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RATINGS RAT RACE: Fox Tops Slow Night, Univision Edges English-Language Rivals

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: With Christmas fast approaching,  viewers stayed largely away from TV last night with all originals posting double-digit declines. The highest-rated program of the night in 18-49 was a rerun of ABC’s hit comedy Modern Family (2.0/6). Fox (1.5/5, 5.3 million) won the night in the demo among the English-language networks with original Human Target (1.4/5), which was down 13% from last week to tie its all-time low, and new game show Million Dollar Money Drop (1.6/5), down 20% from its Tuesday telecast for its lowest-rated outing to date.

Overall, Univision topped the night in the 18-49 demo with a 1.6/5, powered by telenovela Soy Tu Duena (2.3/7). (In the total viewers, Univision finished fourth.

CBS’ 12th Annual Home For The Holidays special (0.7/2) was down 36% from its 2009 edition. Reruns of Criminal Minds (1.5/4) and The Defenders (1.1/3) followed. CBS (1.1/3, 5.5 million) edged Fox as the most watched network of the night.

NBC aired a first-run episode of canceled spy drama Undercovers (1.1/3), down 15% from the last original on Dec. 1 for its lowest-rated telecast ever. Repeats of Law & Order: SVU (1.2/4, 1.7/5) did better at 9PM and 10PM. ABC’s all-repeat lineup also included The Middle (1.5/5), Better With You (1.5/5) and CMA Country Christmas (1.1/3). ABC and NBC finished tied for second place in the 18-49 demo with a 1.3/4.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ABC Wins With CMAs As The Big 4 Hit Lows, CW’s ‘Hellcats’ Up

Nellie Andreeva

It was a tough night all around. ABC did the best with the 44th Annual Country Music Association Awards (4.7/13 in adults 18-49, 16.5 million viewers overall), winning the night in total viewers and all key demographics by a wide margin and posting its strongest Wednesday numbers in a year. Still, it was down 11% in adults 18-49 vs. last year for an all-time low. In total viewers, it was down 4%, logging its second most watched telecast since 2005. Things were much worse for NBC and CBS. At NBC, the recently canceled Undercovers (1.2/4) was down 8% to log its lowest rated telecast ever. It was followed by Law & Order: SVU (2.0/5, down 9%), and Law & Order:LA (1.7/5, down 11%), which also posted all-time series lows. (Last week, SVU hit a season low, while LOLA tied its previous all-time low.) The same happened to the CBS Wednesday series with even steeper week-to-week declines. Survivor: Nicaragua (3.2/9, down 14%) posted its lowest-rated regular telecast ever. Criminal Minds (3.0/8, down 23%) and freshman The Defenders (1.8/5, down 22%) tied their lowest-rated telecasts.

After a three-week hiatus for baseball preemptions, Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen (2.7/7) returned 13% lower than its last original on Oct. 13 for a season low. At CW, without ABC’s 9-10 PM comedies to compete against, Hellcats (1.9 million, 1.2/4 in 18-34) shot up 20% from last week in adults 18-34, its best delivery in the demo in six … Read More »

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Uncovering Why ‘Undercovers’ Went Wrong

UPDATES NBC Cancels New Drama ‘Undercovers’

An insider gave me this guidance about what went wrong with Undercovers, a show that NBC massively promoted and yet was still rejected by audiences: “Many things. Mostly, what was meant to be a throwback lark of a show felt trivial to people. It felt flimsy and not compelling, partially because it was designed as a stand alone, non serialized show. Perhaps the stories lacked deeper interest and urgency. We tried to embrace a familiarity of form, but the public obviously didn’t want something so familiar. Unfortunately we never got an audience from the get-go; our abysmal recent rating wasn’t even one point lower than our premiere number. We just should have done better. It is a bummer to be sure. NBC did the best they know how. We feel responsible for the failure, though. But damn, it sure would be easier to blame the network!”

