Perry v. Mandel: The Deal Breaker for NBC

Good news: If anyone watched Emmy host Conan’s song and dance at the 2006 awards show, they saw quite a roast of NBC and the poor ratings record it’s held this past year. But, oh, how the tables have turned -- at least for one day. On Monday, NBC crossed the finish line first and averaged a 9.3 rating. CBS missed out on the win narrowly with a 9.0 rating, FOX took third (5.3), ABC was a close fourth (5.1) and the new CW, which hasn’t started its season yet, lost out (1.4). The reason: The Monday night lineup included a new two-hour Deal or no Deal and the series premiere of Studio 60.

Bad news: Well, not so much “bad” as “not good.” With all that talk that Studio 60 would be the saving grace of the network, the ratings didn’t back it up. How do I figure? Let’s go to the case: It turns out that Howie Mandel and his 20-odd model associates led NBC to the ratings win, not Perry and friends. Boo. Studio 60 started out okay but lost a significant number of viewers -- nearly two million -- in its second half-hour.

So, what’s it mean? Why didn’t people tune in? Was the season premiere of CSI: Miami -- which also aired at 10 p.m. ET -- just too darn tempting? Dear lord, I hope not. And if they did start watching, why did they stop? Is the show too smart for its own good? Sigh.

What do you think?

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