Ratings: Can Southland save NBC?

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?

Comments (50)
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southland is very good, but ive only seen two cause its on at ten...
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I like both SOUTHLAND and HARPERS ISLAND so I watch one record the other, thats simple enough
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I dont care for those new shows I just want em to give Chuck another season
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I liked both Southland and Harpers Island. I watched Southland and tivo Harper's Island. I will porbably keep continie to do that.
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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?
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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.
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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...
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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.
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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
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yay Harper's Island!
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Southland was sooooooooooooooooooooooo boring
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i liked southland the best of the 3....But will watch the 13 shows of Harper's Island.... Parks i think i will skip after seeing the first 1...Southland could be a very good show....
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As for Southland,I liked it. But then again, I liked Boomtown and Third Watch and NBC gave those two well written shows the boot, so what is suppose to make us believe that this will last.
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Parks and Recreation was funny, in that dry have to really pay attention style humor that people had to get used to when the Office came out.

As someone who works in a governmental agency and who used to be on the board of my town's Recreation Department, I found it spot on. Especially the public meeting where the citizens started talking about anything under the sun. Every town has those crazies! We had one who used to go to Selectmen meetings to tell them that the police were listening to his conversations through the cable TV lines.
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I liked Southland, Parks and Recreation was ok. Harper's Island was horrible. I don't know why this article says our ratings aren't a good sign for Harper's Island though, because TV.com users tend to get the shaft a lot... After all, the users here loved Pushing Daisies and we all know how that went.
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NBC's trigger finger is too twitchy to hope that anything meaningful won't get shot and sent to the morgue within a year. Cross your fingers and hope your least favorite executives have retired or were fired and the network's under new management, IMO.
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only cop/crime shows make enough money to stay on TV now apparently. Oh, also, any stupid reality idea that can be thought of also is gold for the execs.
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How can 1 show save NBC when they are about to chop 5 hours of programming from their schedule in the fall? I'm not sure is this is a good 9pm show -- which is pretty much all NBC will have since of the horrible plan to put Jay Leno on at 10pm each night of the week!
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I'm not one to watch cop shows, but I do like Southland. The pilot was engaging enough to have me watch the second episode. Harper's Island is my new guilty pleasure. Absolutely loved the first episode. I will watch Harper live and Southland on demand.
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Saw both Southland and Harper's Island and both of them were really good. However I'm most likely going to DVR Harper's and watch Southland live :).
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Lookie, lookie here. More signs of the public's hypocrisy. Two years ago all the talk was about how sick the public was of doctor & cop shows so the networks orders up shows like Heroes, Chuck, Eli Stone & Dollhouse. What does said public do? They refuse to stick with or watch at all these original show & jump at the first cop show that comes along. How hypocitical & predictable the public is.
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You can forget about Parks and Recreation; didn't watch it, never will. I watched just a few minutes of Southland and was bored. NO MORE COPS SHOWS PLEASE!!!!!! I found Harper's Island to be a little boring but first episodes usually are. I will stick with the show because I wanna find out who the killer is. The scenes from the up coming episodes look good. I'll definitely keep watching. Hopefully CBS sticks with the show for the whole 13 episodes and doesn't cancel it like ABC did with DayBreak. I'm sure a DVD release isn't too far away.
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parks and recreation was haha funny but i guess we should give it some time, because even 30 Rock started slowly but got better as the show progressed.....i am hoping and expecting the same from Parks and recreations
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Southland really intrigued me and I think I will be tuning in next week as well.
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Why are cop shows so popular? What makes these so fascinating to the public? I mean can we seriously not get tired of seeing another badge? Another investigation? Another boring story about the police? We might as well just make all of television cops and doctors if we are that obsessed.
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I don't like Southland. But Harper's Island was superb. Loved it. I'll watch it to to end.
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Southland has a chance.
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well i missed south land cuz i gave harpers island a try. sorry but harpers island is pretty boring. i'll have to check on southland but i most likely wont like it since its unoriginal.
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I too enjoyed Southland.
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Harper's island has to be more scary if it wants to last.Southland was pretty good but i have to watch another episode to be sure.
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Loved Southland! I hope it stays around for a while.
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I caught the Southland pilot online before it aired and I thought it was interesting, but I had no idea it was going to be airing on Thursdays and I think it probably did so well because there were so many repeats on last night. As long as it airs after Supernatural I might check it out.
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Parks and Recreation actually surprised me, i'll keep watching
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I watched Harper's Island and I wasn't too impressed. It will hopefully get better in time. Parks and Recreation annoyed me.
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Southland was pretty bad imo, I'll check out another episode but it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere.
Parks and Recreation was horrible, there were no likable or funny characters. :(
Harper's Island, hmm don't know what I think of this one yet, gonna have to watch a few more eps and decide if I'll continue. :)
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I think I chose the wrong one. I watched Harper's Island instead of Southland. It was...ummm...wasn't it SUPPOSED to be scary? If I watch SouthLAnd next week, will I be lost? I'd rather watch that than the deadly version of Survivor: Harper's Island.
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Harper's Island grabbed my attention for all of 2 seconds. CBS should have given the Eleveth Hour a full 24 episode order and spared us this mindless crap. I switched over to Southland and the show was better than I had anticipated. I hope NBC gives this show chance.
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Southland was good hope it's around for awhile
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Southland was really good last night.
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i liked southland. i hope it sticks around.
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I'm excited for Southland !
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The thing I don't like about Parks and Recreation is that it took me around 30 episodes to actually LIKE The Office.. and sure now I love it.. but I don't know if I can stick through another program that long for me to actually like it. So if it lasts as long as The Office, I might be willing to try. Definitely gonna watch Southland and Harper's though.
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Southland started out a little slow, but as the show went on it came up on top to me. So I'll be sticking around to watch this show. It's a different type of cop shot. Sort of a law and order/cops mix to it.
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From watching these 3 premiers last night: Southland will make it into my "make sure you watch list", Harper's Island will be on the "oh I want to watch something, that show is ok list", and Parks and Recreation will be on the "keep scrolling list"
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Southland had a great pilot episode and can become a really great show so i am hasppy.
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This is great news. Southland is a pretty good show, its good to know that it will probably be sticking around.
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This is amazing news. Im thrilled to see southland doing well!!!!! I love Ben McKenzie!
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I'v very, very glad that SOUTHLAND did well! It was gritty, it was fun, and it was PROMISING!
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Harper's Island was pretty good. I think that it will continue with high viewership b/c most people will want to see who the killer is.
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I watched all 3 of the premieres and would have to say that I enjoyed Southland the most. I thought that Harper's Island was OK, and I'll give it a few more weeks to keep me interested. Parks and Recreation however, made me laugh 1 time I believe. The show was mediocre at best, and I only plan on giving it 1 more episode to impress.
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