• If you’re searching for a glimmer of good news in that four-game sweep of the Penguins by Boston, it may be this: Not many people watched it.
On cable alone, two repeat episodes each of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Family Guy” had more (ages) 18-49 viewers than Game 3, which attracted a paltry 2.84 million viewers. Game 4 didn’t fare much better, with 2.9 million people tuned in. It also was topped by a repeat episode of “Family Guy.” By comparison, Game 2 of the NBA finals scored 11.5 million viewers.
• At last count, more than 160 series were premiering or returning over the summer months, including a last-minute addition that moved over from cable to network – “Anger Management.” This week alone, there are 11 premieres. That includes the Wednesday sitcom block on TV Land (“Hot in Cleveland,” “The Exes” and “The Soul Man”) beginning at 10 p.m., as well as Discovery’s “Blood and Oil” (Tuesday at 10), TNT’s “Franklin & Bash” (Wednesday at 9;) Comedy Central’s “Futurama” and VH1’s “Couple Therapy” (Wednesday at 10); Fox’s “Wilfred” (Thursday at 10), the burn-off of ABC’s “666 Park Avenue” (Saturday at 9) and NBC’s “Crossing Lines” and Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” (Sunday at 9 p.m.) We’re not suggesting that talking dogs and “B”-list actors result in great television, but it is new. Admittedly, though, a lot of the “new” could be accounting for those high ratings for repeats of “Big Bang Theory” and “Family Guy.”
• Considering the number of people who have asked about “666 Park Avenue,” one might expect a healthy crowd for its return Saturday. Don’t expect ABC to recall its “666” pink slip, however. To my recollection, no canceled series has ever drawn enough fans to its burn-off episodes to be resurrected.
• However, in a rather bizarre move last season, CBS canceled one of its regular series, then decided to bring it back as a summer series only. “Unforgettable” returns Sundays at 9 p.m. beginning July 28.
• Unaired episodes of at least two canceled series will be broadcast over the summer. The CW’s “Cult” returns Friday, June 28 at 8 p.m. while NBC’s “Do No Harm” is set for Saturdays at 10 p.m. beginning June 29. Since NBC yanked “Do No Harm” so quickly this spring, it could probably get away with advertising it as a new summer series.
• Other than the already-airing “America’s Got Talent,” the most likely summer hit is CBS’s “Under the Dome,” (Monday, June 24 at 10 p.m.) if only because of all the advance publicity about the cow that gets sliced in half by the dome.
• “Dome” is CBS’s all-out effort to bring viewers back to the networks (in particular CBS) during the summer. It reportedly invested more than $3 million in each of the 13 episodes of the Stephen King thriller and critics indicate it was worth it. Early reviews are promising – most zeroing in on one point: If you watch the first episode, you’re all-in for the series.
• For those who haven’t yet had their fill of Honey Boo Boo – and we hope those fans are few – the series returns to TLC Wednesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. TLC at one time was The Learning Channel. Today, not so much.
• Yet another attempt to build some late-night Saturday traction begins July 27 at 11 p.m. when Fox premieres its “Animation Domination” block. While it’s unlikely to knock off repeats of “Saturday Night Live,” the cartoon strategy could be a potent one. While I’m not certain “SNL” will ever go away, it will be returning this fall minus many of its key players. If Fox can build some momentum with its animation by then, “domination” may be more than just a convenient rhyming word.
• Perhaps the best barometer of appointment television these days is DVR ratings – shows recorded and viewed within seven days of the original broadcast. The top two shows – “Modern Family” and “Big Bang Theory” – are no surprise, but the next three are all freshmen series – “The Following,” “Revolution” and “Elementary” – indicating viewers are willing to sample new shows. All three, by the way, were renewed. “Hannibal,” which had mediocre “live“ viewing, also was renewed for the fall season, based almost entirely on its strong DVR numbers, which boosted its overall ratings by 62 percent. Adding in the DVR numbers, “Big Bang Theory” drew in about 21 million for each episode. Those are extremely strong numbers (comparable to “American Idol’s” prime) and further emphasize that people do watch network television these days – they just prefer to do it on their own terms.
• Have adults taken over the CD market? It would certainly seem that way glancing at last week’s sales chart, which includes new releases by veteran acts John Fogerty, Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck, Megadath, Alice in Chains, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, the “Great Gatsby” soundtrack and adult-oriented artists Adele, Andrea Bocelli, Il Volo and Michael Buble. It’s also likely that adults are contributing to the sales of the Justin Timberlake, Mumford & Sons and Lumineers CDs as well.
• We’d consider it a blip or oddity were the remainder of the Top 50 not populated with the movie soundtrack to “Les Miserables,” the Broadway soundtrack to “Cinderella,” and new releases by Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Sarah Brightman, Josh Groban, Willie Nelson and Paul Anka – yes, that Paul Anka.