I took a couple weeks off from tracking Nielsen TV ratings. It’s a bit of a quiet time. But it’s time to see how some of the summer shows are doing. Here’s a quick assessment of a sampling of summer shows. (We’re still awaiting the returns of “Mad Men” on AMC and “Jersey Shore” on MTV.)
WINNERS (so far)
“Deadliest Catch” Discovery – The death of Phil Harris has certainly boosted the numbers for the network’s top show. Last week, the episode featuring his death drew 8.5 million viewers, the third most ever for the network.
“America’s Got Talent” NBC – For at least the fourth year in a row, this is the most popular TV summer series, averaging about 11 to 12 million viewers per episode. So far, Howie Mandel has made a good replacement for David Hasselhoff as a judge.
“Next Food Network Star” Food – Sure, “Top Chef” gets all the attention. But this show pulls in much bigger numbers, averaging more than 3.2 million viewers so far with a season high 3.7 million this past Sunday. One local man Herb Mesa remains after Brianna Jenkins was eliminated last Sunday.
“True Blood” HBO – I don’t have direct access to the numbers but from what little I’ve heard so far, the Emmy-nominated show, created by former Marietta resident Alan Ball, is easily HBO’s biggest hit since “The Sopranos.” It’s drawing more than 5 million viewers every Sunday night.
“Rizzoli & Isles”/”The Closer” TNT – TNT has to be thrilled that these two shows are appearing to be wonderfully compatible. After a huge opening of 7.7 million, “Rizzoli & Isles” this past Monday held virtually its entire first-week audience and even pulled in more viewers than “The Closer,” a first for any show that has followed that drama.
“The Real Housewives of New Jersey” Bravo – The big fight last week featuring Danielle Staub, Ashley Holmes and Teresa Giudice helped give the show one of its best showings to date: 3.3 million viewers.
“Covert Affairs” USA -It’s too early to call this a winner for sure since I have data for only the first episode but this promising series opened at a very solid 4.9 million viewers.
“Rookie Blue” ABC – This drama, a collaboration between ABC and a Canadian network (it’s set in Toronto), has averaged more than 6 million viewers a week. For a scripted summer show on a broadcast network, that’s a hit and the show already has been given a second season.
“The Glades” A&E – Yet another new cop drama, this A&E show opened at a promising 3.5 million July 11 and held most of the audience July 18 with 3.3 million viewers. So far, so good.
“Big Brother 12″ CBS – With about 7 million viewers per episode so far, this sturdy 10-year-old reality series actually saw its ratings up from a year ago.
SLIPPED AFTER BIG STARTS
“Hot in Cleveland” TV Land – After a huge 4.8 million on June 16, this Betty White sitcom has settled in the 3 million range the past three episodes. For TV Land, though, that already means a renewal for a second season.
“Memphis Beat” TNT – This Jason Lee drama has seen its ratings droop like a willow every episode from 4.3 million in its series debut episode to 2.95 million for its fourth. That’s a drop of 32 percent. “Hawthorne,” which comes on after “Beat,” has fallen a less alarming 22 percent.
“Futurama” Comedy – After a strong opening last month at 2.9 million, this animated revival of the old Fox series fell to about 2 million but perked up last week to 2.2 million. Those are good numbers for Comedy Central, which also has a hit on its hands with “Tosh 2.0,” which is getting similar ratings.
HOLDING, OR FALLING SLIGHTLY
“Burn Notice”/”Royal Pains”/”Psych” USA – “Burn Notice” was pulling in 6.5 million viewers or so a year ago and is now attracting a still ample 5.5 million. “Royal Pains” has fallen from 6.2 million to about 5.2 million in its second year. USA’s now veteran show “Psych” is down a little bit, now on Wednesdays without the now canceled “Monk” but still bringing in about 3.7 million viewers.
“So You Think You Can Dance” Fox – The idea of returning all stars hasn’t worked too well, with the series dropping to 5.6 million July 15. Ratings have fallen more than 15 percent from a year ago.
“Drop Dead Diva” Lifetime -The show, shot in Peachtree City, is averaging 2.6 million viewers after seven episodes in its sophomore year, down from season one’s overall average of 2.8 million.
“Secrets Lives of An American Teenager” from ABC Family (3 million) and “Army Wives” on Lifetime (3.4 million) are both pulling in about the same numbers as a year ago so far.
“Top Chef” Bravo – The numbers are down from a year ago, averaging 2.2 million viewers after five episodes. A year ago, when the show began in August, the show’s first five episodes averaged 2.7 million viewers.
HARD TO SAY
“Neighbors From Hell” TBS – This animated series opened at 1.8 million and has since slipped into the 1.2 million range. Given its relatively low cost, it’s hard for me to judge if TBS is happy with this viewership level or not.
“Warehouse 13″ SyFy – It opened at comparable numbers to a year ago, at about 2.9 million, but dropped to 2.3 million in its second episode while the second episode a year ago held at around 3 million. It’s too early to say where ratings will settle. The new drama “Haven,” which comes on after “Warehouse,” opened at a 2.1 million. Again, it’s premature to assess its future after just one airing.
“Downfall”ABC – This show, which features dropping prizes and people off a building, is not the next “Wipeout” and probably won’t be renewed, averaging about 4 million viewers.
“The Good Guys” Fox – This lighthearted drama might have done better on, say, USA Network. It’s averaging about 3.5 million viewers and is also a target for cancellation.
“Losing it With Jillian” NBC – Despite the popularity of “The Biggest Loser,” this spin off did not click with viewers, averaging about 4 million viewers, a loser for a major network.
“HGTV Design Star” HGTV - With Clive Pearse gone as host, the show isn’t quite the same. After averaging about 3 million viewers last year, so far this year, it’s only pulling in about 2.2 million.