POST MORTEM: What Led To ‘Do No Harm’s Historic Ratings Flop

In the days leading to last night’s premiere of NBC‘s new drama Do No Harm, tracking was soft, with awareness weak across the board and intent to see below average, leading to modest ratings expectations. Rival networks were predicting a premiere 18-49 rating a little below the 2.0 that fellow midseason NBC drama Deception recently opened to, with a 1.8 rating considered a reasonable target. But Do No Harm came in at a 0.9, the lowest in-season premiere rating for a series on the Big 4 broadcast networks. Ever. It was even lower than the dismally rated newsmagazine Rock Center With Brian Williams averaged in the Thursday 10 PM hour (1.0) this season. Do No Harm‘s viewership was a paltry 3.1 million viewers. The shocking underperformance was reminiscent of the fall 2010 debut of Fox’s drama Lone Star. Launching behind House with a major marketing campaign behind it, the well-reviewed drama was projected to deliver a premiere 18-49 rating above a 2.5. Instead, it opened to a 1.3, dropping to a 1.0 in the second week before Fox yanked it off the schedule. NBC did not rush to cancel Do No Harm today as executives there were as puzzled by the abysmal ratings as everyone else, but will likely do so next week unless Do No Harm‘s ratings miraculously rebound, something that almost never happens. (more…)

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