These are the type of double-digit ratings gains network executives love to see their series hit in the season finales. Except when ratings don’t matter since the shows have already been canceled. All three recently axed Monday freshman series — NBC’s The Event and Law & Order: Los Angeles and Fox’s The Chicago Code — posted big week-to-week increases last night, which marked the final bow for The Event and Chicago Code and the last in-season episode of LOLA, which will finish its run over the next few weeks. The Event (1.5/4) was up 15% for its highest 18-49 rating since November. LOLA (1.4/5) was up 27%, and The Chicago Code (2.0/5) was up 11%. Meanwhile, returning series were down vs. their previous finales. Fox’s House (3.3/10) was down 23% from its season ender last May. The hourlong performance finale of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars (4.6/13, 22.2 million viewers) held up better, down 6% from the fall performance finale. Versus last spring’s cycle, the Monday Dancing closer was actually up, by 15% in 18-49 and 14% in total viewers, to draw the franchise’s largest audience for a spring performance finale. The premiere of The Bachelorette (2.8/7) was flat with last season’s debut. ABC easily won the night in 18-49 (3.4/9) and total viewers (13.6 million). CBS aired all repeats.
3RD UPDATE: Fox Cancels Comedies ‘Breaking In’ & ‘Traffic Light’ And Dramas ‘Lie To Me’, ‘Human Target’ & ‘Chicago Code’
UPDATED: Fringe got lucky to score an early renewal because no other bubble show got a reprieve at Fox. The network tonight axed all others: the Tim Roth-starring procedural Lie To Me, sophomore drama Human Target and freshmen The Chicago Code, Traffic Light and Breaking In. That is in contrast with last May, when it renewed all three of its bubble dramas, Lie To Me, Human Target and Fringe. While Human Target and Lie To Me had been long shots after soft second- and third-season runs and Chicago Code and Traffic Light‘s fate had been sealed for a while, especially with Chicago Code creator Shawn Ryan moving from 20th TV to Sony, the yanking of Breaking In was very surprising as the comedy launched strong behind American Idol, posting Fox’s highest ratings for live-action comedy series in three years. It has since slipped but was considered a solid contender for renewal as it had shown promise and had done much better than two other freshman live-action Fox comedies, Traffic Light and Running Wilde. Breaking In beat the odds once, when Fox passed on the pilot last season, before getting resurrected with a midseason order. But its luck ran out. And so the Christian Slater curse continues …
It was another sad Monday ratings performance for NBC, which hit another season low on the night with all original programming. Chuck (1.3/4) was even with last week, tying its series low. But it also delivered NBC’s highest demo rating last night. The Event (1.1/3) was down 13% from its last original two weeks ago for a series low. And the relaunch of Law & Order: Los Angeles continues to sputter. In its second week since the series’ return last Monday, the Law & Order spinoff drew a 1.1/3, down a steep 27% from the two-hour midseason premiere last week. Such an underwhelming performance bodes well for David E. Kelley’s Harry’s Law, which did better in the slot earlier this midseason.
ABC’s Dancing With the Stars performance show (3.9/11) was down 13% from last week to rank as the lowest-rated spring performance telecast ever for the venerable reality franchise. In its special airing after Dancing, a new Cougar Town (2.3/6) was down 15% from its last original Feb. 2. Proving that comedy series do better in a block, even with a weaker lead-in, that last original followed a Modern Family repeat. The first of a slew of specials about the upcoming Royal Wedding, ABC News: William & Catherine: A Modern Fairytale, averaged a 1.7/4 at 10 PM.
ABC dominated the ratings last night with the two-hour season finale of The Bachelor (4.5/12, 13.8 million viewers) and The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special (4.7/12, 13.9 million). Both were down from last spring, the finale by 15% in 18-49, the post-finale special by 11%. In 18-49, it was the lowest-rated Bachelor finale in almost 3 years, since May 2008. Still, the finale hit a season high and was up a whopping 29% from the most recent regular episode. In total viewers, the Bachelor closer was the third most watched in the last 11 seasons. For the night, ABC (4.5/12, 13.9 million) posted a season high in 18-49 and logged its highest Monday average in almost a year.
Fox and NBC, which aired originals against ABC’s Bachelor-themed lineup, were both down from their last originals, with most series posting lows. House (3.5/10) was down 8% from last week, The Chicago Code was off by 5%. NBC’s Chuck (1.6/5) was down 6% from its last original 2 weeks ago to a series low. The Event (1.2/3) tumbled 14% from its disappointing two-hour spring premiere last week to also hit a series low. At 10 PM, Harry’s Law (1.7/5, 10 million) was down 6%, tying its series low, but drew its largest overall audience in 6 weeks.
The only original on CBS was new comedy Mad Love (2.1/6), which was down 13% from last week for a series low. Both weeks it followed …
Visitors at the Beverly Glen Deli in Los Angeles today were surprised when an FBI agent walked in and handcuffed a patron eating lunch there. Turns out it was White Collar star Tim DeKay in an FBI uniform fake arresting The Shield and The Chicago Code creator Shawn Ryan assisted by the show’s writers PA Chris Masi, also in FBI gear. It was part of an ongoing Twitter war between Ryan and White Collar creator Jeff Eastin. The two started trading insults via the micro-blogging service early this year, with the feud moving to another level on Super Bowl Sunday when Ryan broke into Eastin’s office and took a picture of himself at Eastin’s desk (photo on left). During White Collar‘s panel at the PaleyFest last night, Eastin alluded to a big practical joke against Ryan coming in retaliation for the break-in. As for today’s arrest, “most of the restaurant thought it was real,” one witness said. “It was funny.” According to onlookers, Ryan was having lunch with David Madden, who probably served as bait as he is president of Fox TV Studios, the company that produced The Shield and is also producing White Collar. The writers for the USA series greeted Ryan outside the restaurant, and they also brought along TMZ cameras to commemorate the event. BTW, the Twitter revelry between Ryan and Eastin is for …
Fox will not be giving a back-nine order to crime procedural Lie to Me, whose current third season will consist of 13 episodes. Sources at the network stress that the show has not been canceled, with final decision expected to be made in the spring. The rationale for the order cutback is that Fox won’t need more episodes from the Tim Roth-starring series because, according to the network’s recently announced midseason schedule, Lie To Me is only slated to run through Jan. 31, with midseason drama The Chicago Code taking over its Monday 9 PM slot on Feb. 7. Last season, Fox ended up with 12 episodes of Lie to Me in the can after ordering 22 and only using the series for the fall. The network ended up airing those 12 episodes over the summer.
UPDATE: Here is what Shawn Ryan just said about the name change of his new Fox series: ”Changing the title from Ride-Along to THE CHICAGO CODE reflects our belief that this is more than just a cop show. It’s not just about the police, but also politics, the Midwest, history, Government corruption and the city’s code. Plus adding ‘Chicago’ to anything is always a good idea.”
PREVIOUS: Shawn Ryan’s new Chicago-based cop drama for Fox, Ride-Along, has been renamed. It will now be known as The Chicago Code. The change was made to better reflect the the importance of the show’s Chicago setting. … Meanwhile, ABC has ordered 5 more scripts from the Shonda Rhimes-produced upcoming ABC drama Off The Map. That’s in addition to the extra script ABC picked up two weeks ago, bringing the total order to 6 additional scripts. Nice vote of confidence for the medical drama created by Jenna Bans.