Fox got some really bad news last night when the Yankees get eliminated from the playoffs, leaving the network’s post-season baseball coverage without its 2 biggest draws – the Yankees and the Red Sox, which bowed out a week ago. Softening the blow was the fact that the network won its third Thursday in a row among adults 18-49 with The X Factor (3.8/10), which still refuses to grow but has been extremely persistent in its ratings performance. The reality series matched its fast national rating from last week, just as it did on Wednesday. (X Factor always gets adjusted up in the ratings.) Keeping steady was actually a major accomplishment last night as the big Yankees-Tigers game on TBS pushed most broadcast series down.
There were only 2 other series not to drop week-to-week last night and one of them was a show that needed good news — NBC’s Prime Suspect (1.5/4), which matched its performance last week even as its lead-in, Whitney (2.3/6) was down 8%. Prime Suspect is the only new NBC series whose fate is undecided but the network’s brass are rallying behind it, and its hold last night is encouraging thought it needs to eventually grow to earn a pickup. That could happen next week when the network will start airing reruns of the show in the Monday 10 PM slot vacated by cancelled Playboy Club to give the crime drama starring Maria Bello additional sampling. Prime Suspect was not the lowest-rated NBC series on Thursday this time – it was tied with Community (1.5/5), which was down 17%. Parks & Recreation (1.9/5) was down 10%, while The Office (3.1/8) was down 11% to log its lowest-rated episode in 6-and-a-half years, since the finale of its poorly rated 6-episode first season in the spring of 2005. While baseball was a factor, it is still disconcerting for the veteran comedy to drop so much as it raises concerns about the show’s viability without star Steve Carell. (more…)