After Alcatraz on Monday, two more freshman shows on the bubble — comedies Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea – had their finales last night. Like Alcatraz, both NBC series finished their freshman runs on a low note: Whitney (1.5/5 in adults 18-49) was down a tenth (6%) from last week, while Chelsea (1.2/4) was down 14%. NBC didn’t do midseason comedy Bent any favors with its scheduling of back-to-back episodes in the low-trafficked Wednesday 9 PM slot. In its second week, the romantic comedy starring Amanda Peet and David Walton (0.9/3 at 9 PM, 0.8/2 at 9:30 PM) kept steady with its low premiere, down a tenth at 9 PM and even at 9:30 PM. Rock Center With Brian Williams (0.8/2) was up a tenth.
American Idol‘s ratings slide continues. Last night’s episode posted a 5.9/17 in 18-49 and 18.2 million viewers, down 8% in the demo from last Wednesday’s fast national. Compared with the same week last year, the veteran singing competition was down 34%. Idol was followed by Mobbed (2.9/7), which was up 123% from its previous original two weeks ago. But that original followed a Mobbed repeat, so last night, the flash mob series’ lead-in went up 500%, and it was able to capitalize only on a fraction of it. It was down 19% from what the Touch preview logged in the hour last week. Fox (4.4/12, 13.1 million) won the night in 18-49 and total viewers against mostly rerun competition on the Big 3 networks.
Two series on the opposite ends of their runs had premieres last night — rookie NBC comedy Are You There, Chelsea and departing CW drama One Tree Hill. The series debut of Chelsea (2.3/6 in adults 18-49, 6.4 million total viewers) did far better than the premiere of NBC’s fall comedy in the Wednesday 8:30 PM slot, Free Agents (1.3/4, 3.9 million), and posted the network’s best 18-49 result in the time period this season. Chelsea also built onto its lead-in, the time-slot premiere of Whitney (2.1/5, 6.1 million), which was down 9% from the debut of Up All Night in the time period in September but up 11% from Whitney‘s most recent Thursday telecast December 8. That is NBC’s best 18-49 result in the Wednesday 8 PM half-hour since October 19. NBC’s relatively good news extended to the 9 PM hour, where Harry’s Law (1.4/3, 8.7 million) featuring Erica Durance as Wonder Woman hit a season high in 18-49 and posted its second-largest audience for the the season. At 10 PM, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2.0/5, 8.4 million) was up 5% from five weeks ago and also posted its second-largest viewership of the season. NBC should enjoy the decent 8-10 PM numbers this week because next week its shows will face the premiere of Fox’s American Idol.
NBC’s Midseason Schedule: ‘Up All Night’, ‘Whitney’, ‘Rock Center’, ‘Harry’s Law’ Move; ‘Community’ Benched; ‘Suspect’ Pulled
After a pretty dismal fall, NBC is shaking things up in midseason with several scheduling changes. Gone from the lineup is struggling freshman Prime Suspect (NBC says it hasn’t made a final decision on its cancellation), while four series — Whitney, Up All Night, Harry’s Law and Rock Center With Brian Williams — are on the move. NBC is creating a multi-camera comedy block in the 8-9 PM Wednesday hour with Whitney and midseason comedy Are You There, Chelsea (formerly Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea; No alcohol-flavored title in the family hour.) The block, which will debut January 11, brings together two female comedians with similar sensibility in Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler, on whose books Chelsea is based. A month later, the two comedies will be followed by low-rated newsmagazine Rock Center With Brian Williams. It will take over the Wednesday 9 PM slot from Harry’s Law, which is moving to Sundays. Rock Center had to move out of the Monday 10 PM slot to make room for NBC’s highest-profile new series this season, Broadway drama Smash, which will premiere on February 6 and run in the post-The Voice slot as originally scheduled. NBC’s other changes for midseason include new comedy Up All Night moving to Whitney‘s Thursday 9:30 PM slot; 30 Rock replacing Community on Thursdays at 8 PM; and the John Grisham adaptation The Firm, originally slated for a Sunday midseason run, sliding into Prime Suspect‘s Thursday 10 PM slot. The order for Community has not been reduced, so it’s unclear what NBC will do with the remaining episodes of the college-set comedy. Missing from the midseason lineup is NBC’s ambitious new drama series Awake, which recently took an unplanned break to work on scripts. Here is NBC’s midseason schedule (with premiere dates) that also includes new reality series Fashion Star on Tuesdays at 10 PM and the return of Celebrity Apprentice on Sundays: