “Dancing With the Stars” audience but ABC should be relieved that ratings immediately stabilized after the second episode at around 7.5 million viewers. Wednesday is packed entirely of new shows. “Hank” is already in trouble and is preempted tonight for a repeat of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” “The Middle” has shown middling promise, with ratings falling every episode. “Modern Family,” (a personal favorite of mine), has had a bit of a wobbly time in the ratings but remains a solid hit for ABC, averaging more than 9 million viewers a week. “Cougar Town,” starring Courteney Cox, is doing okay but not showing as much holding power as “Modern Family.” “Eastwick,” a remake of the film starring Rebecca Romijn, isn’t hexing enough fans, averaging only 6 million viewers a week.
I’ve been watching “FlashFoward,” hoping it could be the next “Lost.” After a promising
start, the show has been draggy and uninspired, with poor character development. But ratings have held up, averaging 10 million viewers in a very competitive Thursday night slot.
Fox: The network added just three shows. “The Cleveland Show” has been a hit spinoff of “Family Guy” on Sunday nights. The quirky “Glee” has its plot flaws but the song-and-dance routines and Jane Lynch’s bon mots have made this a fun show, with growing (albeit just okay) ratings, on Wednesdays. Friday’s “Brothers” is on death watch.
The CW: The first show to be axed was Mischa Barton’s bomb “The Beautiful Life” after just two episodes. Atlanta-shot “The Vampire Diaries” on Thursday is the network’s biggest show so far, averaging close to 4 million viewers. It’s already gotten a guaranteed full season. “Melrose Place” on Tuesdays has been a shadow of its ’90s version self, averaging fewer than 1.7 million viewers.
Over in cable land, USA already has a promising drama in “White Collar” and the FX is hot on “Sons of Anarchy,” which recently beat “The Jay Leno Show” in 18-49 ratings.
What has caught your eye so far? What have you sampled and already given up on?