Death watch 2011: Fall TV survival status week 5


Image Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC; Glenn Watson/ABC

UPDATED: So far, so predictable: All the shows that have been pink-slipped were pretty much expected. (Across the nation, scores of TV critics are crowing “we told you so!”) Now comes the really tough decisions: Some new (and old) shows are still posting ratings south of a 2.0 rating (here’s looking at you, Prime Suspect), but at what point does a network start to hit bone when it makes so many painful cuts?

Let’s look at the latest, season-to-date averages in adults 18-49, the demographic of most concern to advertisers. (Note: We’ve included the averages for the shows that have already earned full-season orders. Yeah, we’re scratching our heads at some of those CW pickups, too).

2 Broke Girls (CBS): 5.1 rating.
Full season pickup. This show will continue to own bragging rights as this season’s No. 1 new comedy.

New Girl (Fox): 4.5
Status: Fox was the first network to pick up a new show for a full season. (Traditionally, the networks only order the first 13 and wait to pick up the back nine after seeing the ratings.) Granted, the network won’t air any more new episodes until Nov. 1 because of baseball and The X Factor. But the comedy should survive the hiatus.

The X Factor (Fox): Wednesday, 4.2; Thursday, 4.0
Status: It’s been running out-of-pattern due to those pesky baseball overruns, but we don’t think this reality show is going anywhere. In fact, the numbers may rise once X Factor starts airing live shows.

Last Man Standing (ABC): 3.5. Allen’s first outing looked promising; but the sitcom lost 17% of its 18-49 viewers in week two. Since ABC has already found success with its Wednesday night comedy block, the network now wants this show to help establish a second sitcom beachhead on Tuesdays.

Suburgatory (ABC): 3.2
Full season pickup

Terra Nova (Fox): 3.0
Status: Terra Nova will not get a full season (Fox executives have confirmed that it will complete its 13-hour run in December); the question is whether the drama will get a second year for next fall. Given this week’s uptick in the ratings, we’re starting to feel a little more hope about a renewal. (But only a little).

Person of Interest (CBS): 2.8
Status: The combination of Jim Cavaziel and Michael Emerson is just too good. Though the drama still has some kinks to work out, this one will go the distance until May.

Revenge (ABC): 2.8
Full season pickup. Good news for primetime soap fans but this show still has a lot of heavy lifting to do before ABC even thinks of renewing it for a second season.

Unforgettable (CBS): 2.6
Status: A show that nobody talks about but will probably stick around because, hey — they gotta run something at 10 p.m. Tuesdays. And Poppy Montgomery is rocking that red hair.

Whitney (NBC): 2.5
Full season pick up — and yet, the ratings continue to falter. Was it such a good idea to show confidence in this show so early?

Man Up! (ABC) 2.4. It bowed after Last Man Standing on Tuesday, but didn’t hold onto Tim Allen’s ratings. If both shows about men and their manly manliness go down, this will go first.

Pan Am (ABC): 2.3
Status: The period drama has been on a free fall and looks like a candidate for early cancellation. But … this seems like one that still has huge network support.

NEXT PAGE: The dark half: Charlie’s Angels, Playboy Club, Ringer, Prime Suspect and more!


Comments (172 total) Add your comment
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  • Templar

    Newton Minnow was spot on.

    • LOL

      Whitney, baby!

      • ranliao

        Osiris The 4400 got at least 3 seasons. They don’t compare to the other shows you mentioned.BTW,I wanna share a good news to you.My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire man who is a celebrity !they met via Millionaireloving.C óM is the largest and best club for celebrity and their admirers to chat online.You do not have to be rich or famous. ,but you can meet one , It’s worthy a try,Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends!

      • jack

        my sister-in-law makes $55/hr on the laptop. She has been laid off for 7 months but last month her check was $6342 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read about it on this site CashHard.cøm

      • Lisa Marie

        Whitney? Are you kidding. The only think worse is 2 broke girls. Which was written by Whitney Cummings. ICK! 2 broke girls should be called Kat Denning’s 2 girls.

      • kelly23

        My best friend has just announced her wedding with a great man who is a cele+brity!
        They met-via { millionaireluv^`c~o-m }
        It is nice club for rich men or pretty girls mate.
        You do not need to be wealthy or famous, but you can meet your true love, it’s worthy a try.

    • Tom

      Two broke girls is NOT funny, yet EW seems to push it like it is the greatest thing ever. It has a great lead in is all.

      • Cari

        It’s doing consistently better than its lead in. I’m sure HIMYM’s good ratings are helping, but it’s retaining those viewers AND drawing an audience of its own.
        And I happen to think it’s pretty funny.