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NBC Cancels New Drama ‘Undercovers’

Nellie Andreeva

Uncovering Why ‘Undercovers’ Went Wrong

It’s the end of the road for J.J. Abrams’ spy drama Undercovers as NBC today decided not to pick up additional episodes from the freshman series beyond the original 13-episode order. The Warner Bros TV-produced show is now filming Episode 12. The news comes on the heels of Undercovers hitting another series low last night when it slipped to a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo. The slickly produced light drama, whose pilot was directed by Abrams, broke primetime ground by featuring two black actors as the leads. But it got off to a disappointing start in the Wednesday 8 PM slot and never found traction with viewers. The series will stay on for the next 2 weeks and will air its last original (for now) on December 1. It was already set for preemption on Nov. 24 when NBC is airing a DreamWorks Animation holiday special. The fate of the remaining original Undercovers episodes is unclear. This is the second new NBC series to get cancelled, along with legal drama Outlaw. The rest of NBC’s freshman class all received back-nine orders two weeks ago. At the time, Undercovers got a pickup for four additional scripts.

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Nellie Andreeva

Why in the world did NBC put on repeats of Law & Order: SVU and especially fledging Law & Order: Los Angeles last week? After 2 consecutive 20%+ declines, LOLA rebounded big time 2 weeks ago, up 24% in the 18-49 demo to a 2.4/7 and a time slot win. SVU (2.6/7) was also up, by 13%. But instead of keeping the momentum going, NBC aired reruns of the crime dramas last week. The result: LOLA (1.9/6) was down 21% from the last original airing, tying its lowest rated-telecast from 3 weeks ago and tying ABC’s entertainment special for second place in the 10 PM hour. SVU (2.1/6) was down 19% from its fast national result 2 weeks ago (22% from the final) for a season low. At 8 PM, Undercovers (1.3/4), the only NBC Wednesday series to air an original last week, was down a tenth for an series low. (It grew a bit week-to-week in total viewers to 5.8 million)

Even without a Halloween hook this week, ABC’s sophomore comedy The Middle (2.9/9) had a ratings uptick in the fast nationals that may carry over to the finals. The family comedy was up a tenth vs. its fast national result last week (flat vs. the national) for a season high while all the other ABC comedies were flat (Better with You, 2.5/7) or down (Modern Family, 4.8/13, -6% and … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: No Yankees Means No Big World Series

Nellie Andreeva

Fox’s coverage of Game 1 of the World Series between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants (4.7 rating in 18-49) was down 25% from last year’s Phillies/Yankees matchup, but that was to be expected with the most popular baseball team, the Yankees, out this year. The game was on par with ith the opening game of the most recent non-Yankees World Series in 2008 (4.8). Fox won the night in 18-49 and total viewers.

Just like its family-friendly Monday lineup posted week-to-week gains against the monster Monday NFL game on ESPN, the network’s Wednesday comedy block last night logged ratings rises. The Halloween-themed quartet was led by Modern Family (5.1/13 in 18-49, up 9% from last week’s fast national; 13.1 million viewers), which hit a series high in total viewers and matched its series high in 18-49 from earlier this fall. At 8 PM, The Middle (2.8/9, up 8%; 9.4 million) logged its most-watched telecast and its second highest 18-49 delivery ever. Freshman Better with You (2.5/7) had a nice 19% post-full season-pickup bounce to match a series demo high. Read More »

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Nellie Andreeva

There are four freshman series on Wednesday that are still awaiting decision on full-season orders: ABC’s Better with You and The Whole Truth, NBC’s Undercovers and CBS’ The Defenders. None of them made a case for itself one way or another last night, with the first 3 staying flat and The Defenders giving away last week’s solid ratings gains.

