I interrupt the usual way of choosing the shows I wanna archive here and continue with a first second season, because why should I be waiting for another year to post second-season numbers, even if they are as uninteresting are those of 2 BROKE GIRLS. The first season of the CBS sitcom turned out to be a success, albeit the ratings for the series opener were skewed due to TWO AND A HALF MEN introducing Ashton Kutcher before. So, it was not only obvious that the season two average of 2 BROKE GIRLS would be down, just because of the skewed numbers of the pilot, but down generally, because that’s how shows live on television (except you’re THE X-FILES, 24, ER, CSI, HOUSE M.D., or some other show I still need to discover).
CBS let the show live on on Mondays, where it was solid enough to never outright fall flat. Like the last few episodes of the first season, the first part of the second season had less than ten million viewers, but the viewership numbers would eventually rise, and deliver nearly 12.5 million viewers mid-season, a high that was reached last time in December 2011. But the viewership average of the season went down 12.4 percent, while the target demo took a bit of a bigger hit, tanking 21.5 percent. While a 12% loss of viewers can be survived easily, the disappearance of one fifth of the target audience was more worrisome. 2 BROKE GIRLS started with great numbers though, and the fall to oblivion was a long one. Yet, the show commenced falling with the second season, even if a 3.4 ratings average in the target demo in year two still looks quite golden.
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CBS promoted their next medical drama as the “next best medical drama”, which happened to replace the short-lived drama SMITH, which was only on the air for three episodes. As this “next best medical drama” turned out to be a bust as well, CBS also cancelled 3 LBS, effectively giving CBS some nightmares , because two of their dramas have been killed within weeks. 3LBS starred Stanley Tucci and mark Feuerstein, portraying brain surgeons, and therefore giving interested viewers an opportunity to take a peek inside a medical business no one really cared about.
The original pilot starred Dylan McDermott and Reiko Aylesworth, giving the latter a chance to continue starring on television, after her beloved character on 24 got killed off in a car explosion in the Fall of 2005. But as it seems, McDermott and Aylesworth were the lucky ones, since they don’t have to be connected with a quickly cancelled show. CBS was patient enough to still air another episode, after the ratings for episode 2 already dropped a little bit, but after the third week, the network pulled the plug, and everyone else forgot about the show. The five unaired episode have been made available on Amazon Unbox, meaning 3 LBS was at least good enough to be burned off somewhere outside of television.
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The sequel to GONE WITH THE WIND founds its way to CBS in 1994, in the form of an 8-hour miniseries, aired over the course of five days, which seems to be a rare thing to do for broadcast networks. Spanning a six-year storyline, SCARLETT dealt with its titular heroine on a mission to win back her dashing husband, but not without living through some emotional moments and live events in the process. For miniseries standards, SCARLETT was a complex shoot, filming in more than 50 locations domestic and international, and housing a very juicy cast of big names, with Joanne Whalley-Kilmer leading the ensemble that consisted of Timothy Dalton, Sean Bean, Camden predator Stephen Collins, Colm Meaney, Annabeth Gish, Jean Smart, Ray McKinnon (the guy who created RECTIFY, your favorite-ever Sundance original series) and Paul Winfield, and that’s just the names I know and can connect with a face.
The miniseries was a smashing success for CBS. Even though the airing of the first part (on a Sunday) was the highest-rated of the four-pack, the miniseries stayed constantly high in the charts following the first part, and constantly solid as well. I guess when Americans knew they could start watching a series, knowing it will end in a couple of days, they will tune in.
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Two-part miniseries were starting to become extinct in the 21st century, but when some networks had the opportunity to produce a two-parter, they weren’t necessarily airing on back-to-back days. Because CBS had a lot of programming they didn’t want to give up during the November sweeps, their 2005 miniseries disaster offering CATEGORY 7: THE END OF THE WORLD, aired on two consecutive Sundays, giving the viewers an opportunity to forget all about the first part when tuning in for the second part. The premise of the four-hour disaster movie was simple: A category 7 hurricane is potentially destroying the world, after a couple of category 6 storms that were depicted in CATEGORy 6: DAY OF DESTRUCTION (which makes this miniseries a sequel), form into this apocalyptic storm, ready to blow everything out of proportion.
