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Ratings Shuffle: America to NBC, “We Were On A Break!”

So America, it seems that you’ve officially broken up with NBC. There’s no more “trying to work it out” or “going to therapy.” It’s kind of done. At this point not much else happens except maybe a Community drunken hook up, or meeting at 30 Rock for coffee to discuss “closure,” and well, you’ll always have that thing that happened in the Office supply closet during the Christmas party.

Now, though, you’ve moved on to “seeing other people.”

Ratings for NBC last week were in the toilet. No preamble, no sugar coating it, just swirling in the bowl hoping for a courtesy flush.

Just what the hell has happened here? Remember all those great shows of the 1990’s, when “Must See TV” meant something in the world of television? Jerry Seinfeld ruled the airwaves. Phil Hartman was still alive. Ross and Rachel were Ross and Rachel, George Clooney and his House of Batiatus hairdo made us all swoon, and well, Paul Reiser did that married people show with his Oscar winning on-screen wife who now lives in a cave. But now, well now, NBC is a dried husk surviving off the writing talent of Tina Fey and the waning appeal of Steve Carell. What else is even on this channel? Nowadays when I careen by NBC at 90mph, on days not showing Law & Order: SVU, Guy Fieri, that sandwich-man from the Food Network, is making people stack cups and flip quarters into a jar! This is entertainment on NBC? I guess so. Well, that sucks, because really NBC — CBS the land of addicts and NCIS spin-offs — is just kicking your cape-wearing, event-stalling, outsourced ass all over the ratings chart. Never would have happened in the Seinfeld years.

Fox, however, reigned supreme last week with juggernaut American Idol and edged slightly ahead of CBS to top the broadcast primetime adult 18-49 ratings. CBS was followed closely by ABC, and the network held together by Alec Baldwin and chewing gum came in last of the mighty four, again.

Furthering NBC’s descent into obscurity, in the list of top 25 shows for last week, only one NBC show placed. It was The Office — at number fourteen, yeah, not even in the top ten. American Idol held on to the top two spots, followed by Modern Family at number three, One Junkie, A Has Been, and The Kid Caught in the Middle came in at number four, Glee took the fifth spot, Mike & Molly landed at number six, and Grey’s Anatomy (This show is still on?! NBC, this is like being beaten by Trapper John M.D. in 1982) made it to number seven. The awesome Big Bang Theory was able to squeak by at number eight, How I Had Sex With All These Chicks And Then Met Your Mother slutted its way to number nine, and Head Slappers with Mark Harmon rounded out the top ten. [TV By the Numbers]

Should we talk about what’s on the “to be jettisoned on an ice floe” cancellation list for NBC while we’re remarking on how terrible a network it is? Sure. Already cancelled this season, Outlaw, Undercovers, and Chase. Well, what did we expect? What were these shows even about? Spies, outlaws, and law enforcement types also chasing outlaws? Sounds like this should have been one show called Law & Order: LA! This show is on indefinite hiatus! This makes complete sense.

Two shows currently bleeding out on the emergency room floor like a Sarah Palin television fiasco are; Perfect Couples (Olivia Munn, HA! You can’t act.) and The Cape (Naturally). Three others, Outsourced, Chuck, and Harry’s Law are still breathing, but I’m thinking if someone knocked out a plug, all the machines would start whirring, and Trapper John would come running in frantically with his hair and bedroom eyes screaming about “Codes” and “O2 STAT!”.

But here’s one thing NBC has accomplished — its tied with Fox for the number of cancellations this season, each have three, so that means something! Something bad. But really this is horrible since we mostly expect Fox to have several cancellations. They have a habit of producing jaunty little sitcoms and other random filler crap that just seem like fodder anyway. It’s a kinda “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” philosophy.

NBC, well, the viewing public expects better. Mostly, right?

The Sheen Effect:

Do you know what happens when you have a mind-swelling coke rant and say rabid shit about your boss?

Well, you get fired, and your inexplicable hit television show stops production. Apparently stuffing his face with cocaine and hookers wasn’t enough to make CBS pull the plug on Charlie, Duckie, and the Teenage Fart Joke (#4 in ratings!), no, Carlos Estevez was fired after a full-blown narcissistic, anti-Semitic tinged, mini-Mel rant on the Alex Jones radio show wherein he stated this about his boss, executive producer, Chuck Lorre:

“There’s something this side of deplorable that a certain Chaim Levine – yeah, that’s Chuck’s real name – mistook this rock star for his own selfish exit strategy, bro. Check it, Alex: I embarrassed him in front of his children and the world by healing at a pace that his unevolved mind cannot process.”

“Last I checked, Chaim, I spent close to the last decade effortlessly and magically converting your tin cans into pure gold. And the gratitude I get is this charlatan chose not to do his job, which is to write.”

He made it clear during the interview that he doesn’t believe the show can survive without him, telling Jones, “Watch your ratings, dudes. Watch your stupid ratings.” Sheen followed his statements with a letter sent to TMZ where he called Lorre, a “contaminated little maggot” and wished the producer “nothing but pain.” He’s also urging “all my beautiful and loyal fans who embraced this show for almost a decade to walk with me side-by-side as we march up the steps of justice to right this unconscionable wrong.”

Yawr, okay, Carlos. Whatever. Here’s the continuing thing if you want instant nausea. Is it possible CBS could face a significant dip without its bread and butter ratings hauler? Likely. We’ll see.

So, that’s it for this week. Charlie Sheen is a Mel Gibson impersonator with some acute Gary Busey tendencies! Fantastic. American Idol‘s Seacrest monster still has your attention, since Fox is celebrating the blond teacup yorkie and his bevy of misfits; the stringy rocker, the crying J.Lo., and Yo Dawg Tito Jackson, who apparently still make all your thighs sweat and voice boxes tingle. This is sad. I need a cape.