Many Veteran TV Shows Are Struggling This Season

[20 February 2013]

By Joe Flint

Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — There has been a lot of talk this television season about the lack of new hits. Indeed, while a few shows such as CBS’ “Elementary” and Fox’s “The Following” are posting some decent numbers, there have been far more flops in the fall and mid-season.

Recent casualties include NBC’s “Do No Harm” and CBS’ “The Job.” Among other disappointments from earlier this season are Fox’s “Ben and Kate” and ABC’s “Last Resort.”

But many veteran shows are also performing poorly. So far this season, only a handful of returning programs are doing better than they were last season. CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” NBC’s “Grimm” and ABC’s “Shark Tank” are members of that club.

At CBS, shows that have declined from last season in viewers and the 18-49 demographic include “Two Broke Girls,” “The Mentalist” and “Hawaii Five-O.” NBC’s “Law & Order SVU” and “Parks & Recreation” are down as well. At ABC, “Once upon a Time” has seen double-digit declines as has Fox’s “New Girl.”

To be sure, there are lots of factors besides age that can contribute to these declines. In the case of “Two Broke Girls,” it moved from 8:30 p.m. Monday to 9:00 p.m. and now has a much weaker lead-in show than it did last season.

Also, the numbers don’t reflect DVR, online and video-on-demand viewing.

But odds are that even with ancillary viewing factored in, the ratings would still be lower. This has to be of concern to the broadcast networks, especially if new shows are not emerging to pick up the slack. This week alone, CBS’ “The Good Wife” and CW’s “Beverly Hills 90210” hit all-time rating lows.

Overall, NBC is the only network up in both viewers and adults 18-49 this season. However, that was primarily in the fall when “The Voice” was on. CBS, which is first in both categories, is down 4 percent in viewers and 13 percent in adults 18-49. ABC is off 7 percent in viewers and 8 percent in 18-49, while Fox has fallen 18 percent in both categories. The CW is up 3 percent in viewers but down 13 percent in the 18-49 category.

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