I'm back with the top half of the Top 10 TV Ratings Moments of 2011. The first half went up yesterday. To reiterate from yesterday, I'm linking below to some of my more elaborate writings on these top ratings moments of 2011. Let the controversy begin, and please lemme know if you think I missed a real biggie!
Super Bowl XLV (February 6) - I've developed enough confidence in my list-making abilities to knock the predictably mammoth Super Bowl ratings down a few notches. Nobody's shocked by these anymore. But I still don't have the balls to send yet another edition of "The Most-Viewed Event on TV Ever" off the list. 111.01 million viewers. A 39.9 demo. A 77 demo share. Those speak for themselves. Maybe 2012's Super Bowl will be down and I can knock it off!
The Game (January 11) - This year's biggest cable game-changer (get it?!?!?!) had to be the arrival of The Game on BET. It'd make this list even if it had just revolutionized ratings on its network (as Hot in Cleveland and The Walking Dead did last year). But here, there's the added craziness of totally defying the broadcast-to-cable transition math. Most shows lose audience big time in such moves. This show quadrupled its last CW demo rating (3.6 vs. 0.9).
New Girl (September 21) - There were indicators before this moment, like CBS' huge premiere Monday, but you could write those off to other reasons. It was Zooey Deschanel's New Girl premiere (4.8 demo) that solidified 2011-12 as the "year of the comedy." Out of Fox's huge-expectations new slate (also including Terra Nova and The X Factor), this show shockingly premiered the biggest and gave Fox its first legit live-action comedy hit in years.
American Idol (May 25) - The two biggest TV ratings questions of the year took this form: "Can ___ survive without ___?" In both cases: "Yes, and then some." American Idol not only held serve without Simon Cowell, it actually had its smallest year-to-year bleed in four years. And those favorable numbers weren't frontloaded by people sampling the new judges; the year-to-year trends got better over time, capped off by this finale (9.2 demo), up a full point.
Two and a Half Men (September 20) - We knew for months that Charlie Sheen was 2011's biggest TV story. But until September 20, I worried that no ratings moment could match his epic meltdown. I needed not worry. The highlights: biggest ratings (10.7 demo) for regular scripted TV in 4.5 years and for regular comedy in six years. Launched 2 Broke Girls (7.1), biggest comedy debut since 2001. Sheen's Comedy Central Roast doubled most roasts' ratings.