After a promising 17% week-to-week ratings increase last week, ABC’s 10 PM comedy Happy Endings dropped alarmingly last night just as the networks are getting close to making their pickup decisions for next season. The midseason series (1.7/4) was down 19% from last week despite its lead-in, Cougar Town (2.2/6), being up a tenth. The difference? Happy Endings faced original competition in the 10 PM hour vs. repeats last week. The second Happy Endings original at 10:30 PM did worse, 1.4/4. Like Cougar Town, Better With You (1.6/5) was up a tenth from last week when both series followed repeats. A new The Middle (2.0/6) was up 5% from April 20, while a fresh Modern Family (3.8/10) was flat.
Law & Order: SVU‘s first original in a month, which guest starred John Stamos, did a 2.5/6, up a tenth from April 6. The veteran NBC crime drama won the 10 PM hour against ABC’s Happy Endings and CBS’ Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2.2/6), which was also hit by facing a new SVU, down 15% from April 16. Criminal Minds (3.2/8) was down 8%, while Survivor: Redemption Island (3.0/9) was flat with its fast national number last week. (Both Survivor and Fox’s American Idol always rise in the finals, so comparing fast nationals to finals is not completely fair.)
Speaking of Idol (6.4/18, 24.8 million), the reality series was down 7% from its fast national demo result last week, once again dominating the night in 18-49 and total viewers. Breaking In (2.5/6) was down a tenth from its fast national last week, up 4% from the final rating as it normally drops because of an Idol overrun.