Thursday, November 21, 2013

Person of Interest Review: "The Crossing" - Half-Measures

Warning: The following article contains some pretty massive spoilers for this week’s episode of Person of Interest.  If you are interested in the show but haven’t yet watched this episode, I would highly encourage you to do so before reading.  You’ve been warned.

Jim Caviezel and Tajari P Henson share a moment in "Person of Interest"
So Person of Interest killed off a major character, one who’s been with the show since the beginning.  They did so in an entirely reasonable fashion, with the death both shocking and inevitable.  The writing was effective and the emotions affecting.  The HR storyline was building to a natural conclusion and it seemed obvious that the team couldn’t take down the big bad without suffering a loss of its own.  But something has been nagging at me since I watched this episode and I think I think I’ve finally figured it out: The wrong character died.  It should have been the main character, John.

 “The Crossing” was not a subtle episode.  For starters, the previews for the last few weeks have been hitting us repeatedly over the head, screaming “something big is going to happen!  You have to watch this three-episode arc!”  The previews especially painted a big, bright target on Detective Fusco’s chest, indicating he might be the one to die.  We even got an extended scene with him and his son, whom I don’t think we had ever met before or even knew he had.  Happy people on television are the surest sign that something terrible is about to happen.

But killing Fusco would have been the easy way out.  He’s easily the most tangential of the original four characters, at this point mostly just duplicating the skills and knowledge that Detective Carter and John bring to the table.  And the addition of Sarah Shahi as Shaw this season made him even more of a nonessential character.  Killing Fusco would have perhaps been a fitting end to the HR storyline given his entry into the show as a double agent within the organization.  But killing the most disposable character is a little obvious and it eventually became clear the show wasn’t going in that direction.

Instead, “The Crossing” strongly implied that John, the lead character, was going to die.  For starters, we find out that he is not Finch’s first fixer in an amazing scene between Finch and an imprisoned Root.  The idea that Finch is not the unblemished hero we’ve thought he was is fascinating especially alongside the fact that he’s had a number of “associates” who preceded John Reese.  I’m assuming this is a plot that’s not going away anytime soon, but had it been introduced earlier in the run of the show, it would have nicely laid the ground for the death of John, a move that would have been, I think, unprecedented in the history of television. 

Television shows don’t just kill their main characters, at least not before the final episodes.  Killing off Reese at this point in the story would have made a powerful statement about the nature of surveillance and the War on Terror in the 21st century.  If you extend out the allegory of Person of Interest, it’s easy to see Finch and the machine as the NSA/CIA/FBI of the story—gathering data and defining targets and assets—and Reese as the military—executing missions, subduing the bad guys, and saving the people in distress. 

Allow me to digress for a second because this is kind of a big deal.  Person of Interest is essentially a story about the American surveillance state, which is an unstable alliance between the American people, their government, and their military.  The people are often willing to overlook what happens in the name of their protection.  Just consider Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, or any other apparent atrocity conducted in the name of protecting or avenging the people of this country.  We’re oblivious and we like it that way.  Even the NSA scandal, while able to create a few weeks’ worth of Fox News Headlines, has largely faded from the public consciousness.  The fact is, for the most part, we just don’t care what our government and military do in the name of protecting us. 

The American people aside, however, our government and military must have at least a mildly antagonistic relationship.  After all, it is the government (in the form of its intelligence gathering agencies) that collects and analyzes the data it uses to order the military into mortal danger.  And that is the scenario we see in Person of Interest.  Finch is the overseer—the collector and analyzer of data who sees all, knows all, and decides who among us is the villain in need of thwarting and who is the victim in need of saving.  But Finch, due to his physical ailment, is incapable of acting on his information and analysis.  Instead, he needs to employ a proxy to carry out his orders, much like the United States military carries out the orders of its government. 

And that idea is what would have made the death of John Reese so powerful.  So often, deaths in our armed services are overlooked or forgotten: just another star on a wall or flag on a grave.  But the effect they have, both on the strangers they save and the friends and family they leave behind is enormous.  In Person of Interest, apparently, those deaths go completely unspoken, with Finch, the overseer, simply moving on to the next potential chess piece to insert into his game. 

But Person of Interest could not make that bold of a move.  Instead, it was Carter who died.  I suppose I should have seen it coming after Reese professed his love for her and the pair kissed.  Honestly, the less I say about that particular development, the better.  Frankly, it was dumb.  There was no setup for it, no hints, it just came out of nowhere, seemingly to add fuel to Reese’s inevitable fire next week as he attempts to avenge Carter’s death. 

