Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Catching Up With The 2012 Mid-Season Lineups (The Overdue Edition)

I didn't really get down to it last week, and I am sorry for that, if you hold your breath for these pieces (I'm sure no one is).  I'll be having a few more in February, and a few more in March, but once those have been written, we'll just wait to see what the Networks do with their scripted programming.  It should come as no shock to anyone that things are pretty dicey over at NBC.  There will be some pertinent information delivered in this post about what I think should happen.  So, stay tuned for those thoughts at the end of this.  As always, I pull my ratings information from TV by the Numbers.  Just so you can understand how much pull I have in this town, after my decision to cancel House of Lies (Showtime), from my own TV viewing schedule, it came out today that it has been...renewed.  The in-house pervert at Showtime has won again, with the renewals today of Shameless, Californication, and House of Lies. ;)

This post is going to go back pretty far, all the way back to talking about Monday, January 23, 2012.  As the numbers keep rolling in, I'm finding it pretty easy to detect what's in trouble, and what's okay.  There is one show I'm beginning to get concerned about, that I feel needs to stop its drop pretty soon. 

Monday, January 23, 2012:

Notable for good ratings:

Alcatraz (FOX, 9pm ET)

9.03 million Overall Viewers
3.0/7 in the 18-49 Demo

In its second week, in its formal time slot, Alcatraz didn't lose much from its series premiere.  This was a good sign for the show, as these numbers are easily good enough to get it renewed for a second season.

House (FOX, 8pm ET)

8.76 million Overall Viewers
3.1/8 in the 18-49 Demo

House returned to its normal time slot that week, and it had its best numbers it's had in quite awhile (not willing to do the research to find out if this is true).  These are in the pretty easy to renew numbers, so I guess it's probably just about all up to Hugh Laurie, as to whether this show continues for at least one more season.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012:

Notable for good ratings:

Touch (FOX, Special Preview Only, begins airing Mondays, 9pm ET, once Alcatraz has finished airing in March)

12.01 million Overall Viewers
3.9/10 in the 18-49 Demo

The special preview of Touch was a hit.  This is good news for Terra Nova haters, like me, that just want that show to go away.  If Alcatraz can settle around a 2.9, I think there is some possibility that both Terra Nova AND House will go away (or at least House will go away more easily).

Notable for not so good ratings:

Whitney (NBC, 8pm ET)

4.40 million Overall Viewers
1.4/4 in the 18-49 Demo

Disaster cometh your way, oh evil overdoer of the role play.  This show will not be coming back, unless it has a major resurgence in the 18-49 demo, tonight.

Are You There, Chelsea? (NBC, 8:30pm ET)

3.80 million Overall Viewers
1.4/4 in the 18-49 Demo

I still haven't seen the second and third episodes of this series, but I'm guessing it is terrible, based on how quickly the numbers fell from episode 2 to episode 3.  There's an envelope full of pink slips awaiting this series, unless it fixes its freefall, tonight.

Thursday, January 26, 2012:

Notable for good ratings:

Rob (CBS, 8:30pm ET):

11.50 million Overall Viewers
3.5/9 in the 18-49 Demo

After three episodes, Rob is still going strong.  This looks pretty good for a renewal, as of this writing. 

The Finder (FOX, 9pm ET)

8.44 million Overall Viewers
2.8/7 in the 18-49 Demo

I'm going to temper this for you.  Person of Interest was a rerun, and, in my opinion, that is the only reason this show had a significant uptick.  If I didn't have conflicts in my DVR, this series would certainly get a slot (Michael Clarke Duncan used to be my neighbor, like Mr. Rogers, except with a love for wrestling), but since I do, it doesn't.  My wife watched this episode, and she said it was a fun show, and that she'd watch it.  I guess I'm going to have to suck it up, and watch through FOX's terrible Video On Demand show set ups.  :(  It's not like I haven't gotten on board other shows FOX cancels, so I might as well see if I can find another enjoyable show, while I wait for its impending death.

Notable for not so good ratings:

30 Rock Part 1 (NBC, 8pm ET)

3.82 million Overall Viewers
1.6/5 in the 18-49 Demo

I'm sorry, but I will disagree with anyone who says this show is safe from cancellation.  It's already got plenty in the can, for syndication, and its ratings are, plain and simple, terrible.  It's also quite expensive, and NBC "signed" Alec Baldwin to a seventh and final season (potentially shortened), with close to no fanfare (generally not the kind of thing you do under wraps, if you are confident about a show's renewal).  Bob Greenblatt specifically made the point that while Baldwin is locked in for a potential season 7, it has not been renewed.  With that said...

