This summer’s television schedule provided some sunny news for cable and broadcast networks, especially after last year’s "bummer summer," reports Joe Adalian in New York Magazine.
This summer’s TV lineup included the broadcast hit "Under the Dome" on CBS, the return of AMC’s "Breaking Bad" and a Shark Week on Discovery that was bigger than ever, Adalian notes.
The summer also had other positives, with Adalian spotlighting 10 high points including ABC Family’s "Pretty Little Liars," which he notes is "thriving this summer" by averaging more than 2 million adults 18-49 . That’s bigger than even ABC’s "Rookie Blue" or CBS’s "Unforgettable."
Also among Adalian’s highlights is Syfy’s "Sharknado." Even though it first appeared as if its social-media cachet would outpace its ratings, the TV movie picked up viewers on repeats, and even got people to pay to see it in a movie theater.
"Throw in the massive social media chatter about the show, and the nearly as massive news media coverage of said online chatter, and ‘Sharknado’ has to be considered one of summer TV’s biggest hits," Adalian writes.
Another high point was Netflix’s "Orange Is the New Black," although Adalian notes that there’s "no quantifiable way to measure how many people are watching the show."
Adalian adds: "But ‘Orange’ is a winner because, without any huge stars or much advance publicity, it has easily become the most buzzed-about new series to debut this summer (and yes, we’re counting ‘Under the Dome’)."
What about the losers? Adalian cites the USA-TNT "drama factories," with the networks "finding it harder to score out-of-the-box hits." Another loser was Fox’s "So You Think You Can Dance," which has lost one-quarter of its audience from 2012.
FX’s "Wilfred" also places among the losers, with its ratings plunging to just 371,000 viewers under 50, about half of the number who tuned in last summer.