I give the show credit for not taking the easy way out by killing Fusco, but neither did they make the truly bold move of killing off John.  Instead, they took the middle ground.  Unfortunately, killing off Carter presents its own unique problems for two reasons.  First, Carter was the moral center of the show.  She was the only purely good character.  Fusco had previously been corrupted by HR.  John and Shaw have questionable pasts with the US government.  Root is obviously a wild card.  And, as we discovered in this very episode, Finch is the not the white knight we had previously thought him to be.  Carter was the one character on this show who was always interested in doing the right thing.  Sure, she was presented as an antagonist during the first season or so, but that was only because she didn’t know John’s and Finch’s true intentions.  As soon as she discovered that they were, in fact, helping innocent people, she was on board.  Losing that moral center presents a potential problem for POI because the show no longer has a voice willing to say “Hey, that’s a step too far.”  The only characters left are either soldiers or manipulators. 

The second problem with losing Carter is that she represented the audience’s entry point to the series.  She was the one normal person in what was, essentially, a superhero procedural.  From the beginning, John and Finch represented supernatural archetypes: John the omnipotent hero and Finch the omniscient god.  Fusco was a layman, but his loyalties were still in question.  It was Carter who was the normal hero with whom the audience could identify.  It was her experiences that allowed us to enter this insane world.

But now we’ve lost all that.  We’ve lost the moral center.  We’ve lost the “normal” vantage point.  And that may not be a bad thing.  Shows have survived and even thrived after abandoning their skeptics’ viewpoint.  As one example, Fringe didn’t reach its peak until its third season, when it abandoned most of its attachments to the real world and really embraced the insanity of its story.  But it’s a difficult road to navigate, and we can only hope that Person of Interest is up to the challenge.

Ultimately, I think that POI made a mistake in killing off Carter instead of John.  The showrunners could have made an incredibly powerful statement about the nature of surveillance and our relationship with our military.  They could have asked their audience, “Is this the security state you want: a state in which the people and overseers are so isolated from those they send into battle that we don’t truly realize their value until they’re gone?”  They could have done all that, but they didn’t.  Instead, they chose the middle ground, killing off a character whose death would have emotional punch without making much of an impact of in the grand scheme of things.  I give them credit for having the gall to kill a character naturally within the story and without the character’s actor being in a contract dispute.  It just feels like they killed the wrong character.

So thoughts?  Comments?  Just want to tell me my blog sucks?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @TyTalksTV.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Masters of Sex Review: "All Together Now" and "Love and Marriage" - Sex and Love

Beau Bridges makes an indecent proposal (though not the one you think) in "Masters of Sex"
Sorry for the tardiness of this review.  Blogger has been having issues for me for the last few days.  Hence, also, the temporary change in template.

“It’s a curious thing.  I’ve always felt different from other women.  Most women, they want love when they sleep with a man.  But I’ve always been able to separate sex from love.”

I know it’s meant to be Virginia’s thesis statement, but if ever there was a single line to describe a complicated personal drama like Masters of Sex, it is this line.  Every character is navigating the difficult world of sex and love, learning that one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other, nor can the two necessarily be found together.  But when they are, man do sparks fly.

I know this is fundamentally a series about William Masters and Virginia Johnson, but the stars these past two weeks have easily been Beau Bridges and Allison Janney as Provost Scully and his wife Margaret.  These two obviously love each other deeply but the ugly truth is that he’s just not physically attracted to her.  He’s gay.  It’s not his fault, though he definitely hopes to change it, but it just doesn’t change the fact that the likelihood of the Scullys having a functional sexual relationship is close to nil.  What makes it all the more heartbreaking is that each has managed to find a sexual partner with whom they can’t share love. 

Dr. Langham offers Margaret a lot in terms of her sexual awakening, but he seems completely incapable of love.  As his conversation with his therapist* demonstrates, Langham views women as sexual objects to be had and conquered.  There is no way he can provide her with anything she needs outside of sex.  Likewise, Barton’s self-loathing leaves him unable to believe that he can love Dale who, despite their financial relationship, clearly has developed feelings for the Provost.  Sex and love don’t necessarily need to come together, but it’s clearly impossible for these two (and others on this show) to have fulfilling relationships with only one.

* Played by Alan Ruck in a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment.

