Made in Jersey

The Fall 2012 TV season is now in full swing – but there’s just one thing missing. The hits? Where are they?

Fall 2011 wasn’t a sterling TV season but it did give birth to some key network shows. Once Upon A Time was an instant hit that stayed strong throughout its first season. Person Of Interest also opened big and interestingly grew in buzz and ratings as it neared its season 1 finale. 2 Broke Girls was a decent Monday night performer for CBS and ABC’s Revenge finally helped the network shake its Wednesday at 10pm curse. And Grimm was the little show that could, actually doing decent business in the Friday night dead zone.

Fast-forward 12 months and yikes – it’s not looking good!

As always there have been a batch of instant, out of the gate bombs: The Mob Doctor, Made In Jersey and Partners – all of which are not long for this world. After decent starts Go On and The New Normal are fading fast, as are fellow NBC sitcoms Animal Practice and Guys With Kids. And Ben And Kate and The Mindy Project have been killed in the Tuesday night comedy crossfire.

Meanwhile The Neighbors plummeted in week 2 after losing its Modern Family lead in. 666 Park Avenue premiered to lower numbers than the cancelled Pan Am; The Last Resort did similar business to the similarly dead Charlie’s Angels; and Vegas is rating less than the one and done Unforgettable.

So far this season there’s really only been two shows that can be called ‘hits’ – NBC’s Revolution and CBS’s Elementary – and neither are smashes. Revolution has already lost 3 million viewers since its premiere but it does at least seem to be leveling off and if it can maintain above 8 million viewers and a 3.0 18-49 share NBC will be thrilled. Meanwhile Elementary premiered to over 13 million viewers. A great result – except the show airs on CBS and on Thursday night so this kind of number is kind of expected! It’s certainly not a blockbuster.

But there’s no Lost this year. No Desperate Housewives. No Heroes or Modern Family – shows that broke out from day one and shook up the TV landscape. And yep, I’m aware of how worrying it is that I’m going back to 2004 for two of those shows!

Funnily enough this season’s real hits are shows from LAST year that are either staying strong or growing! Moving Revenge to Sunday nights has proven a smart move, boosting everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure by over 2 million viewers on the season 1 finale. The X Factor is down year on year but still Fox’s biggest Fall show by far while The Voice continues to soar. And veteran shows are still doing big business – Modern Family (14.44 million) The Big Bang Theory (15.66 million) and Grey’s Anatomy (11.73) which came back huge for its season 8 premiere!

This season every network has a reason to smile – and be down – but it must be a bit of a collective worry that no show has really broken through in Fall 2012. TV needs new hits as CBS are discovering to their cost as their stable of aging shows continue to decline. Recently it seems to have been cable series that have been making all the waves with Homeland, Girls and American Horror Story attracting far more headlines than their broadcast equivalents (although their ratings are undeniably much smaller).

Of course we still have a few shows to come. The CW still hasn’t launched their full Fall line-up – but come on, this is The CW, where nothing really hits big! And I still think ABC’s Nashville is going to do well based on its buzz, reviews and abundant promotion. But so far this has been a season without a game changing show… and the consequences could prove long lasting…