Soft Ratings (Again) on Thursday Night, Even for Summer — Including a Historic Low for an ABC Series and Weak Series Premieres for Two Fox Shows … and That’s Nothing Compared With How Bad Things Were on NBC

Jun 8, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Memories of “Must-See” Thursday nights grow increasingly faint, as last night’s Nielsen overnights paint a grim ratings picture — even by summer standards.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the one broadcast network that aired all repeats (CBS) won the night, and all it took was a 1.6 average rating in the key 18-49 demo — a number that would have been shockingly low even a year ago.

The news was worse for ABC, where its two-hour “Duets” managed only a 1.2 average in 18-49 — an all-time series low, and down three-tenths of a ratings point from a week ago. Meanwhile, the network’s “Rookie Blue” didn’t do much better, managing a 1.3 at 10 p.m. — down one-tenth from last week.

NBC mixed repeats of “The Office” and “Parks & Recreation” with fresh installments of “Saving Hope” (0.7 average in 18-49) and “Rock Center” (0.7), and found itself in a distant fifth place for prime time.

The best Fox could do was a 1.8 average rating in viewers 18-49 for the premiere of “The Choice,” while the premiere of “Take Me Out” failed to generate even that much interest, settling for a 1.3.

CBS’s repeats of “The Big Bang Theory” (2.1 average in 18-49), “2 Broke Girls” (1.7), “Person of Interest” (1.5) and “The Mentalist” (1.5) carried the night. CBS wound up with a 1.6 average for prime time, beating Fox (1.5), ABC (1.2), Univision (1.2) and NBC (0.7) (ouch!).

In total viewers, it was again CBS out front, with 6.9 million, to 5.3 million for ABC, 3.8 million for Fox, 3.1 million for Univision and 2.7 million for NBC.


  1. The conventional broadcast networks have a death wish. Their programming SUCKS, period. That is 100% the problem. And the studios and networks refuse to allow in, new writers or new talent. They deserve to fail. The good writers have gone to shows that are now on AMC, HBO, TNT, etc. The old over-the-air networks refuse to innovate, refuse to allow new talent in…they are like the old Detroit of the auto business. And NBC is the worst. For example, when Steve Carrell left The Office, they should have just cancelled the show. The Office now is just NOT FUNNY no-talent “actors” (not really) , and the horrible ratings, demonstrate the public’s rejection of this train wreck of a talentless show now.

  2. The networks are too focused on the 18-49 demographic age group. Most of the large baby boom generation is older than 49 now. Thats a lot of viewers. Also the 18-49 age group ISN’T watching network TV like past generations.
    It was only a few weeks ago that NBC cancelled “Harry’s Law”, a show that had 8 million regular viewers, but only had a 1.0 in the 18-49 demographic. Now NBC is stuck with a bunch of low-rated Thursday (and now Friday) sitcoms that only have 2-3 million viewers (if that), with low 18-49 ratings below a 1.0 rating.
    NBC should totally scrap their Thursday sitcoms, which are relics of all the late 90s office sitcoms that NBC introduced on Thursday nights. Not much has changed in NBCs Thursday lineup in the last 15 years.
    The networks should appeal to all age groups. The networks have viewers, just not in the 18-49 age group. That 18-49 age group is too busy doing other things. The networks should focus on their total overall audience (of all age groups), not just one segment.
    People in other age groups STILL buy things too.

  3. Both of the above gentlemen make good points. As a rule, NBC will not innovate, and when they do come up with a good show, if it doesn’t draw immediately, it gets the axe. Instead, they copy others’ successes with lame reality shows. Reality shows are everywhere, broadcast and cable alike; and on the networks, what you see and what reality is, have very little in common. I don’t find most of the comedies on network TV funny in the least. On the other hand, NBC does have Grimm. It’s quite original, the characters are engaging, and the show is entertaining, which is why I wonder why it’s still on. (I believe the star of the series will be cast as Superman someday.)
    And David, I think the demographics they chart go as high as 54. Once you’re over 54, for the most part, you don’t exist. Other than for pharmaceutical ads,the occassional AARP spot, and as Craig Ferguson puts it, ads for boner pills. And you’re right, people older than that (like me) do have money to spend. But, for the most part, advertisers believe that we are set in our spending habits, have matured to the point where we are not as easily convinced to spend by watching commercials, and, we know that we’ve been around long enough to not be taken in by that BS anyway.
    And here is the reality of why we get what we see on TV: The networks are huge corporations that are publicly held by shareholders. For some reason, these large corporations have grown to believe the shareholders and the bottom line are the important priorities. What they put on the air and their viewers are secondary. Budgets are being cut in staffing as well as what they spend on programming (and reality shows are REALLY cheap to make unless you’re paying Brittney Spears or Jennifer Lopez 15 mil). Even at the local affiliates, you can see the quality news anchors and reporters being replaced by cheaper, younger, greener, and sometimes incompetent people to increase the bottom line. Cut costs and increase profits. It’s even more visible in radio where stations have cut their staffs to the bone, use a lot of syndicated programming and satellite networked shows. Cut costs to increase profits. To be fair, all of these radio and TV corporations also have huge debts to pay, but they got themselves into that debt in the first place.
    I do not believe that you can cut your way to success. If you give people, in any business, a superior product and good service, you will succeed. It may take a little longer to make that big pile of money because you invest more, but you’ll come out ahead in the long run. If NBC really wants to reclaim their heritage, they should stop worrying so much about what the other networks are doing and do something different, like the above-mentioned Grimm. Spend a few more bucks in production, create better programs with better writing and give shows time to get legs rather than air two episodes and can them. (Actually, it would be best to not even bother with shows that are only going to last a few episodes. They are obvious to us out here in Television Land. Don’t believe me? Check your ratings again…) If you put a show on the air at 9 PM on Tuesday, keep it at 9 PM Tuesday for the season. Shuffling schedules do not make for easy viewing, confuse people, and shows get lost in the shuffle.
    And I turn the soap box over to the next person.

  4. Robert Greenblatt of NBC canceled Harry’s Law because they “couldn’t monetize the show”. They scrapped a show that was getting 8 million viewers a week because they were “old”. Next season, NBC will regret their decision when they won’t be able to get 8 million for any of their new shows, no matter how young they are.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)