As we begin one of the deadest TV ratings stretches of the year, I'll just note that this will be the last Ratings Five-Spot of 2011. Should return around January 10 to recap the first week of midseason. Till then, let's wrap up some of the last fall shows on the air with one final 2011 Ratings Five-Spot:
- Homeland - Showtime's critically-acclaimed thriller wrapped up its first season last Sunday with its best performance yet. It posted 1.71 million viewers and a 0.7 adults 18-49 rating, both drastically above average. The show had only even gotten a 0.6 once, and all its other previous airings were 0.4s or 0.5s. That certainly bodes well for the show going into its second season. And the performance saw the smallest-yet drop out of Dexter, whose 2.23 million viewers and 1.0 demo were relatively "meh" by finale standards for that show.
- Terra Nova - Perhaps the best hope for Terra Nova was to build in its last few weeks as most of its regular fall competition fell away. That didn't really happen. Its two-hour finale on Monday posted 7.24 million viewers and a 2.2 demo. That was up a bit from the penultimate episode but marked the show's fifth straight week in the low-2 range. Now we await the renewal decision. If it were most new shows, I'd say the ratings have likely earned a renewal; it's gotten those low-2 demos against (usually) pretty solid competition and without a lead-in. Last year's Fox bubble dramas got those ratings or even a little worse with much more support. But the ratings aren't a slam dunk, so it wouldn't be any surprise to see this one axed because of its high costs and lengthy production schedules. It'd sure be nice to see how upcoming Monday entries Alcatraz and Touch do (and also know the fate of House), but because of the production reasons, Fox may have to make the decision without that info.
- American Horror Story - FX's American Horror Story signed off on Wednesday with a new high in total viewers (3.22 million) and an above-average demo performance (1.7). Though the show's 1.60 demo average did finish behind the Sons of Anarchy average (2.04) this fall, it was still the most successful debut season for an FX show in many years. I'd say a big season two is a no-brainer, but... in case you haven't heard, next fall will see the show starting over with a new setting and characters. That's the only thing standing in this show's way right now, but it's potentially a biggie.
- The X Factor - One of the toughest things for the TV media this fall has been properly encapsulating the ratings of The X Factor. You can hold it to the American Idol standard, against which it has definitely been a disappointment. It might have been unrealistic to expect an actual American Idol Part II, but the show hasn't even been a "half-Idol." The Wednesday and Thursday averages were both below half of last spring's Idol averages on the same nights, and the (preliminary) 3.8 demo for the finale was just 41% of the Idol finale's rating. You can hold it to the "any regular new show" standard, by which it's certainly a success. Even an "almost-half-Idol" is among TV's biggest shows, and it's often more than doubled the stuff Fox had in those timeslots last year. So what's the correct standard for this show? I'd say somewhere in the middle. I believe it was pretty reasonable to expect better (advertisers sure did), but it's undeniably helped Fox's overall fall situation quite a bit.
- Who's Still Standing? - I pretty much wrote off NBC's four-night game show event after it premiered to a mediocre 5.57 million viewers and 1.5 demo on Monday night. But it's flexed a little muscle since then, building all the way up to a 1.9 on Tuesday and posting a still-solid 1.7 on Wednesday. Then it dropped back to a (preliminary) 1.5 last night. It'll have some more airings in the next few weeks that will really tell the story. But it just might have hit that ratings sweet spot where NBC will bring it back to use in a relatively low-priority period (like Friday, December, or summer) but not to get murdered against a full-fledged gauntlet (as happened with The Sing-Off this fall).