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Ratings Five-Spot - The Game, One Tree Hill, 30 Rock, Rob, The Finder

Here's the Ratings Five-Spot for the week ending January 15, 2012:

  • The Game - BET welcomed back The Game for its second original run on BET with 5.29 million viewers and a 2.8 A18-49 rating. The bad news: that's down a lot from its astonishingly huge BET premiere a year ago (7.68 million viewers, 3.6 demo on 1/11/11). The good news: it's still huge by cable standards. It easily beat its broadcast and cable competition in the timeslot and will finish as one of the week's top cable programs. The other amazing thing is that this number, even way down from its BET debut, is still twice what it got at the highest point of its three-season run on the CW. If this season is anything like last season, The Game will come down from this point but still contend for the timeslot lead on Tuesday at 10/9c.
  • One Tree Hill - When One Tree Hill ends later this season, it'll amazingly leave behind at most one other scripted show that existed before the WB/UPN merger. Even in its last couple years of decline, it's still been a pretty competitive show on the CW spectrum. And at least on premiere night for the final season, that remains the case. OTH returned to 1.72 million viewers and a 0.9 demo, which was down from last season's premiere (2.14 million, 1.1 demo) and about where the show was at this time last year (its midseason return got 1.89 million and a 0.9 last year on January 25). The show may be on its way out, but a 0.9 is a really good number for its network right now. It exceeds recent results from all CW scripted shows not named The Vampire Diaries. The only thing is that I doubt that number will hold up in the short term, as American Idol invades the TV landscape next week.
  • NBC's Shifting Comedies - Last week, NBC had a whooping four sitcoms that were either starting out in a new timeslot or starting out, period. The Up All Night/Whitney (2.0 demo each) flip hasn't meant much for either show so far, but keep in mind Whitney faced as little competition as it'll ever face (no American Idol or Survivor), while UAN faced a full complement of originals on the other four networks. Newbie Are You There, Chelsea? (2.3 demo) got an OK start after Whitney, but that may not mean a whole lot with American Idol joining the timeslot next week. Then there was the disappointing return of 30 Rock (4.47 million viewers, 1.8 demo), sharply down from last year's 2.6 demo premiere. It did a little better than Community in the timeslot (it averaged a 1.61 this fall, and the 1.8 tied Community's season high), but that may be short-lived with American Idol arriving next week.
  • The Panned Sitcoms - This week brought quite a wave of poorly-reviewed new comedies across all the big four networks, and the ratings results were rather mixed. It started with week two of Work It on ABC, whose 1.5 demo was bad enough for it to get pulled from the schedule immediately. Rumors are that Cougar Town will be inhabiting the timeslot in February. NBC had the rather "meh" start from Are You There, Chelsea? described above. Then on Thursday and Sunday, a couple more new comedies got what look like pretty strong starts, Rob on CBS (13.47 million viewers, 4.1 demo) and Napoleon Dynamite on Fox (preliminarily looks to be above a 4.0 demo). But they both had extremely large lead-ins (Rob aired after The Big Bang Theory and Napoleon after a football-fueled The Simpsons), meaning the margin of error is thinner for these shows than it'd appear based on the raw numbers.
  • The Finder - A spin-off of the always solid Bones had to seem like a pretty high-percentage play for Fox. But at least on premiere night, the results were quite discouraging. After Bones put up a decent 8.64 million viewers and 2.4 demo at 8:00, The Finder took a big drop to just 5.50 million viewers and a 1.7. Usually, a 1.7 demo for a series premiere with a decent lead-in means you can pretty much forget about it. This time, maybe not, as the show's lead-in will get even better starting next week. The Thursday premiere of American Idol should do about triple what Bones did, so it seems almost certain The Finder will be the first series of this season to grow in week two.
For more in-depth TV ratings coverage every day, check out my blog at SpottedRatings.com or follow me on Twitter: @spotupj.

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