Parks and Recreation (NBC, 8:30pm ET)

3.49 million Overall Viewers
1.7/5 in the 18-49 Demo

Parks and Recreation is a relative lock to get renewed, even though it also has pretty bad ratings.  I think the bad ratings are more a product of its time slot than anything else, but this episode received the lowest ratings the show has had, in its run, to date.  The series is nowhere near as expensive as 30 Rock and The Office, so it will make it to syndication, no doubt about it.  Do not fear, fans of the show.  I know I won't, and you know how much I love this show.

30 Rock Part 2 (NBC, 9pm ET)

3.98 million Overall Viewers
1.9/5 in the 18-49 Demo

30 Rock was given a chance to see if it could pull in better numbers in a less competitive time slot, and it was a continuation of the previous episode, that had aired an hour earlier.  The good news is that it had more viewers than the 8pm episode.  The bad news is that it was up against Person of Interest (CBS) and Grey's Anatomy (ABC) reruns, and it didn't even come close to getting the kind of numbers The Office typically gets in that slot.  This is a very bad sign for this show, folks.  It is.  Disagree at your own peril.  You can't say you weren't warned, if it doesn't come back.

The Firm (NBC, 10pm ET):

3.80 million Overall Viewers
1.0/3 in the 18-49 Demo

Against reruns of The Mentalist (CBS) and Private Practice (ABC), this was all The Firm could do.  They must have some kind of deal where the show has to stay on Thursday nights, because this just doesn't make any sense, at all.  I also haven't seen any kind of announcements about an impending move.  I guess all we can do is nod and smile about what has happened to NBC's former "Must See TV" day.

Monday, January 30, 2012:

I'm not going to put any numbers here, but both House and Alcatraz had startlingly low numbers vs. reruns just about everywhere.  Their initial numbers were low, but both were adjusted up in the final ratings.  The adjustment means that Alcatraz didn't fall as far as initially feared, but I am very concerned this show hasn't leveled off in the ratings.  I'll continue to keep a close eye on the ratings, to see if there is any further cause for concern.  For now, it's okay, but it can't continue to drop much further.  Maybe this night was just some kind of weird TV aberration, because those numbers don't make much sense, at all, to me.

As for my thoughts on NBC, I keep hearing over and over how shows that should be canceled will be renewed on this Network, solely because of how bad the overall ratings are.  I have to disagree, because at some point you have to make the decision to stop the bleeding.  Last year, there was only one new series renewed on NBC, and that was Harry's Law (it has almost no chance of getting a third season).  I think their goal, and reasoning, for bringing back the low rated Harry's Law, was to not have a completely lost season.  This season, I don't really know what their goal is.  My personal feeling is that they should kill just about every underperforming show, and keep two of the critically acclaimed comedies, just so they can get enough episodes to get into syndication.  If I were the one making the decisions at NBC, here's what I would get rid of (and keep) for scripted TV shows, as of this writing.

Keep:

Parks and Recreation
Community
Grimm

Kill:

The Office
30 Rock
Up All Night
Whitney 
Are You There, Chelsea?
Harry's Law
The Firm
Law & Order: SVU
Parenthood

I'm sure that list may come as a surprise to some of you, but I think it is time to clean house at NBC.  On the renewal side, I think Parks and Recreation is as close to being a perfect spinoff of The Office as there can be.  It may not stay fresh much longer, but it's still a lot fresher than The OfficeCommunity is close enough to syndication that it should be allowed to hit that number.  Grimm is the only new "hit" on NBC, even though it can only loosely be defined as a hit.

As for the shows I'd like to get rid of, if someone approached me about doing another spinoff of The Office, I would be all up for that, provided it has a good enough concept that it could guarantee viewers.  I just think that show needs to go, in its current form, even though it is still a very enjoyable show.  It's just too expensive for its own good, and the ratings are stagnant.  You also might be surprised to see SVU show up in the list.  Well, I think the L&O franchise is dead, so it's time for it to go, as well.  Parenthood and 30 Rock fans will cry all day long about putting them on this list, but that's just the way it is.  These shows are not getting good ratings.  At the end of this season, Parenthood will only be at 55 episodes, which is nearly two seasons from syndication.  I just can't see them sticking with it for that long, with the anemic ratings it gets.  If it does somehow manage to get picked up for another season, then it's a shoo-in for making it to syndication.  I already stated why I think 30 Rock should go.  Everything else is a very easy decision for me.

I think it's time to clean house, at NBC, to restore that Network to its greatness from the days of old.  It can't sustain itself the way it's been going, so big changes need to be on the way.  Now we just have to see whether anyone will have the guts to do what I'm recommending.  I'm sure it's a lot easier to write, than it is to do.  Thanks for reading.

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