Mid-Season TV Behavior: Super-Efficient, Or Just Super-Bowl-Ready?

Mid-season is the final deadline for cutting your TV losses with efficiency in an ever-growing media world.

This week, ABC cut loose its comedy "Don't Trust The B... in Apartment 23." More recently, Fox said goodbye to its rookie comedy, "Ben and Kate." Not to be outdone, TBS set "Wedding Band" off on a long honeymoon -- of sorts.

Scripted programming continues to be an expensive proposition, especially in the face of continued lackluster -- or, more appropriately, lower  -- ratings.

On the bright side, ABC benefitted from "The Taste," a new Tuesday prime-time cooking show, which received a nice 2.2 rating/6 share among 18-49 viewers. How nice? Numbers were a bit higher versus the fall premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" in the same 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. time period.

Fox on Monday witnessed even better results -- a large 3.2 rating/8 share -- from The Following," a new drama about a serial killer. And CBS’ "The Big Bang Theory" recently posted its best numbers ever for a "Star Trek"-themed episode.



TV fatigue is everywhere this time of year, with viewers taking the path of least resistance. Even President Obama’s second inauguration came in much lower than the first time around -- just 20.6 million versus 37.8 million.

Broadcast networks continue to drop in overall ratings, including 5% in the metric that matters most to advertisers -- C3, among the 18-49 viewing crowd. Not to be outdone, there has been a 4% decline among the top 40 cable networks among key 18-49 viewers.

Nothing to cheer about? Hardly. In a week and a half, the Super Bowl arrives and is perhaps looking for another ratings record -- something it has achieved steadily since 2005.

Still, some network executives believe they may not make many changes for the rest of the season. All that means letting the viewers have the last vote.

Oh, by the way, Netflix' stock was up nearly 6% on Wednesday -- and 25% in after-market trading. It added some 2 million customers, with the total now at around 27.1 million. What does that mean for future TV consumption?  Perhaps many will be poised to get more efficiency out of their viewing.

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