THR's Midseason TV Report Card: Where the Networks Stand Heading Into TCA

12:39 PM PST 01/05/2012 by Marisa Guthrie, Lacey Rose
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Bill Matlock/ABC
"GCB"

NBC prays for a "Smash" and the other broadcast nets arrive with a sense of (cautious) optimism.

NBC

Where It Stands: Greenblatt has yet to put his stamp on the fourth-place network, and the only Nielsen feat worth touting in recent months was the strong debut of Fear Factor, a reality revival from the Jeff Zucker era. (It plummeted in week two.) Worse, the network is heading into the spring without its only top-30 series: Sunday Night Football. But NBC is hoping for big numbers out of last spring's breakout The Voice, which will premiere after the Super Bowl before moving to Monday as a lead-in for Greenblatt's pet project Smash, a big bet for the network. "It's the type of show that could become a huge hit or go down in flames," Horizon's Adgate says of the Spielberg-produced musical drama, adding,"It could be Lone Star or it could be Glee."

What it Needs: Ratings, plain and simple. NBC has high hopes for the John Grisham adaptation The Firm, which will run repeat-free for 22 episodes on Thursdays at 10 p.m. "In previous years, we've loaded up our fall with every piece that we had," acknowledges Lisa Vebber, NBC's senior vp scheduling and programming. "I'm proud of the fact that this year we've exercised some patience and are focused on the longer-term play." Its viewers-challenged 10 p.m. hour and once-must-see-TV comedy block on Thursday remain big questions, with 30 Rock subbing for Community. Expectations are even lower for NBC's female-skewing Wednesday block, where Whitney will be paired with the Chelsea Handler sitcom Are You There, Chelsea? in an attempt to cement a comedy foothold on a second night.

What to Look For: Expect hefty Super Bowl promotion for Voice and Smash. But don't get too attached to NBC's Wednesday lineup, which houses a mishmash of comedies (Whitney and Chelsea), a news-magazine (Rock Center in the uber-competitive 9 p.m. slot opposite ABC's Modern Family and Fox's American Idol) and an aging procedural (Law & Order: SVU). And don't forget The Donald. Trump's Celebrity Apprentice will no doubt draw buzz with Lisa Lampanelli, Clay Aiken and a Real Housewife (Teresa Giudice). Greenblatt hopes it draws viewers, too.

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TOTAL VIEWERS

  • 2 Broke Girls (CBS): 13.6 million
  • Unofrgettable (CBS): 13.5 million

TOP FIVE SHOWS OF THE FALL: Two and Half Men has boosted Girls

  • 2 Broke Girls (CBS): 5.4 rating
  • New Girl (Fox): 5.0
  • The X Factor -- Wed. (Fox): 4.3
  • The X Factor -- Thurs. (Fox): 4.1
  • Once Upon A Time (ABC): 4.1

HOW THE NETS STACK UP SEASON-TO-DATE

  • CBS: 18-49 rating: 3.3 (+3%) | Total viewers: 12.5 million (+1%)
  • FOX:  3.3 (+14%) | 9.0 million (+15%)
  • ABC: 2.6 (-4%) | 9.1 million (-1%)
  • NBC: 2.5 (-11%) | 7.3 million (-11%)

18-49 demo. Source: Nielsen, most-current data Sept. 19-Dec. 19

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