‘Smash’ Stumbles in Second Act

NBC drama down 26 percent after much-ballyhooed debut

A week after knocking off the season’s highest ratings in the 10 p.m. slot, NBC’s Smash fell to earth Monday night, losing more than a quarter of the dollar demo.

According to final Nielsen data, Smash delivered a 2.8 in the 18-49 demo, down 26 percent from the 3.8 the show drew in its Feb. 6 series debut. The second installment (“The Callback”) averaged 8.06 million viewers, marking a decline of 30 percent from last week’s 11.4 million.

Smash still managed to win its time slot, but the ratings drop made the race a lot tighter. CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 drew a 2.7 rating in the 18-49 demo, while ABC’s Castle averaged a 2.0.

That Smash dropped as far as it did is worrisome, if not entirely surprising. After all, the premiere began losing viewers at a rapid clip after the first 15 minutes, plummeting from 14.1 million viewers and an 4.9 in the demo from 10 p.m.-10:15 p.m. to 10.1 million and a 3.4 in the final quarter.

If Smash can put on the brakes, NBC can consider the show a triumph. As it stands now, the newbie is already a vast improvement over previous time slot occupants like The Playboy Club and Rock Center With Brian Williams, which combined for a paltry 1.1 in the demo.

Earlier in the night, Smash lead-in The Voice drew another monster rating, averaging a 6.0 in the demo from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. That represents a manageable 9 percent decline from last week’s 6.6.

The competition series easily won the night on reach, averaging 16.3 million viewers, down 8 percent from 17.8 million on Feb. 6.

As was the case a week ago, The Voice and Smash combined to give NBC another Monday victory, as the Peacock averaged a 4.9 rating to CBS’ 3.3, ABC’s 2.3, Fox’s 2.1 and Univision’s 1.4. The CW closed out the night with a 0.6 among adults 18-49 and a 0.7 rating in its target demo (18-34).

The night was marked by season lows for CBS’ entire lineup. Freshman comedy 2 Broke Girls drew 10.5 million viewers and a 3.8 in the demo—down 12 percent from last week’s 4.3.

Fox also took its lumps, as freshman drama Alcatraz continued its free fall, averaging a series low 1.9, down 17 percent from last week’s 2.3 and 42 percent from a 3.3 in its Jan. 16 premiere.

Through the first 21 weeks of the season, Fox remains at the top of the leader board, averaging a 3.3 rating, down 3 percent versus the year-ago period. CBS is second with a 3.2 (up 7 percent), while NBC remains in third with a 2.7 (up 4 percent). ABC stands alone in fourth place with a 2.4 in the demo (even with last year).

Publish date: February 14, 2012 https://dev.adweek.com/tv-video/smash-stumbles-second-act-138246/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT