Welcome to Benjamonster's TV - a place that covers the big four networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX) with reviews, ratings, and other features as well as special features covering Classic TV!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

THE RUNDOWN: Tuesday, September 30

Tuesday night has the first series premieres since Thursday with the premiere of ABC's new comedy block - Selfie and Manhattan Love Story. Expectations are not too high with a tough timeslot, some ridicule for Selfie, and zero buzz for Manhattan. After a week of strong premieres, I expect some weak showings here. The bad 8pm lineup could have a negative impact later in the night although Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does seem to have its own audience. Elsewhere, I think both CBS and NBC will hold up well in week two while FOX will struggle to be on the map at all.

8:00 Selfie #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)

8:30 Manhattan Love Story #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #24 "Heavy is the Head"
10:00 Forever #3 "The Fountain of Youth"
Prediction: Selfie - 6.2 million, 1.6/Manhattan - 5.1 million, 1.4/Marvel - 5.1 million, 1.8/Forever - 5.7 million, 1.6

8:00 NCIS #260 "Kill the Messenger"

9:00 NCIS: New Orleans #2 "Carrier"
10:00 Person of Interest #70 "Nautilus"
Prediction: NCIS - 17.8 million, 2.7/New Orleans - 15.8 million, 2.3/Person - 10.8 million, 1.7

8:00 The Voice

10:00 Chicago Fire #48 "Wow Me"
Prediction: Voice - 12.8 million, 3.9/Fire - 8.4 million, 2.4

8:00 Utopia

9:00 New Girl #75 "Julie Berkman's Older Sister"
Prediction: Utopia - 1.8 million, 0.8/New Girl - 2.2 million, 1.2/Mindy - 2.2 million, 1.1

Monday, September 29, 2014

THE RUNDOWN: Monday, September 29

The second week kicks off with some changes in the 10pm hour with the arrival of the new season of Castle on ABC and the new season of NCIS: Los Angeles (on its new night) on CBS. Competing with The Blacklist, it'll be interesting to see how things shake out but I still like The Blacklist to easily win the hour in the demo. Los Angeles may be able to snag total viewers. Elsewhere, week two of Scorpion and Gotham will be ones to watch. Mom was planned for 8:30pm but CBS will now run an hour of The Big Bang Theory for several weeks before Mom now gets a slot after it when it moves back to Thursdays (The Millers will take the Monday 8:30pm slot starting Oct 20).

8:00 Dancing with the Stars

10:00 Castle #129 "Driven" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Dancing - 12.9 million, 2.1/Castle - 9.3 million, 1.9

8:00 The Big Bang Theory #162 "The First Pitch Insufficiency"
8:30 The Big Bang Theory #141 "The Romance Resonance" (REPEAT)
9:00 Scorpion #2 "Single Point of Failure"

10:00 NCIS: Los Angeles #121 "Deep Trouble" Part 2 (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Big Bang - 17.5 million, 5.1/Scorpion - 11.4 million, 2.5/Los Angeles - 12.3 million, 2.5

8:00 The Voice
10:00 The Blacklist #24 "Monarch Douglas Bank"
Prediction: Voice - 12.5 million, 3.6/Blacklist - 11.2 million, 3.0

8:00 Gotham #2 "Selina Kyle"

9:00 Sleepy Hollow #15 "The Kindred"
Prediction: Gotham - 7.2 million, 2.8/Sleepy - 5.1 million, 1.8

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Please note these are based on preliminary results. This post will be updated to reflect final numbers when available.