      • pastafarian

        It’s just another CBS “comedy”. Not funny, but inextricably popular.

      • Kacey

        I agree…I watched 2 episodes before I realised that I was being lied to…it is NOT funny!

      • Tarc

        Two Broke Girls was *hideously* offensive. I like the leads, but everything else (from the setting, to the writing, to the production) is terrible. Whitney was also one of the worst pilots I’ve ever seen. It was stone cold not funny. It’s shocking that they got picked up.

      • T

        I’m a little baffled by the pretty racist overtones in 2 Broke Girls. It was quite distracting last time I watched it. Crazy old black man, sexual deviant immigrant kitchen worker, offensively stereotypical asian boss. I guess I appreciate the “diversity” of the supporting players but why put these characters in at all? They add nothing worthwhile to the show except additional archaic stereotypes on television. WAKE UP PRODUCERS.

      • Rach

        Annoying is what it is Too many other good shows. TiVo is already working in overtime!

    • Hudson

      Love the Newton Minnow comment. Still so apropos.

  • Osiris4639

    I just think that ratings are all just a bunch of bunk! New Girl is on top and I thought that show sucked majorly! All the shows that my family and I had started to enjoy were all pulled mid-season or before they could produce an actual end of the story and just left us hanging- Firefly,The 4400, The Event, V, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles and now you all are ready to pull Terra Nova and Revenge!?! Why do you have to go by the numbers? Why not let the shows play out for a full season and if they are on the chopping block then let them know in advance so they can film a last episode for closure!!! Nothing frustrates me more than to be allowed to get interested in a show just to be left hanging. Television producers are getting to be nothing but Entertainment Teases!!!

    • D

      I caught an episode of New Girl very late at night on a Sat, which is kind of interesting timing for a brand new show. Anyway, it was not half bad, and I am really fussy about my comedies. It was definitely *watchable*.

    • dennis

      I agree! You find something new you like then have to hope it lasts. Unless it’s renewed, then it’s on for 5 or more years. Look at Desperate Housewives…that show has pretty much sucked since season 3. every episode is the same. Watch the first and last ten minutes, you’ll get the gist of the “plot”.

      • Mitch Logan

        The boobs are on between minutes 10 and 50.

    • bob

      I agree that i wish they wouldnt cancel shows before they finish a storyline but your wrong rating mean everything. If no one is watching the big name companies dont want to advertise their product on commercials. So no money means canceled shows and it also mean more reality crap on tv.

    • Mike O

      Terra Nova will run for a full season. They just made 13 shows and all those will be aired. The question is whether this expensive will get another season.

    • Andy

      You’re in a very small minority pal. All the shows you listed serve niche audiences that would have flourished on a cable network but unfortunately they were on a broadcast network which demands a much more successful showing in order to please their advertisers. Its a world controlled by money, I’m sorry to say. Also, Revenge and Terra Nova suck, get over it.

      • Max

        Terra Nova and Revenge do not suck. Second–for those of you that cannot figure out how shows like Terminator get cancelled while shows like 2 Broke Girls thrive–stop illegally downloading shows. I have so many friends who whine that television never represents their interests (or films)–then steal all of the content they want, refusing to watch, download on itunes, etc. Heroes, in its last season (which I didn’t watch–illegally or otherwise), had more illegal downloads a week than viewers; petulant downloaders, stealing content bias tv towards older and younger viewers who do not steal content. I have never had patience for someone who thinks that tv producers have an obligation to create content for you to steal.

      • Tarc

        Actually, Revenge is quite good, and Terra Nova has a lot of potential for family viewing. If you’d like to pick on some completley dreadful shows, I’ll point you toward the hideously offensive 2 Broke Girls, or the graveyard bright ‘comedy’ of Whitney.

      • Tarc

        @Max – You’re as crazy as the networks if you think people are going to return to the traditional way of viewing TV. TV providers need to change THEIR way of providing television to match the way people want to consume it – how, when and where they want it, and on whatever devide they want it on. Anything else will not fly, the ratings system will continue to erode (it’s already useless), and revenues will continue to fall.

    • CJ

      You’d be a lot more persuasive if you didn’t use so many exclamation points.

    • Esox

      “I just think that ratings are all just a bunch of bunk! ”
      Osiris doesn’t believe math exists either. Or numbers.

  • lisa g

    The Terra nova thingee is confusung! If Fox confirms it won’t go the whole season, why would it be granted a second season?!?! Someone help me out!

    • D

      I think that they may just air the second part of the first season during a “second season”. That is, they don’t want to finish airing the episodes already in the can this season.

    • Trey

      The first season is only getting 13 episodes.

