Friday, January 13, 2012

First Two Weeks, The Firm


NBC's continuation of the 1993 movie based on the 1991 novel kicked off with a two-hour premiere and pulled a weak 1.4 demo. That tied A Gifted Man as the lowest demo big-four premiere of the season to date, and unlike A Gifted Man, The Firm didn't air on Friday. It was barely above half of the premiere of The Cape (2.6) in a similar situation last season. The Firm didn't have much lead-in help (Dateline averaged a 1.2 demo from 7:00 to 9:00), but this is obviously pretty discouraging.

Its timeslot premiere four days later actually brought a better lead-in with NBC's timeslot premiere of Up All Night (2.0), but that didn't help The Firm one bit. (Or, maybe it did, and it would've been even worse without the lead-in, in which case... yeesh.) The Firm crumbled to a mere 1.0 demo, which is about what Prime Suspect pulled during the holiday season with sub-1.0 lead-ins. That's a 29% drop. Brutal.

The Firm is going to be yet another of those (relatively) inexpensive Canadian co-productions that upholds the old mantra, "You have to spend money to make money." It's debatable whether it's the biggest flop of the season; sadly, most of its competitors for that title are other NBC shows. As of this posting, there are still 19 episodes on the shelf, but it seems pretty darn probable there will not be 19 more weeks of the show on Thursday at 10/9c. Will they just cut their losses and leave an amazing 18 or so episodes on the shelf? I'd like to see them try something truly creative, like six weeks of three-hour marathons on Saturday, or perhaps strip the show for three and a half weeks in the 2:00am slot that currently reruns the last hour of Today. Sadly, I have a feeling they will not do something that quirky, and this show will be gone and forgotten within a few weeks.

"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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