8:00 College Football

Viewers: 3.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.1

8:00 Madam Secretary (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.9 million, 18-49 demo: 0.6
9:00 Scorpion (Repeat)
Viewers: 4.6 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
10:00 48 Hours
Viewers: 5.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.0

8:00 The Voice (Repeat)
Viewers: 1.5 million, 18-49 demo: 0.6
9:00 Music for Change: The Global Citizen Festival
Viewers: 1.8 million, 18-49 demo: 0.4
10:00 Saturday Night Live (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.2 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9

8:00 College Football

Viewers: 1.6 million, 18-49 demo: 0.5

THE RUNDOWN: Sunday, September 28

Premiere week concludes with a very interesting night and a lot to watch. ABC has the season premieres of its dramas including the highly promoted "Frozen" storyline on Once Upon a Time. I think Once will get some interest but there will be little attention paid to Resurrection or Revenge. CBS has week two of Madam Secretary and The Good Wife as well as the season premiere of CSI on its new night. I expect an old-skewing but decent total viewership night. FOX has premieres of The Simpsons, Brooklyn Nine-Nine on its new night, and a one hour Family Guy that is a crossover with The Simpsons. I think this night will see a better premiere night than it did last year. On top of all that, NBC has a strong NFL game between the Saints and Cowboys.

7:00 Once Upon a Time: Storybrooke Has Frozen Over (SPECIAL)

8:00 Once Upon a Time #67 "A Tale of Two Sisters" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Resurrection #9 "Revelation" (Season Premiere)

10:00 Revenge #67 "Renaissance" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Once - 8.1 million, 2.6/Resurrection - 7.4 million, 1.9/Revenge - 6.1 million, 1.5

7:00 60 Minutes

8:00 Madam Secretary #2 "Another Benghazi"
9:00 The Good Wife #114 "Trust Issue"
10:00 CSI #318 "The CSI Effect" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: 60 Mins - 9.8 million, 1.3/Madam - 11.6 million, 1.6/Wife - 9.2 million, 1.3/CSI - 9.7 million, 1.7

7:00 Football Night in America
8:30 Sunday Night Football: New Orleans at Dallas

7:00 NFL Overrun

7:30 The OT
8:00 The Simpsons #553 "Clown in the Dumps" (Season Premiere)

8:30 Brooklyn Nine-Nine #23 "Undercover" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Family Guy #232 "The Simpsons Guy" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Simpsons - 7.8 million, 3.2/Brooklyn - 6.4 million, 2.4/Family - 6.2 million, 3.0

Saturday, September 27, 2014


8:00 Shark Tank
Viewers: 7.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.9
10:00 20/20
Viewers: 6.6 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6

8:00 The Amazing Race
Viewers: 5.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.1
9:00 Hawaii Five-0
Viewers: 9.0 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2
10:00 Blue Bloods
Viewers: 10.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

8:00 The Mysteries of Laura (Repeat)
Viewers: 4.8 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
9:00 Dateline NBC
Viewers: 6.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.4

8:00 Utopia

Viewers: 1.9 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
9:00 Gotham (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.5 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7

After a pretty solid four days of premiere week, Friday didn't have as much to be excited about. It was a pretty rock start for CBS as all three of their shows showed big decline. The Amazing Race's move to Friday from Sunday looks to not be nearly as good a move as Undercover Boss. With 5.5 million viewers and a 1.1 demo, it was down nearly a full point from last season's premiere and easily hit a series low. The weak 8pm entry didn't help the dramas that followed as Hawaii Five-0 tied a series low and Blue Bloods came in the demo. Last year, these demos were a pleasant surprise for CBS most weeks but that may not happen again this year. Total viewer count for the dramas was still pretty solid.

Over on ABC, the season premiere of Shark Tank delivered solid numbers. Its average looks a little lower because of the 8pm hour. The 9pm hour (its regular timeslot) was close to series highs. At 10pm, 20/20 was solid, handily beating Blue Bloods in the demo. NBC had a solid number from Dateline NBC as well despite the competition with 20/20 in the 10pm hour. Both Dateline and 20/20 beat every other Friday show except Shark Tank in the demo. On FOX, Utopia was up two tenths in viewers and the demo but it still had a miserable showing.

LOSER OF THE NIGHT: The Amazing Race (CBS)

GOOD WEEK/BAD WEEK: September 27, 2014

Check below this post for my review of How to Get Away with Murder!