    • Acadia

      I was confused by it at first too. It’s a very expensive show to produce so there are only going to be 13 episodes in the first season. So the first season will end in December. It is unknown if it will get renewed for season 2 is what they are saying.

    • lisa g.

      Thanks. Wouldve been nice if EW made that clear!

    • Q

      JJ Abrams’ Alcatraz is taking its place midseason.

    • Tarc

      The agreement for Terra Nova was for a first season of 13 epiosodes, all of which will air . It was an all or nothing thing. If the network want more, then they can order a second season of however many episodes they want.

  • Mike

    Osiris The 4400 got at least 3 seasons. They don’t compare to the other shows you mentioned.

  • Jazz

    Neilson collects ratings by survey’s filled out by viewers. As of now there is no guaranteed way to accuretly collect ratings. For all we know 4O million people could be watching XFactor but only 5 million people send in the data. I could be wrong on all of this. But one thing I am curious about is New Girl’s success, it isn’t funny, or good in the acting or writing department I don’t get it.

    • dennis

      yeah, i didnt get it either. bought into the hype. i like ZD, but i thought it was boring and she was just weird…and not in a quirky way, just weird, like “why would i watch this idiot”. i didn’t/won’t continue after episode 1. media was looking for a ‘winner’ for the TV season and this was it. sad…

      • dianaprince

        @dennis — I agree with you totally on the pilot of New Girl. But I gave it another chance and watched the second episode — waaay better. ZD dialed it way back and now she really is just quirky. Not weird or annoying as in the pilot. Give it another shot and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    • Jen

      @Jazz – you are so right! We were asked to be a Neilson family a few months ago. There are 5 people living here and they wanted us to write down what each person was watching at all times. There was no way to keep up with up with all that so we just threw the booklet in the trash. I am sure most people do the same thing. The entire ratings system is antiquated at best.

      • Joy

        How does the ratings company decide whicih is the Average American Family? With so many people working overtime or 2 jobs :- iuts often hard to stay awake.

      • Joy


      • Mitch Logan

        How hard is it to write down what you’re watching when the first commercial break comes on? You’re skewing the randomness yourself by refusing to participate.

      • Ally

        I wish they would give people the option of participating…I would totally write everything I watch down- at least I would feel like I could show some support of the shows I like.

      • Jazz

        See that’s the thing, Neilson (supposedly) sends the survey’s out at random. There is no select way of them picking the viewers. So, the ratings system is kind of pointless. I always thought they should determine viewers by cable box and what exactly people are watching at a select time but the problem with that is 1) Major invasion of privacy and 2) What about the people that flip the channel during commercial breaks or flip in between shows, how long should they calculate someone’s viewership. And in comes the surveys. So, there’s no exact way to tell what everyone is watching. It’s all what rigged and about what show’s can bring in the most money for a network that is why American Idol, Jersey Shore, Keeping Up w/ Kardashians and possibly Glee are still around. Cash Cows.

      • Amanda B.

        awww…too bad. You would think that in 2011 they could come up with a better way than a paper survey.

      • Hudson

        My aunt and uncle got to be a Neilson family last year for a couple of weeks just before Thanksgiving. They are in their 80s and don’t watch that much television. I don’t know how how many viewers Neilson was counting them as but I thought it was the funniest choice possible.

      • Mincha

        We were a Nielsen family a few years back. Keeping the diary was a little tedious, but worth it. How often do you get an opportunity like that?

      • Gustavo

        Overall Rating Comp speed US/UK servers Customer suprpot great site. easy to follow and easy to use. The suprpot is also great had to use them once or twice, and got responses immediately.

    • Steph

      They need to get rid of these reality shows. I feel they’re a waste.

  • dennis

    Who’s bitching about Charlie’s Angels? Have they actually watched? Beats the hell out of most of the hour long CSI/NCIS it with an open mind, it’s entertaining!

  • George B. Feist (DUKE)

    Ratings system has always sucked….Remember they wanted to cancel ALL IN THE FAMILY… one of the best shows of ALL TIME. A lot of times shows need a different time slot. So many times they put shows against each other that can kill new shows. Before cancelling give it a move!!!!

    • Tarc

      The current ratings system is pointless – no one watched TV like they monitor anymore. The start quoting ‘the demo’ and I start laughing – they have NO IDEA what people from 18-49 are watching. There is even plenty of data that suggests that the Nielsen ratings are not even a valid subset to extrapolate from. Any ratings you see are just hogwash.

  • Realitycheck

    Revenge is the best new show and the rest are either meh or blow completely, and the ratings system is overrated and outdated time for the people to decide what says and what goes.

