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Ratings Five-Spot - Happy Endings, Beavis and Butt-head, Chuck, Grimm, Allen Gregory

Here's the Ratings Five-Spot for the week ending October 30, 2011:

  • Happy Endings - Fox's World Series Game 6 last Wednesday got rained out, and suddenly the last pre-November sweeps evening really opened up for the few shows still programming originals. Against the limited competition, five of six originals on Wednesday night hit season highs. For most of those shows (The Middle, Suburgatory, Survivor, America's Next Top Model) it didn't really "matter" because the spikes weren't that big, and most of those shows are on relatively solid footing anyway. The best Wednesday performance came from the show that needed it most, ABC's Happy Endings. Even though its Modern Family lead-in was a repeat (albeit the highest-rated repeat of anything in years), the Happy Endings Halloween episode soared to series highs with 8.33 million viewers and a 3.5 18-49 rating. I've been fairly underwhelmed by most of its ratings this season, but this one may have been a game-changer. I'm leaning toward giving it at least a full season now.
  • Beavis and Butt-head - It'd been over a decade since MTV's iconic animated program Beavis and Butt-head had last aired. Last Thursday, MTV revived the show to pretty solid results, as it pulled in 3.29 million viewers and a 1.8 A18-49. That's only about half of what usual timeslot occupant Jersey Shore gets, but otherwise it's a pretty darn good rating for MTV. Also consider the relatively male-skewing program had to face the high-rated Game 6 of the World Series. Leading out was the network's launch of animated newbie Good Vibes, which couldn't even hold half of the Beavis audience; it scored just 1.60 million viewers and a 0.8 A18-49 rating.
  • Chuck - It's not like the ratings for Chuck really matter all that much considering NBC announced it as the final season. But considering how awful things are across NBC's entire schedule this fall, I suppose I wouldn't have thought you were completely insane if you'd thought Chuck could somehow score yet another extension. Now... you're probably completely insane. Chuck's Friday debut managed just 3.42 million viewers and a 1.0 demo. You can counter that the show had to face the massive Game 7 of the World Series, and that's true, but this still isn't much of a start. If anything, we learned last Friday that it isn't totally impossible to get a decent rating on a Friday against huge competition, as evidenced by...
  • Grimm - Surprise! The premiere of Grimm turned out to be one of this fall's biggest ratings shockers. Despite a weak lead-in (see Chuck above), depressed Friday viewing levels and, oh yeah, Game 7 of the World Series, somehow Grimm managed to find 6.56 million viewers and a 2.1 A18-49 rating. There are a couple angles that should help illuminate how surprising this is. First, the NBC angle: it was NBC's biggest drama premiere of the season, soundly beating Prime Suspect (1.8) and The Playboy Club (1.6), both of which had much better timeslots. In fact, only four NBC drama episodes this whole six-week-old season (two of Parenthood, two of Law & Order: SVU) have done better than Grimm's 2.1. Then there's the Friday angle: the 2.1 demo is the biggest for a regularly-scheduled Friday episode this season and the biggest for Friday scripted TV in over a year, since the Blue Bloods premiere on 9/24/2010. There hasn't been a show to consistently pull a 2.0+ on a Friday night since Ghost Whisperer left the air back in the 2009-10 season.
    As always, we can't read too much into a good premiere rating, especially for a genre drama. Those often take huge post-premiere drops. But I think this one is more significant than most. Because of that aforementioned ratings carnage on NBC, I think this premiere rating makes it pretty likely Grimm will be getting a timeslot upgrade in the relatively near future. Basically there are two scenarios: either Grimm "holds up" and becomes too strong of an asset to waste on Friday, or Grimm takes a hit and the perception grows that NBC is killing a show with real potential on Friday with a crap lead-in and low viewing levels. The only way I see the show not getting some kind of upgrade is if it completely bombs in week two. I'm talking about a drop to like a 1.3 or 1.2 next week. Seems unlikely since there won't be a World Series next week, but... stay tuned!
  • Allen Gregory - I'm all for Fox trying to cultivate animation voices not named Seth MacFarlane, but it doesn't look like Jonah Hill's new show Allen Gregory is going to fit the bill. Its premiere pulled just 4.77 million viewers and a 2.4 A18-49 rating. That's a pretty low number by Fox animation standards, and it's made even worse by its huge lead-in (a 4.0 demo from the Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons). The show has no real hope of survival at this level or if it drops, so the only positive angle to take is that maybe the big NFL lead-ins in future weeks will help; it is a bit unfortunate that Fox premiered the show on a Sunday without the national NFL late-afternoon game. Also, Allen had to go up against one of the biggest NBC football games of the season to date. But Fox gave a back-nine to fellow animated show Bob's Burgers (which isn't even airing right now) on Monday morning, right around the same time they would've seen Allen Gregory's 18-49 numbers. Coincidence?!
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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