The Washington Post

CBS sitcoms, ABC’s ‘Dancing’ stomp new Spielberg dino-drama ’Terra Nova’

Jason O'Mara as Jim Shannon in “Terra Nova.” ( Brook Rushton/Fox)

That’s about two bucks a head.

Fox points out the drama series’ debut (originally slated for last May but pushed to this week in order, the network said, to get the special effects right) did 29 percent better than the network averaged last year on Monday nights, among the 18-49 year old viewers TV networks lust after – because advertisers pay a premium to reach them.

We point out this is known as “damning with faint praise.”

Last season, you’ll recall, Fox struggled on Monday nights, starting with new drama “Lone Star” — the season’s first cancellation — which it replaced with “Lie to Me” — also now canceled — and then “The Chicago Code” — canceled.

Most embarrassing, in its official unveiling on Fox, the two-hour “Terra Nova” episode got its clock cleaned by CBS’s Monday sitcoms and by ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

And that’s both with total viewers, and in that golden age group.

Worth repeating: Fox’s much ballyhooed, obscenely expensive “Terra Nova” premiere got whomped among younger viewers by CBS comedies — CBS! — and by ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” which is often derided by non-fans as being “that old-timers’ reality hit.”

In its talking points sent to The Reporters Who Cover Television, Fox noted ABC’s “Dancing” suffered its worst “performance show” rating ever among those 18-49 year olds Monday night.

And yet, we add — it still beat “Terra Nova”!

Meanwhile, whither goest Part Deux of CBS’s Killing Off Charlie Sheen season opener on “Two and a Half Men”?

Of the nearly 29 million who’d tuned in last Monday to watch Part Uno, to see show creator Chuck Lorre kill off Sheen’s Charlie Harper character, about 20 million came back for more.

Of which, the second-season debut of that other Chuck Lorre sitcom, “Mike & Molly” hung on to about 14 mil — that show’s biggest audience ever.

And yet, in amongst all that “winning,” Lorre couldn’t resist writing, nastly, on his “Men” end-of-show vanity card, that while his long nightmare is now over — he finds he simply can’t resist the urge to write write a tell-all book to settle the score. So much for taking the high road.

Wrapping up Monday night, the latest episode of another of this new TV season’s highly hyped freshman series, NBC’s “Playboy Club” is down to an average of just 4 million viewers at 10.


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