    • Realitycheck


    • Cheery

      Actually just caught this for the first time tonight and it was pretty good! Think I’ll catch up w/ the earlier episodes online. Question though, has Emily/Amanda(?) killed anyone or does she plan to? Is that her *ultimate* revenge?

      • pretzelgirl

        The very first episode started with a character being shot. Emily was not the shooter, but it’s unknown if she instigated it, if the victim will survive, etc. Then after 5 minutes, we flashed back to the beginning of the summer and we’re now working our way toward that shooting.

      • txan

        We don’t know that Emily didn’t do the shooting. Remember her wiping sand off of her hand at the party?

    • Tammy

      I totally love this show. My new favorite along with the second season of Harry’s Law!

  • Brandon

    Slightly off topic, but I have never been “surveyed” regarding TV ratings. That is with over 30 years of watching TV. So, who knows. (I know, one person’s experience does not necessarily mean anything statistically). I guess it works for the business side of the networks and the advertisers. I do wonder if in-house politics makes a larger impact on show selection than is typically thought? But I digress…..
    I’m really pulling for Person Of Interest as it has instantly become one of my favorite TV shows.
    I do also wonder about networks taking a show off air for extended lengths of time before or around the holidays? It seems some shows are gaining energy and buzz only to have it drop off after about a 4 week absence. The the network cancels the show.
    Sadly, I’m still wishing Chicago Code was still on air.

    • Forwarddad

      I so agree. They never gave Chicago Code or the Detroit show. Maybe it’s time to revisit the Nielsen process get done new survey

      • Forwarddad

        “some new viewers to fill out surveys”

    • Shellyyy

      I LOVED the show Chicago Code. I think that the show was too smart for the vast viewing public.

  • opus

    Everyone who hasn’t watched PRIME SUSPECT really needs to give it a chance. Maria Bello is fantastic. I still don’t understand NBC renewing WHITNEY and UP ALL NIGHT. Whitney is a total mess and Up All Night isn’t much better. BUT, again, please watch NBC’s Prime Suspect – it is the best new show on television.

    • randyfitzimmons

      i agree. prime suspect is great. it is the usual detective drama, but what elevates it is maria bello’s character/performance. it’s a refreshing change to see a strong, funny and difficult woman as the central character.

      • Jan

        The commercials they ran over and over and over (and over and over) made her character seem really smug, so I never gave it a shot.

      • MandaB

        I totally agree that Prime Suspect is great while Whitney and Up All Night just seem to fall flat.

      • Lisa Marie

        They should give Prime Suspect Law and Order SVU’s time slot. SVU is totally sucking this season. Stabler’s gone so Benson turned into a bitter shew I don’t even care about anymore.

      • Liz

        Lisa Marie, embrace change, it’s a good thing. L&O SVU is refreshing to watch this season. Long may it continue. I would like to see more of Linus Roache aka Mike Cutter though. As for Prime Suspect, excellent series. Top notch cast beginning with the superb Maria Bello. NBC, do the right thing and nurture this series.

      • Alex

        Tabata intervals on the bike this moirnng. No watts meter, but it hurt really bad. After some recovery, Helen WOD; 55lb. DB and Kip Pull-Ups- 8:13 minutes. Couldn’t run as fast as I wanted because I was running down a road with no street lights and couldn’t see a thing. None-the-less I still got a good workout in the today. Any go shopping for time today?

    • Rain

      Agreed! Of all the new shows I think Prime Suspect is my favorite and I don’t understand how it’s not doing well in the ratings.

    • Ames

      Agree, it’s my favorite new show of the season.

      • Govind

        As a hugh Bruins fan outside of New England, I’m thlrlied the more games they show nationally. I’ll put up with whomever they have announce just for a chance to watch the games. My brother-in-law gets NHL Center-Ice, but he hates the Bs, so I prefer not to watch with him. And yes, it was sweet having the Bruins win so he would shut up!

    • sunsetsnow81

      Every chance I get I’m praising this show. Hope more viewers tune in. Best new show!

    • Kacey

      I really like Up All Night I find it well written and funny and I also really like Prime Suspect Maria Bello is fantastic as is the rest of the cast. I would be sad to see it go.

    • Ted

      Haven’t seen Prime Suspect. It does look good though. What counts for television today is ripoffs of Survivor and The Office. I avoid everything on ABC on Wednesdays and NBC on Thursdays. Its all the same. NBC’s Outsorced from last year really pissed me off. A comedy about why America lost so many jobs? During a “recession”. Bad move on NBC. TV execs think the average American wants nothing but reality shows and just “dumb” sitcoms like The Office or Parks and Rec with no consideration for good writing and good acting. Then the major reason why most shows don’t get a shot is advertisement. The shows they want will bombard the average American all day while the decent shows that they already have planned to cancel get to advertisement almost at all. I almost never watch TV anymore.