The first week of the new fall season saw strong performances from nearly all the new shows except for week two of Red Band Society. On ABC, How to Get Away with Murder and Black-ish were the top two new shows in the demo with stellar debuts while Forever surprised everyone by growing on its second night of a two night premiere after a lackluster first night. On CBS, Madam Secretary, Scorpion, and NCIS: New Orleans have all gotten huge total numbers of viewers. On NBC, The Mysteries of Laura held up surprisingly well in week two despite an older skew. And Gotham on FOX was its strongest show in the demo by over a full point. This might look great for the new shows but the networks did bring out their biggest guns this week. The next week sees premieres of second tier shows like Stalker on CBS, ABC's Tuesday comedies, NBC's Thursday comedies, and Gracepoint on FOX. The newbie numbers may not look as universally good next week.

Oh FOX, what a horrible week you had. This situation seems more dire than even NBC was in when it was in the depths of despair following the Jay Leno weeknight show debacle. FOX's demos through Thursday night were the following:

Gotham - 3.2
Sleepy Hollow - 2.0
Bones - 1.6
New Girl - 1.3
Hell's Kitchen - 1.3
Red Band Society - 1.1
The Mindy Project - 1.0
Utopia - 0.8

So, only Gotham was impressive. Sleepy Hollow had a decent showing on paper but its big decline is a cause for concern. The Sunday lineup might be OK when it has a football lead-in, and Gotham might stay solid but other than that, it's pretty dire. And they can thank themselves for putting all their eggs in the X Factor/American Idol basket.

Friday, September 26, 2014

PILOT REVIEW: How to Get Away with Murder


Starring: Viola Davis, Billy Brown, Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Katie Findlay, Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry, Karla Souza, Charlie Weber, Liza Weil

Created by Peter Nowalk
Written by Peter Nowalk, Directed by Michael Offer

THE PREMISE: How to Get Away with Murder is a twisty crime/legal thriller centered around tough law professor and laywer Annelise Keating (Viola Davis). She teaches a course she nicknames "How to Get Away with Murder" and chooses five lucky proteges to join her team, also consisting of Frank Delfino and Bonnie Winterbottom (Charlie Weber and Liza Weil). The five proteges are underdog Wes (Alfred Enoch), teacher's pet Michaela (Aja Naomi King), driven and gay Connor (Jack Falahee), mysterious Laurel (Karla Souza), and confident Asher (Matt McGorry). Rounding out the main cast is a detective with a connection to Keating, Nate Lahey (Billy Brown). Oh and by the way, at least four of the five proteges are featured in a flash forward that implies they actually are involved in a murder a few months later.

THE GOOD: This show is all about Viola Davis. Channeling Kerry Washington from Scandal, Davis absolutely commands every scene she's in with a supreme sense of confidence yet a feeling she could unravel at any moment. It's an interesting mix of a character but it's something Washington does as well. When she's working, she's as strong as can be, yet we see glimpses of a less than perfect personal life. The rest of the cast is solid too, particularly Alfred Enoch, who already seems like someone to root for (but also probably someone with some problems). The use of a law school is a very interesting way to present a soapy thriller like this show. It may not quite have the high stakes DC has, but it's still an interesting way to shape a story. I love the flash-forward idea for a show like this. I just hope it's as satisfying as the ones in Damages and not a disappointment like Revenge.

THE BAD: After reading about this show, I must say I was expecting it to be a little bit more crazy and twisty than it was. It wasn't really until the final seconds of the first episode that I thought "OK this could be a fun ride." Before that, it seemed like it was trying to force twisty turns and they weren't landing. Scandal let it happen organically as the show started pretty tame, but this show seemed to be trying to get to Scandal level right away and it just didn't happen. As much as I love the flash-forward concept, it makes me nervous because it has to mean the writers have a very clear sense of where things are going regardless of what critics or fans say. As I alluded to in the good section, Damages did this with excellence year after year while Revenge never seemed to have an endgame in mind and the seemingly stunning flash-forward ended up being a bait and switch.

