TV News: CBS Wins Thursday Nights, Audiences Check Out ‘Elementary,’ ‘Last Resort’

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CHICAGO – Two of our most promising new shows of 2012 were respectably sampled last night on the first Thursday of the Fall season as viewers turned “Elementary” into a solid first-week hit and enough people checked out “Last Resort” opposite the #1 show of the evening to call that a success as well. CBS won the night easily while ABC has plenty to be happy about. FOX should be more concerned and NBC may just want to go dark on the night that they used to own in the ratings.

CBS rocked the night with improved numbers from a year ago across all time slots. Given the current erosion in most ratings stories, that’s stunning. It turns out that moving a bonafide hit into that 7:30pm CST timeslot may have been the smartest move of the season. “The Big Bang Theory” led the entire evening in the ratings with a 10.5 rating (9% above last year) while “Two and a Half Men” followed with a solid 8.6 rating. It’s stunning that the student has passed the teacher with “TBBT” passing “Men” as the biggest comedy on TV. The power hour led well into “Person of Interest” (9.4), pushing that show up 9% on its series premiere last year, and delivering into “Elementary” (9.0), which outscored “The Mentalist” from a year ago. A huge night for the #1 network on TV.

“Elementary” notched one of the biggest opening nights of the new season but “Last Resort” delivered respectably for ABC, something that they have not been able to say on Thursday nights at 7pm, a deadly time slot occupied by former failures like “My Generation” and “Charlie’s Angels.” “Last Resort” scored a third-place finish with a 6.5 rating and actually increased in the second-half (a rarity in series-premiere ratings as most shows lose viewers over the course of the first hour). “Grey’s Anatomy” (8.6) still performs and “Scandal” (5.1) delivered modest numbers to end the night for the network.

While CBS and ABC should be happy, NBC should be less so. They lost every time slot across the board in total ratings although the demo story will be a lot friendlier. It’s still startling that a special “Saturday Night Live” sketches WON the night for the Peacock with a dismal 3.7 rating. The rest is almost too sad to report but here goes — “Up All Night” (2.5), “The Office” (3.2), “Parks and Recreation” (2.5), and “Rock Center” (2.4). As much as I love some NBC comedies, I would totally blow up this network’s schedule if I were in charge. I’ll never understand why they renewed so many low-performing comedies for this season.

Finally, FOX is treading water with a decent “The X Factor” (6.7) and new night for “Glee” (4.1). Ryan Murphy’s musical comedy is a mere shadow of what it used to be in the ratings but performs well with advertiser-desired demographics.

Source: TV Media Insights content director Brian Tallerico

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