      • Marissa

        Parks and Rec should not be grouped in with all the other shows on Thursday night. Both Community and Parks and Rec are really, really good shows with great writing and acting from everyone involved. The first season of Parks and Rec took some time to get its footing, but it has grown into a really funny show and you should give it another chance before you dismiss it as “dumb.”

    • Brian

      All I can say is I enjoy Prime Suspect and hope it gets a chance…maybe a time slot change too.

    • Kai

      I agree! I also like Two Broke Girls, a lot. Terra Nova is a disappointment because it seems so poorly written in contrast to the obvious expense of the special effects.

  • Shaun

    Are these Neilson ratings really accurate? And I’m sure that money is made selling these shows to other countries. It seems that all the well scripted and intelligent shows are the first ones to go! What is wrong with the viewing public??

    • Rex

      The ones with Nielsen boxes are stupid. That’s what’s wrong.

      • Esox

        I KNEW it was something logical like that. It all makes sense now! They only send neilsen box to people after they find out if their IQ is less than 50! It’s so obvious! Staring me right in the face!

      • Nattapon

        Or rather, ABCABC,ABCABC is diivsible by 13 since ABCABC is (and similarly for an even amount of ABC). I just think using modulo arithmetic is totally overkill for a simple problem like this one.

      • Oktavia

        I have never spent more time looking a domeauntction then the time I tried to use smarty on a project a few years ago. I applaud them for trying to solve a problem that really can just be fixed by only allowing people who know what they’re doing near your code.Really if you can’t trust your developers/designers/integration person to not put stupid crap in your templates for your project, you’ve hired the wrong person.

    • Tarc

      The Nielsen ratings are totally pointless.

  • FloridaTom

    Sorry, but I wanted to really like Person of Interest, but it’s too much like Quantum Leap for me, without the humor and Scott Bakula dressing in drag.

    • Jan

      I really wanted to like it but Jim Caviezel’s character is so monotone one-note. I’ll watch it in real time occasionally (maybe) but I won’t record it.

      • Eric P

        I want to punch Jim Caviezel in the face. And that guy from lost too.

      • BHM1304

        Jim Caveizel is one of those Catholic supremecists who believe that everything they do is a mandate from Christ and that they are superior and above reproach and better than everyone else. Why would anyone watch his crap is beyond me.

      • Michelle

        I enjoy watching Person of Interest. You sound so negative about Person of Interest, yet no one is forcing you to watch it.

      • nicole

        Person of Interest is one of the best new shows next to revenge. Jim is a great actor. Boo on you haters

      • Tarc

        Yeah, Jim Caviezel is a nutjob, so I will never watch the show (just like I will never watch another Tom Cruise or Mel Gibson movie). Sorry, I can get past the mental/spiritual grossness.

  • Hermione

    REVENGE is so damn good, ABC better not cut it short.

    • hlynn

      STAMP to that!

  • hlynn

    Love Up All Night! Suburgatory is a gem! LOVE LOVE Secret Circle! And please don’t cancel Hart of Dixie! Sweet show with a lot of promise with all the quirky characters set in the south. Love Rachel Bielson!!!

    • lois

      Rachel Bielson. I don’t get it. I think she’s terrible.

  • TR

    Here’s a story idea for EW or SOMEONE…..

    Does a network really save any money…or make any more money…by pulling a show after 2-4 weeks as opposed to letting it run out its original 6, 7 or 13 show order?
    As an example…, why not show all the Playboy Club or Free Agents (sorry to pick on NBC..those examples came to mind) episodes instead of giving us a rerun of another series?

    Are they going to get that much more revenue from advertisers?

    • Andy

      An advertiser is more likely to buy airtime on a show that will attract more viewers, so if a re-run of Whitney does more than a new episode of Free Agents then guess what gets the time slot. I would assume the money is already spent on the shows so if advertisers don’t want to buy the space or only want to pay a fraction of the cost then it will hurt NBC to show the new episodes. Thats how I uunderstand it to be.

      • Tarc

        I think the point is that networks would be better served by adopting a more British model – order 6 or 13 episodes of a show, and then contract advertizers to air commercials for ALL of that season. They then air all of the episodes (irregardless of ratings). Successful series get reorders, unhappy advertizers can then opt out, and the audience gets a discrete planned season of TV to enjoy (likely without so many loose ended shows). The viewers also then get MORE series each year, with many fewer filler episodes to pad out an overlong season).

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