Last night, we had something kind of interesting happen. There are two series I'm going to talk about, in this post, and each is headed in a completely different direction. Last week, I wrote about the problem with truly serialized programming at the Network level. Last night, the biggest serialized hit of the season, Once Upon a Time, returned. We also had another truly serialized (I'm basing this on the promos, as I haven't seen the show yet) show, The Firm. This will be mercifully brief, and hopefully eye opening.
You can see a full article about last night's ratings, here:
TV by the Numbers Ratings Article about Sunday, January 8, 2012 TV Shows
Notable for good ratings:
Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8pm ET)
10.33 million Overall Viewers
3.7/8 in the 18-49 Demo
Previous original episode ratings:
8.92 million Overall Viewers
2.9/7 in the 18-49 Demo
It's not hard to see that the series had an exceptionally strong return. I guess people spent Once Upon a Time's hiatus catching up on the show. These are huge gains, and are much more consistent with what we were seeing earlier this season. If it doesn't start dropping again, next week, I think there's about a 100 percent chance of the show being renewed.
Notable for not so good ratings:
The Firm (NBC, moving to Thursdays at 10pm ET this week)
6.2 million Overall Viewers (2 hours averaged)
1.4/3 in the 18-49 Demo
It's just a little bit early to predict that this series will be a complete ratings disaster, as Thursday is where this show will end up, but last night's premiere was a ratings disaster for a premiere of this size and scope. I'm already going to say the show is DOA, even though we still have until Friday morning to see how the second episode does. A much larger problem for the series is that it lost nearly 1 million viewers from the first hour to the second hour. I'll be watching this shortly, so I will report back as to whether it deserves to gain traction, or whether it needs to be buried as quickly as possible. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, you can't premiere shows like this low, and that's exactly what happened here. If it ever hits a 2.0 in the 18-49 demo, it will be full of more miracles than Tim Tebow.
To give a little perspective, look at the series premiere numbers, for a series I slammed all season, and tell me how you think The Firm is looking:
Prime Suspect (NBC, canceled)
Series Premiere Ratings:
6.05 million Overall Viewers
1.8/5 in the 18-49 Demo
There you see two shows heading in completely opposite directions, even though it was just the first "real" night of the mid-season schedule. I'll be paying close attention to the ratings for The Firm on Thursday, but I wouldn't expect it to get above a 1.8 in the 18-49 demo, in its best case scenario. Once Upon a Time, the least convoluted serialized program on network TV, this season, has bucked the trend of falling ratings, and has returned in magical fashion. We'll see if it can continue this trend over the coming weeks. Thanks for reading.