The most fascinating aspect of the separation between sex and love is how problematic it makes Masters’s and Johnson’s research.  They are all about quantifying the body’s response to sex.  How much time does the subject spend in this phase or that phase?  What is the likelihood of achieving orgasm in any given sexual position?  These are questions that science, especially the science of the time, could answer.  Love, attraction, and their effects on the body were (and still are in many cases) complete mysteries incapable even of being tested.

And so it is that, initially, Masters’s and Johnson’s “work” is extremely clinical.  Their sex is not what we would typically define as “sexy” because it’s fraught with complicated, unanswered questions of intention.  Is Masters only “getting some work in” (my new favorite euphemism for sex) because he’s not having sex with his wife?  Is Virginia being coerced into a sexual relationship because of their relationship as employer and employee?  Is she using Bill to receive preferential treatment (and a promotion) because of their now sexual relationship?  This show is a 21st century HR rep’s worst nightmare. 

Those questions aren’t hidden from Masters and Johnson, which is why it takes resolving most of them for their sex to become “sexy.”  And even then, I wonder how much Masters is attracted to Johnson and how much of his attraction comes from the work.  Clearly, Virginia is falling for Bill.  But I don’t know that he’s actually reciprocating those feelings.  What Bill loves most is his work and I don’t think he has enough love left to truly devote it to another person.  Sure, he can offer a bit to his wife and maybe a bit to Virginia.  But it’s no accident that in the final scene of “Love and Marriage,” Bill isn’t aroused by the woman wearing a bathrobe with whom he’s just had sex, but by the intravaginal film footage that he and Johnson are the first people in the world to see. 

Virginia may be able to separate sex from love, but it’s clear that Masters of Sex views the two as, if not necessarily intertwined, then at least symbiotic, serving not just to complement but to enhance the other.  It’s fascinating to watch these people try to find that symbiosis in their relationships.

A couple of spare thoughts –

The way this show deals with sex and nudity is mind-blowing to me.  I’ve never before seen a show use sex as a narrative and character device the way Masters of Sex does.  Just watch the two sex scenes between Bill and Virginia at the beginning and end of “All Together Now.”  The first is cold and clinical while the second is downright hot.  This tells a story that goes so far beyond these two scenes, but shows how their emotional relationships (and the resolving of the aforementioned troubling questions) freed them to experience a deeper level of passion. 

There’s also Margaret and Barton’s scene in her bedroom.  Her nudity in that scene shows so much vulnerability (not to mention her instinct to cover up in front of her husband) and the fact that Barton doesn’t look anywhere but her eyes tells her all she needs to know about his attraction to her or, more fittingly, his lack of attraction.  It is really a beautiful scene that actually requires nudity to be as powerful as it is, as opposed to a scene in which nudity is included just to titillate. 

While most of the couples in the story are struggling to find a combination of sex and love, Haas seems to have gotten it in spades.  He seems a little reluctant to embrace those new feelings, but I genuinely like where he’s headed with Vivian.

I want to isolate Finn Wittrock for his marvelous work in that final scene with Barton.  There are so many great actors on this show that it can be easy for one with such a relatively small part to get lost.  But his delivery of that parting shot was amazing.

Masters and Johnson had a complicated relationship with homosexuality and conversion therapy, though it didn’t come until later in their careers.  I like that they’re dealing with it now, though, because it’s an interesting aspect to their story and wouldn’t the show to get canceled before they can deal with it (relax, the show has already been renewed for next season).

There’s so much other great material in these two episodes that I just can’t get to (Libby’s pregnancy, her African-American ad hoc dance instructor, Dr. DePaul’s cervical cancer, and Bill’s attempts to sabotage Virginia’s education just to name a few).  I’m hoping that these storylines will stick around so that I can discuss them in more detail later.

“There’s only one person who gets to be sickened by me and that’s me.  Everybody else can go fuck themselves.”

So thoughts?  Comments?  Just want to tell me that my blog sucks?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @TyTalksTV

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ratings Roundup - Looking Ahead

I love television ratings.  I love what they tell us about individual shows, the networks, and the industry in general.  My intention with this weekly article is to take a look at the week in ratings and prognosticate about their future and the health of each network.   Ratings presented here are the Adults 18-49 rating, which represents the percentage of adults between 18 and 49 watching a particular program. 

Well, we’ve reached the doldrums of the season in terms of ratings news.  What shows are going to be pulled from the schedule have been.  The shows that are going to receive back-nine orders have received the orders.  And everybody is just kind of going about their business, waiting for midseason shows to debut in the spring.  But, at the very least, the networks are starting to announce their schedules for January and February, so I figured I’d take the time to look ahead at the coming months.

