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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 week.

The End.

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.

The beginning.

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.

Chico Alexander is always a good thing. E-mail him at chico@gameshownewsnet.com.

 

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