BOTTOM LINE: I was feeling throughout most of the episode that this show was a disappointment but there are two reasons I'm going to stick with it for awhile. First and foremost is Viola Davis. I thought she was spectacular in the pilot and she seems like a very interesting character. Secondly, the final minute of the pilot made me hopeful that this show can be the twisty, crazy thriller it seems to want to be.


8:00 Grey's Anatomy

Viewers: 10.1 million, 18-49 demo: 3.1
9:00 Scandal
Viewers: 12.2 million, 18-49 demo: 3.9
10:00 How to Get Away with Murder
Viewers: 14.3 million, 18-49 demo: 3.9

8:00 Thursday Night Kickoff

Viewers: 7.2 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2
8:30 Thursday Night Football
Viewers: 16.3 million, 18-49 demo: 6.0

8:00 The Biggest Loser
Viewers: 4.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3
10:00 Parenthood
Viewers: 4.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.4

8:00 Bones

Viewers: 6.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6
9:00 Sleepy Hollow (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.3 million, 18-49 demo: 0.6

TGIT indeed... ABC's very hyped Shondaland lineup delivered fantastic results in its first time out from start to finish. It really couldn't have gone better for ABC. At 8pm, Grey's Anatomy in its new timeslot may have finally broken ABC's decades-long Thursday night 8pm curse. The season premiere delivered the best ratings for ABC in the timeslot for a regularly scheduled show since FlashForward way back on October 22, 2009 and that show evaporated quickly thereafter. Grey's should be more stable - even if/when it drops some, it seems like it could still be around last year's 9pm levels. At 9pm, the season premiere of Scandal delivered series highs for the hit show. The 9pm move looks like a smart one right now as the show showed no signs of a slump and the many live tweeters didn't mind doing it an hour earlier. Then at 10pm, the newest Shondaland entry, How to Get Away with Murder delivered dazzling numbers, Not only did it tie Scandal in the demo, it actually built on it in viewers. Scandal and Murder are the top two scripted dramas in premiere week by almost a full demo point and Murder delivered a better demo than any new show last year or this year except for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ABC is also now the owner of the top demo debut so far for both comedies (Black-ish) and dramas (Murder) this season (of course, no other comedies have premiered yet but I have a feeling it's gonna stay this way).

While ABC had much to celebrate, CBS actually won the night thanks to a strong Thursday night football game. Even in another one-sided game, it pulled in strong numbers perhaps thanks to the two teams coming from the big metro areas of New York and Washington DC. On NBC, The Biggest Loser was down a tenth in viewers and even in the demo. The season premiere of the final season of Parenthood was slightly above what it was getting most of last season. Against a huge series premiere on ABC and football, things could have been worse. FOX had the season premiere of Bones and it delivered very modest numbers. A 1.6 demo doesn't look great, but it makes it the third strongest program on FOX this week after the Monday pair of Gotham and Sleepy Hollow. That's just how bad things are for FOX this early in the season.

WINNER OF THE NIGHT: How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
LOSER OF THE NIGHT: The Biggest Loser (NBC)

THE RUNDOWN: Friday, September 26 & Saturday, September 27

There are no series premieres on Friday so the network to watch is probably CBS which is bringing The Amazing Race to the night. I think it'll do OK but won't be anything special. Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods should continue to be solid but old skewing with their series premiere. Elsewhere, ABC's two hour premiere of Shark Tank should be tops in the demo while NBC and FOX are largely sitting out.

