News Briefs: Alcatraz, Smash Hit Ratings Lows


Yayyyyyyy.

RATINGS NEWS

... Ratings have been pretty crummy all around lately, as major networks continue to go the way of the dinosaur in the face of cable competition. Smash, which was supposed to be a big hit for NBC, continued to drop in its third episode with 6.47 million viewers and a 2.39 rating in the 18-49 demographic. That's not good, considering it has such a beefy lead-in in The Voice (16.68 million viewers in its 9pm hour). Things weren't any better for Fox's Alcatraz which dropped to a series low for the second straight week with 5.96 million viewers and a 1.8 rating, worse than Terra Nova ever did. More worrying is that it finished in fourth place. Tough decisions are coming up for both Fox and NBC. [TV By the Numbers]


CANCELLATIONS NEWS

... Lionsgate has canceled its blue comedy Blue Mountain State after failing to find a new home for the series. The show was passed on in November by Spike TV, which aired all three of its seasons thus far. Until now, hope remained that someone else would pick it up. [Zap2It]


RIDICULOUS DATING SHOW NEWS

... Fox is casting for Take Me Out, a new dating show based on a U.K. series. The idea is this: A single man is trotted out before 30 single women, who indicate their interest in him by keeping a light on. If multiple women remain interested once he's finished his spiel is over, they fight for his interest. The women stick around for the entire season, and dates between "winners" are shown to the audience. Great. [EW]


CASTING NEWS

... Titus Welliver has found a lead role in the NBC pilot Midnight Sun, a thriller about members of a cult-like commune who go missing in Alaska. Welliver will play the leader of the cult, which is perfect-o for the talented actor who you'll remember as the Man in Black from Lost, an Irish gangster from Sons of Anarchy, a firefighter from Touch, and the God of War from Supernatural. Seriously, this guy is in all kinds of crazy good stuff. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Fellow Lost vet Dominic Monaghan will host a new travel series for BBC America. Wild Things will see Monoghan packing his bags in search of gigantic insects (awesome!) all over the globe. Look for it later this year. [THR]

... Dichen Lachman has joined the Shawn Ryan pilot Last Resort, a thriller from ABC about a rogue nuclear submarine that establishes its own independent nation after it refuses to follow questionable orders from the U.S. government. The exotic Lachman will play a native bar owner on the island the sub's crew docks at. She joins a cast that already includes Andre Braugher and Autumn Reeser. Here's hoping that Lachman and Reeser get into a sandy beach fight in bikinis. I'll pass on seeing Braugher in a bikini, though. [TV Line]

... And the sci-fi love continues! Milo Ventimiglia, who has been pretty M.I.A. since Heroes ended, will co-star in Frank Darabont's L.A. Noir. The TNT drama is set in the 1950s and follows cops and crooks in Los Angeles. The Walking Dead's Jon Bernthal (Shane!) is also in talks to join the series. [Deadline Hollywood]

... House's Peter Jacobson is the first actor from that series to land a new gig following the announcement that House will end at the end of this season. Jacobson will recur in Showtime's new series Ray Donovan, which stars Liev Schrieber as a "fixer" to the rich and famous in Los Angeles. [Deadline Hollywood]

... War Horse star Matt Milne is joining Downton Abbey. He'll play Alfred, the nephew of O'Brien. Not gonna lie, I have no idea what I just wrote. [Digital Spy]

... Taylor Kinney (The Vampire Diaries) has landed the lead in the NBC firefighter drama Chicago Fire. He'll play the macho leader of the department. Apparently he's dating Lady Gaga in real life, so if his taste in roles is anything like his taste in women, this show will make me vomit. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Lindsay Lohan is hosting Saturday Night Live on March 3. Wait, Lindsay Lohan is still alive? [NBC via press release]

... In Plain Sight's Mary McCormack has signed on for the lead role in an untitled ABC comedy pilot. In it, she'll play a corporate executive who is laid off and must become a full-time mom to her two teenage kids. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Last one, I promise! Jeanne Tripplehorn (Big Love) will guest-star on Fox's New Girl as the ex-wife of a future love interest (Dermont Mulroney) of Jess'. Or is it Jess's? Or Jesses'? Or Je'ss? Or Jes's's's's's? [EW]


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (54)
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I really like Titus Welliver, but I can't get with a show about cults -- especially the ones that turn deadly. And sorry to hear about 'Smash' -- if it gets the ax, it won't be NBC's fault (for a change).
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i stopped watching Alcatraz after episode 4.
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Alcatraz (or Alcatrash as I've seen it called and thought it quite accurate) is so very dead...



The only characters that seem interesting is the doctor in a coma and the doctor stuck in some secret facility... The main ones are still a complete bore after 7 episodes... Dr. Soto in particular is such a cliche...
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Fringe is the only thing worth watching on Fox
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true but it will get axed too. For me Glee is worth watching too
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Some people seem to believe (or want to believe) that Fox's only options for next fall is in existing shows, another option for Fox is to program something else, either a new show or revive an old one.
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I was really looking forward to "Alcatraz', but straight after the opening scenes I started to have bad feelings. Not until appearance of Jorge Garcia did I realize that this was another offering from Bad Robot and J.J. Abrams.