Fox is hoping "American Idol" will be its savior once again
Fox –
Fox is easily the network most looking forward to the spring and their American Idol savior, because this has just been a dreadful fall for the network and things are only getting worse.  After flirting with the bottom for a couple of weeks, Fox finally slipped below ABC into last place on the season and for the first two weeks of sweeps (the most important time of the television season), Fox has averaged less than a 1.5 rating for its shows and only had three shows (Bones, Sleepy Hollow, and Family Guy) break a 2.0.  Fox needs its top show back and it needs it badly.

Luckily for Fox, January is right around the corner when Idol will hopefully storm the schedule once again.  While the show was undoubtedly down last year, losing to Modern Family and Duck Dynasty in some weeks, it still finished the season in seventh place (fifth if you don’t separate The Voice’s two airings or Sunday Night Football from its pregame show).  In fact, last spring’s finale out-rated anything Fox has aired this fall with the lone exception being the World Series.  And with Idol taking up three and sometimes four hours of scheduling each week, Fox will receive a much-needed boost. 

What’s more interesting for Fox is the moves it’s making around Idol.  Enlisted, originally intended to debut this past Friday with Bones and Raising Hope, has had its debut pushed back to January 10th.  This was the best-reviewed Fox sitcom this season and part of me wants to think that Fox is holding Enlisted back to replace Dads should it slide any further.  While Dads has received a full-season order, that same situation didn’t stop Fox from pulling Ben and Kate from the schedule last year. 

I’m also curious to see what happens with Almost Human, which is being expected to last the season with The Following, which returns in January.  I don’t see that as a particularly fruitful pairing, but Sleepy Hollow is definitely going to end its run on January 13th, so the only option there would be to bring Bones back from Friday nights.  There’s also the question of Rake, which is getting Fox’s biggest push this spring, airing first in the coveted post-NFC Championship Game timeslot and then following Idol’s results show on Thursday nights. 

Fox has had a lot of holes in the fall, but it also has a ton of spackle for the spring.  Despite a terrible year so far, we can’t write them off just yet.

There are about three production stills for "Intelligence," so expect to see this photo a lot in coming weeks
CBS is the last bastion of stability in the sea of chaos that is network television at this moment.  CBS has pulled only one show from its schedule this year and its only other show obviously pulling in cancelation-worthy ratings was only ever going to air 15 episodes anyway.  And so it is that CBS only has one move planned for the winter and spring and it’s a move that was announced last May.  On January 13th, Intelligence will debut in the timeslot currently occupied by Hostages. 

There are a handful of other series still on CBS’s bench, and they’ll likely make their ways to air sometime in March and April.  But the real strength of CBS is its ability to generate modest, but acceptable ratings for repeats, especially for its trademark series: NCIS and The Big Bang Theory.  This allows them to fill several hours in the winter and spring with cheap filler. 

The second week of sweeps was a good one for CBS, as it got a big boost from last Saturday’s Alabama-LSU game in primetime and pretty much every show rose from the week before.  After a brief week flirting with last place, CBS is no comfortably in second once more.

NBC's biggest spring question: "whither 'The Voice'"
The big question for NBC’s winter and spring still hasn’t been answered: when will The Voice return?  Last year, NBC waited until late March to bring the show back and it and Revolution both suffered by airing into June.  I believe that decision was made to accommodate the schedules of the judges but I doubt NBC makes the same mistake again.  The Voice has to return by February in order to keep NBC relevant during the winter months.  Nothing else the network has will work.

The question of The Voice aside, NBC’s spring schedule is looking much the same as they planned in May.  The Sing-Off will debut in December for a brief run on Monday nights.  A trio of new shows will replace Sunday Night Football in February.  The Voice will move to 7:00 on Tuesdays, leading in to a pair of new comedies at 8:00.  Chicago PD will fill in for Ironside on Wednesday nights, starting January 8th.  And Community, the show that will not die, will return, once again, in its Thursday at 7:00 timeslot on January 2nd, leading in to Parks and Recreation. 

In current news, NBC’s plan to give its Thursday comedies a boost from SNL and The Voice specials has proven to be a massive failure.  While Sean Saves the World and The Michael J Fox Show managed to not shed viewers while following the bigger lead-ins, once Parks and Rec returned, they crashed, with each pulling in only a 0.9 rating Thursday night.  NBC doesn’t really have any choice but to continue airing more episodes, but Thursday nights are just a complete disaster for the network right now. 

