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Sunday, September 30, 2012

PILOT REVIEW: 666 Park Avenue

666 PARK AVENUE












Starring: Rachael Taylor, Dave Annable, Robert Buckley, Samantha Logan, Mercedes Masohn, Helena Matteson, with Vanessa L. Williams, and Terry O'Quinn

Based on the Book by Gabriella Pierce, Developed by David Wilcox
Written by David Wilcox, Directed by Alex Graves

666 Park Avenue is a creepy new drama from ABC about an upscale apartment building (The Drake) and the demonic forces that may be at work within the building. Young couple Henry Martin (Dave Annable) and Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) become the new managers at the building which is owned by the mysterious Gavin Doran (Terry O'Quinn) and his wife Olivia (Vanessa L. Williams). Rounding out the main cast is another couple, Brian and Louise (Robert Buckley and Mercedes Masohn), a beautiful woman across the street, Alexis (Helena Matteson) who has her eyes on Brian, and a mysterious girl Nona (Samantha Logan).

THE GOOD: Well, I love the ambiance of a classic, old hotel in upscale Manhattan. The idea of this beautiful building hosting some dark secrets is an intriguing one for sure and at times throughout the episode (but not consistently), the mood was really felt. There were a few good moments of spookiness - the elevator scene towards the end in particular. I actually found myself most interested in the Brian and Louise characters rather than the main one because I think the story with the woman across the street has the potential to be a good one.

THE BAD: This show could have been really, really good. All the pieces are there for it to be a really creepy yet well done show. But instead it seems to half heartedly commit to spooks and didn't do a great job of making me want to keep finding out the story. Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams were both a little disappointing in the pilot because I think their characters could be written and played better. They actually both seemed a little bored in their roles. I wanted this show to be better, creepier, more interesting, etc.

BOTTOM LINE: I don't know if you could quite call this a horror show like last year's The River but there's a reason that spooky shows don't often work on TV. It can try to provide some thrills but it's nothing we haven't seen in many movies over the years. It also wants to be really sensual and risque but seems to be confined by broadcast TV standards. It's a valiant attempt but I just don't see this show becoming the next buzzy show like the two dramas that precede it on Sunday night.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/29/12

ABC 
8:00 College Football
Viewers: 4.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3

CBS
8:00 Vegas (Repeat)
Viewers: 4.3 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9
9:00 Hawaii Five-0 (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.6 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
10:00 48 Hours
Viewers: 4.8 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9


NBC
8:00 Revolution (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.5 million, 18-49 demo: 0.5
9:00 Law & Order: SVU (Repeat)
Viewers: 4.1 million, 18-49 demo: 0.8


FOX
8:00 College Football
Viewers: 3.8 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

WEEKEND REWIND: ABC 1985-86 Season

This year (and probably beyond), the Weekend Rewind will focus on past schedules starting with ABC! The first year focused on a recap of some of my favorite shows, the second year focused on Best-Of lists. And now, I will look back at seasons from the past with some analysis. Enjoy it all year!!

ABC 1985-86 SEASON

Mondays
(Sep 23-Dec 23)
8:00 Hardcastle & McCormick
9:00 Monday Night Football

(Jan 6-May 19)
8:00 Hardcastle & McCormick
9:00 Monday Night Movie
ABC was having a rough go of it in the mid 1980s and this particular season saw the end of several shows including Hardcastle & McCormick after three seasons. The action show starring Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh Kelly had aired for two years on Sunday but a move to Monday saw it drop from #39 to #55 in the ratings and a cancellation at the end of the season. ABC aired Monday Night Football for over 30 years and often had(Jan 6-May 19) a hard time finding a lead-in show. At 9pm for the fall was the institution Monday Night Football ranking at #15 in the ratings. The 1985 season had an ill fated attempt at putting Joe Namath in the booth as a color commentator. As was often the case in those days, Monday Night Football was replaced in the spring by a movie.

Tuesdays
(Sep 24-Oct 15)
8:00 Who's the Boss?
8:30 Growing Pains
9:00 Moonlighting
10:00 Our Family Honor

(Oct 29-Mar 18)
8:00 Who's the Boss?
8:30 Growing Pains
9:00 Moonlighting
10:00 Spenser: For Hire

(Mar 25-Apr 29)
8:00 Who's the Boss?
8:30 Perfect Strangers
9:00 Moonlighting
10:00 Spenser: For Hire

(May 6-20)
8:00 Who's the Boss?
8:30 Growing Pains
9:00 Moonlighting
10:00 Spenser: For Hire
"Growing Pains"
"Perfect Strangers"
The first two hours of Tuesday night was ABC's strongest time in the whole week. At 8pm was hit comedy Who's the Boss? just entering its second season. The show was ABC's highest rated comedy, placing at #10 for the year in the Nielsens. It was followed by a new family comedy that was a perfect match for Boss and a hit with viewers. Growing Pains was one of the many harmless family sitcoms in the 80s with a memorable theme song and "very special" episodes. It was a long running success and is the reason people like Tracey Gold, Alan Thicke, and Kirk Cameron remain names we know today. ABC preempted it briefly in the spring, which was a common practice, to launch another successful sitcom - the silly Perfect Strangers. The show was a success as well and actually ran even longer than Growing Pains when all was said and done. At 9pm was the buzzy second year show Moonlighting, a show which made Bruce Willis a household name. The quirky comedy-drama was very popular early on but the wheels eventually fell off. In these early days though, it was a great complement to the comedies. The 10pm hour was more troubling. At first, ABC tried the drama Our Family Honor. The show was about two powerful NYC families - one with ties to the NYPD and one with ties to the mob. The show didn't cut it for long on Tuesdays and was benched to Fridays by November where it lingered for two more months. ABC replaced it with Spenser: For Hire which was a new show starring Robert Urich. It started on Fridays but was quickly upgraded to Tuesdays when Honor bombed. It wasn't a huge hit but did enough to earn a renewal.

Wednesdays
(Sep 25-Jan 8)
8:00 The Insiders
9:00 Dynasty
10:00 Hotel

(Jan 15-May 21)
8:00 MacGyver
9:00 Dynasty
10:00 Hotel
"The Insiders"
Wednesday was a night of dramas for ABC. At 8pm was the failed detective drama The Insiders. ABC gave it nearly half a season but eventually yanked it and burned off episodes on Mondays in June. It was replaced by fellow freshman MacGyver which had been airing on Sunday nights. Though never a mammoth hit, MacGyver had a nice log run and has lived on thanks to the ridiculousness of the show. At 9pm was ABC's top rated show, the lavish soap Dynasty. At the height of Reagan-era excesses, this show was coming off of being the top rated show in all of TV during the 1984-85 season. The show dropped to #7 this season but a big drop was coming the following season as it was showing signs of age. The mammoth success of Dynasty led to many soapy copycats. One of the more successful ones was Hotel, starring James Brolin as a general manager of a ritzy San Francisco hotel. The show was a Private Practice of its day - always moderately successful but many thought it was because of its much more successful lead-in. Still, it was in its third season of a five season run.

