NBC’s Brutal Thursday Ratings: Memories of Its Once Dominant ‘Must-See’ Lineup Grow Ever More Faint — Leaving at Least One Show in Serious Trouble

Mar 23, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Proving just how far things have come since NBC’s Thursday night lineup was “Must-See TV,” the network’s lineup last night staggered out of the gate and got progressively worse as the night went on, according to Nielsen overnights reported by TVbytheNumbers.com.

By the end of the night, at least one show — the new fantasy crime drama "Awake" — appeared to already be in trouble.

NBC wound up in fourth place overall for the night, trailing even Univision in viewers 18-49, as ABC slipped into fifth place with a mostly repeat lineup.

“American Idol”-fueled Fox scored an easy win for the night, averaging a 3.6 rating in the key 18-49 demo, well ahead of CBS (2.3 average), Univision (1.5), NBC (1.4) and ABC (1.2). The gap in total viewers was even wider, with Fox averaging 13.4 million to 6.7 million for CBS, 5.6 million for ABC, 3.8 million for NBC and 3.8 million for Univision.

NBC’s “Community” led off the network’s rough night with a 1.7 average in 18-49, down a half-point from its previous original. And it was downhill from there. Back-to-back episodes of “30 Rock” each managed a 1.5 average, followed by “Up All Night” with a 1.4 and “Awake” with a troubling 1.2 — down 25%.

"Awake," starring Jason Isaacs, premiered March 1 to 6.2 million total viewers, but has been eroding. The number was down to 4.65 million for last night’s installment.

Fox got a 4.0 average rating out of its one-hour “Idol” in the 18-49 demo, followed by a 3.2 for the official premiere of the new Kiefer Sutherland series “Touch” — 15% lower than its special preview back in January, but still better than anything on the other networks.

CBS had the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, meaning its numbers will be subject to more than the usual adjustments due to the live programming. But it appeared to be good enough for a solid second place across the board.

ABC’s only fresh episode was the new Ashley Judd drama “Missing” at 8 p.m., and it was down a substantial 24% from last week’s premiere with a 1.6 opposite “Idol,” “Community” and CBS’s hoops coverage.

One Comment

  1. “Awake” in trouble? Is that really a surprise? NBC can’t fix the last hour of Thursday night prime time.
    What have they tried this season alone? “Prime Suspect”-angry woman cop. Based on a British series, meant to be Quality, including the artsy-fartsy photos of a woman sitting on a chair wearing a hat. It failed miserably, despite NBC’s desparate attempts to save it.
    Then there’s “The Firm,” too late to capitalize on the feature film on which it was based.
    “Awake” is more of that high-concept programming influenced by “Lost.” Isn’t the point of making a prime time series is to complete enough episodes for syndication? Can anyone see “Awake” going five or seven years?
    What to replace it with? How about a show from a sister network of NBC? “Battlestar Galactica:Blood and Chrome?” I’d like to see it, and I’ll bet a lot of others would, too. Here’s the catch – don’t hold Galactica to strict broadcast standards. It’s the last hour of prime time, anyway.
    Treat the viewer with respect, assume the viewer is intelligent. Look at “Justified” on FX. “Burn Notice” on USA. “Break Out Kings” on A&E. “The Walking Dead” and “Mad Men” on AMC.
    Worried about ratings and demographics? “Awake’s” second episode drew 4.65 million viewers? Those are cable numbers. Is broadcast TV really a broad medium anymore? What is there to lose?

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