Three things I learned from last night’s ratings (the first night of the November sweeps, a factoid that means zilch to anyone working at a network these days):
– There’s hope for intelligent comedy. NBC’s "Community" and "Parks and Recreation" had their biggest audiences of the season. And why not? These are damn fine half-hours, particularly "Parks and Rec," which is quickly becoming TV MoJoe’s favorite show currently airing right now. (Yes, even more than "Chuck." But no, not as much as "Lost").
And it’s still pretty stunning to see, but "The Office" is now handily beating "CSI" (which last night had its lowest adults 18-49 numbers ever). Add in the great performances for "Modern Family" and "Cougar Town" on ABC’s just-add-water instant comedy block, and I think it’s safe to finally just say it:
The Great Comedy Drought of the 2000s is now over. Perhaps the ’10s can be another golden era of TV laughs.
– "Flash Forward’s" ratings are as inconsistent as the show’s quality level. Perhaps it was just the World Series competition, but ABC’s fun new thriller dipped to a series low last night, after seemingly having stabilized in recent weeks.
I had been raving about this show the past two weeks, telling all who would listen that, after a bumpy start, the show had found its groove. The Oct. 22 episode was a high point.
But then producers decided to kick off sweeps with a messy hour that didn’t seriously advance much plot and once again left viewers hanging as to what the hell Charlie from "Lost" was up to (other than killing people).
ABC’s hype machine now is promoting next week’s episode as the "one you’ve gotta see." We’ll watch. But "FF" better start being more consistent, or else there could be more ratings lows to come.
– Airing "Vampire Diaries" repeats on Wednesday helped the show score its best CW demo (18-34) numbers yet.
Thankfully, programmers at the network realized the old-school thinking that suggested "Melrose Place" would get a lift from an encore was wrong. These days, viewers want more chances and more ways to see shows they like. They don’t want to have shows they’ve kinda sorta rejected shoved down their throats.
(That said, I’ve still got my fingers crossed for a Heather Locklear revival of "MP." The show’s not half-bad).