Monday, October 3, 2011

First Two Weeks, Prime Suspect


NBC's remake of the beloved British series Prime Suspect didn't premiere so well, pulling just a 1.8 demo. That dropped big from its lead-in, the premiere of Whitney (3.3 demo) and was not competitive with either of its timeslot competitors (The Mentalist and Grey's Anatomy). Definitely a disappointing start for a show on which NBC had pinned some hopes, although at least it did a little better than their premiere of The Playboy Club.

The good news for Prime Suspect was that it didn't have to face Grey's Anatomy in week two. The bad news was that its Whitney lead-in tumbled. Those things basically cancelled out to the tune of a rather typical 17% drop to a 1.5 demo. That's still a weak number, but at least it stayed slightly ahead of The Playboy Club (1.3), which took a similar week two drop.

A 1.8 in week one and a 1.5 in week two, especially with a reasonable lead-in, usually spells flop. The uniqueness of Prime Suspect's situation is that you can argue it's only the fourth biggest problem on NBC right now (behind Playboy, Free Agents and Harry's Law). The buzz would seem to indicate The Playboy Club and Free Agents are first up in the cancellation race, but Prime Suspect actually had a Truly weaker premiere than Playboy (thanks to Playboy having a much weaker lead-in and Monday Night Football competition). I have a feeling this show's going to linger for awhile just to spare NBC the embarrassment of having to pull the majority of its new show slate so early. I don't even know that I can completely rule out NBC giving it a few extra episodes just to save face; that's how bad things are at the peacock. It doesn't deserve to stick around, but this show is a good example of what TVByTheNumbers calls the "cancellation bear." There are simply bigger fish to fry before this leaves the sked. However, I certainly can't see NBC's desperation being so dire that they renew this show for a second season.

"First Two Weeks" is my look at... the first two weeks of a new scripted broadcast show's ratings. I also line all of these numbers up to do an objective analysis in what I call "the system."

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