Now more than a month into the new fall season, many new series are beginning to level out. For some freshman series that’s good news, while others it may just be signaling the end. Yet that still doesn’t mean a few outliers haven’t kept analysts and viewers on their toes as on TV anything is possible!
Winner: Chicago Fire
One of those outliers is ‘Chicago Fire,’ which as a straight by the numbers procedural was quickly written off. However producer Dick Wolf (“Law & Order”) clearly knows what he’s doing and while it’s unbelievable that an entire emergency response team would be this ridiculously good looking in real life, it seems to work for a TV series. Despite a so-so premiere and an upsetting second week swoon in the ratings, “Fire” rose up 20% in the demo to a 1.8 among 18-49 year olds and grew 8% in viewers with 6.3 million.
The Jessie Spencer/Terry Kinney headlined drama is also the first drama of the new season to be able to come “this” close to recapturing its premiere numbers. Typically a show will never gain back all of the viewers from its first airing due to “sampling,” and for “Fire” to show such a marked turnaround is impressive, despite the numbers not being that high in the first place.
As a result of the success though NBC which the other day threw the show a much needed morale boost and ordered an additional five more scripts. Still, as noted with the other extended shows from this week, there’s no guarantee what’s in those pages will ever see the screen.
Coin Flip: Mockingbird Lane
Speaking of possibly never seeing the screen, NBC’s “Mockingbird Lane” finally aired last night with middling results. After deciding not to go through with the series, executives took the unorthodox step of repackaging the pilot as a one-off Halloween special just to give it a chance with audiences. Of course if the special airing did well, then there was always the possibility the network could re-consider and order more episodes.
Yet the numbers were mixed at best as “Lane” pulled in 5.4 million viewers with a 1.5 in the demo. While that was only good enough for third place in both measures, it was also (surprisingly) the network’s highest rated program in that timeslot for the last two years. In addition, it also provided a great lead-in for “Grimm” which jumped 27% in the demo to a 1.9 and gave the drama its largest audiences (6 million viewers) since its premiere last year. “Grimm” was also able top Friday night success story “Shark Tank” in the demo which slipped slightly to a 1.8.
Loser: Vegas & Private Practice
Yet the biggest shock of the week was NBC’s “Parenthood,” which while getting destroyed by CBS’ “Vegas” in viewers (10.7 million to 4.8 million), managed to top the CBS procedural and ABC’s “Private Practice” in the demo. Incidentally “Parenthood” itself was down a tick in the demo, but was still able to top “Vegas” (1.5 demo) which has steadily fallen since its solid debut. The Dennis Quaid/Michael Chiklis drama narrowly topped “Practice” (1.4 demo) by a tenth of a point to earn a second place finish, but despite being the fall’s most watched new drama it is seeing some seriously frightening viewer erosion.
Winner: ABC Sunday Night Programs
Meanwhile ABC finally got some news on Sunday nights as the net’s “666 Park Avenue” perked up in a big way. While gaining just a little bit in total viewers (around 5 million), it leaped 20% in the demo, taking them to a 1.8. This marks the first time the Terry O’Quinn capped ensemble has gained week-to-week. A particularly strong “Once Upon A Time” and “Revenge” also saw modest gains in both viewers and demos.
Loser: Happy Endings & Don’t Trust The B– In Apt. 23
The news wasn’t as good for the return of Tuesday comedies “Happy Endings” and “Don’t Trust The B— in Apartment 23” which both saw big drops in key areas. “Endings” earned 5.9 million viewers with a 1.9 demo rating while “Apt. 23” loss a lot of that lead-in pulling in 4.3 million viewers and a 1.7 in the demo. By comparison, those numbers are down across the board, however in the case of “Endings” it was at least significantly up from its April finale (but down from its second season premiere).
ABC has to be hoping for more luck next week especially when Tim Allen’s comedy “Last Man Standing” makes it second season premiere alongside the new Reba McEntire comedy “Malibu Country” as part of their debuting Friday night mini-comedy block.
Loser: Last Resort
Thursday night also proved to be problematic for ABC’s “Last Resort” which got hit with a massive torpedo known as the World Series. The submarine drama aired what had been billed as a game-changing episode to attract more viewers, but with competition from baseball, it dropped 9% in viewers to 6.4 million and a troubling 24% in the demo to a 1.3.
Next week the series is pre-empted, before it returns for the all-important November sweeps. The only positive thing for fans of the show to take solace in is that if ABC does decide to ultimately cancel it (and I hope that’s not the case), it is the type of show that could probably be quickly wrapped up to give fans some sense of closure (and possibly help it qualify for a mini-series run at the Emmys).
Remember, don’t forget to subscribe to this column for all of the latest news coming out of the new TV season and in the meantime you can go to TVByTheNumbers.com for a full ratings breakdown.
What’s your take New York? Which new shows did you get behind? Did anything completely win you over? Hit the comments and let us know!
For previews of the 2012 Fall TV season you can click on the below:
“The New Normal”
“The Mob Doctor”
“Ben and Kate”
“The Mindy Project”
“Made In Jersey”
“Sons Of Anarchy”
“The X Factor”
“Dancing With The Stars”
“The Good Wife”
“Once Upon A Time”
“The Walking Dead”
“American Horror Story: Asylum”
2012 Fall Preview Coverage:
–Most Promising Comedies
–Most Promising Dramas
–Least Promising Series
–Celebrities To Watch