With the 2011-2012 fall TV season officially over and a slew of new mid-season spring programs right around the corner, its time to analyze each network’s performance this fall season. Which network was successful in launching new fall shows? Which networks have a have holes to fill and a lot of pressure in launching new spring shows to make up for a lackluster fall season? All of your questions will be answered here in the 1st edition of the TV Talk with JWalk Fall Wrap-Up.
Fox is the most stable of all of the five networks. Fox usually doesn’t have to worry about ratings since it holds off its rating killer American Idol until the spring. American Idol usually makes up for any ratings lag it has in the fall, so executives usually don’t have to worry. This fall, things were a little bit different. Even though Fox didn’t take any big chances coming into this fall season, the network is in perfect position to win the whole season in the coveted 18-49 demo.
The biggest hype of Fox’s fall season was the much-anticipated talent competition from Simon Cowell, The X-Factor, and dinosaur drama Terra Nova. The X-Factor proved to be a huge success for Fox on Wednesday and Thursdays, despite stiff competition from shows on other networks. Averaging 12 million viewers per week, X-Factor has given Fox huge gains over previous time period holders of last fall (Hell’s Kitchen on Wednesday and Bones on Thursday). The X-Factor has finally give Fox what it needed during the fall in preparation on American Idol‘s spring premiere; ratings stability. Fox also has an established reality hit for each season – The X-Factor for the fall, American Idol in the spring, and So You Think You Can Dance for the summer.
Terra Nova, a science-fiction drama about a family who travels 85 million years back in time, finally debuted this fall after over a year of an elaborate production and delays. Originally supposed to premiere after the season finale of American Idol in May (like Glee in 2009), however, the series wasnt ready to be shown due to the very technical visual effects. Terra Nova premiered in September to 9.1 million viewers, and a 3.1 in the 18-49 demo, making it one of the best drama debuts this fall. Even though ratings cooled off by the season finale on December 19th, the show was still considered a modest hit for the network, considering the expensive price tag for the series – each episode costing around $4 million. Terra Nova has ended its first season run of 11 episodes, and a decision on a second season will be decided in May.
Other than The X-Factor and Terra Nova, Fox had a quiet, but still successful fall season. Fox found unsuspected success with its new Tuesday night comedy New Girl, debuting to over 10 million viewers, making it Fox’s best comedy debut since 2001. New Girl has also been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Television Show – Musical or Comedy, as well as a Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for the shows star, Zooey Deschanel.
With the good comes the bad. Fox tried to add another animated comedy to its Sunday night animation block this fall, Allen Gregory was the only Fox show to be cancelled this season so far. The debut of new comedy I Hate My Teenage Daughter debuted to decent numbers, 6.8 million viewers, and the second episode losing over a million viewers in the second week, not good when your lead-in is the ratings champ The X-Factor.
Fox has a lot to look forward this spring. The highly anticipated premiere of the new J.J. Abrams thriller Alcatraz (Monday, January 16th at 9p.m.), Kiefer Sutherland’s return to Fox in his new psychological drama Touch (March 19th), the Bones spin-off The Finder (Thursday, January 12th at 9p.m.), the new animated comedy Napoleon Dynamite (Sunday, January 15th at 830p.m.); and the returns of Breaking In (Tuesday, March 6th), Bones, (Monday, January 8th) and of course, American Idol on Wednesday, January 18th.
Going into the spring, Fox looks ready and willing to secure its 18-49 demo dominance for the eighth straight season. As of now, it looks like the victory is already a lock.