Ratings: ‘V’ So-So in Return; NBC Proud of ‘Parenthood’

That countdown clock during “Lost” didn’t work. Unless by “work” you mean it drove viewers away

ABC’s "V" returned to TV weaker than it left last fall, despite ABC’s best (or worst) marketing efforts to revive the show.

The number was hardly a disaster, however, and if it holds up, could be enough to bring the show back for another season. More encouraging were the results for NBC’ "Parenthood," which now seems a lock for a second season.

"V" earned a preliminary 2.9 rating/8 share among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. (The number could go down a tick when finals come in, since ABC likes to let a couple minutes of "Lost" bleed into the 10 p.m. hour.)

The bad news: Despite relentless promotion, including this dumb idea, last night’s tally was below the 3.1/9 "V" averaged Nov. 24, the last time an original episode aired. What’s more, "V’s" last episode aired at 8 p.m., where viewing levels are lower. ABC had to hope that a 10 p.m. slot, and a "Lost" lead-in, would inflate the average. That didn’t happen.

"V" also held on to less than 80 percent of its "Lost" lead-in. However, here’s the good news: Nothing holds on to most of its "Lost" lead-in, and "V’s" retention wasn’t awful. The show also improved upon ABC’s unsuccessful fall drama "The Forgotten," which averaged a 1.7/5 in the slot during its first season. And ABC knew it would take a hit by airing four episodes in the fall and then keeping the show off for four weeks in order to get the show in better creative shape.

But back to the bad news: "V" barely beat little ol’ NBC’s soft and squishy "Parenthood," which averaged a 2.5/7 in the demo at 10 p.m. despite a weaker lead-in ("The Biggest Loser," 2.8/8). And CBS is saving its big gun, "The Good Wife," for next week (we assume; the show’s been in repeats since 2007, or so it seems).

Bottom line: "Parenthood" has done enough to earn a renewal from NBC (though the network might want to wait to see how it does opposite a first-run "Good Wife"). The jury will remain out on "V" for a few weeks; this was a decent but mildly disappointing return. If the show stabilizes at this level, however, ABC will certainly bring it back.