WASHINGTON, July 18, 2013 —Last Thursday night the two most watched shows were repeats of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men.” Rather than watch original broadcasts of competitive reality shows, the TV audience opted for a repeat of two popular scripted comedies.
This rerun trend is so prevalent that five of the top ten shows last week were reruns. For this reason it should come as no surprise that cable networks are making huge gains in viewer numbers across the board.
This morning’s Emmy nominations further illustrates the lack of quality programming on major broadcast networks. The only major network scripted shows receiving nominations in key categories were “Modern Family,” “30 Rock,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Parks and Recreation.”
The major networks dominated only two categories; “Reality-Competition Program” and “Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program.” This is only because of a glut of competitive reality shows airing on major networks while cable focuses on scripted dramas and non competitive reality programming.
The rest of the major categories were dominated by cable. The TV audience can only hope that major broadcast networks are listening and taking notes. Their dependence on competitive reality programming is digging a grave that will eventually relegate them to the “last choice to watch” category.
As lost as the net heads are, we should all be happy cable networks understand what the average TV viewer wants. “Pawn Stars” on History Channel is approaching five million viewers per episode while fresh summer dramas like “Rizzoli & Isles,” “Major Crimes,” “Perception,” “Longmire” and “Royal Pains” continue to grow in their popularity.
Perhaps the most telling Emmy category of all is the “Outstanding Drama Series.” Nominees include “Breaking Bad,” “Dowton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland” and “Mad Men,” all airing on cable while one show, “House of Cards,” is an online only show offered by Netflix.
As the viewing choices for quality programming expands, the major broadcast networks had better read the writing on the wall. Stop assuming anyone cares about who can dance or who can swallow a sword and get back to story telling. In other words, adapt or die.
All times are EDT:
ABC: Wipeout: (New) Twelve just-married couples tackle obstacles that include the Cradle of Tough Love and the Honeymoon in Paris.
CBS: The Big Bang Theory: (Repeat) Sheldon is positively charged with excitement when he hires Professor Proton (Bob Newhart), the host of his favorite childhood TV program, to appear at his apartment. Later, Howard and Bernadette agree to dogsit Raj’s pooch, but things don’t go as planned.
FOX: Hell’s Kitchen: (Repeat) The final five chefs must create gourmet burgers.
NBC: The Winner Is…: (Repeat) Six acts compete before a panel of 101 judges.
CW: The Vampire Diaries: (Repeat) Klaus turns to Stefan for help when Rebekah refuses his plea to stop Kol and protect Jeremy. Meanwhile, Bonnie has a frightening encounter with Kol; and mayor Hopkins cancels a school dance, but Stefan finds a charming way to make it up to a disappointed Rebekah.
CBS: Two and a Half Men: (Repeat) Walden pleads with Kate to give their romance another shot when he’s lonely on Valentine’s Day.
ABC: Motive: (New) Flynn and Vega investigate the murder of a mortgage broker.
CBS: Big Brother: (New) Another houseguest is evicted from the compound.
FOX: Hell’s Kitchen: (New) The final four chefs use all their senses to recreate a gourmet dish.
NBC: The Winner Is…: (New) Six more talented performers give it their all, hoping to move one step closer to the million-dollar prize.
CW: Beauty and the Beast: (Repeat) Cat and Vincent go on a date in public, which they soon regret.
ABC: Rookie Blue: (New) When an arrest reveals that drugs contaminated with a deadly bacteria have hit the street, the squad rushes to control the situation; Marlo reveals a shocking secret; Dov suspects Chloe of hiding secrets.
CBS: Elementary: (Repeat) Holmes conducts research in a hospital morgue and concludes that someone is killing weak and terminally-ill patients. He also learns more about why Joan walked away from her surgical career.
NBC: Hollywood Game Night: (New) Guest stars Valerie Bertinelli, Cheryl Hines, Sarah Chalke, Yvette Nicole Brown, Rob Riggle and Matthew Morrison team up with normal people for an epic party game showdown.
New episodes of:
The Hero at 8 p.m. on TNT
Property Wars: Boom or Bust at 8, 8:30 and 9 p.m. on DSC
Intervention at 9 p.m. on A&E
Monumental Mysteries at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel
Burn Notice at 9 p.m. on USA
Project Runway at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Renovation Raiders at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Pawn Stars at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on History Channel
Anger Management at 9:30 p.m. on FX
Property Wars at 9:30 p.m. on DSC
Beyond Scared Straight at 10 p.m. on A&E
Showville at 10 p.m. on AMC
Swamp People at 10 p.m. on History Channel
Sullivan & Son at 10 p.m. on TBS
House Hunters at 10 p.m. on HGTV
Gracelend at 10 p.m. on USA
Wilfred at 10 and 10:30 p.m. on FX
House Hunters International at 10:30 p.m. on HGTV
For movie lovers:
Basic Instinct on ENC
The Soloist on FXM
The Hills Have Eyes II on IFC
The Palm Beach Story on TCM
Bel Ami on TMC
Battleship on HBO
Ted on HBO
John Carpenter’s Vampires on MOMAX
Lawless on SHO
Premium Rush on STARZ
Blast Vegas on Syfy
Terminator Salvation on TNT
The Manchurian Candidate at 9:45 p.m. on TCM
The Day After Tomorrow at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close at 10 p.m. on HBO
Traffic at 10 p.m. on SHO
District Nine on SUND
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at 10 p.m. on SHO
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