Thursdays
(Sep 26-Oct 17)
8:00 The Fall Guy
9:00 Lady Blue
10:00 20/20 

(Oct 24-Nov 7)
8:00 Thursday Night Movie
10:00 20/20   

(Nov 14-Jan 16)
8:00 Shadow Chasers
9:00 The Colbys (starting Nov 28)
10:00 20/20

(Jan 30-May 22)
8:00 Ripley's Believe it or Not
9:00 The Colbys
10:00 20/20
"The Colbys"
Thursday nights were hard in the 1980s and 1990s for any network not named NBC. ABC started the year with the sixth season of The Fall Guy and the new Lady Blue. The one time hit The Fall Guy was slowing down and started out the year getting clobbered by NBC. ABC tried it on Fridays and Saturdays but cancelled it at season's end. Lady Blue was a violent drama about a female homicide detective. It didn't work at all on Thursdays and was cancelled not long after a move to Saturdays. ABC bagged this Thursday crime drama lineup after just a few weeks. After a few weeks of specials and random airings, it unveiled its new lineup of Shadow Chasers and The Colbys. Shadow Chasers was a conspiracy drama and a bigger bomb than the early failed lineup as it finished dead last among the 106 shows airing on the big three broadcast networks that season. It managed to last ten episodes before being yanked and replaced by cheap filler Ripley's Believe it or Not. The Colbys was a spinoff of Dynasty and was perhaps one too many soaps on the air. Starring Charlton Heston and Barbara Stanwyck, the show could not make much of a dent against the hugely popular Cheers on NBC. The show managed to get a second season renewal but completely fell apart in year two. At 10pm was the ninth season of the still-running 20/20

Fridays
(Sep 27-Oct 25)
8:00 Webster
8:30 Mr. Belvedere
9:00 Diff'rent Strokes
9:30 Benson
10:00 Spenser: For Hire

(Nov 8-Jan 3)
8:00 Webster
8:30 Mr. Belvedere
9:00 Diff'rent Strokes
9:30 Benson
10:00 Our Family Honor

(Jan 10-Mar 21)
8:00 Webster
8:30 Mr. Belvedere
9:00 Diff'rent Strokes
9:30 He's the Mayor
10:00 The Fall Guy

(Mar 28-May 2)
8:00 Webster
8:30 Mr. Belvedere
9:00 Mr. Sunshine
9:30 Joe Bash
10:00 The Fall Guy

"Mr. Sunshine"
ABC was known for years for its Friday night comedies. They rarely were in the Top 30 but gave the network a Friday identity for decades. In 1985-86, the 8pm hour was steady with the third season of Webster and second season of Mr. Belvedere. They were also by far the most successful shows of the night. The 9pm hour started with two one-time hits at the ends of their runs. NBC had cancelled Diff'rent Strokes the season before but ABC picked it up for an ill-fated final season. They paired it with Benson which was cancelled after a seven season run. In January, ABC shipped Benson off to Saturday and replaced it with He's the Mayor. This short-lived comedy was about a 25 year old mayor of a small town. Both Diff'rent Strokes and He's the Mayor were replaced in late March with two ill-fated freshman - Mr. Sunshine starring Jeffrey Tambor (long before the 2011 Matthew Perry sitcom of the name) and Joe Bash starring Peter Doyle. Both shows had odd twists as Mr. Sunshine was about a blind man and Joe Bash was a very dark comedy that was critically acclaimed but couldn't find an audience. Both were cancelled by season's end. The 10pm hour was also home to rotating shows. The new Spenser: For Hire was scheduled their initially but swapped places with Our Family Honor was bombing on Tuesdays. Honor came over to Fridays to finish its run before being replaced by The Fall Guy at the end of a five season run. The show was once a Top 20 hit but had slipped by the time it came to Fridays and was one of many veteran shows to end its run at the end of the season.

Saturdays
(Sep 21-Nov 9)
8:00 Hollywood Beat
9:00 Lime Street (through Oct 12)
10:00 The Love Boat

(Nov 16-Jan 11)
8:00 The Fall Guy (starting Nov 30)
9:00 Lady Blue
10:00 The Love Boat

(Jan 18-Apr 19)
8:00 The Redd Foxx Show
8:30 Benson
9:00 Lady Blue (Jan 18-25)/Fortune Dane (Feb 15-Mar 22)
10:00 The Love Boat

(May 3-24)
8:00 Mr. Sunshine
8:30 Benson
9:00 Various Programming
10:00 The Love Boat
"The Redd Foxx Show"
"Lime Street"
Saturday nights on ABC were basically a dumping ground for shows that didn't make it and it was also home to four brand new shows that failed. Now you can see why networks don't program on Saturdays anymore! The season started out with two new shows - police drama Hollywood Beat and action series Lime Street starring Robert Wagner. Both shows were gone by December though Lime Street had an interesting and tragic story as 13 year old co-star and activist Samantha Smith was killed in a plane crash after only three episodes were filmed. The cancellation was a mutual decision by the network and producers as the show couldn't overcome the tragedy. Those two dramas were replaced by the final season of The Fall Guy, which jumped around the lineup, and a burnoff of violent new drama Lady Blue. When those shows were moved/cancelled, ABC went with comedies at the 8pm hour. Sanford and Son's Redd Foxx returned to TV with a self-titled sitcom. As is so often the case, the success could not be replicated and the show was cancelled after 13 episodes. It was paired with the final season of Benson and was replaced by a Mr. Sunshine burnoff at the very end of the season. At 9pm, ABC tried one new show in crime drama Fortune Dane. When that didn't work, they went with miscellaneous repeats and specials for the final two months. Throughout the whole season, 10pm belonged to the final season of The Love Boat. A former Top 10 show, The Love Boat was a lingering show from a bygone era of ABC. It was cancelled after nine seasons though it continued to air specials the following year. It is crazy how many long-running shows ended this year for ABC - The Love Boat, Diff'rent Strokes, Benson, The Fall Guy, and Hardcastle & McCormick.

Sundays
(Sep 22-Jan 26)
7:00 Ripley's Believe it or Not
8:00 MacGyver
9:00 Sunday Night Movie

(Feb 2-May 25)
7:00 The Disney Sunday Movie
9:00 Sunday Night Movie

"MacGyver"
Sundays were pretty stable for ABC back in the days when every network aired movies on Sunday nights. At 7pm it started with reality series Ripley's Believe it or Not which had been around awhile but was cancelled at season's end after a move to Thursdays. At 8pm was the new MacGyver. The eventual hit was off to a slow start on Sunday nights but moved to Wednesdays at midseason and then found an audience airing before Monday Night Football. When it moved, ABC replaced the two hours with Wonderful World of Disney (called the Disney Sunday Movie).  This was its return to ABC after airing on CBS. It didn't last long this time but was revived again in 1997 for a longer time. The Sunday Night Movie aired at 9pm but was the lowest rated of the three network movies. So as you can see, things weren't all that rosy for ABC in 1985-86.

ABC 1985-86 Stats

Shows in the Top 30
7. Dynasty
10. Who's the Boss?
15. Monday Night Football
17. Growing Pains
22. Hotel
24. Moonlighting

Fall Shows Survival: 3/8 (38%)
Spenser: For Hire, Growing Pains, MacGyver

Midseason Shows Survival: 2/8 (25%)
The Colbys, Perfect Strangers

Total New Show Survival Rate: 5/16 (31%)

Cancelled/Ended Series
The Love Boat (9 seasons)
Diff'rent Strokes (8 seasons)
Benson (7 seasons)
The Fall Guy (6 seasons)
Ripley's Believe it or Not (4 seasons)
Hardcastle & McCormick (3 seasons)
Our Family Honor/Hollywood Beat/Lime Street/The Insiders/Lady Blue/Shadow Chasers/He's the Mayor/The Redd Foxx Show/Fortune Dane/Mr. Sunshine/Joe Bash (1 season)

Emmy Award Nominees & Winners (Major Categories)
Moonlighting (Nominee, Outstanding Drama Series)
Bruce Willis, Moonlighting (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series)
Cybill Shepherd, Moonlighting (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series)
Allyce Beasley, Moonlighting (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series) 

THE RUNDOWN: Sunday, September 30

Check below this post for reviews of Made in Jersey and Elementary! And check back later today for the first Weekend Rewind of the new season and a review of 666 Park Avenue!