As with the fall, NBC’s success in the spring will depend almost entirely on when The Voice returns and what ratings it brings. 

ABC was hoping Betrayal would last longer than 13 episodes, but it won't
I’m going to preface the following by pointing out that the following announcements were actually made in August and are likely to see some change in the next couple of weeks.

That said, ABC has long had plans for its dramas in the winter: take them off the air.  Wonderland was meant to end in December, giving way to The Quest’s two-hour premiere on January 2nd.  I’m not sure how that’s going to work, though, since Wonderland is unlikely to air more than 10 episodes before the end of the year.  Likewise, Betrayal will likely run until its stable of episodes is empty. 

As for ABC’s successful dramas, the plan was to take them off the air in January and most of Feburary, with Nashville returning February 26th, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal coming back the next night, and the Sunday dramas (along with new show Resurrection) returning to air on March 9th.  ABC still has not announced its intentions for what to air in January and February, though, so I would generously refer to these plans as “tentative.”

It has not been a good fall for ABC, with most of its new dramas tanking and only Scandal stepping up as a legitimate hit.  Even its big success SHIELD has refused to stop falling.  The entire network is losing ground fast and likely to end up in last place once again.

Season to Date Network Rating Averages (Adults 18-49) –
NBC – 2.69 (Down 5.3% YTD, Down 2.0% Week-to-Week, Down 16.8% from Premiere Week)
CBS – 2.08 (Down 8.6% YTD, Up 2.4% Week-to-Week, Down 29.6% from Premiere Week)
ABC – 1.97 (Down 7.1% YTD, Down 3.0% Week-to-Week, Down 26.2% from Premiere Week)
Fox – 1.97 (Down 3.8% YTD, Down 3.8% Week-to-Week, Down 10.2% from Premiere Week)

New Renewals, Pickups, and Cancelations –

So thoughts?  Comments?  Just want to tell me my blog sucks?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @TyTalksTV.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ratings Roundup - The Walking Dead

No, not The Walking Dead, though there is definitely a story to be told about how it became the number one show on television-not just on cable, but all of television.  No, this article is about the Walking Dead, those shows that have pretty much no chance of being renewed for next season and are pulling in terrible, cancelation-worthy ratings, but are being allowed to play out the string for the remainder of their initial episode order.  There are myriad reasons for why these shows don’t get canceled, but the most common is that the networks simply cancel everything, and networks would rather save their replacement shows for the spring, when they can give them a properly marketed launch.

The most obvious dead show walking this year has been Hostages.  Launching at 9:00 on Mondays (a timeslot that got Hawaii Five-0 shipped Fridays), Hostages was likely always doomed.  But the speed at which it reached the point of no return was remarkable.  It debuted to a low, but passable for 9:00, 1.8 rating before quickly plummeting from there.  Hostages is, at this point, the lowest rated show on CBS, which is pretty remarkable given how much the network is struggling on Friday and Sunday nights.  And yet it still limps along, pulling in ratings that would make even NBC blanch.

There are a couple of reasons, it seems, that CBS is allowing Hostages to keep airing episodes, but the most important is that CBS already has that timeslot earmarked for another show, Intelligence, in the spring.  You see, CBS decided to get into the timeslot-sharing business this year with a pair of limited-run series both occupying the same slot.  Hostages was intended to run for 13 episodes in the fall and winter, with Intelligence taking over in February to run for 13 episodes of its own.  It’s a model adapted from cable and something many people had been clamoring for for a while.  But Hostages shows the problems with that model: namely, that it becomes logistically difficult to pull a struggling show from the schedule.

When We Are Men had problems earlier this year (though as I mentioned earlier those problems were less about Men and more about 2 Broke Girls), CBS was able to pull the plug and slot in Mike and Molly without really skipping a beat.  But with Hostages, CBS doesn’t want to debut Intelligence early (without the support of the NFL playoffs for promotion) and it doesn’t have any shows that can fill in for eight or nine weeks this winter.  So Hostages will lumber along, earning weak ratings until its 13 episodes are done, after which few will talk about it ever again unless CBS decides to commit Emmy category fraud and submit Toni Collette for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. 

In other news, the first of week of sweeps is in the book and it was a rough one for CBS.  They were down 25 percent from the first week last year, though it’s important to note that the LSU-Alabama football game was on in primetime during the first week of sweeps in 2012 and the second week this year.  Factoring that in, the network would have been down only nine percent.  The good news is that it looks like CBS’s slide has slowed in recent weeks with the network actually ticking up this week in the year-to-year ratings.  Most of its shows were also up week-to-week, with only Mom showing significant declines owing mostly to the loss of its The Big Bang Theory leadin. 

