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Ratings Five-Spot - Raising Hope, Happily Divorced, The Mentalist, Harry's Law, Bob's Burgers

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Here's the Ratings Five-Spot for the week ending March 11, 2012:

  • Raising Hope - Last Tuesday, Fox introduced a new two-hour block of comedies to help them get through the Glee hiatus. The results for the block were rather mixed. The big winner was clearly Raising Hope (2.1), which moved down to the leadoff spot and maintained its entire demo audience from the previous few weeks. There was relatively little competition (ABC and CBS were in repeats) and a Katy Perry guest turn, but this looks pretty encouraging so far. New Girl (3.0) also held up nicely despite having to air without a Glee lead-in for the first time. The losers of the block were the shows that started at the bottom of the hours. I Hate My Teenage Daughter (1.6) was a weak link despite being sandwiched by the two above shows, while Breaking In (1.7) lost almost half the demo of its New Girl lead-in. In week two, the first Tuesday after Daylight Saving Time, all four shows dropped by at least 0.2 based on preliminaries, but the pecking order remained about the same. Raising Hope and especially New Girl still look OK, IHMTD and Breaking In not so much.
  • Happily Divorced - TV Land brought back Fran Drescher sitcom Happily Divorced for its second season. For a network whose sitcoms have basically just been going down-down-down since they started programming them again in mid-2010, they got a little welcome news. Hot In Cleveland cracked a 0.5 demo rating for the first time since its summer run (never did so in 15 winter episodes to date) and was also well above average with 1.82 million total viewers. Happily Divorced returned with 1.44 million viewers and a 0.4 demo. This was down from its series premiere last year (2.2 million and a 0.5), but keep in mind the winter run of previous timeslot occupant The Exes was also lower than a 0.4 every single week. Overall, it's nice to finally have some indication that TV Land may have steadied the ship.
  • The Mentalist - In the preliminary numbers, it looked like CBS' tryout of The Mentalist on Friday night had been a success, as it outrated everything else that had been in the timeslot this season. Then came the final results, which brought the entire CBS lineup down by 0.2, and The Mentalist was left with just 11.83 million viewers and a 1.8 demo, not really that much better than CSI: NY has been doing all season. The latter number was down more than a third from The Mentalist's average on Thursday this season. What does that mean for The Mentalist and for CBS Friday in general? I always say don't read too much into one-shot airings, as they almost always disappoint, and in this case CBS may not have been available in as many homes as usual due to basketball preemptions (which were what brought down the preliminary numbers in the first place). That said, I think it does have to make CBS think twice about bringing one of their strong second tier of dramas over to Friday.
  • Harry's Law - This week, NBC had the Sunday debut of legal drama Harry's Law, and it once again hit that sweet spot into which it fell for most of the fall. It is literally the biggest NBC scripted program in total viewers (nearly 9 million) and almost literally the smallest NBC scripted program in the 18-49 demo (1.1). Kathy Bates is, understandably, trying to accentuate the positives in defense of her show. There are two oversimplifications here: "Harry's Law is a 9 million viewer show!" or "Harry's Law is a 1.1 demo show!" Both factually accurate, but which is closer to the truth about the show's standing?
    In terms of ad dollars, it's not even close. Harry's Law is a 1.1 show. With that being said, I still think it's legitimate to argue that NBC is not in a position to be completely ignoring a show with a clear following in any demo. Harry's Law is probably not going to be a viable show in terms of advertising, but can it funnel that reliable audience into some other show that can ultimately become more of an ad rates grab? That's the only way I see it getting renewed, as more of a scheduling puzzle piece that helps something else out than as a money-maker in its own right. Even that may be a long shot with NBC seemingly centering Friday night (probably the best landing spot for Harry) around the very different Grimm.
  • Bob's Burgers - The second season premiere of Bob's Burgers did a fairly disappointing 4.03 million viewers and a 1.9 demo rating on Sunday. That ties its series low from season one, plus it's a touch lower than the last couple episodes of fellow animated comedy Napoleon Dynamite in the same timeslot. We do have to be mindful that Bob's Burgers premiered the day of the Daylight Saving adjustment, which historically has an effect on shows in the 8:00 hour. After all, its The Simpsons lead-in was 0.2 points weaker than last week.
For more in-depth TV ratings coverage every day, check out my blog at or follow me on Twitter: @spotupj.

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