This guy should not be allowed to make any form of media. Sure he comes up with decent ideas, and sets up a good premise, but his final execution makes you want to throw something through the screen.

I will save everybody the effort of watching the whole series, since the explanation will be either be aliens, or the inmates died in a plane crash and are now stuck somewhere between Heaven and Earth.
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Really? They were stuck between heaven and earth? And here I thought the only time they were stuck between heaven and earth was season 6 in the sideways (pergatory) world. Come on, the island was real, they were all alive and as they died on the island they went to pergatory. Rewatch the last 15 minutes of the finale.
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i know dude, most pple clearly have no diea what Lost was about cos they aren't smart enough. Thank god some of us understood what an amazing show it was from start to finish!
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Why are low ratings for Alcatraz "worrying?" I can't wait to see bad programming get exactly what they deserve. Of course, I argue the same for American Idol, The Voice, and a host of other non-substantial garbage, but those are goliaths...and I'm but a lowly David.
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I liked the last episode since it was sort of a don't bully me message. Rather extreme consequences but good show. lol
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Alcatraz has made the mistake of sticking cliffhangers onto the end of the episodes without following through on them. It's put off a lot of viewers. Although if Alcatraz doesn't pull out of it's slum then Terra Nova might just see a return next year.



Smash has the problem of going up against Hawaii 5-0. Smash seems like the sort of show better suited to a Sunday night. Of course it doesn't help that it's really tailored to Broadway fans.

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Totally agree about Alcatraz. They need to do an episode dedicated to the back story. Give us a bigger taste of all these little mysteries they keep dropping at the end of the episodes and start explaining some things...not everything...just enough to really peak peoples' interest.
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I'm guessing that if Jon Bernthal is in talks to join this series then Shane will be biting the bullet soon. YAY!
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Aww RIP BMS.
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I gave up on Alcatraz after its third episode I think the Criminal/ Guard of the week was getting boring for me. Maybe I'll catch it on Netflix if it gets another season.
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Seems like every News Brief lately has been chock full of bad ideas.
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Another one:



... War Horse star Matt Milne is joining Downton Abbey. He'll play Alfred, the house butler, and mentor of a boy named Bruce.

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You know sometimes our brain completes what we're reading ahead of actually reading it. So, this is what I read. Aren't my version of the news much cooler?



... Fellow LOST vet DOMINIC MONAGHAN will host a new TIME TRAVEL series for BBC America. Wild Things will see Monoghan packing his bags in search of prehistoric gigantic insects (awesome!) all over the globe.



... House's PETER JACOBSON is the first actor from that series to land a new gig following the announcement that House will end at the end of this season. Jacobson will star in Showtime's new series TAUB.
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Anyone else wish Take Me Out was a new show about hitmen?

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I've seen it in Holland: it's horrible!
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I believe you. It sounds horrible.
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Hitmen would be an awesome addition to this show :) we've had it in Denmark for a couple of years now, and horrible doesn't even begin to describe how bad it is.
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Midnight Sun, Last Resort and L.A. Noir may become very good shows ... But aren't all of them on network - tv ? That worries me before I even watched the pilots. High class axing material ? Let's hope for the best.
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I love Smash. Look forward to it every week. Great cast and interesting storyline.
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I'm not really sure if I like it or not. There are parts that I like, but then there's the hopeless adoption arc that I hope will just die.
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It is a pity nobody seems to like SMASH! The premise is interesting, the cast is very good. The singing is tops... PLUS it is adult entertainment!!!!
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The performance of Alcatraz and Smash proves it once again. It's quite clear that networks need to take a good hard look at what they are doing. There has been a lot of talk about the decline of network programming during recent years, but nothing has really been done to improve the situation. The state of current programming is deplorable. The ratio between successful shows and total shows put on air is unacceptably low. Every time new shows enter the scene the audience has to stress over which ones will be cancelled right off the bat. Even worse than this are the shows which people commit to but are cancelled after one or a few seasons without a proper ending. Viewers are losing the little remaining trust they have in these networks. It's getting quite tiring, even embarrassing, to constantly read articles about shows that are at the brink of being cancelled.



Sure, the TV landscape has changed. There are more channels, TV shows and things to do besides watching TV. So the viewers are divided between more options, leading to a fall in ratings for individual shows. The world has changed since "I Love Lucy" when half of the US population tuned in to watch an episode of the show. But networks should do something about this! It's like they are throwing all the shows against a wall and hope that some of them would stick. They need to focus more on creating quality shows that'll compete with cable shows. And not only should they come up with clever premises but also focus on the long-term development of the plots. It's frustrating to start watching a show when the chances that it'll survive are smaller than it being cancelled. One small thing to change, in my mind, is to decrease the censorship of network shows. It's unbelievable that even shows aired late in the evening are subjected to ridiculous rules against certain language and nudity. These rules take away a part of the authenticity of TV shows.
More+
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I agree. And then you go to Showtime and HBO and they've gone way overboard with the sex. Can't we have a middle ground?
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In my opinion, Blue State went the way of Entourage but at moch speed. Every episode got less and less tolerable.
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Gutted to hear Blue Mountain State has been axed, I really enjoyed it.



