Once the premier night for advertisers to shill their high-profile products and the weekend's movies, fewer and fewer people are turning on their TVs on Thursday nights. During the first four weeks of the fall television season, only 48.5 million people have tuned in on Thursdays -- 2.2 million people and 4.3 percent fewer than last year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Among the coveted 18- to 49-year-old demographic, Thursday is the fifth-most-watched night of television every week -- a far cry from the 1990s "Must-See TV" heyday.
This is either a hiccup or a sign of things to come: Ratings for most of the shows that aired last night were down, according to the Live Feed.
The ratings winner was CBS, who aired 'Survivor,' 'CSI' (which tied its all-time series low, with 13.3 million viewers and a 2.8 rating in the 18-49 demo) and 'The Mentalist.'
Meanwhile, things didn't turn out well on the NBC front: 'Community' hit a series low, with a measly 3.9 million viewers,' while 'The Office' (6.4 million) and a double-feature of '30 Rock' (4.2 million, 5.2 million) hit season lows.
Also hitting a season low: ABC's 'Private Practice,' with just 7.4 million viewers.
Tell us: What did you watch last night?
What's clear is that ABC is trying to build a solid Thursday with Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty and Life on Mars, but Ugly Betty is off to a rocky start, Grey's isn't the powerhouse it once was, and the pressure is on Mars to keep Grey's lead and improve on it.
The show got off to a good start in the premiere, but last night was off 25%. That's not good.
Hmm, sounds like fighting words to me. The Moment of Truth and Hell's Kitchen are two of Fox's three premiere reality shows, behind only American Idol in the ratings. Anyway you slice it, Thursday night is going to be a night to drive TV fans crazy. While Fox and CBS are leading with reality shows to start the night, ABC will offer Emmy winner and critic's darling, Ugly Betty, NBC will serve up its Emmy winner(s) and critic's faves, My Name Is Earl and 30 Rock, and the CW will bring back the venerable fan fave, Smallville. And that's not even considering what the rest of the networks have planned.
Of course, it looks like that's a long way from happening. So NBC has shifted gears and decided to air both of the remaining episodes on a single night. But, according to SCI FI Wire, they won't air in the show's usual Monday night slot; they'll air on Thursday, January 24, at 8 and 10 PM. In between the Chuck episodes will be an episode of Celebrity Apprentice. Well, that makes perfect sense, because the two shows have very similar fan bases. What's that? They have completely opposite fan bases? Who knew?
[via Pop Candy]
Earlier this month, ABC announced Traveler would premiere on May 30th, but now the network has bumped up that premiere and given it a sweet time slot. The pilot episode of Traveler will air on May 10th at 10 pm, following a new episode of Grey's Anatomy. Then, the pilot will air again on the May 30th date.
I'm not sure if this is a good marketing idea. It seems odd to give a sneak preview of a show and then make people remember that they need to pick it up again during a holiday week (Memorial Day).
The comedy, about a couple expecting a baby and dodging crazy advice from friends and family, has been moved from Wednesdays at 9:30 pm to Thursdays at 10 pm after Grey's Anatomy. The move is in response to Idol's announcement this week that it will expand its results shows to one hour, starting April 11th. Now, Notes From the Underbelly will premiere with back-to-back episodes on April 12th instead of April 11th.
Giving a comedy the 10 pm time slot, even if its lead-in is Grey's Anatomy, is a terrible idea. From the promos, it does not look like a prime time show. Let's face it: ten o'clock is the hour for sex and violence. Underbelly looks like it belongs in the 8 o'clock hour (or not on television at all, if you ask Joel).
It's been an interesting year for network TV, especially since the new fall season began. The set of pilots that the networks presented to audiences were at the same time the highest-quality and hardest-to-follow in years. That's why, in mid-season, we're now seeing that most of those pilots have either quickly disappeared or are hanging on for dear life.
Of course, this is all the networks' fault. The short-sightedness they used when programming their schedules this year has been mind-boggling, causing more viewers to scurry to other sources -- cable, YouTube, BitTorrent -- for their entertainment. Here are two of their dumbest moves:
Here's why I like Men in Trees: it makes me happy. But, I wouldn't call it cheesy. It's about Marin Frist, a relationship coach whose own relationship falls to pieces as she's on a book tour in Alaska. She ends up staying in the small town of Elmo, where she's studying men and also learning more about herself. Anne Heche is surprisingly wonderful in the role of Marin, a character who is not flawless but learns from her mistakes. She's not a fumbling, ditzy blonde. And I adore the supporting characters, who are all very complex and not at all stereotypical of a small town.
The first one was when we saw The Office's Kevin going nuts over the Staples MailMate shredder. "This shreds eveything," he says with a sense of childlike wonder. "It shreds CDs. It shreds credit cards..." The look on his face after he realized he shredded his own credit card is priceless, as was the salad he made with the shredder right before the credits. Oh, and by the way, Staples had an ad for the MailMate during the "supersized" episode.
Season six of American Idol will debut with two-hour specials on Tuesday, January 16 and Wednesday, January 17th. The network will stick to Tuesdays and Wednesdays for Idol-- but will probably throw in an occasional Thursday show just to put a scare into the other networks.
*By saying "a good thing", I mean it makes FOX a lot of cash. We all know that FOX will mess with good things (ahem... Firefly) that aren't mega-hits.
ER is currently in its 13th season, and NBC's original plan was to interrupt the run of the show for three months in early 2007 and premiere the new drama The Black Donnellys. But ER had to go and be one of the top rated NBC shows (it's always in the top 20 now), so now the plan is to keep ER on the air throughout the winter and spring.
I'll say one thing: I swore up and down, right here on this site, that I was through with ER and wasn't going to watch it anymore. But I find myself pulled back into it after checking in to see what happened to Jerry (he's OK, just on another show for now) and Abby's baby (it's OK, as Rich has reported). So I guess if the show can keep a jaded veteran ER watcher like me interested after so many years, it must be doing something right.
What do you think of CSI so far this season? Is different good or bad?
What did you watch at 9 pm on Thursday?
ER has been on Thursday nights on NBC for as long as I can remember. OK, actually it's only been in the 10 pm timeslot since 1994. And I haven't watched it since 1996 (I couldn't handle breaking down into a sobbing mess each week). But, still. It's an institution on Thursday nights. It's a throwback to the good ol' days when NBC was on top.
Well, those days are over. Now, NBC is reportedly considering moving it to a different night. Apparently, NBC thinks the move could boost the network's ratings during late primetime on Tuesdays or Wednesdays by pairing ER up with Law & Order or SVU. It looks like ER's replacement will most likely be the new Aaron Sorkin/Thomas Schlamme series, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. If that happens, I will definitely be returning to NBC at 10 pm on Thursdays (hey, I'm already there for Earl and The Office anyway).
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