NBC’s Bob Greenblatt Not Rushing To Cancel Low-Rated ‘Playboy Club’ Or ‘Free Agents’

CBS’ decision to put two unproven new series back-to-back on lucrative Thursday night — comedy How To Be A Gentleman and drama Person Of Interest — was quite a gamble for a risk-averse network like CBS. And now, the tandem starts to spell trouble for the network in their first airing together. In its premiere, How To Be A Gentleman (2.7/8) was down 33% from the debut of the now-defunct $#*! My Dad Says in the 8:30 PM slot last year but still did better than anything but X Factor in the half-hour. Gentleman dragged down Person Of Interest (2.7/7, 12.4 million), which slid a modest 13% from its premiere last week directly behind The Big Bang Theory. The ripple effect continued with The Mentalist (2.5/7, 12.7 million), down 11%. The only good news for CBS last night came at 8 PM, where Big Bang (4.8/15, 14.5 million) matched the fast national 18-49 rating for its season premiere last week and was once again the top program of the night in viewers and the 18-49 demo. CBS (3.0/8, 12.3 million) was No. 1 for the night in total viewers and second in 18-49.

How quickly they fall. After a disappointing start last week, ABC’s Charlie’s Angels (1.5/4) took a 29% dive in Week 2 and is facing likely early cancellation. Grey’s Anatomy (3.5/9) was down 15% from its two-hour opener last week. At 10 PM, Private Practice launched its fifth season with a 2.8/8, down 15% from last season’s debut and its lowest-rated premiere ever, but it still won the 10 PM hour in 18-49. ABC (2.6/7, 8.4 million) finished third for the night in viewers and 18-49.

Fox’s The X Factor (3.8/10, 11.9 million) was down two tenths from last Thursday’s fast national demo rating. (The reality series usually gains 1-2 tenths in the finals.) For the first three weeks, Simon Cowell’s singing competition has been stuck in the 4 and just-under-4 ratings level, below most people’s (and Cowell’s own) expectations, but has been keeping steady. We will get a better idea of its ratings trajectory next week when the show’s next phase, boot camp, starts. X Factor led Fox to another nightly win in 18-49.

After a promising debut last week, new NBC comedy Whitney (2.5/6) was down an alarming 24% in Week 2. Its lead-in, The Office, was down 13%. On the bright side, Whitney still managed a decent 74% demo lead-in retention, better than the other 9:30 PM comedies this week. At 8 PM, Community (1.8/5) was up a tenth from last week. Parks and Recreation (2.1/6) followed its lead at 8:30 PM, also up a tenth from its fast national last week. (It was adjusted up in the finals.) More bad news for new drama Prime Suspect (1.5/4), which was down 17% from its low-rated premiere and is in serious danger. NBC finished a distant fourth in total viewers (5.2 million) and 18-49 (2.1/6)

The CW dramas continued to rebound this week after being pummeled by the competition during premiere week. With a flashback episode, The Vampire Diaries (2.7 million, 1.3/4 in 18-49, 1.4/5 in 18-34) was up 7% in total viewers, 17% in 18-34 and 8% in 18-49 from last week. The Secret Circle (2 million, 1.0/3 in 18-34) was up 11% in 18-34 and even in viewers.