After the dust of Premiere Week settled and new shows set their own marks to be met or missed, attention turned to who would make the cut in week two.
As in the first week of the fall season, comedy grabbed the bulk of the good ratings news. Fox’s breakout New Girl impressively held 94% of its premiere week audience to garner the first fullseason pick-up of the fall. CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, though down 35% last week from its huge post- Twoand a Half Men opener, still drew a very strong 4.6 in its regular timeslot, making it the top-rated freshman show for the second week in a row.
Further fanning the flames of comedy last week was the strong open for ABC’s critically praised Suburgatory, which gained more than 25% over its lead-in, The Middle. Modern Family, which again topped The X Factor on Wednesday, helped Happy Endings hit a series high for its return, both encouraging signs for that comedy block. Whitney’s 2.5 rating looks like an early success by NBC standards, given the number of its Thursday night sitcoms that have survived below that level for multiple seasons.
Fall’s most closely watched launch, The X Factor, fell just 7% in its Wednesday episode after its solid, if not splashy, premiere. The good news for the Fox series is that it built every half-hour and that it will move from the audition phase to the boot camp round this week, giving it an opportunity to distinguish itself from those pesky American Idol comparisons.
Week two brought more of a mixed bag for drama. Fox’s Terra Nova posted a 3.1 in its premiere, a solid number but one tempered by the curse of huge expectations brought on by a long launch lead-up (see: The X Factor). Nevertheless, the number put it on par with the premieres of ABC’s Pan Am and CBS’ Person of Interest, which look to be the bar for a successful network drama launch. Both Person of Interest and Revenge, the latter of which was the top drama launch of the fall so far, slipped to a 2.7 in their second episodes. On CBS, Unforgettable lost 14% of its premiere rating, but still posted a respectable 2.5. The CW’s Ringer leveled off in its third week and is tracking higher than its lead-in, 90210, a show in its fourth season. Hart of Dixie held 100% of the Gossip Girl 18-49 audience in its debut, a promising sign for the pairing of those two series.
There was no bounce in the ratings for The Playboy Club, which saw 19% of its audience leave last week. With the NBC newsmagazine RockCenter With Brian Williams waiting in the wings, Playboy Club looks like an increasingly likely candidate for the first casualty of the fall season. However, as of presstime, fellow NBC freshman Free Agents could still take that prize, and ABC’s Charlie’s Angels reboot dropped 29% from its already soft debut to a 1.5 on Thursday.
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