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Ratings Five-Spot - You Deserve It, Revenge, Holiday Specials, Leverage, The Walking Dead

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We're a couple days late due to Nielsen delays from the American Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but here's the Ratings Five-Spot for the week ending November 27, 2011:

  • You Deserve It - To help them get through the gap between the end of Dancing with the Stars and the beginning of The Bachelor in January, ABC premiered a new game show called You Deserve It after the Monday finale of Dancing. While that Dancing finale pulled nearly 20 million viewers and a 3.5 demo, You Deserve It dropped huge, plummeting all the way to 8.55 million viewers and a 1.7 demo. And that performance also helped drag Castle down to one of its weakest showings of the season. You Deserve It then dropped 18% in the demo in week two (to a 1.4). The week two drop could've been worse, but this still isn't looking like a long-term fix for this timeslot.
  • Revenge - The day before Thanksgiving is always one of the more interesting days of the TV season to me. It's one of the biggest travel days of the year in the United States, so overall TV viewing is significantly lower than on most Wednesdays. However, it's also home to a surprising number of original TV episodes because it's the last night of the November sweeps period. ABC, in particular, has continued to offer complete original lineups in recent years, and they did it again this year. NBC also had new comedy Up All Night and Fox had an X Factor results show.
    For the most part, these shows held up relatively OK considering the circumstances; they all dropped in the relatively consistent range of 14 to 21% from their previous originals. That includes Revenge, down 19% to a 2.1 demo on the night. So why do I include it specifically in the headline? Most Thanksgiving Eve ratings aren't worth worrying about at all; the comedies that have aired on this evening historically have bounced right back up. Revenge is different. It's a serialized drama where a big crowd missing a week might make an impact. I'm not saying Revenge won't bounce back, but it does seem like relatively uncharted territory in recent years. Couple that with a repeat last night and I'll definitely be paying attention to how many people show up next Wednesday.
  • Holiday Specials - You can always count on a lot of movies and holiday specials filling the schedule during late November and most of December. Most of the returning ones have continued to do really solid business. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (12.64 million viewers, 4.0 A18-49 rating) on CBS remains the undisputed king of the holiday specials, and ABC's solid options How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2.5 A18-49) and Shrek the Halls (2.6) were both up from last year's telecasts as well. It can be tough to get much momentum going for a new special, as CBS learned with its Friday night newbies Hoops & YoYo Ruin Christmas (0.8) and Elf on a Shelf (1.1), but Fox got a relatively solid start out of their all-new Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (2.3), and I'd expect to see it again next season. Movie rebroadcasts continue to struggle in broadcast primetime, as has been the case for several years; of five movies shown over the holiday weekend, the highest-rated was Friday night's Iron Man (1.3).
  • Leverage - After sitting out much of the fall, TNT got back in the original game on Sunday with the return of their caper drama Leverage. (They also brought back The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles on Monday night, but I'll hit those next week.) It pulled 2.10 million viewers and a 0.7 demo. That's actually ahead of the show's invisible return last December (when it managed just a 0.5), but it's still behind almost all of the ratings from the summer run. USA Network certainly seems OK with their shows' depressed ratings in a regular season environment, so I doubt TNT's stressing over this one. And maybe things will get better going forward, since next week the timeslot won't have...
  • The Walking Dead - The drama that's about four times bigger than anything else on its network signed off for a couple months with 6.62 million viewers and a 3.5 demo. That was up by four tenths from the penultimate episode of this season and up by a half point from the finale of last season. Overall, it's been a pretty smashing season for the Dead, as their 3.41 demo average finished up by nearly 30% from the season one average. As I've said before, this would be a legitimate hit even if it were on broadcast; it takes just one hand to count the number of big network dramas with a higher average to date this season. Also good news for AMC is that Hell on Wheels, which took huge drops in weeks two and three, finally stabilized in week four. But it's not exactly in the clear yet; how will it do next week without its huge Walking Dead lead-in?
For more in-depth TV ratings coverage every day, check out my blog at or follow me on Twitter: @spotupj.

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