Fox was onto something when it scheduled serialized drama 24 like a reality series, airing it over a half-season with no breaks, a model that was subsequently adopted by another successful serialized drama, ABC’s Lost. How damaging are long hiatuses for serialized dramas? Look at NBC’s Heroes, which quickly ran out of steam, or ABC’s V, which was never able to recapture the strong ratings for its first 4 episodes that were followed by a long break.
The latest example is NBC’s new drama The Event. It was already struggling in the ratings in its initial run in the fall. But after a three-month hiatus, it returned last night down 26% from its last original on Nov. 29. The conspiracy/sci-fi drama drew a paltry 1.4/4 in 18-49 and 5.2 million viewers. At 10 PM, NBC’s midseason drama Harry’s Law (1.8/5, 9.4 million) continues to hold steady with virtually no lead-in support. It was flat in 18-49 from last week and climbed a fraction in total viewers to a five-week high and a No.1 finish at 10 PM. (The legal dramedy was helped by all-repeat competition in the 10 PM slot this week as both Hawaii Five-0 and Castle aired reruns, with Hawaii topping the hour in 18-49 with a 2.0/6.)
Also even with last week’s demo performances were Fox’s veteran House (3.8/11, 11.1 million viewers with another weird episode. We’ve had a lot of these lately) and newbie The Chicago Code (2.1/6, 7.5 million)
ABC’s The Bachelor: Women Tell All (3.1/9) was down 11% in the demo from last week’s episode and 21% from the Women Tell All segment last spring.
CBS’ Mad Love (2.4/7) was the only original offering in CBS’ Monday lineup. The midseason comedy did a decent job, down moderate 11% from last week when it had an original How I Met Your Mother as a lead-in. It built onto its demo lead-in of a HIMYM rerun (2.0/6) by 20%. The network’s flagship sitcom Two and a Half Men (2.8/8, 10.2 million) didn’t get a ratings bounce from the media blitz surrounding yesterday’s firing of star Charlie Sheen but the repeat still ranked as CBS’ top-rated series of the night in 18-49 and total viewers.