Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Overnight TV Ratings -- "Heroes" Big, "Studio 60" Small

Times are getting very dire indeed for Aaron Sorkin's new drama "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip." Here's the breakdown in its audience:

Week One: (Studio 60's debut) 13.41 million viewers
Week Two: Studio 60 reached 11.21 million viewers
Week Three: Studio 60 reached 9.05 million viewers
Week Four: Studio 60 reached 8.76 million viewers
Week Five: Studio 60 reached 7.76 million viewers

It even ranked third in the coveted 18-49 demos. Perhaps worst of all, it's squandering the out-of-the-box success of "Heroes," which is doing very well and should be a very good lead-in. It couldn't even bet the hapless "What About Brian" on ABC. NBC needs to move "Studio 60" (perhaps to Saturday at 10 p.m. where it can lead in to "Saturday Night Live") and then cancel it. Look for "What Went Wrong" articles in the next few weeks. The short answer? The tone for a series about making a sketch comedy show should not make you feel as if they're tackling cancer; it's simply not that noble and important a task. This show has been thoroughly and completely rejected by viewers. I think it's well written and well-acted, but I don't really get excited about it either. "Heroes" on the other hand, gets better and better. It's not a great show, but it is great fun. The overnights, per MediaWeek's Marc Berman:

8 p.m.
1. Deal Or No Deal (NBC)-- 17.27 million viewers
2. How I Met Your Mother (CBS)-- 9.25 million/The Class (CBS) -- 8.7 million
3. House rerun (Fox) -- 4.04 million
4. Wife Swap (ABC) -- 3,75 million
5. Everybody Hates Chris (CW) -- 3.06 million/All Of Us (CW) -- 2.86 milion

9 p.m.
1. Two and a Half Men (CBS) -- 16.37 mil/Old Christine (CBS) -- 13.27 million
2. Heroes (NBC) -- 13.07 million
3. The Bachelor: Rome (ABC) - 9.85 million
4. House rerun (FOX) - 4.78 million
5. Girlfriends (CW) -- 3.06 million/The Game (CW) -- 2.64 million

10 p.m.
1. CSI: Miami (CBS) -- 17.62 million
2. What About Brian (ABC) -- 8.3 million
3. Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip (NBC) -- 7.76 million


joe said...

Partly because I was away for a few weeks, I haven't caught any new shows yet this season. I figured if anything was particularly good I could always hop on the bandwagon (plus I'm already adding past seasons of The Wire and BG to my roster, courtesy of Netflix, thanks in part to your recommendations).

So out of the following shows, which ones would be the easiest to jump into at this point without missing a beat? And which would be most worthwhile?

Friday Night Lights
Ugly Betty

Michael in New York said...

Good question! It's a brave new world we live in so "catching up" on new shows quickly depends on how much money you want to spend. For $8, you can dbuy the first four episodes of Heroes and Jericho at iTunes. At ABC.com, you can watch the first two episodes on streaming video for free (w commercials). And on NBC.com, you can watch last week's episode for free (w commercials). I think tomorrow that will switch to a rerun of the episode playing tonight. Everyone also seems to be doing quickie "what happened last week" clip summaries at their show's respective websites. You can ALSO of course join lots of peer-to-peer sites and get copies of shows that have aired. Please speak to your local law enforcement before doing so. Now what is WORTH catching up with? In order, I'd say:
1. Heroes -- this will be around for a few years and all your friends will be discussing it. Just so you can join the discussion and make up your own mind, I'd recommend spending $8 (about one movie ticket) on the first four shows. It's a fun show, though I do worry long term about maintaining the storyline. Happily each season will have one uber-villain a la Buffy, rather than one long mystery that doesn't end until the show does.
2. Friday Night Lights -- very easy to catch up with and I think the best new drama. BUT it's hurting in the ratings, so you might be jumping ONTO the Titanic.
3. Jericho -- also in for the long haul, at least a season. I've only watched the pilot completely. I thought it was pretty good but was surprised it maintained its audience so completely. Worth sampling. Like most of the serialized dramas, people feel they'll be utterly lost if they miss a week, but in fact it's pretty easy to figure out what's going on.
4. Ugly Betty -- if you're trying to pick up chicks, I recommend this one highly. 3/4s of the show is painless light dramedy, with the lead quite appealing. The ongoing telenovela like subplot (about 1/4 of the show) is by far the weakest element and frankly doesn't matter in the least. New chick at a fashion mag doesn't fit in because she's dumpy. Not hard to pick up on. I won't watch it every week, but there are worse ways of killing 40 minutes.

Jimmy said...

Unlike so many in Hollywood, I don't think Aaron Sorkin is some sort of writer wunderkind. He's done some good work, The American President and its sister-version The West Wing are examples of when he's good. However, I hated Sports Night. Thought it was not very funny. Studio 60, unfortunately, falls into the Sports Night category. That's a shame. I really liked the pilot and I think it has a great cast, but it's a series about a comedy sketch show and comedy bits are not only lame, but not even close to funny. Sorkin needs to hire some cutting-edge comedians to help write this series. Of course, that would mean he'd have to let go of the reins a bit, and past history shows he doesn't like to do that.

Michael in New York said...

Jimmy, you're right on target about Sorkin. I was astonished when some reviews praised the glimpses of sketches that we saw. They were tremendously unfunny -- but I ignored the obvious and pretended that at least it was accurate: the sketches on SNL aren't funny either, so I had no problem imagining these would make the cut. And at least we didn't have to watch them all. I never really watched Sports Night but the few episodes I glimpsed did seem to have the pomposity problem. It worked for the White House but no where else. (Is it possible I watched Felicty or Party of Five instead? Those are the only conflicts I see from the schedule.) You're also absolutely right about the changes he would have to make to fix it and that he will in fact never do it.