8:00 Shark Tank (Season Premiere)

10:00 20/20
Prediction: Shark - 7.3 million, 2.1/2020 - 5.1 million, 1.5

8:00 The Amazing Race (25th Edition Premiere)
9:00 Hawaii Five-0 #94 "A'ohe Kahi e Pe'e Ai" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Blue Bloods #90 "Partners" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Race - 7.1 million, 1.6/Hawaii - 9.4 million, 1.5/Bloods - 11.1 million, 1.6

8:00 The Mysteries of Laura #2 "The Mysteries of the Dead Date" (REPEAT)
9:00 Dateline NBC

Prediction: Dateline - 6.4 million, 1.5

8:00 Utopia

9:00 Gotham #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
Prediction: Utopia - 1.7 million, 0.7


8:00 College Football: Notre Dame vs. Syracuse

8:00 Madam Secretary #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
9:00 Scorpion #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
10:00 48 Hours (Season Premiere)

8:00 The Voice (REPEAT)

9:00 Music for Change: The Global Citizen Festival (SPECIAL)
10:00 Saturday Night Live (REPEAT)

8:00 College Football: Baylor at Iowa State

Thursday, September 25, 2014


8:00 The Middle

Viewers: 7.6 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2
8:30 The Goldbergs
Viewers: 7.3 million, 18-49 demo: 2.4
9:00 Modern Family
Viewers: 11.4 million, 18-49 demo: 3.9
9:30 Black-ish
Viewers: 11.0 million, 18-49 demo: 3.3
10:00 Nashville
Viewers: 5.8 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5

8:00 Survivor
Viewers: 9.8 million, 18-49 demo: 2.7
9:30 Big Brother
Viewers: 6.9 million, 18-49 demo: 2.6

8:00 The Mysteries of Laura

Viewers: 10.0 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5
9:00 Law & Order: SVU
Viewers: 10.1 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2
10:00 Chicago PD
Viewers: 8.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.9

8:00 Hell's Kitchen

Viewers: 3.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3
9:00 Red Band Society
Viewers: 3.4 million, 18-49 demo: 1.1

On Wednesday night, ABC's new comedy lineup got off to a great start. Leading off at 8pm, The Middle wasn't at its strongest with an OK 2.2 demo. It seems like it should have done better for a season premiere. The Goldbergs first new Wednesday airing was a big success though as it built on The Middle in the demo and delivered its best numbers since the series premiere a year ago. 8:30pm occupants almost never build on The Middle so this was a huge win for the sophomore show. At 9pm, five-time Emmy winner Modern Family premiered to strong numbers just below last year's premiere and above the big wedding season finale. It led into the series premiere of Black-ish and the newest ABC family comedy delivered better retention than many post-Modern Family shows. It was almost exactly on par in total viewers but skewed a little bit older. This was a fantastic start for the new show and it looks like ABC finally having some cohesion to their comedy lineup will pay off. At 10pm, the Nashville season premiere did nothing special. If Black-ish continues to be strong, Nashville is going to look even worse.

NBC had a surprisingly strong night. The biggest surprise came at 8pm with The Mysteries of Laura premiering in its regular timeslot. It skewed very old but was down just two tenths in total viewers from its premiere behind America's Got Talent. It also grew during the half hour. Despite the old skew, this is a very promising start for the new 8pm occupant. At 9pm, Law & Order: SVU premiered to good numbers in its 16th season. It was below last year's huge two hour, 2.6 shock, but it still did very well. At 10pm, Chicago PD also did well with good retention from SVU and the second strongest total viewer count, trailing only the series premiere. This is one of those lineups like CBS Sunday that could survive on good total viewers and older skews, as long as the demos don't get too bad.

For the past several years, CBS has premiered Survivor and finished Big Brother on the Wednesday before the season began. This year, they waited until premiere week and were actually up from last season despite more competition. These two veteran reality franchises which started in the same summer (2000) are still doing quite well nearly 15 years later. FOX's disastrous week (aside from Gotham) continued in full force on Wednesday. Hell's Kitchen was down three tenths in viewers and a tenth in the demo for series lows. Even a reliable franchise like this can't get out of FOX's steep descent. Week two of Red Band Society was down seven tenths in viewers and two tenths in the demo. These numbers might seem like an instant cancellation, but it's going to be fine for now because FOX really does not have anything better to put in. This network is in such disarray, it's like it's the 1980s all over again and they're just starting out.