The two parts aired on Sundays at 9:00pm, and turned out to be the top-rated miniseries of the 2005/2006 TV season. Which doesn’t have to mean a lot though, since miniseries were living through an extinction event themselves. Of course, before CATEGORY 7: THE END OF THE WORLD was aired, critics were already panning CBS for airing the miniseries shortly after almost a handful of real-life hurricanes were throwing up on America. Katrina and Rita have already been hit while Wilma was hitting the US the same month CATEGORY 7: THE END OF THE WORLD was slated to air. I guess CBS didn’t really care whether real-life idiots cared about global warming, and waiting for a miniseries to air when there are no more hurricanes in the US is pretty much stupid.
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The true-life kidnapping of Barbara Mackle probably kept the news media and its viewers and readers alive and breathing during the cold December days of 1968. Mackle, then a 20-year-old student, was kidnapped from a hotel room she stayed with her mother, and then buried alive in a shallow trench inside of a fiberglass-reinforced box. Mackle stayed in that box for three days before being found and during a wild and chaotic kidnap and ransom situation, but she survived. Her life events, which she wrote down in her 1971 autobiographical book “83 Hours ’til Dawn”, were the basis for the 1972 TV movie THE LONGEST NIGHT, which aired on ABC, but, due to litigation rights surrounding the story, was never aired again. In 1990, the book was made into a second television movie, this time starring Peter Strauss as the kidnapper and Robert Ulrich as the father who tried everything to get his daughter back.
83 HOURS ‘TIL DAWN aired on Sunday, November 4, 1990 on CBS, against the usual competition back in the days: FOX’s sitcom hour, and other TV movies that were aired by ABC and NBC. 20.6 million viewers (14.2/22 in Households) tuned in, refreshing their memories of the late 1960s kidnapping case, and were apparently thoroughly entertained, because the TV movie was the better rated one that night. The thing is just, 83 HOURS ‘TIL DAWN wasn’t winning the time slot. NBC aired the theatrical movie THREE MEN AND A BABY, which got higher ratings (and found itself #4 in the weekly Nielsen charts), but that was technically not a TV movie. Well, CBS at least was second in that timeslot, and 83 HOURS ‘TIL DAWN landed in the bottom rows of the upper third of the weekly charts.
After the quick and painful cancellation of PRINCESSES, Fran Drescher, who really wanted to be the star of her own sitcom, and her husband Peter Marc Jacobson, met with CBS programming head Jeff Saganski and pitched him what would eventually become Drescher’s biggest hit in her career. Two years after the PRINCESSES flop, THE NANNY premiered on CBS – not to very big numbers, but solid enough to forget all about the troubles Drescher’s previous show brought. Still, the show wasn’t much of a breakout hit in its first year. And CBS tried twice to make it so, by putting THE NANNY on Mondays twice throughout the season, replacing DAVE’S WORLD. Both of these episodes happened to be the highest-rated of the season, though the numbers weren’t at all different from what DAVE’S WORLD was bringing on Mondays. Still, if CBS figured out that the show might get better numbers on Mondays instead of Wednesdays, a renewal might be an option worth thinking about.
And that thought was most likely CBS’s biggest reason to give THE NANNY a second season. After the show dropped below 10 million viewers once, the chances were high that Drescher’s next show would find a quick ending as well, albeit THE NANNY at least living for an entire broadcast year. After much consideration, and the fact that some CBS executives thought they had a hit sitcom on their hands they needed to nurture more properly, a second season was ordered, which would finally air on Mondays permanently.
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Women continuously getting abused, even in scripted dramas and movies of the week. THE CONVICTION OF KITTY DODDS starts with that premise, and when the titular character, portrayed by Veronica Hamel, known for her long-running stint as Joyce Davenport on HILL STREET BLUES, as well as being the final commercial smoker of a cigarette on American television (fun fact: the last cigarette commercial aired at 11:59pm on New Year’s Eve on NBC in 1971). She would also portray Lily Muster in HERE COME THE MUNSTERS two years later. On Tuesday, November 2, 1993, her TV movie THE CONVICTION OF KITTY DODDS aired on CBS. And as soon as her character was convicted for killing her abusive husband, and place din prison for life, she decided to stage a prison break and live her life under an assumed name and with her past neatly hidden.
Against hard competition, which only consisted of the still strong ROSEANNE on ABC, THE CONVICTION OF KITTY DODDS placed second in the time slot, with 18.7 million viewers (13.7/21 in Households) tuning in. The TV movie got lost in the weekly Nielsen charts though, landing in the 30s, and getting forgotten eventually.