Just two months ago, ABC’s Once Upon a Time had a poisoned apple’s chance in hell of becoming a hit and Two and a Half Men’s ratings were expected to sag without Charlie Sheen. How quickly fortunes have changed! Here’s our breakdown of who’s soaring and who’s stalled…
Smart women, both funny and devious
CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, Fox’s New Girl, and ABC’s Suburgatory are three of the highest-rated new series in the 18-49 age demographic, and all were created or co-created by female writers. And the complex heroines on breakout dramas like ABC’s Revenge and Showtime’s Homeland (which has already been renewed for season 2) have kept us coming back for more.
Chuck Lorre and Charlie Sheen
Two and a Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre proved he can boost a hit comedy’s ratings by 41 percent in the adult demo — even with Ashton Kutcher! Meanwhile, former Men star Sheen convinced FX to buy 10 episodes of a sitcom based on Anger Management.
Insiders had low expectations for ABC’s fall, but Once Upon a Time is TV’s highest-rated new drama among adults, Suburgatory has snuggled right into Wednesday nights, and Happy Endings (which is averaging 8.2 million viewers weekly) has grown into a solid companion for Modern Family.
Along with having the hit New Girl, Fox is on track to cinch its eighth straight season-topping victory in the 18-49 demo for two reasons: a dramatic World Series and time-slot-boosting performances by The X Factor, which have helped put the network in first place among adults earlier than usual this season (with American Idol yet to come). The worst that can be said is that Terra Nova disappointed (its fate is still unclear), but even that has been a solid self-starter on Mondays.
The return of AMC’s The Walking Dead is delivering 9 million total viewers, and the show ranks as cable’s top-rated drama among young adults, while American Horror Story, from Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy, is FX’s most popular freshman drama ever with 4.2 million. Expect the number of event- ual knockoffs to be downright spooky.