TV’s Winners and Losers … So Far

Is it too early to start talking about winners and losers for the fall TV season since there are about a dozen shows that haven’t even premiered yet? You bet it is.

Think that’s stopping me? You bet it won’t.

WINNERS

FOX: X-Factor may not be the American Idol-like hit the network wanted. And Terra Nova (see below) could eventually go down as a high-priced bust, which would move the network closer to loser status. But X-Factor is a hit nonetheless, beating Survivor on Wednesdays and helping Fox claim to a September premiere week ratings race (in the 18-49 demographic) for the first time in its history.

wow, i'm funny!

wow, i'm funny!

NEW GIRL: Fox hasn’t had a live-action comedy hit in years. Malcolm in the Middle ended in 2006, and it hadn’t really been considered a hit for three years before that. So for New Girl to grab an audience like it has in the first two weeks — about 10 million people, unheard of these days — is an anvil-like weight lifted off the shoulders of Fox executives. It’s already been picked up for a full year so it’s safe to watch, and Fox could have its Tuesday night schedule set in stone for the next three years with Glee, New Girl and Raising Hope. They might have to change the definition of what is considered hits these days, but still.

funny is as funny does. know what i mean?

funny is as funny does. know what i mean?

WOMEN IN COMEDY: It wasn’t just New Girl — the three female-centric sitcoms that debuted all premiered higher than expectations. 2 Broke Girls had the coveted post-2.5 Men premiere spot where it was destined to get huge ratings. But the surprise came when most of the people who watched the premiere then followed it to a different timeslot Monday, where it added more than a million viewers from CBS’s long-time Monday stalwart How I Met Your Mother. Whitney may not be a very good show, but its premiere held on to a good deal of The Office audience and in the all-important 18-49 demographic, it beat the CBS premiere of Person of Interest.

TWO AND A HALF MEN: I even spelled it out! You can talk about how it’s about as funny as your dog sleeping. Or that it’s about as interesting as Ross talking about dinosaurs. But you cannot dispute its power. The season premiere set ratings records, the next week brought in 20 million viewers and it had a big hand in making 2 Broke Girls, so far, the biggest new show of the year. Charlie who? The great part was that it wasn’t Ashton Kutcher’s funniest moment of the month.

That’s the last time I post that, sorry.

LOSERS

nice knowing you, girls

nice knowing you, girls

NBC: Remember the scene in Rocky where Mick is telling Rocky to stay down, trying to make sure Rocky didn’t get himself killed? That’s kind of like me right now with NBC. “Stay down, stay down, it can only go bad if you stand up.” The network has debuted five new shows so far this year, and only Whitney had any kind of ratings success. Too bad it’s a horrible show. The Playboy Club is in danger of being the first new show of the season to be canceled after less than 4 million people showed up to watch Monday. Actually, it’s probably a foot race right now between it and Free Agents, the network’s sitcom whose third episode was watched by a little more than 3 million people Wednesday. There just wasn’t much good news at all in September for NBC. Not the way Comcast/Kabletown wanted to start its reign.

TERRA NOVA: Welcome to trouble. The show is good — but good won’t keep an expensive show like this on the air. It needs eyeballs — lots of eyeballs. When it debuts in third place in its timeslot, getting hammered both by the CBS comedies and Dancing with the Stars, there could be changes coming. Soon. New timeslot? New night? It’s too expensive to stick on Fridays, but it would probably make a perfect partner with ratings-handicapable Fringe.

RINGER: You could probably just say the whole network is in danger of going under with three of four sub-par premieres, but I’m still smarting from how bad the premiere of Ringer was against how good the trailer was and how much the CW hyped it. So instead of lumping all these eggs in one basket and declaring the CW is in danger of disappearing, let’s just pick on Ringer. It’s lost 25 percent of its audience since it’s premiere just three weeks ago, and less than 2 million people showed up this week. It’s probably a good time to mention only 1.4 million people watched H8R this week. Putting that into context, about the same number of people watched Long Island Medium on TLC last Sunday. Ouch.

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