ABC’s new drama Missing already had the odds stacked against it. It was given the Thursday 8 PM slot, where ABC has not been able to successfully launch a scripted series in six years — since Ugly Betty in 2006 — with high-profile entries Flash Forward and Charlie’s Angels among the recent casualties in the hour. On top of that, Missing was assigned a premiere date during the first week of daylight savings time, with TV usage from 8-9 PM last night down 5.4% from last week. So it’s probably not surprising that the Europe-trotting series starring Ashley Judd opened with a soft 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, a tenth below the debut of Charlie’s Angels in the fall. But in total viewers, Missing was solid with 10.6 million viewers, delivering ABC’s largest audience in the hour in 14 months and ranking as the second most watched program of the night behind Fox’s American Idol. Things will get even tougher for Missing, which faced Idol last night but will have to also go against CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. (CBS aired NCAA basketball last night.) At 9 PM, Grey’s Anatomy (3.0/8) was down a tenth from its last original three weeks ago for a series low, while Private Practice (2.2/6) was up 5%.
Memo to NBC: Community may actually do decent numbers if not pitted against the one of hottest comedies on TV, CBS’ Big Bang Theory. Despite facing basketball on CBS, with no Big Bang against it, Community (2.2/7) returned from a three-month hiatus up a whopping 47% from its last original December 8 for a season high and the best demo result in over a year. Community, which ranked as the top program among 18-34 on the Big 4 networks, also lifted 30 Rock (2.0/6), which was up 43% from last week’s 8 PM telecast. The gains stopped at 9 PM, where The Office (2.3/6) was down 12% from last week to tie its series low. Up All Night (1.7/4) and Awake (1.6/4) were both flat. This is a sign that midseason drama Awake may be stabilizing after a soft premiere and a second-week drop last Thursday.
An hourlong American Idol (4.5/14) was down 8% from last Thursday’s two-hour show but still led Fox to a nightly win in 18-49 and total viewers. Encouraging number for the rerun of the Touch premiere episode, which logged a 2.2/6 in the demo. The CW’s The Vampire Diaries returned from a month-long break down 14% in 18-49 (1.2/4) and up 6% in 18-34 (1.4/5). The Secret Circle held steady.