Is anybody else hoping that Jorge Garcia and Sarah Jones get to work together again on something that is hopefully better written? I like the two of them together, I think it works.



I like your thinking with the 'Last Resort' beach fight!



Some good casting news in that lot. I've got a list 40 shows that are in the works that I'm keeping tabs on.
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Fox doesn't really have a tough decision to make: Cancel Alcatraz and Terra Nova, renew Touch, and give Fringe a final limited season.
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Agree... renew Touch. :) I really liked the pilot.
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It's Jess's (after the British fashion of punctuation, which is what I use), but that couldn't possibly matter given the lack of attention given to grammar and punctuation that the internet has these days.
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I would like Alcatraz to keep going. It seems like a marathon type of show that gets better with time.



I remember the first few episodes of shows like Fringe, Haven, Warehouse 13...when I thought 'this is kinda stupid'. But these shows got better and better as the mysteries started unfolding and the writers started fixing the initial problems.



I think if Alcatraz had a chance to correct the lack of personalities and predictable bad guy of the week problems, that it could be a great show.
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Unfortunately, if all network folks think like that, every show would get more than 1 season and bad shows would keep getting another shot hoping it might get better.
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That is very true.



I just think they should put more effort into the shows they have running. Give them a chance to pick up speed instead of cancelling them after a few episodes or even one season. I mean let's be honest...the shows that aren't picked up for a second season; the decision was made after only a few episodes.



It's tiresome...getting involved with shows that aren't around very long. It's become second nature for these networks to look at a show's ratings after only a few episodes...scrap it and move on.



All I'm saying is, give a show a chance (not just referring to Atcatraz)
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None of this news is sinking in. I must be in a post-Community-return-date-hangover-daze.
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Wasn't there already an ABC show (or somewhere) that had women judge a guy for dating?



I hope Lachman stays on Being Human. She was the best actress on Dollhouse. Not sure I want to watch a show about a submarine gone rogue. Sounds limited in the long run. I mean, how long can they get away and/or hide from the US government and any allies?



The stupid thing about networks competing against cable is that the networks are owned by the same companies that own the cable networks! A few years ago I researched and found that about 149 basic stations were owned by 11 different companies, not counting premium channels. Not sure what that is today, but I can't see how networks create programming, hope for viewers, then whine and/or cancel shows when viewers go watch other stuff on other networks that may be owned by their parent company! Based on that the networks have to lower ratings expectations, if not already getting the message.
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I believe the show you are thinking about is Conveyor Belt of Love. Which was awesome. And horrible.
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In Smash's defense... Hawaii Five-0 DID have Apolo Ono AND Shane Victorino last night. And I did call Alcatraz falling below Terra Nova, I keep reassuring everyone Terra Nova will have a 2nd season. No one will believe me though.
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I'm not missing Hawaii Five-O for a new show. I'm not a fan of Katherine Mcphee anyway.
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Yeah but I bet Alcatraz costs a whole hell of a lot less.
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Is Monday night FOX's new death night?
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out of curiosity do networks take into account...say... the watching of the show online...such as watching it on their website or even here on TV.com?....cause out of sheer honesty who the bloody hell watches TV shows at the time they air? I mean im sure people still do...in fact the numbers this article is a heavy number even though its low by standards.... however...I am also sure there is a ton of people like me who either download stuff (which i know wouldnt effect ratings regardless and the networks hate people like me) or the people who watch stuff online on aforementioned sites.. and haven't watched a TV show air on their TV since....hell I cant remember the last time I watched a show air
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I think the ratings are determined by the people who have a Nielsen Box at home, that should be about 25k households (not sure exactly), which is nothing compared to the US having over 100Mil TV households. But the first airings are important because it determines how many people see the commercials and also how much the time slot is worth for the advertisers.
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Wow, I mean Alcatraz is pretty bad. But even I don't think it is that bad. Lower than Terra Nova? Ouch. That has to hurt a lot. Smash is understandably because, well, it just isn't that good.



I disagree with bendy below. Take me Out isn't that great. Just my personal opinion.



Is Dichen no longer going to be on Being Human? I really like her on that thus far.



And if Shane is going to be offed this season. Are the characters of The Walking Dead just going to succumb to their stupidity. I haven't read the Graphic Novel, please tell me a character is coming that has half a brain. Please? But La Noir sounds like it could be good. i am not sure about Milo. But the show sounds like it could be good if done right.



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Since Jon Bernthal is starring in a new Frank Darabont produced show, I think the fate of his character on this season of The Walking Dead is pretty obvious.
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The Walking Dead shoots what, 6 episodes a year? Most of the production time is getting the undead characters into the prosthetics and makeup, so a non-zombie-playing member of the cast should have PLENTY of time to pursue other opportunities while still keeping the day job.
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It's pretty clear he'll be dying this season. Very rarely do you see an actor playing a prominent role in two shows airing.
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I'm going to point out right now to all non-British people that Take Me Out may sound awful, and it is, it is some of the most entertaining television you will watch.
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