Dave on Demand: Down for the ratings count

"Whitney," with Chris D'Elia as Alex Miller, and Whitney Cummings as Whitney Cummings.
"Whitney," with Chris D'Elia as Alex Miller, and Whitney Cummings as Whitney Cummings. (JORDAN ALTHAUS / NBC)

 

Posted: October 08, 2011

Autumn is here and the recently introduced network shows are already falling like, well, like leaves.

This week NBC canceled The Playboy Club and Free Agents, while the CW dropped H8R.

Do you have any idea how irredeemably awful you have to be to get canceled by the CW? There are infomercials that get better ratings than its prime-time fare.

So who's next? Here's your fall TV death watch.

A handful of shows are exempt. The sitcoms New Girl, Up All Night, and Whitney already received full season pickups, which is like getting the immunity idol on Survivor.

But embracing these series seems almost giddily optimistic. Take Whitney. Please. In the last week for which Nielsen figures were available, it lost more than 20 percent of its audience from the previous week and ranked number 63 among all broadcast programs. NBC, meet your new albatross.

Fox's pterodactyl turkey Terra Nova won't get canceled because the network has too much invested in it and because none of the executives are willing to be the one to walk into Steven Spielberg's office and tell him that his show stinks.

I'm already on the record as saying How to Be a Gentleman would get a quick hook, but to my dismay, it opened relatively strong with nearly 9 million viewers. How many of you are going back for a second helping? Show of hands. I thought so. I'm sticking with my prediction.

The fact is every one of the new shows has experienced audience erosion since its debut. The two on the endangered list are Charlie's Angels and Pan Am, which experienced drops approaching 30 percent. Ouch!

I stopped watching Pan Am because I couldn't stand seeing how glamorous old-time aviation was. Not after they showed a scene of Cuban refugees being packed onto a plane to flee their island in the '60s. The conditions inside that aircraft were still better than modern air travel.

Background check. You say you're looking for a job? Try the NYPD. Apparently they'll hire just about anybody.

When we first met Carrie (Poppy Montgomery) on CBS's Unforgettable, she was making her living counting cards in illegal underground gambling dens, sometimes having to shoot her way out with her winnings.

Two weeks later, after consulting on a couple of cases, she's assigned to a squad room and carrying a badge and gun.

Wonder what she put down under "previous employment"?

What are we auditioning for? This week, there was a big sing-off on Glee between Rachel and Mercedes to determine who would get the lead in the school production of West Side Story.

So which of Maria's songs did they throw down on? "Somewhere"? "I Feel Pretty"?

No, they were asked to sing "Out Here on My Own" from Fame. And that would be because . . .?

Tropical species. Because of a youth misspent in rock arenas, my hearing is not as good as it should be. So all week, I kept mishearing the promo for Hawaii Five-O ("Someone is killing Navy Seals") as "Someone is killing baby seals."

And I kept wondering, "Do they even have seals in Waikiki?" Then they would show a picture of guest star Billy Baldwin with his hair all greased back, and I'd think, "Yeah, he looks just like the type who would hurt one of those cute little defenseless mammals."

Slander! On this week's Boardwalk Empire, Nucky Thompson, recently arrested for voter fraud, faces a pack of reporters. "Is there an honest man in Atlantic City?" asks one.

"Is there a sober reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer?" Nucky fires back.

I take exception to that wisecrack. I'll have you know there are plenty of sober reporters here at The Inquirer. It's the editors who are drunk.


Contact staff writer David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or dhiltbrand@phillynews.com. Read his pop culture blog at www.philly.com/philly/blogs/dave_on_demand.

 

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