A little over one month into the 2013 winter TV season and we already have our first cancellation. On 2/8, NBC cancelled Do No Harm after just two extremely low-rated episodes. While a big blockbuster hasn’t broken through on the winter schedule, there are absolutely some new programs worth tuning in to. Which shows are worth space on your DVR and which ones should you think twice about investing time in? View the breakdown below on some programs that have received a lot of press lately, as well as thoughts on some of the factors contributing to NBC’s rocky start in 2013.
But first, a moment of silence for the programs that didn’t make it with us in to 2013: Don’t Trust the B, Ben and Kate, 666 Park Avenue, Last Resort, Made In Jersey, Partners, Emily Owens MD, The Mob Doctor, Animal Practice. I didn’t have high expectations for these shows, but will miss Don’t Trust the B as well as Ben and Kate. I wish FOX had given Ben and Kate more time to develop and find an audience.
2013: The New Class
Outlook Good: The Following (Mon 9P/FOX) and The Americans (Wed 10P/FX).
Heavy promotional support and some star power (Kevin Bacon, Kerri Russell) helped to deliver strong ratings for both shows’ premiere episodes. The Following was the second-highest rated new drama this season; The Americans became the most-viewed premiere ever on FX. While The Following has held its audience, The Americans dropped a steep 32% in week two. Week three ratings, as well as time-shifted data (which has been strong for both shows), will be examined closely by FX. Even with the fall-off, both shows will definitely make it through season one and are worth space on your DVR.
Signs Point To Yes: The Carrie Diaries (Mon 8P/CW)
The CW needed this program to be a game changer. It isn’t. The Carrie Diaries was so overly promoted during the series finale of Gossip Girl that some viewers may have been turned off. Yet The Carrie Diaries is holding ground and slowly growing. Last week’s episode was the highest rated to date, with increases in both Live+SD and Live+3 viewing versus the premiere. Although The CW certainly hoped for higher numbers, there is still time for The Carrie Diaries to catch on with its younger target. And given other low-rated programs on the network (90210, Heart of Dixie), it has a solid chance at renewal.
Don’t Count On It: 1600 Penn (Thu 930P/NBC) and Monday Mornings (Mon 10P/TNT)
If both of these programs make it a full season, it is probably only because their respective networks just have too many other holes to fill. The premiere of Monday Mornings drew a record low for TNT, and 1600 Penn is the lowest-rated sitcom for NBC on Thursday. If you are watching either of these, consider instead Community, which returned this week (Thu 8P/NBC), or Scandal, which has completely taken off in its second season (Thu 10P/ABC).
Ask Again Later: House of Cards (Netflix)
Netflix will not release data on how many people have streamed House of Cards. All 13 episodes of season one were released on February 1. With star power like Kevin Spacey, the reported high cost to produce the show, and the promotion Netflix put behind it, it is certainly something to keep an eye on. This trend will only continue as Netflix prepares to release a new, full season of Arrested Development in May, and Amazon has also announced plans for original programming.
What a difference a month makes. On January 6, NBC held their executive session during the Television Critic Association’s Winter Press Tour. Propelled by a surprisingly strong fall schedule, including top-rated new drama Revolution, NBC won the November Sweeps for the first time in nine years and (finally) looked back on track.
Then the winter TV season hit. With The Voice and Revolution on the bench until the end of March, NBC debuted two new dramas, Do No Harm (Thu 10P) and Deception (Mon 10P), and brought back The Biggest Loser (Mon 8P) and Smash (Tue 10P), one of its few successful programs in 2011-2012. With the exception of Loser, which has been holding its own, so far the results have been anything but positive. With a little over 3 million viewers tuning in, the premiere of Do No Harm received the dubious distinction of becoming the “lowest-rated in-season scripted program premiere ever on any one of the big 4-networks.” After airing two episodes, NBC officially cancelled the program on Friday 2/8. Repeats of Law & Order: SVU are currently slated to fill the timeslot.
Although it started with a semi-respectable 2.0 A1849 rating through 5 episodes, Deception has lost almost 40% of its viewership and is dragging down Monday night.
The biggest concern for NBC has to be the second-season premiere of Smash. Down 40% versus the season one finale, Smash only managed to deliver a 1.2 A1849 rating, and dropped steeply from its first to second hour.
Where did NBC go wrong? A few things to consider: Smash had steady ratings erosion throughout its first season. People were not committed to following it then; I definitely do not see the benefit of trying to hold it until midseason. NBC may have seen better season two numbers for Smash if they had been able to air it in the fall, holding Parenthood, which has an extremely loyal audience, until midseason.
Sunday Night Football, The Voice, and Revolution all drove NBC forward in the fall, and none of the three (seven hours of programming) are on the current winter schedule. Having to fill that many hours a week exposed more of the vulnerabilities in NBC’s schedule. It also means fewer high rated places to promote current programs.