ABC
7:00 Once Upon a Time: Magic is Coming (SPECIAL)
8:00 Once Upon a Time #23 "Broken" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Revenge #23 "Destiny" (Season Premiere)
10:00 666 Park Avenue #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
ABC is all new on Sunday night with its new drama lineup. After a Once Upon a Time, season two of TV's biggest drama hit from last season begins. I'd expect good numbers because people seem excited for this one to come back. The big question is the move of Revenge to Sunday nights. ABC's hoping this will make Sundays much more powerful. I think Revenge will be up from where it left off on Wednesdays but I don't think it'll soar incredibly high. The new 666 Park Avenue follows. Reviews have been lukewarm and the devoted fans of Once and Revenge may not stick around for a third hour. I wouldn't be shocked by a disappointing start for 666.
Prediction: Time - 12.4 million, 3.7/Revenge - 10.1 million, 3.1/Park - 8.2 million, 2.5

CBS
7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 The Amazing Race (21st Edition Premiere)
9:00 The Good Wife #69 "I Fought the Law" (Season Premiere)
10:00 The Mentalist #95 "The Crimson Ticket" (Season Premiere)
CBS has a night of premieres with the return of The Amazing Race and The Good Wife as well as The Mentalist on a Sunday night. Considering the way CBS dramas have done this week and the fact that this looks like a pretty lackluster lineup, I think we'll see some disappointing results and there's not even a football double header to inflate numbers.
Prediction: Minutes - 11.4 million, 2.0/Race - 10.6 million, 2.6/Wife - 9.1 million, 2.0/Mentalist - 10.4 million, 2.2

NBC
7:00 Football Night in America
8:30 Sunday Night Football: NY Giants at Philadelphia
NBC has a matchup between two ratings favorites so I'd expect another night of great numbers for NBC football.

FOX
7:00 NFL Overrun/The OT
8:00 The Simpsons #509 "Moonshine River" (Season Premiere)
8:30 Bob's Burgers #23 "Ear-sy Rider" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Family Guy #189 "Into Fat Air" (Season Premiere)
9:30 American Dad! #134 "Love, AD Style" (Season Premiere)
FOX has premieres of its cartoons after a football doubleheader. Just like with 60 Minutes, football always helps these shows and this week should be no different but these numbers won't look nearly as nice in the spring.
Prediction: Simpsons - 8.7 million, 3.4/Burgers - 7.0 million, 2.3/Family - 9.1 million, 3.7/Dad - 7.5 million, 2.7   

PILOT REVIEW: Made in Jersey

MADE IN JERSEY










Starring: Janet Montgomery, Pablo Schreiber, Stephanie March, Toni Trucks, Erin Cummings, and Kyle MacLachlan

Created by Dana Calvo
Written by Dana Calvo, Directed by Mark Waters

Made in Jersey is a new legal drama from CBS that is basically a by-the-book procedural. At the center of the show is Martina Garretti (Janet Montgomery), a young lawyer who was born and raised in New Jersey but has joined a Manhattan law firm led by Donovan Stark (Kyle MacLachlan). Rounding out the main cast are co-workers at the law firm and her boisterous New Jersey family including her mother Darlene (Donna Murphy).

THE GOOD: I must say this is the first show that actually surprised me in that I liked it much more than I thought I would. There is nothing original about it at all but that doesn't mean it's not an enjoyable hour of TV. Though it's a procedural that was dealing with a murder in the pilot, the show had a sort of light whimsy to it. I thought Janet Montgomery might be brassy and annoying but she actually really elevated so-so writing. She was someone I wanted to root for and she struck the right tone between confidence and inexperience. Kyle MacLachlan was solid too as the partner in the law firm. In contrast to the dark version of New York presented in Person of Interest or the moody version presented in Blue Bloods, this show made NYC seem like an exciting and fun place especially for a young professional.

THE BAD: As I said already, there was nothing original about it. While I really did enjoy it, I can't see it becoming appointment viewing if it lasts on Friday nights. It's one of those shows that can easily be cut out of a schedule and it wouldn't be missed but it might be nice to watch when there's nothing else on. That doesn't bode well for a show because there's no major hook, just comfort viewing. It's like a rerun of a Law & Order episode in that way. Also, the New Jersey scenes were less intriguing than the New York scenes so I would play that down.

BOTTOM LINE: I have to say, this was the biggest surprise of the season so far for me. I went in expecting to hate it because I've generally agreed with critics so far this year. But not this time. I found Made in Jersey to be a fun hour of TV - nothing special, nothing groundbreaking but fun. Janet Montgomery is a big reason why. It's too bad the ratings were so low because I see some promise here.

PILOT REVIEW: Elementary

ELEMENTARY













Starring: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, and Aidan Quinn

Based on the Works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Created by Robert Doherty
Written by Robert Doherty, Directed by Michael Cuesta

Elementary is an updated retelling of the famous Sherlock Holmes stories. In this interpretation, Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is a recovering drug addict formerly from Scotland Yard now living in New York City and working on cases there. His sober companion is Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), yes Joan not John. In a small ensemble, the only other main character in the show is NYPD Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn).

THE GOOD: I liked a lot about Elementary. I don't mind that it's little more than a "case of the week" show. After all, Sherlock Holmes basically invented that style. I am also a big fan of the new setting and approach to the show - having Sherlock as a recovering drug addict and Watson as a female with a broken past of her own - adds dimension to these characters. Jonny Lee Miller is absolutely fantastic in the lead role. He is energetic and dynamic. I love that both his character and Watson have real struggles they have dealt with. There aren't your stereotypical leads in a procedurals, these are characters that have been through a lot. I have heard them say they aren't going to play up a romance between Holmes and Watson and I hope they don't. That's a cheap way out when you cast a woman as Watson.

THE BAD: While the character development was good, I feel like they could have picked a more intriguing case for the first week. There was nothing about this murder that sucked me in or kept me guessing. Considering what a detective Holmes is, he needs some better and more interesting cases. If the case of the week continues to be a weak part of this show, it might be in trouble because they seem intent on developing the characters. That's a good thing but not at the sacrifice of a good story. Maybe the show still needs to figure out the balance which can be common for early episodes of a drama.

BOTTOM LINE: Despite taking its premise from stories that are very old, this is a fresh and new feeling to Sherlock. The show has a lot of potential in the two leads, it just needs to make sure that it can capture the average viewer with a good case to solve. It's Sherlock Holmes of all people, he needs good cases with a lot of depth and twists and turns.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

PILOT REVIEW: Last Resort

LAST RESORT











 Starring: Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman, Daisy Betts, Camille De Pazzis, Dichen Lachman, Daniel Lissing, Sahr Ngaujah, Autumn Reeser, Jessy Schram, and Robert Patrick

Created by Karl Gajdusek and Shawn Ryan
Written by Karl Gajdusek and Shawn Ryan, Directed by Martin Campbell

Last Resort is a new high octane conspiracy drama from ABC. It centers on the crew of the fictional USS Colorado. When Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) is given orders through a suspicious channel to launch missiles against Pakistan, he questions the order and it relieved of his duties. Second in command Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) does the same thing and an attack is launched against the submarine. Though it is claimed to be from Pakistan, they quickly discover the order came from the US. Now that they are enemies, the crew lands on the island of Sainte Marina and takes over a NATO facility determined to prove their innocence and stay alive. Rounding out the large cast is the submarine crew including Lt. Grace Shepard (Daisy Betts), whose father is an admiral, natives of Sainte Marina, and power players in DC.

