All The Leaves Are Brown
- September 22
Welcome to fall. After a
summer of suck (Dancing and geeks notwithstanding),
we're looking forward to a bevy of a harvest. And I'll
be here to harvest all I can in the way of ratings.
Let's start with endings, two of which started this
The end of the summer
traditionally means that you can breathe a sigh of
relief. "Big Brother" is over. And congrats should go
out to Maggie Ausburn for taking it all the way, 4-3.
She played the best game, which, if you look at her
competition, wasn't hard. But with charges that this was
the most unloved final since Jun Song took it from
Allison Irwin in BB4, was it the best game? If you're
going by audience numbers... no. The last night in CBS's
version of the Big House scored a typical 5.9/8 totals,
8.46 million viewers, and 3.2/8 A18-49. Here's where the
difference between summer and fall comes into play:
instead of a winning combination, the show was in
fourth in its timeslot (also airing that night, "Dancing
with the Stars", "House", and a combination of "My Name
is Earl" and "The Office") Quoting Mediaweek's Marc
Berman: "Although season six of Big Brother was down in
the vicinity of 15 percent from one year earlier,
consider the Julie Chen hosted reality hour a still must
see summer option."
As long as it remains
so, that is. Hmm... almost makes me wonder how I'd do if
I were cast in BB7 next summer. Thoughts? Anyone?
Bueller? Okay, moving on.
Tuesday also saw the end
of "Rock Star: INXS," which was, given the rollercoaster
ratings it yielded, filed under the subcategory of
"Mostly Harmless". The episode in which the pride of New
Glasgow, JD Fortune, was crowned as the new lead singer
of the band (go OTB for more on that), registered with
an improved (and second-place) 5.6/9 in the overnights,
7.90 million viewers and a 3.9/10 among adults 18-49.
Not as Big as neighboring "Big Brother", but still worth
noting. Would CBS cause any harm in ordering up a second
season? Not likely, but let's see what CBS does now that
the ball is totally on them.
Speaking of summer
fluff, it seems that based on "Dancing with the Stars:
Dance Off" and its audience, some things are just better
left in the off-season. The rematch between
underdog winner Kelly Monaco and John O'Hurley averaged
a respectable, albeit non-spectacular, 8.6/12 in the
overnights (#2), 10.78 million viewers (#2), and a
fourth-place 2.8/ 7 among adults 18-49 according to
Mediaweek. For point of comparison, here are the opening
numbers from June: 9.4/15 in households, 13.48 million
viewers, and 4.3/12 for adults 18-49. For the finale,
16.2/25; Viewers: 21.84 million; A18-49: 6.5/19. All six
cases were number one.
Once again, the
difference between a summer hit and a fall miss (see
"Last Comic Standing"). We go back to what we've said
before: "Dancing" will succeed as a long-term franchise
if it remembers what it is: entertaining summer filler.
High emphasis on summer.
Now let's go to the
shows that did premiere over the last week, starting
with, of course, "Survivor Guatemala". Call it what you
will, but the show has itself survived. While no one
will argue that the appointment television level has
dipped somewhat, it's still engaging on Thursday nights.
The numbers reflect that in a first-place finish for
audiences (11.2/18), viewers (17.78 million), and adults
18-49 (6.4/19). Comparatively, "Survivor Vanuatu"
debuted with 12.7/19 in the overnights, 20.06 million
viewers, and 7.8/22 in the A18-49. Not as high as it
used to be, but still quality television.
Later that week came
USA's "Made in the USA". We believed that this had all
the earmarks of a favorite. Apparently we were the only
one. The Futon Critic reports that a subpar 1.1. million
viewers tuned into Wednesday's premiere of the series.
In a word... ouch.
And finally, there's the
much-hyped Martha Stewart flavor of "The Apprentice".
After watching it, I had to say, it was "Apprentice-lite"
in form, facet, and execution... at best. At worst, it
was too sterile for its own good. We all know that the
original series was cold, callous, and cunning. This
series ends each show not with a firing, but rather,
with a kind letter of consolation from Martha basically
saying "Thanks for playing, we have lovely parting gifts
for you." Apparently the viewers agree with me. While we
should note that one swallow doesn't make a summer, the
debut underperformed opposite a "Lost" clips show with a
6.7/10 in the overnights, 7.65 million viewers and a
2.5/7 among adults 18-49, all distant seconds. Will it
do any better than that? Mark Burnett better hope so.
That's all the numbers
we have until we get openers for the syndies. Until
then, remember, the numbers don't lie.
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