Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ratings Five-Spot, WE 1/23/11 - American Idol, Parks & Recreation, Fairly Legal, Fringe, Hawaii Five-0

Here's your Ratings Five-Spot for the week ending January 23, 2011:

American Idol - The Idol fans and PR of course provide the perspective that the Death Star is still way ahead of any other non-sports programming on TV. It's true, but it was still a relatively modest start for Idol. The 9.7 on Wednesday was down 18% from last year's premiere, and the big night two dip to a 7.8 was down 23% from last year's Thursday debut. If the ~20% drops continue, that could put it in the 5.0 vicinity late in the season. Could this be the year some regular competition (Modern Family?) finally beats it?

Parks & Recreation - It was a good ratings day for NBC's three-hour comedy Thursday, with Community (2.2) rising against the Death Star, The Office (4.5) hitting its highest rating for a 30-minute ep in almost two years, and 30 Rock above average at a 2.7. But most anticipated was the return of Parks & Recreation, which hit a series-high 3.2. The show did retain just 71% of The Office demo, which is on the low end of Office lead-outs historically, but Office was quite high, so raw number-wise it was a good start.

Fairly Legal - So high are the standards for USA Network scripted now that a 1.1 demo - which would look great on most cable nets - is a fairly underwhelming premiere number. Fairly Legal did hold 100% of its also disappointing Royal Pains lead-in against Jersey Shore, but this is the lowest-rated USA regular series premiere since 2008's The Starter Wife (1.0). Still too early to write the show off, as almost all recent USA originals have grown from their premiere demo over the course of their first season.

Fringe - A day after the P&R return came the almost as anticipated debut of Fringe Fridays, and the results were quite good out of the gate. The 1.9 demo meant, at least for one week, it's brought its entire Thursday demo audience with it to the night, which is an impressive achievement. There's a lot of work to be done, but it's certainly starting off at a renewable level. Also impressing on the evening was Fringe lead-in Kitchen Nightmares, whose 1.9 demo tied its highest rating in eight Friday airings last season.

Hawaii Five-0 - Sitting atop the week's scripted standings is Hawaii Five-0, which owes a lot of its 5.6 demo to its AFC Championship Game lead-in. Its retention of the game number (28.3%) was comparable to that of recent game lead-outs Without a Trace in 2007 (27%) and The Mentalist in 2009 (31%), but the raw number was better because the game (54.85m viewers, 19.7 A18-49) was bigger. I doubt there will be much of an impact going forward, especially since the net didn't run another original the next night.

More Five-Spots in the Index.

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