THE GOOD: Wow... what a pilot! This whole episode felt like a mini-movie filled with major thrills. It was expertly produced and acted as well. Andre Braugher killed in his lead role as the defiant yet noble Captain Chaplin. The camaraderie among the crew and particularly the relationship between Braugher and Speedman was a major highlight. So many dramas like this open with tons of conspiracies and sometimes you don't actually care what happens but here, I left the pilot episode really wanting to know what's next. It was also unique to have a setting on a submarine although now they are mostly on the island or at least it appears it will be that way in future weeks.

THE BAD: I heard a lot of questions about where the show goes from here in reviews and I have a lot of those same questions. I hope the show plays up the conspiracy aspect and doesn't turn into a culture on the island, which would be too close to Lost. Having the dynamics between DC and the rogue submarine was the strongest part at the pilot yet the very last scene had me worried that future episodes will be less like the pilot than I want them to be.

BOTTOM LINE: I don't know how the show continues from here or what episode two, three, four, etc will look like but I know that I'll definitely be coming back to see. The cast and Braugher in particular are a real strength of this show but I hope the creators and writers have a vision for this show and where they want it to be by midseason and by season's end if it lasts that long. So I loved the pilot, but I'm nervous for the future with this show. We'll see...

GOOD WEEK/BAD WEEK: 2012-13 Week 1

GOOD WEEK: "GREY'S ANATOMY"
In premiere week, many returning shows delivered smaller ratings than last year's strong premiere week numbers. This was seen on hit shows such as Modern Family, Criminal Minds, CSI, Dancing with the Stars, How I Met Your Mother, The Middle, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Blue Bloods, and others. But there was one veteran drama that had a significant uptick year to year and that was Grey's Anatomy. In its ninth season, the medical drama delivered a stellar 4.4 demo, only trailing Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory for the week in the demo. This is a great performance for a show that looked like it was on its way down for the past couple years until last spring's uptick. Then it followed a strong spring with a premiere number that was only topped once all last season. It may be old, but it remains one of TV's hottest shows.

BAD WEEK: DEAD ON ARRIVAL NEWBIES
Premiere week always brings a couple duds but it seems like there were more immediately dead shows than usual this year. After seeing the ratings for The Mob Doctor, Partners, Made in Jersey, and Animal Practice - it's clear that none of these shows will be around for long. The entire freshman class seems pretty weak but those four shows are dead in the water and I'll predict that one at most will live until November. There was a vibe going in that this year's class was weak and the premiere week numbers lived up to that. In an era of declining audiences, people aren't going to watch shows with no buzz and no appeal. Yet networks continue to greenlight shows like that - I mean, did FOX really think a show about a mob doctor would work? Did CBS really think Partners was going to be their next comedy hit after watching the pilot?

PILOT REVIEW: The Neighbors

THE NEIGHBORS










Starring: Jami Gertz, Lenny Venito, Simon Templeman, Toks Olagundoye, Clara Mamet, Tim Jo, Ian Patrick, Max Charles, Isabella Cramp

Created by Dan Fogelman
Written by Dan Fogelman, Directed by Chris Koch

The Neighbors is a new outlandish sitcom from ABC that wins the award for oddest concept in the 2012-13 season. The show centers on married couple Debbie and Marty Weaver (Jami Gertz and Lenny Venito) and their kids (Clara Marmet, Max Charles, and Isabella Cramp) who move into a new neighborhood. The thing is, the entire development they move into is comprised of aliens. The aliens are all named for professional athletes and are led by Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye) whose children are Reggie Jackson (Tim Jo) and Dick Butkus (Ian Patrick).

THE GOOD: Oh boy, what do I say about this one. I guess I should start by saying that I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would. In fact, I liked it more than Partners. The main reason it was tolerable was the cast is not bad, particularly Jami Gertz who plays a role similar to Julie Bowen on Modern Family. Despite the comparison to Bowen's excellence, Gertz was not bad herself in that type of role. She made the conversations with Lenny Venito funny with her inflections and timing. I can't think of much else but I'll say it again... I was actually expecting worse.

THE BAD: However, it's not a good show by any stretch of the imagination. It's just not Work It. While there are some decent performances, the show is full of cheap gimmicks. It was starting to make me feel like I misjudged it but then all the aliens turned green and I remembered what a stupid little show this is. Then there's the whole "being named after athletes" thing which continued to fall flat throughout the episode (save for one clever Dick Butkus line). The biggest problem here is the offbeat premise and inconsistent execution. I can't get past the premise to enjoy it and that happens whenever some of the alien characters are in the scene. It's just so stupid, I don't even know how to say it any differently.

BOTTOM LINE: It's hard to believe that this silly show will be slotted between the grounded and realistic The Middle and the witty and sharp Modern Family. The Neighbors may not be the worst new show on TV but it's pretty bad. There's only so much a show can do to overcome a premise like this even with top notch writing and acting. Throw in inconsistency there too and you've got yourself a mess.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/28/12

ABC8:00 Shark Tank
Viewers: 6.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5
9:00 Last Resort (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.1
10:00 20/20
Viewers: 4.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3

CBS
8:00 CSI: NY
Viewers: 9.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3
9:00 Made in Jersey
Viewers: 7.8 million, 18-49 demo: 1.1
10:00 Blue Bloods
Viewers: 11.2 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5 

NBC
8:00 Grimm (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.8 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
9:00 Grimm
Viewers: 5.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6
10:00 Dateline NBC
Viewers: 4.8 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3

FOX 
8:00 The X Factor (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.4 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2
9:00 Fringe
Viewers: 3.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.1

On Friday night, CBS sprung a leak in its lineup which was way down from last fall. At its new time, CSI: NY started off the night hitting a series low. This could definitely be the final season for this long running drama. At 9pm, the series premiere of Made in Jersey was DOA with a terrible 1.1 demo as it could only manage to tie a repeat of ABC's Last Resort. By comparison, last year's failed A Gifted Man started its run at the tougher time of 8pm with a 1.4 demo. I wouldn't be surprised to see Undercover Boss back at 8pm and CSI: NY back at 9pm before November. At 10pm, Blue Bloods had a decent premiere but skewed way older than last year when it premiered with a 2.0 demo. Still, 11 million viewers on a Friday night at 10pm is nothing to worry about. Over on ABC, Shark Tank was down a tenth in viewers and the demo while 20/20 was down eight tenths in viewers and even in the demo.  

On NBC, the first new Friday episode of Grimm delivered the best demo of the night... at a mere 1.6. Friday is getting tougher and tougher for broadcast networks. At 10pm, Dateline NBC was up half a million viewers and three tenths in the demo. FOX had the season premiere of the final season of Fringe and it pulled numbers close to what it was doing last year and probably close to what it will do all the way up to its series finale. With numbers like these on Friday night, will ABC and NBC really want to try comedies?

RATINGS RECAP: 9/27/12

ABC
8:00 Last Resort
Viewers: 9.3 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2
9:00 Grey's Anatomy
Viewers: 11.7 million, 18-49 demo: 4.4
10:00 Scandal
Viewers: 6.7 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1

CBS
8:00 The Big Bang Theory
Viewers: 15.7 million, 18-49 demo: 5.0
8:30 Two and a Half Men
Viewers: 12.5 million, 18-49 demo: 3.5
9:00 Person of Interest
Viewers: 14.3 million, 18-49 demo: 2.9
10:00 Elementary
Viewers: 13.4 million, 18-49 demo: 3.1

NBC
8:00 SNL Weekend Update Thursday
Viewers: 4.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5
8:30 Up All Night
Viewers: 3.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.4
9:00 The Office
Viewers: 4.1 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1
9:30 Parks and Recreation
Viewers: 3.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6
10:00 Rock Center with Brian Williams
Viewers: 3.1 million, 18-49 demo: 0.8 

FOX 
8:00 The X Factor
Viewers: 9.4 million, 18-49 demo: 3.2
9:00 Glee
Viewers: 5.8 million, 18-49 demo: 2.4

On Thursday night, ABC had a trio of drama premieres. At 8pm, the series premiere of Last Resort delivered solid numbers in a slot that has been horrible for ABC. It did slightly better than last year's premiere of Charlie's Angels and that show had a built in audience because it was a remake. It also grew across the hour which is positive but it's still a hard sell for 8pm Thursday. At 9pm, the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy was absolutely dominant. It delivered the best demo for a drama by far and was well above last year's season premiere and every episode last season except one. This is a great showing for a drama in its ninth season. At 10pm, the season premiere of Scandal was down from the season finale even though it had a much bigger lead-in. This wasn't a great showing and retention was terrible but it was able to hold steady last season no matter what Grey's Anatomy did so it might be ok. 