Much needed good ratings news for NBC which recently handed back orders – episodic or script – to all of its freshman series still on the air. One of them, Law & Order: Los Angeles (2.4/7 in adults 18-49), was up 26% after 2 consecutive weeks of 20%+ declines. It won the 10 PM hour and improved its retention of Law & Order: SVU to 92% from 83% last week. In fact, the entire NBC Wednesday lineup was up. SVU (2.6/7) was climbed 13%. Undercovers (1.5/5), the only new NBC series to only get script order this week, was flat with the show’s fast national number last week and up 7% vs. the final. Read More »

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It’s Official: NBC’s ‘Chase’ & ‘Chuck’ Get Full-Season Orders, 4 Scripts For ‘Undercovers’

Nellie Andreeva

It was UMS’ pickup day at NBC yesterday when the studio’s freshman series The Event, Law & Order: Los Angeles and Outsourced all received back-nine orders. Today is Warner Bros TV’s turn. As expected, the studio and NBC closed deals for full-season orders to freshman drama Chase and fan favorite Chuck, now in its fourth season, which I hear received a super-sized 11 episode pickup. (Digital rights issues held up both deals from being announced at the same time as the other pickups yesterday.) Additionally, NBC and Warner Bros. TV have settled on the number of additional scripts for freshman spy drama Undercovers, 4. NBC primetime chief Angela Bromstad pointed to Chase‘s “potential to grow” and Chuck‘s loyal audience. Indeed, last night Chase delivered a small ratings uptick at 10 PM, while Chuck held steady. Both finished last in the hour among the major networks. Read More »

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Pickup Time At NBC: ‘Event’, ‘LOLA’ And ‘Outsourced’ Get Full-Season Orders, ‘Chase’ Pending, ‘Undercovers’ Gets More Scripts

Nellie Andreeva

All remaining freshman series on NBC got some good news today. Three, The Event, Law & Order: Los Angeles and Outsourced, have been picked up for the rest of the season with back-nine orders. A similar pickup for Chase is said to be pending, while I hear Undercovers is close to receiving an order for additional scripts, said to be in 4-6. All renewed series, The Event, LOLA and Outsourced, hail from sister studio UMS. Chase is from Warner Bros. TV, and deals with outside studios sometime take longer (In this case, it hear the holdup has to do with digital rights). Also close to a full-season order at NBC is the WBTV-produced spy dramedy Chuck, a fan favorite that has gone through its fair share of dramatic last-minute renewals. Its deal is being held up by the same rights issues, with both the Chase and Chuck pickups expected to be finalized tomorrow.  Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Defenders’ Rebounds While ‘Law & Order: LA’ Drops Big Again

Nellie Andreeva

There were big swings at 10 PM on a otherwise pretty uneventful Wednesday night. After declining for 2 consecutive weeks and last Wednesday logging CBS’ lowest-rated original telecast in the hour in 7 years last week, the network’s new light legal drama The Defenders (2.5/7, 9.9 million viewers overall) bounced back, up 14% from last week among adults 18-49 and winning its time slot in the demo for the first time. CBS’ series may have benefitted from having less legal drama competition in the 10 PM hour last night. ABC preempted its new court drama The Whole Truth to air a 20/20 special on the Chilean miners rescue (1.8/5, 6.2 million). The newsmagazine improved on The Whole Truth‘s last week ratings performance in the time slot by 29% in 18-49, logging ABC’s largest audience in the hour in 10 months. Meanwhile, things look grim for NBC’s new crime drama Law & Order: Los Angeles (1.9/6), which was down 21% from last week, following last week’s 25% drop from the series’ premiere. LOLA has not been helped by the fact that its lead-in, veteran Law & Order: SVU (2.2/6), has also been dropping fast, down another 15% last night. Meanwhile, the network’s new spy drama Undercovers (1.5/4) seems to have stopped the bleeding, flat with last week but only .1 ahead of CW’s America’s Next Top Model in the 8PM hour. Other highlights from last night:

Fox’s reality series Hell’s Kitchen (3.1/9) marked its … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Law & Order: Los Angeles’ And ‘Defenders’ Drop

Nellie Andreeva

God is proving to be a ratings god this week. After a religion-themed Glee dominated Tuesday with a 4.6/13 demo rating, an episode of Modern Family tackling the same subject ruled the demo roost last night with a 4.5/12. It was mostly an uplifting night with all networks able to brag about something except for NBC whose entire lineup was down.

