One of the better things about a good episode of NBC's stalwart Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is that you can rarely tell where it's headed. Is tonight's cameo-heavy hour (10/9c) the latest condemnation of reality TV's sordid excesses? Sure looks that way at the start, as we encounter an especially slimy Michael McKean (relishing his repulsiveness) as the predatory producer of a crap-tastic train wreck titled Showgirls, featuring young hopefuls who would do "whatever it takes" to land the starring role in a Broadway musical. (No small irony this is airing the week of the all-important-to-NBC Smash premiere, where such things could never happen!) As he liquors up a nervous contestant for her "audition," he leers for her to "seduce the audience. Let them know you want this." Doesn't take a genius to know where this is going.
Smash lived up to its title, winning the final hour of Monday's prime time, and fresh off The Voice's Season 2 debut after the Super Bowl, it posted formidable numbers, making for a huge night for NBC.
Real Housewives of Atlanta
Bravo is crowing about The Real Housewives of Atlanta scoring a season high, as well as the second-biggest audience in the franchise's history — 3.95 million viewers — on Sunday night. Season 4 of the series so far is up 14 percent in average viewership too.
Alcatraz — which last week made Fox's strongest dramatic series debut in three years — didn't have too many escapees, losing just about 10 percent of its audience in its second week, according to Nielsen overnights.
It also fell just to 3.0 from 3.3 among 18-to-49-year-olds from the two-hour debut — making it the season's third new drama series to post a rating of at least a 3.0 in its second week (after Terra Nova and Once Upon a Time).
Four words: The indomitable Betty White.
What's this?!? There is some accounting for taste?!? Downton Abbey's Season 2 premiere averaged 4.2 million viewers.
Nielsen data on Tuesday showed that the Emmy-winning series' return Sunday night doubled the average PBS prime-time rating, and marked an 18 percent jump over the show's first-season average — which made PBS ecstatic.
Rachel and Ben
The Bachelor's Season 16 premiere averaged some 7.74 million viewers, down about 13 percent compared with a year ago, and its 2.4 rating among industry-prized 18-to-49-year-olds marked a 17 percent decline, preliminary Nielsen data shows.
On the 12th day of December, with only 12 days (gulp) until Christmas Eve, here's a dozen topics of interest — or possibly disinterest — regarding today's unusually busy, for mid-December, TV lineup.
Mother's Day: On CBS's biggest Monday hit, Two and a Half Men (9/8c), Mimi Rogers drops by the Malibu manse as Walden's mom. Alan, naturally, is smitten (ewwww), but in the opposite-of-nurturing tradition of mothers ...
The Mother of all Robin-centric How I Met Your Mother episodes brought the series its largest audience in nearly three years, while 2 Broke Girls anted up its biggest viewership since its September premiere in the first hour of prime time, according to Nielsen overnight data. The second half of CBS' two-hour Monday comedy block ran up the numbers too, as Two and a Half Men attracted the night's biggest audience, as well as the highest rating in the industry-coveted 18-to-49 demo.
Chelsea Clinton will make her NBC News debut Monday, Dec. 12, on Rock Center with Brian Williams, The New York Times reports.
Clinton, 31, will report on a nonprofit organization based in her home state of Arkansas. The piece will be part of NBC's recurring "Making a Difference" feature. Clinton was hired last month, but the...