CBS had a night full of premieres as well. At 8pm, the season premiere of The Big Bang Theory managed to get a 5 demo but could not top demo numbers for the season premiere of Modern Family. Like many shows, it seems to be skewing older than it did last season. The move to Thursday of Two and a Half Men did not quite mean the "power hour" that CBS expected but it still delivered solid numbers. Still, CBS had to hope its retention from Big Bang would be better but the show is getting old. At 9pm, the season premiere of Person of Interest was close to last year's series premiere numbers but somewhat disappointing since many thought it would soar this season. It still might though as it grew during the season last year. At 10pm, CBS had great premiere numbers for its Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary. The show delivered the best demo for a drama premiere besides Revolution. Though it did drop during the 10pm hour, it built on Person of Interest in the demo and that's promising.

NBC saw terrible results for its Thursday lineup as expected though it was not much worse than last week even with the competition. A second special week of SNL Weekend Update Thursday was down half a million viewers and a tenth in the demo. Up All Night was actually up two tenths in viewers and a tenth in the demo which is surprising. The Office was down two tenths in viewers and even in the demo. This show used to be the star of the night, now it's merely the only acceptable performer. Parks and Recreation was down two tenths in viewers and a tenth in the demo while Rock Center with Brian Williams was down a million viewers and three tenths in the demo as it had much tougher competition. Over on FOX, The X Factor was down eighth tenths in viewers and three tenths in the demo which is not a bad drop with the new shows on ABC and CBS. At 9pm, Glee tumbled 1.7 million viewers and half a demo point, tying a series low in the demo. This show is real tired and might fizzle out for good by the end of the season depending on how FOX's lineup goes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

THE RUNDOWN: Friday, September 29 & Saturday, September 30

Check below this post for reviews of Ben and Kate and The Mindy Project!

And coming this weekend:
- Reviews of The Neighbors, Last Resort, Elementary, Made in Jersey, and (on Sun night) 666 Park Avenue
- Good Week/Bad Week for Week 1 of the 2012-13 season
- The first Freshman Scorecard of the season
- A new Weekend Rewind (this year will be looking at old network schedules)

Plenty of reasons to come back this weekend!

FRIDAY

ABC
8:00 Shark Tank
9:00 Last Resort #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
10:00 20/20
ABC is new on Friday night to start and end the night but putting an encore of new Thursday drama Last Resort in the middle. I think Shark Tank might be down slightly but not much.
Prediction: Shark - 5.4 million, 1.7/2020 - 4.9 million, 1.2

CBS
8:00 CSI: NY #181 "Reignited" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Made in Jersey #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
10:00 Blue Bloods #45 "Family Business" (Season Premiere)
CBS has a new lineup of New York dramas. CSI: NY moves to a new slot where it might have a tougher time in the demo as the 8pm hour has not been kind to CBS dramas. The new Made in Jersey follows and while it is at 9pm instead of the troubled 8pm slot, it has gotten terrible reviews and might not click with the CSI: NY/Blue Bloods audience. At 10pm, Blue Bloods should be solid as a 10pm drama. Who knows, it might even do as well as Hawaii Five-0.
Prediction: CSI NY - 8.4 million, 1.4/Jersey - 7.1 million, 1.5/Bloods - 10.7 million, 1.7

NBC
8:00 Grimm #26 "Quill" (REPEAT)
9:00 Grimm #27 "The Good Shepherd"
10:00 Dateline NBC
NBC is new from 9-11pm with the first new Friday episode of the season for Grimm. I think it can do pretty well as Made in Jersey isn't a big draw for this audience and Fringe already has its crew.
Prediction: Grimm 9:00 - 6.1 million, 1.7/Dateline - 5.4 million, 1.3

FOX
8:00 The X Factor (REPEAT)
9:00 Fringe #88 "Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11" (Season Premiere)
FOX has a repeat of The X Factor at 8pm (will this be The Mob Doctor's slot soon?) and the season premiere of the final season of Fringe. I don't expect any renewed interest in a final season for the show but I think the current fans will stick around for one last go-round.
Prediction: Fringe - 3.2 million, 1.2

SATURDAY

ABC
8:00 College Football

CBS
8:00 Vegas #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
9:00 Elementary #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
10:00 48 Hours Mystery (Season Premiere)

NBC
8:00 Revolution #2 "Chained Heat" (REPEAT)
9:00 Law & Order: SVU #296 "Lost Reputation" (REPEAT)

10:00 Law & Order: SVU #297 "Above Suspicion" (REPEAT)

FOX
8:00 College Football

PILOT REVIEW: The Mindy Project

THE MINDY PROJECT













Starring: Mindy Kaling, Chris Messina, Ed Weeks, Anna Camp, Zoe Jarman, Amanda Setton, Stephen Tobolowsky

Created by Mindy Kaling
Written by Mindy Kaling, Directed by Charles McDougall

The Mindy Project is a new show from successful author and TV writer Mindy Kaling (The Office). In the show which is somewhat of a vanity project, she stars as resident OB/GYN Mindy Lahiri, a girl whose not real put together but wishes her life was like a romantic comedy. The remainder of the cast - Chris Messina, Ed Weeks, Zoe Jarman, Amanda Setton, and Stephen Tobolowsky play co-workers and, in some cases, possible love interests. Also in the cast is Anna Camp as Mindy's sister Gwen Grandy.

THE GOOD: This show didn't have it all put together, which I will talk about soon, but it did have some really good moments. There were a lot of good subtle one-liners and also some funny commentary on society. They didn't seem to be the punchlines to jokes but used in conversation and that's what made me smile the most. The opening was somewhat funny too and a good introduction to Mindy Kaling if audiences don't know her. I was only mixed on her on The Office but I really think she can be a star. If this "project" can figure itself out, this show might be it but if not, I do think she can sell to mainstream audiences. She just needs to find her voice. The supporting cast is solid but unremarkable.

THE BAD: The show just seemed to be all over the place. It wanted to do too much for a pilot and the presence of Ed Helms and Bill Hader, while excellent and funny actors, took away from the regulars that we needed to get to know. The show was also overloaded with pop culture references. I know this is how Mindy Kaling is and some people will really appreciate it, but it just felt like too many for no good reason. Pop culture references are often cheap jokes when they're used and then they don't hold up well. I really don't feel like I got to know any main character besides Mindy in this episode and that's a problem.

BOTTOM LINE: I had a real tough time with this one. There were parts I liked but the whole show just felt a little off and definitely felt like too much. But, as I said with Ben and Kate, I look for potential with comedies because I know they take awhile to find their groove. And I do see a lot of potential with Mindy but the show needs to decide what it wants to be - workplace sitcom? romantic comedy? It can't just be on the whims of Mindy Kaling. It needs focus.

