NBC's 'Parenthood' slowly starts to make case for itself

Joe Flint
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — As NBC executives start to figure out what shows deserve to come back next fall, its Tuesday night dramedy "Parenthood" is starting to quietly make a case for a second season.

The 10 p.m. EDT program, which is NBC's second attempt to turn the hit Steve Martin movie into a TV series, beat "The Good Wife" in the coveted 18-49 demographic Tuesday. It was the first time since "Parenthood" premiered a month go that it beat a new episode of the CBS freshman drama head-to-head in that category. Last week, a new "Parenthood" beat a repeat of "The Good Wife."

In terms of viewers, it is still no contest. "The Good Wife" had 12 million watching on Tuesday, compared with 6.3 million for "Parenthood," according to Nielsen.

The ratings for "Parenthood" have been all over the map since its March 2 premiere, but the last few weeks have seen some stabilization. Helped by heavy hype during NBC's Olympics coverage, the show launched with 8.1 million viewers and a 3.1 rating in adults 18-49 (each rating point in that demo equals 1.3 million viewers). It dropped the following two weeks, hitting a low of 5.8 million viewers and a 2.3 in the demo on March 16.

Some may have been ready to throw in the towel on "Parenthood" at that point, but it rebounded on March 23 with 7 million viewers and a 2.7 in adults 18-49. Perhaps fans of "The Good Wife," which was in repeats that Tuesday, checked out "Parenthood" and now some are starting to stick around. Although "Parenthood" has not matched the numbers of two weeks ago, the show is performing at the same level as it was in week two and is doing particularly well with women.

Of course, the bar for success is lower at NBC than at other networks because of its struggles. A decision as to whether the show, which features Peter Krause, Lauren Graham and Craig T. Nelson, will make it to a sophomore season is not expected any time in the immediate future. NBC ordered 13 episodes and has seven more to get through. If "Parenthood" can maintain or improve on its current performance, though, odds are NBC will bring it back. It doesn't hurt that NBC has had a very tough season and anything that shows the slightest sign of clicking with viewers will get a long look.

There will be a little bit of schadenfreude for NBC if "Parenthood" can continue to make a dent on "The Good Wife." At January's Golden Globe Awards, that show's star, Julianna Margulies, took a swipe at NBC's ill-fated strategy of putting Jay Leno on at 10 p.m. when she thanked CBS President Leslie Moonves and entertainment chief Nina Tassler for "believing in the 10 o'clock drama."

Who knows, NBC might have to thank them one day too.





How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?


The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.


'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.


​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.


Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.


Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.


Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.


Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.