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Ratings Five-Spot - Awake, GCB, America's Next Top Model, Army Wives, Breakout Kings

Here's the Ratings Five-Spot for the week ending March 4, 2012:

  • Awake - NBC introduced new drama Awake on Thursday night, and the results were a truly mixed bag. The raw numbers were 6.24 million viewers and a 2.0 A18-49 rating. The good news: it did much better than the two flops NBC put in the timeslot earlier in the season (Prime Suspect and The Firm). It was also arguably NBC's strongest drama performance of the week, only a little behind Smash (which had a huge lead-in) and ahead of other contenders like Parenthood, Law & Order: SVU and Grimm. And it built significantly from its weak lead-in, comedy Up All Night. The bad news: it didn't really have any competition from the broadcasters, and 18-49 viewers fell away in each 15-minute period (the breakdown went 2.1 -> 2.0 -> 1.9 -> 1.8). Overall, I wouldn't exactly call it dead on arrival, especially on a network as weak as NBC, but there's nothing to cheer about just yet either.
  • GCB - The other series premiere of the week was ABC's GCB, long hoped to be ABC's heir apparent to Desperate Housewives on Sunday nights. On premiere night, it doesn't really look like that's gonna happen. The show premiered with 7.56 million viewers and a 2.2 A18-49 rating, a mere shadow of the premiere ratings from previous occupant Pan Am early in the season (11.06 million and 3.1). And it dropped from the Desperate Housewives lead-in's demo audience (2.5). The show did a lot better than the later episodes of Pan Am, but even a small 10% drop or so from the premiere numbers would put the show in pretty marginal territory for ABC.
  • America's Next Top Model - Probably the biggest shocker of the TV ratings week was the return of the CW's America's Next Top Model, which scored an abominable 1.17 million viewers and a 0.5 A18-49 rating. Once pretty much the crown jewel of the network, Top Model has seen its British Invasion cycle kick off with numbers that rival the weakest shows on the network. Last spring, Top Model premiered with a 1.1 demo. Two years ago, it premiered with a 1.6! Unless things turn around fast, this is one of the most precipitous declines in all of primetime. The CW has burnt a lot of development cash over the years trying and failing to develop unscripted shows that would pair with Top Model. Now that even Top Model itself seems to be a dud, is it time for the network to get out of the unscripted game entirely?
  • Army Wives - On Sunday night, Lifetime brought back Army Wives, their biggest scripted hit. Its two-hour premiere pulled in 3.63 million viewers and a 1.2 A18-49 rating. Those are undoubtedly solid numbers, especially for a network like Lifetime that's had so much trouble getting anything else going in the scripted arena. But they're also each down about 14% from last season's premiere.
  • Breakout Kings - Sunday night also saw the second-season premiere of Breakout Kings, a drama that A&E picked up after Fox passed on it in the 2010-11 development cycle. The show returned with 2.12 million viewers and a 0.8 demo, both considerably weaker than the 2.81 million viewers and 1.2 demo of its series premiere in March 2011. However, this is still fairly comparable to the ratings for the network's other notable scripted series, The Glades. (Its second season premiered with 3 million viewers and a 0.9.) And it was still a little better performance than almost all of the second half of Breakout Kings' first season, so it could still hold up better year-to-year as the season progresses.
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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