PILOT REVIEW: Ben and Kate

BEN AND KATE













Starring: Dakota Johnson, Nat Faxon, Lucy Punch, Maggie Elizabeth Jones, Echo Kellum

Created by Dana Fox
Written by Dana Fox, Directed by Jake Kasdan

Ben and Kate is a new sitcom with a male and female lead, only this time they are siblings. Older brother Ben (Nat Faxon) is a dreamer who hasn't been able to hold down a job or a girlfriend. Younger sister Kate (Dakota Johnson) is a young mom to Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) and the opposite of Ben - straight laced and unwilling to take risks. Rounding out the main cast is Ben's friend Tommy (Echo Kellum) and Kate's friend and co-worker at a bar, BJ (Lucy Punch).

THE GOOD: Comedies are much tougher to judge on pilots than dramas because the timing and familiarity doesn't happen right out of the gate. So I look for promise and potential in the premise and dynamics and I definitely saw it in Ben and Kate. Nat Faxon is playing a type but does it well with charm and a good sense  of comic timing. His scenes with the young Maggie Elizabeth Jones were some of the best moments of the pilot. Dakota Johnson started off weak but got better as the season went on. I feel like she needs to play the "straight man" role because she was better with subtle neuroses than when she was being weirder as she was at points in the episode (such as the scene with her date in the restaurant). She has a ton of potential but I just didn't buy her in the character all the way through. The idea of Ben and Kate going under the table to talk was already used on Modern Family but it was cute nonetheless. In fact, the whole show was cute. Not laugh out loud funny, but enjoyable.

THE BAD: I already spoke about how I feel like the Kate character needs to be a little more focused but I would just eliminate Lucy Punch as BJ. She brought down any scene she was in. She is basically a carbon copy (but weaker version) of Catherine Tate's character on The Office, which isn't that good to begin with. I found every scene with her to be painfully unfunny. A sweet show like this doesn't need a shrill, dirty character like that.

BOTTOM LINE: Ben and Kate has real potential because the dynamics between the leads are good. It's refreshing to see a brother-sister comedy rather than a romantic one and the premise and timing is there, which is everything a pilot can really ask for. It's not reinventing the genre and it's not going to be one of the best comedies ever or even on TV today, but it's sweet and watchable. That's all it needs to be.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/26/12

ABC
8:00 The Middle
Viewers: 9.2 million, 18-49 demo: 2.9
9:00 Modern Family
Viewers: 14.4 million, 18-49 demo: 5.5
9:30 The Neighbors
Viewers: 9.2 million, 18-49 demo: 3.2
10:00 Revenge: The First Chapter
Viewers: 5.2 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5

CBS
8:00 Survivor
Viewers: 10.3 million, 18-49 demo: 3.1
9:00 Criminal Minds
Viewers: 11.7 million, 18-49 demo: 3.1
10:00 CSI
Viewers: 10.8 million, 18-49 demo: 2.5 

NBC
8:00 Animal Practice
Viewers: 5.2 million, 18-49 demo: 1.4
8:30 Guys with Kids
Viewers: 4.8 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6
9:00 Law & Order: SVU
Viewers: 7.2 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1

FOX
8:00 The X Factor
Viewers: 9.6 million, 18-49 demo: 3.4 

On the third night of premiere week, ABC rebounded from a couple tough days to start the season with a good Wednesday performance. At 8pm, The Middle had an hour long season premiere. While slightly below last season's premiere, it got its best numbers since January 11. This unheralded show continues to be a great anchor for the night even though Modern Family gets all the attention. The best comedy winner Family returned to a very similar viewer count to last fall's premiere but it was down six tenths in the demo from last season's premiere so it skewed older. Still, it was by far the best debut for a scripted show in the demo this week (though The Big Bang Theory could top that) and the best performance for this show since February 8. At 9:30pm, the series premiere of The Neighbors followed. While the raw numbers are good, the retention and drop over the half hour were less promising. The good news is that it goes to 8:30pm next week where there is less pressure but it might spring a leak in the bridge between The Middle and Modern Family. We'll have to see. Suburgatory will follow Modern Family in a few weeks and might be the best partner the show has had yet. A Revenge special ahead of Sunday's season premiere at 10pm did ok for a clip show.

CBS was all new with premieres in the 9pm & 10pm hours. Numbers were good but way down in the demo from last fall's premieres. It seems to be a trend this week that shows are closer to their spring numbers than their fall numbers from last season. There was good news at 8pm for CBS though as Survivor was down just 1.1 million viewers and a tenth in the demo from last week's season premiere. The return of Criminal Minds and CSI both delivered good numbers but, like Modern Family, skewed much older. The 2.5 demo for CSI, a series in its 13th season, was way ahead of Hawaii Five-0 and tied the new Vegas when it comes to 10pm dramas on CBS.

NBC had no luck in the 8pm with its new comedies. Animal Practice had its first episode since the Olympics preview a month and a half ago and it was DOA. The show did nothing at 8pm and doesn't look like it will be here for long. The second episode of Guys with Kids followed and was down a bit in viewers but up in the demo from Practice. It also had real bad numbers but didn't look as bad when compared with Animal. I would guess that NBC might revive Whitney from Fridays and put it with the fellow multicam Guys with Kids in a few weeks. At 9pm, Law & Order: SVU had better numbers than it did in the spring and it had to contend with Criminal Minds and CSI. Not bad for a show in its 14th season. The X Factor held up really well against all the new competition as it was actually up a tenth in viewers and down just two tenths in the demo. Its numbers look a little better with each passing week.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

THE RUNDOWN: Thursday, September 27

Check below this post for a review of Vegas! Also check back soon for reviews of Ben and Kate, The Mindy Project, and The Neighbors as well as tonight's new shows Last Resort and Elementary!

ABC
8:00 Last Resort #1 "Captain" (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:00 Grey's Anatomy #173 "Going, Going, Gone" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Scandal #8 "White Hat's Off" (Season Premiere)
ABC has a trio of premieres on Thursday night. The toughest sell will be Last Resort at 8pm. It has gotten good reviews but is a tricky concept in a slot that has been hard for ABC. I'm not expecting a real big premiere. It would be interesting to know ABC's expectations for this show. The return of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal follow. In its ninth season, Grey's remains a top drama draw in the demo. I expect a good return for both shows.
Prediction: Resort - 6.5 million, 2.0/Grey's - 9.3 million, 3.5/Scandal - 7.3 million, 2.3

CBS
8:00 The Big Bang Theory #112 "The Date Night Variable" (Season Premiere)
8:30 Two and a Half Men #202 "I Changed My Mind About the Milk" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Person of Interest #24 "The Contigency" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Elementary #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
CBS also has a night of premieres. The Big Bang Theory has been doing great in reruns this summer so I expect a big premiere, over a 5.5. I think anything below that might be somewhat disappointing. Two and a Half Men moves out of its Monday anchor slot for what could be its final season but it might be boosted by it's Bang lead-in. Person of Interest returns and showed growth through a lot of last year. With a ton of promotion, I think we see a real good start for this show and that should help new Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary, which has been getting positive reviews.
Prediction: Big Bang - 15.6 million, 5.8/Men - 13.9 million, 4.4/Person - 15.2 million, 3.6/Elementary - 12.1 million, 3.3

NBC
8:00 SNL Weekend Update Thursday (SPECIAL)
8:30 Up All Night #26 "Home/Office"
9:00 The Office #178 "Roy's Wedding"
9:30 Parks and Recreation #70 "Soda Tax"
10:00 Rock Center with Brian Williams
NBC's comedies had a rough return last week against limited competition. This week could get uglier especially in the 8pm hour against the CBS comedies.
Prediction: SNL - 4.9 million, 1.4/Night - 2.6 million, 1.1/Office - 4.1 million, 2.0/Parks - 3.3 million, 1.7/Rock Center - 3.3 million, 0.7

