Networks Lay Rotten Eggs

Newcomers like Fox's 'Mob Doctor' stink up prime time while NBC's 'Revolution' cracks the hit code

In an inversion of the old proverb that advises against counting one’s chickens before they’re hatched, broadcasters appear to have an awful lot of dead pullets on their hands.

Of the 13 new series that premiered as of Thursday, Sept. 27, four are unlikely to ever make it out of their shells. Others that may live to scratch around the feed bucket are probably just going to wind up getting eaten by raccoons, and perhaps two or three will grow up to attain Foghorn Leghorn dimensions.

As far as the less fortunate fowl go, after premiering to 5.11 million viewers and a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demo, Fox’s genre mashup The Mob Doctor went on to drop to an unsustainable 3.85 million viewers and a 1.3 rating on Sept. 24. Like so many Monday 9 p.m. Fox dramas before it, The Mob Doctor is DOA.

Other notable flops include NBC’s widely derided comedies Animal Practice (5.19 million viewers/1.4 in the demo) and Guys With Kids (4.84 million/1.6). The premiere of Crystal the capuchin monkey’s new show was down 42 percent versus the time-period premiere of Up All Night a year ago, while Guys With Kids failed to match the ratings posted by the previous occupant of its Wednesday 8:30 p.m. slot, Free Agents, a series that was canceled after four episodes.

It’s not all unhatched eggs and shattered dreams, however.

NBC may have one of a very few breakout hits on its hands with Revolution, which has flourished in the plum Monday 10 p.m. slot, where it leads out of The Voice. Last week’s installment scared up 9.21 million viewers and a 3.4 rating, practically tripling the delivery of year-ago occupant The Playboy Club.

While the half-hour numbers may be cause for concern (Revolution lost 14 percent of the demo from 10:30-11 p.m.), a 3.4 rating in the ever-wizening anchor slot is cause for celebration. (For buyers, those GRPs come at a nice price. Per SQAD’s NetCosts data, a 30-second spot in Revolution costs $90,000, making it one of the best deals on the tube.)

Failure is not an option for CBS, so it is not surprising perhaps that the net boasts the biggest new reach vehicles thus far. The period drama Vegas bowed Sept. 25 to 14.9 million viewers, and while its 2.5 rating stands as the lowest for a CBS Tuesday night drama premiere in eight years, it’s worth noting that the network guarantees against its 25-54 deliveries.

For an unqualified hit, look no further than CBS’ Sherlock Holmes reboot Elementary, which delivered an overnight rating of 13.3 million viewers/3.1 Thursday night at 10 p.m. The cost of doing business with Mr. Holmes: $145,000 a pop. That ain’t chicken feed.

Publish date: October 1, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT