Network by Network: The 2011-12 Broadcast Season So Far

While the 2011-12 broadcast season is just a bit over 3 weeks old (out of ~35 weeks), there certainly are some interesting trends already appearing.

CBS: The syndication machine keeps moving ahead (up 3% vs. last season among adults 18-49), but many new additions may not serve to feed the machine.

  • High points: Most of the veteran shows in general, Monday night in particular. CSI. 2 Broke Girls. CBS has to be wildly happy about how Monday night has started out this season.
  • Low points: One failure (A Gifted Man), and no clear successes among their new dramas. Early sitcom failure (How To Be A Gentleman).

FOX: Spending money, getting ratings (up 11% vs. last season), but at what cost?

  • High points: The X Factor and Terra Nova ratings are better than what they replaced. New Girl.
  • Low points: The X Factor and Terra Nova are more expensive than what they replaced. How those costs map with the ratings increases is something we can only guess about.

ABC: Not as bad as recent Fall starts, generally following the long term trend broadcast downward (down 4% vs. last season).

  • High points: Sitcoms in general, Modern Family in particular.
  • Low points: Fewer complete disasters than last Fall, but still one (Charlie’s Angels) and maybe two (Pan Am) early failures.

NBC: Still no light at the end of the tunnel (down 7% vs. last season).

  • High points: Up All Night
  • Low points: Two immediate disasters (The Playboy Club, Free Agents), The Biggest Loser running out of steam and dragging 2 hours down. Harry’s Law ratings drop.

CW: Dawn Ostroff picked a good time to bail (down 33% vs. last season).

  • High points: No rookie scripted disasters, all scripted rookies with at least a fighting chance for renewal.
  • Low points: Veteran shows hit by far more than typical annual broadcast ratings declines. Replaced an original scripted hour from last season’s schedule with an unscripted show (H8R) that crashed immediately.
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