New NBC drama Undercovers continues to fade at 8 PM. It managed a 1.5/4 in 18-49 last night, down a notch from last week. On the same night last year, the now-defunct medical drama Mercy drew a 1.9 in the hour, and NBC averaged a 1.7 in the time slot last season. At 9 PM, Law & Order: SVU (2.5/7) was down 11%. Even worse, new spinoff Law & Order: Los Angeles (2.4/7) was down a steep 25% from its premiere last week. On the positive side, it still won what is shaping up to be a very weak Wednesday 10 PM hour this season and held 96% onto of its SVU lead-in. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Law & Order: LA’ Solid In Debut, ‘Undercovers’ Takes Plunge

Nellie Andreeva

The new Law & Order spinoff Law & Order: Los Angeles did OK in its debut on what was a down night all around, with all other series except Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen posting double-digit declines from last week. Topping the list was NBC’s freshman spy drama Undercovers, which was down an alarming 24% from its soft premiere last week. (the rest of the drops were between 10-19%) Also hitting dangerously low levels is ABC’s new 10 PM legal drama The Whole Truth.

Law & Order: LA (3.1/9 in adults 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall), won the 10 PM by a wide margin but was down 11% in the demo from what Law & Order: SVU did in the slot last week, while matching its total viewer delivery. Still, LOLA was up 19% from SVU‘s premiere in the slot in March and up 63% vs. what Jay Leno did in the hour last fall. As for SVU (2.7/7, 9.2 million), it was down 16% at 9 PM from last week despite featuring a publicized guest appearance by Jennifer Love Hewitt. The J.J. Abrams-produced Undercovers opened the night with a 1.6/5 and 7.1 million viewers, finishing distant fourth in the hour in 18-49.

The truth about new legal drama The Whole Truth is not pretty. The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced series posted a 1.3/4 in 18-49 … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Modern Family’ Flies High, ‘Undercovers’ Soft & ‘Truth’ In Danger

Nellie Andreeva

On the heels of its best series Emmy win, ABC’s comedy Modern Family hit all-time highs in its return for a second season. But also in the ABC column was the most disappointing premiere last night, that of new legal drama The Whole Truth (1.5/4 in adults 8-49, 4.9 million viewers). Another night of no breakout freshman shows ala Modern Family last year, with CBS’ 10 PM dramedy The Defenders (2.9/8, 12.1 million) and ABC’s 8:30 PM comedy Better with You (2.5/7, 8 million) showing some promise, while the debut of NBC’s Undercovers (2.0/6, 8.6 million) at 8 PM was pretty underwhelming.

But while the pecking order at 8 PM and 9 PM on Wednesdays seems to have been established, with CBS’ Survivor dominating the 8 PM hour and Modern Family shining at 9 PM with CBS’ Criminal Minds running solid second, the 10 PM period is still up for grabs. So the solid showing of Law & Order: SVU, which dominated the hour last night, is encouraging news for NBC that the new Law & Order: Los Angeles would also do well when it premieres there next week. Here is a network-by-network rundown:

Need more proof that no scripted series can launch successfully at 8 PM on the Big 4 these days? How about J.J. Abrams’ spy romp Undercovers opening to a 2.0 rating last night. That was down 13% from what … Read More »

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TCA: ‘Undercovers’ Producers Reluctant Trailblazers For Casting Two Black Leads

Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Is a spy drama with two black actors as the male-female romantic leads a revolution for network television? At TCA today, the producers of NBC’s upcoming Undercovers, which is just such a show — hemmed and hawed in answering the question that really shouldn’t be a question in 2010 but, well, still is.

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