FOX8:00 The X Factor
9:00 Glee #69 "Makeover"
FOX is all new for the third week but with tougher competition. I could see The X Factor taking a hit from Big Bang while Glee might not be down too much as I don't think it has a ton of crossover audience with Grey's or Person.
Prediction: Factor - 8.4 million, 3.1/Glee - 7.1 million, 2.8

PILOT REVIEW: Vegas

VEGAS










Starring: Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, Carrie-Anne Moss, Taylor Handley, and Jason O'Mara

Created by Nicholas Peleggi and Greg Walker
Written by Nicholas Peleggi and Greg Walker, Directed by James Mangold

Vegas is a new period drama from CBS set in 1960 Las Vegas when casinos were going up and replacing the once rugged frontier. The show is very loosely based on a real life figure, rancher Ralph Lamb (Dennis Quaid) who became Sheriff. He contends with mob boss and casino owner Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis) who has underhanded methods of getting his way. Rounding out the main cast is Assistant DA Katherine O'Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss), Ralph's brother, Deputy Jack Lamb (Jason O'Mara), and Ralph's son Dixon (Taylor Handley).

THE GOOD: I really liked a lot about Vegas. I loved period pieces and this one really sets the tone of 1960s Las Vegas and the contrast between the rising casinos and crime associated with them and an old western town. I'm not someone who notices every little thing, but it seemed like the sets and costumes were very time period specific which helps keep a viewer in the era. The centerpiece to the show and its strongest point is the two leads (Quaid and Chiklis) and the dynamics between the two. It is great to have Dennis Quaid on TV and his steely and understated portrayal of Ralph Lamb seems like a very appropriate interpretation. He had some real slick moves all the while staying cool as a cucumber. This is common for protagonists in procedurals but Quaid does it with an element of charisma that isn't always seen. Chiklis is also great as the dirty mob boss. They didn't have many scenes together in the pilot but I can see this being a great rivalry between the two as they each try to stay one step ahead of the other. The show also blended a "case of the week" with some of the larger story which can be hard to do in a pilot.

THE BAD: It seemed like the biggest complaint about this show going in and since its Tuesday premiere is that it drags. There is certainly an element of truth to that. The show lost me a few times as I found myself drifting away from caring. It managed to pull me back a couple times which is good but if it wants to win over a casual fan, that can't be happening. The show can't get bogged down too much. The cast was really solid but I couldn't really get a grip on Jason O'Mara. Either they didn't pay much attention to his character from a writer's standpoint or he wasn't sure what to do with the role. There's time and he's not the main character but it's something I hope the writers were develop more.

BOTTOM LINE: Ratings results showed that Vegas skewed really old but I really liked it despite the fact that it's not for my demographic. I think this is a case where an all-star cast elevates the material. The show has more promise than last year's quickly departed (but not terrible) The Playboy Club and the glitzy but boring Pan Am. With the procedural aspect to the show, audiences might be able to pick up on Vegas without being lost. It would be nice for the 60s show to find a few more fans who aren't in their 60s.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

RATINGS RECAP: 9/25/12

ABC
8:00 Dancing with the Stars
Viewers: 11.8 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1
10:00 Private Practice
Viewers: 6.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.9

CBS
8:00 NCIS
Viewers: 20.5 million, 18-49 demo: 4.1
9:00 NCIS: Los Angeles
Viewers: 16.7 million, 18-49 demo: 3.4
10:00 Vegas
Viewers: 14.9 million, 18-49 demo: 2.5

NBC
8:00 The Voice
Viewers: 11.6 million, 18-49 demo: 4.2
9:00 Go On
Viewers: 6.9 million, 18-49 demo: 2.7
9:30 The New Normal
Viewers: 5.1 million, 18-49 demo: 2.0
10:00 Parenthood
Viewers: 4.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.8 

FOX
8:00 New Girl
Viewers: 5.4 million, 18-49 demo: 2.8
8:30 Ben and Kate
Viewers: 4.2 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1
9:00 New Girl
Viewers: 5.2 million, 18-49 demo: 2.8
9:30 The Mindy Project
Viewers: 4.7 million, 18-49 demo: 2.4

On Tuesday night, CBS's drama lineup returned and there continues to be amazing performances by TV's top drama NCIS. The show, now in its tenth season, returned as strong as ever and only slightly down from last fall's premiere. It got a 4.1 at 8pm against The Voice. There is no slowing this show down. At 9pm, NCIS: Los Angeles had a real solid premiere too though retention wasn't as strong as usual. This show should have moved to 10pm and CBS should have launched a new drama at 9pm. That's a missed opportunity there. They did launch a new drama at 10pm - period drama Vegas. While the show easily won the hour, it debuted with a relatively low 2.5 demo. People knew it would skew old but it skewed really old. By comparison, Unforgettable premiered to a 2.9 demo last year (and slightly less viewers). There was also a pretty sizable drop at the half hour which could spell trouble for the show but let's wait and see for now because the total viewer count was good. Still, I'm sure CBS was hoping for a bigger and younger sampling.

FOX had a soft debut for its comedy lineup. New Girl returned at 8pm & 9pm. The good news is both episodes were roughly even in the ratings and it was up from spring numbers. The bad news is it was way down from last fall's early episodes. It skews way young but it seems like FOX would like to get that demo above a 3. Two new series premiered after the two episodes. At 8:30pm, Ben and Kate didn't get much attention. In fact, considering how steady New Girl was, it basically looks like 1.2 million viewers turned off FOX at 8:30pm and a million of them turned it back on when Ben and Kate was over. The numbers might get ugly when Raising Hope is the lead-in. Mindy Kaling's new sitcom The Mindy Project aired at 9:30pm and had better retention out of New Girl but still low numbers for a premiere. The problem with broadcast TV this year is the new shows just aren't capturing casual viewers and nothing is even close to must-see.
 
In a week of premieres, it is NBC's The Voice that is the hottest ticket in town. The show was down 2 million viewers and half a demo point but it didn't have to face NCIS and it's 20 million viewers/4 demo last week either, not to mention new programming on ABC and FOX. It still did enough to win the night in the demo category, edging out NCIS. The new shows may not be clicking but two favorites pulled over a 4 in the demo in the 8pm hour. It was followed by the fourth episode of Go On which took a big hit against new programming - 2.4 million viewers and seven tenths in the demo. The drop is a little steeper than I expected but not entirely surprising. If it can level here or near here, it'll be fine. If the dropping is not done, that will be trouble. The New Normal had a better hold at 9:30pm as it was down a million viewers and two tenths in the demo. Finally at 10pm, Parenthood was down just a tenth in viewers and even in the demo. Though it still got third in both categories, it was a positive that it didn't drop against much stiffer competition.

Finally, ABC's fall is off to a terrible start as night two of Dancing with the Stars All-Stars averaged a low 2.1 demo for the two hours. Its demo was in the 1s for the 8pm hour which is its regular slot. That's unheard of for this show and a real bad sign for ABC. This show is dying quickly after being a top show for years and the all star edition hasn't helped the erosion. What is ABC going to do with Monday and Tuesday nights if it keeps dropping? At 10pm, the season premiere of Private Practice did about what it was doing in the spring on Tuesday nights. The show only has a 13 episode order and that might be it for the long running drama because the ratings could get a lot worse when the comedies come to 9pm. ABC is a mess on Tuesdays.

THE RUNDOWN: Wednesday, September 26

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch Ben and Kate, The Mindy Project, or Vegas yet but I will soon and get reviews up ASAP as well as a review for tonight's new show, The Neighbors.

