Ratings: Can Southland save NBC?

By Tim Surette

Apr 10, 2009

Serial killers, Los Angeles police officers, and low-level city officials made important debuts last night, as CBS and NBC rolled out three shows that have been getting heavy buzz. In the end, it looks like cops may be coming to NBC's rescue.

Southland, a new gritty crop drama from the producers of ER, made the biggest splash last night, propelling NBC to a rare victory for the evening. The show's premiere pulled in a 3.2 rating and 9 share in the 18-49 demographic, and averaged 9.72 million viewers--good numbers for the struggling NBC. The numbers actually got better as the show headed into its second half-hour, meaning viewers probably liked what they saw and were sticking around, a great sign for a show's debut.

Airing in the same time period was CBS' murder mystery Harper's Island, which managed a 2.7/8 in the adult demo, and averaged 10.49 million viewers (consistent with CBS' tendency to attract more viewers overall, but not from target age groups). It looks as though viewers may have actually left Harper's Island for Southland, as Harper's lost viewers as the show progressed.

There's a lot at stake for CBS with Harper's Island. The network is looking at the slasher-thriller to draw in younger audiences with its sexy cast and horror-movie tone. But low ratings from TV.com users don't give this show a good outlook.

Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler's new comedy from the producers of The Office, did fairly solid for normal networks/good for NBC at 8:30 p.m, with a 3.9/11 and 6.77 million viewers. But given that it was sandwiched between two episodes of The Office that both outperformed it considerably (the 9 p.m. Office almost beat it by a whole ratings point), NBC has to be a little concerned.

Of the three premieres, the only one I saw part of was Parks and Recreation, and it didn't really grab me--it seems like a lesser version of the weaker episodes of The Office. Harper's Island is waiting on my DVR, and I'll check out Southland online later today.

What were your thoughts on the big premieres last night?

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  • jelly_donut_92 May 16, 2009

    southland is very good, but ive only seen two cause its on at ten...

  • pgsuperfan Apr 20, 2009

    I like both SOUTHLAND and HARPERS ISLAND so I watch one record the other, thats simple enough

  • abelav78 Apr 20, 2009

    I dont care for those new shows I just want em to give Chuck another season

  • lor267 Apr 20, 2009

    I liked both Southland and Harpers Island. I watched Southland and tivo Harper's Island. I will porbably keep continie to do that.

  • JDintheOC Apr 19, 2009

    A reply to tvdvdaddict, In your fist sentence you state that you didn't watch it and never will. But in your second sentence you state that it was boring...which was it or are you just playing both ends against the middle?

  • jareaufan Apr 18, 2009

    Southland, plain and simple is awesome. It's fairly original, and manages to retain a realistic feel, with the scripting and filming. I just hope NBC gives this a chance, it really seems like the "new ER" for them if given some time.

  • nightowl128 Apr 17, 2009

    I work midnight so half the time i do have to record show just in case i sleep in.. I agree with most people on here they don't really give a show a chance to grow a fan base and with sooo many reality and game shows on its hard to get them.. myself i can't stand reality shows I think its a waste of time...

  • rhezekim Apr 15, 2009

    I think that the TV executives don't know what they are doing, I agree with phuboo27. Quite a few people these days have TIVO's or in my case an HDDVR from DirecTv. I can't stand commercials so I record my shows and watch them later without the commercials. When the TV ratings are done they don't take into consideration how many people record a show, I think Nielson should come up with a ratings system for people who own DVR's because I bet more people record shows now then watch them live. The thing that gets me the most is the networks will drop a show without giving it a chance and replace it with something even more lame, that is why I am watching more shows on Showtime, TBS, and TNT because they give their shows a chance of building a fan base and sticking with it.

  • phuboo27 Apr 14, 2009

    TV ratings are the stupidiest thing in the world because NOBODY WATCHES TV ON TV ANYMORE, if execs knew this they would stop cancelling good TV, i feel like i should never get into a TV show again

  • sunnyday1982 Apr 14, 2009

    yay Harper's Island!

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