While Hostages is an example of a network unable to cancel a show because of future scheduling plans, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and Betrayal are perfect demonstrations of the mantra that “they can’t cancel everything.”  As I’ve mentioned before, just being a bit below average is typically enough to get a show renewed.  But these two shows are well below average and are two of the three lowest-rated shows on the network (The Neighbors is the lowest but gets a great deal of leeway airing on Fridays). 

So why are they still on the air?  To put it simply, ABC can’t cancel everything and they’ve already given the axe to Lucky 7.  There’s also been a hesitancy in recent years to launch new series in November and December without much promotion, meaning networks are reluctant to replace a failed new series with a series that doesn’t have an established audience.  CBS can put Mike and Molly on to replace We Are Men without any trouble because it knows, roughly, what the show will bring in demographically.  Likewise, if one of ABC’s comedies had failed, they could have brought back Suburgatory in its place (which it appears will likely be happening with Back in the Game).  But without any returning dramas on the bench, ABC is forced to let Wonderland and Betrayal continue pulling in terrible ratings.  Neither is likely to be pulled from the schedule at this point, but nor are they going to air any more episodes beyond their initial order.

As I mentioned last week, ABC’s ratings dropped temporarily owing to the Country Music Awards airing one week later this year and those awards provided a huge boost to the network this week, putting them up 17 percent from 2012's first sweeps week and keeping ABC just below last year’s ratings.  The network still has issues (especially with half its new shows bombing and the other half now struggling a bit), but there are definitely signs of life at ABC.

Thanks to Sean Saves the World receiving an order for five more episodes, NBC doesn’t technically have a walking dead show.  Perhaps it’s because the network has enough versatile shows (specifically The Voice, Dateline, and Saturday Night Live specials) that the network can just put a troublesome show on hiatus for a few weeks (hello, Parks and Rec) without it seeming like the beginning of the end.  Then again, given what’s happening with Sean and The Michael J Fox Show right now, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Community and Parks and Rec once again standing atop the sitcom rubble come May.

NBC won the first week of sweeps this season, though it can’t be seen in an entirely positive light.  The Voice has entered its semiannual swoon, now that the show has switched from its game show format to its singing competition.  The ratings are still pretty great, with the show putting up a 3.6 and a 3.4 in its four regularly-scheduled hours this week, but NBC has only had one week so far this season when its ratings increased from week-to-week, and it’s known for struggling during the slow winter months, so it needs to end 2013 on a high note. 

Fox –
Can we talk about The X-Factor for a minute?  Because we need to talk about The X-Factor.  I wrote in my season preview for Fox that I believed the show was in serious trouble, but even I wasn’t willing to predict that the show would drop as far as a 1.2 rating.  Yes, it is entirely possible that having The Voice air a new episode opposite the show this week is responsible for much of that incredibly poor rating.  But The Voice doesn’t explain the 1.5 X-Factor put up on Wednesday.  If Almost Human is a hit (which I’m skeptical about) I see no reason for The X-Factor to be on next season’s fall schedule.  If Human fails then, at best, I see The X-Factor scaling back to one night per week, like Fox did with So You Think You Can Dance or ABC did with Dancing with the Stars this year.

Without the MLB playoffs offering ten nights of very good ratings for Fox, the network is suffering once again.  After a brief jump into second place last week, Fox is teetering on the edge of last place after just one week of terrible ratings.  At this point, I have a hard time seeing even the NFL playoffs saving FOX this year.  I was certain they would win the season among adults 18-49, but they’re going to need a big boost from The Following and American Idol to pull that off.

Season to Date Network Rating Averages (Adults 18-49) –
NBC – 2.69 (Down 4.4% YTD, Down 2.0% Week-to-Week, Down 16.0% from Premiere Week)
Fox – 2.05 (Down 0.1% YTD, Down 4.6% Week-to-Week, Down 6.6% from Premiere Week)
CBS – 2.04 (Down 8.1% YTD, Down 0.5% Week-to-Week, Down 31.3% from Premiere Week)
ABC – 2.03 (Down 5.4% YTD, Up 2.6% Week-to-Week, Down 23.9% from Premiere Week)

New Renewals, Pickups, and Cancelations –
Sean Saves the World – Five Episodes Ordered

So thoughts?  Comments?  Just want to tell me my blog sucks?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @TyTalksTV.