ABC
8:00 The Middle #73/74 "Last Whiff of Summer" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Modern Family #74 "Bringing Up Baby" (Season Premiere)
9:30 The Neighbors #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
10:00 Revenge: The First Chapter (SPECIAL)
ABC has a changing Wednesday lineup that isn't fully in tact for the first Wednesday of the season. At 8pm is another one hour season premiere of The Middle. It did really well this year but it wouldn't shock me to see numbers slightly down this week. At 9pm is the now three time Emmy winner for best comedy, Modern Family. I expect this show to remain among the highest demo draws every week. It is followed by The Neighbors, which will move to 8:30pm in a few weeks. The ratings for Partners proved that audiences won't just watch any crap even with a good lead-in and if the reviews are accurate, Neighbors could have a real rough landing (get it? because it's about aliens). At 10pm, ABC is holding off Nashville until October 10 and instead using the slot to promote its former Wednesday occupant Revenge which makes its move to Sunday this week.
Prediction: Middle - 8.4 million, 2.8/Family - 13.3 million, 5.5/Neighbors - 9.7 million, 3.3

CBS
8:00 Survivor: Philippines
9:00 Criminal Minds #163 "The Silencer" (Season Premiere)
10:00 CSI #274 "Karma to Burn" (Season Premiere)
CBS and its veteran lineup has the season premieres of long running crime dramas Criminal Minds and CSI. Like most of their dramas, I expect pretty solid and steady numbers here.
Prediction: Survivor - 10.1 million, 2.9/Criminal - 13.4 million, 3.5/CSI - 12.6 million, 3.0

NBC
8:00 Animal Practice #2 "Ralphie"
8:30 Guys With Kids #2 "Chris' New Girlfriend"
9:00 Law & Order: SVU #296/297 "Lost Reputation/Above Suspicion"
NBC has two new comedies that were sneak peeked to lead off the night - Animal Practice hasn't aired a new episode since the Olympics and the reaction was bad so I think NBC might see some pretty disappointing numbers. Guys with Kids isn't anything to write home about either. I just don't see this block working. A two hour Law & Order: SVU follows but it has to face both Criminal Minds and CSI so I don't love its chances for a big premiere.
Prediction: Practice - 5.5 million, 1.8/Guys - 5.6 million, 1.7/SVU - 6.4 million, 1.9

FOX
8:00 The X Factor
FOX is all new with week three of The X Factor. I think the new shows will have some effect so it might be back to week 1 levels.
Prediction: Factor - 8.5 million, 3.4

RENEWAL ALERT: The Voice

We're just a day into the new fall season and NBC has already handed out a renewal. Of course it should come as no surprise that NBC is going to lock in early. It has officially confirmed a spring edition, as we already knew, and also ordered an edition next fall, which will be the show's fifth. NBC's decision to start airing a fall cycle seems to be paying off so far as The Voice led NBC to a rare win on the first night of the season. In an era where are reality shows are declining due to age (American Idol, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars) or lack of originality (The X Factor), The Voice still feels fresh and different. As has previously been announced, Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green will take the spring edition off and be replaced by Shakira and Usher. NBC is hoping Aguilera and Green return for Fall 2013. The rotating judges might benefit this show especially if they are coming and going.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

RATINGS RECAP: 9/24/12

ABC
8:00 Dancing with the Stars
Viewers: 14.1 million, 18-49 demo: 2.5
10:00 Castle
Viewers: 10.5 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1

CBS
8:00 How I Met Your Mother
Viewers: 8.8 million, 18-49 demo: 3.6
8:30 Partners
Viewers: 6.6 million, 18-49 demo: 2.4
9:00 2 Broke Girls
Viewers: 10.1 million, 18-49 demo: 3.7
9:30 Mike & Molly
Viewers: 9.5 million, 18-49 demo: 3.1
10:00 Hawaii Five-0
Viewers: 8.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.8

NBC
8:00 The Voice
Viewers: 12.2 million, 18-49 demo: 4.4
10:00 Revolution
Viewers: 9.2 million, 18-49 demo: 3.4

FOX
8:00 Bones
Viewers: 7.6 million, 18-49 demo: 2.3
9:00 The Mob Doctor
Viewers: 3.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3

On the first night of the 2012-13 season, it was surging NBC in first place as they have vastly improved their Mondays. At 8pm, The Voice was down 1.4 million viewers and three tenths in the demo which is not a bad drop at all considering ABC and CBS gave much more competition. It was still above its premiere two weeks ago against limited competition. This show is really making a mark right now but what happens when the most popular part of the show - the blind auditions - ends? Do we see drops like we saw last spring? At 10pm, Revolution was down 2.5 million viewers and seven tenths in the demo but easily dominated its time period in the demo. Considering a typical drop for a show like this in week two and much tougher competition, I think this can be considered a success for NBC. Keep in mind that Smash was already down to a 2.8 in its second week last spring with a much bigger lead-in. NBC needs to not take take its foot of the gas with promotion for this show because a lot of people came back for week two.

CBS did not have a bad premiere night and it is pointless to compare to last year's insane numbers with Ashton Kutcher's Two and a Half Men debut. But there were two glaring weaknesses that have to have CBS very concerned. At 8pm, How I Met Your Mother was way below what it was getting last fall but slightly above what it was getting in the spring. Without a formidable companion in the hour, Mother might have a rougher go as a lead-off in what could be its final season. At 8:30pm, CBS sprung a major leak with the premiere of Partners. The show lost a huge chunk of its Mother lead in and might have even hurt 2 Broke Girls at 9pm. Its premiere numbers were around Mad Love numbers and I don't think CBS is going to stand for that very long especially with a sure drop coming next week for the critically panned show. Looks like CBS can't just put anything here and make it work. Audiences have some level of standards. At 9pm, the season premiere of 2 Broke Girls took over the 9pm and performed admirably as it was CBS's top draw on the night. I really think it can grow in this slot and will benefit if it has a better lead-in (Rules of Engagement? repeats of The Big Bang Theory?) At 9:30pm, the season premiere of Mike & Molly was also around what it was getting last spring. The problem is shows are supposed to be be up from the spring. The biggest problem besides Partners came at 10pm though where Hawaii Five-0 completely fell apart to a series low. I thought it might drop but this is astonishing and I'm not sure anyone can explain what happened here. It will be interesting to see if it goes up if/when Revolution drops. So all in all, some positives but some major negatives for CBS too.

The news was pretty bad over on ABC where its numbers were way way down from last fall and even the spring. The heavily hyped Dancing with the Stars All-Stars was down a horrible 4.7 million viewers and a full demo point from its spring premiere, which was itself down from last fall's premiere. Like most reality franchises, this one is looking real tired and ABC's summer troubles don't seem to be stopping yet for ABC. This is a real bad showing for a show that ABC devotes three hours a week to. At 10pm, the season premiere of Castle was also down huge from last fall's premiere (1.1 demo points!) Both Castle and Hawaii were rocked by Revolution but it did manage to win the total viewers for the hour and beat Hawaii for second in the demo. The good news is that retention out of Dancing was not too bad.

FOX had some positive news at 8pm where Bones was down just four tenths in viewers and even in the demo from last week when its competition was much lighter. This show gets thrown the wolves a lot by FOX and seems to hold up no matter where it goes. FOX is so thin on dramas, it must be a relief to see this show continue to be steady. At 9pm, the DOA The Mob Doctor was down 1.2 million viewers and two tenths in the demo from a terrible premiere. FOX might yank the show this week but I think they give it one more week and then yank it. Either way, it won't be around long. It's headed to the bench or maybe Fridays at any point.