2012-2013 TV Season In Review

This week, the current season of TV came to a close. Personally, I enjoyed the season. Many of my returning shows gave me some outstanding episodes and I ended up really enjoying most of the new shows I picked up. I think I even had a slightly better year with renewals! I lost some new shows but all of my returning shows were picked up for a new season.

To start out this look back, let’s take a look at the numbers.

New Comedies:

Total: 12

Renewed for 2nd Season: The Neighbors, The Mindy Project (17%)

Canceled: Family Tools, How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life), Malibu Country, Partners, 1600 Penn, Animal Practice, Go On, The New Normal, Guys with Kids, Ben & Kate (83%)

New Dramas

Total: 21

Renewed for 2nd Season: Nashville, Elementary, Arrow, Beauty & The Beast, Chicago Fire, Revolution, The Carrie Diaries, The Following (38%)

Canceled: 666 Park Avenue, Last Resort, Red Widow, Zero Hour, Golden Boy, Vegas, Made in Jersey, Cult, Emily Owens, M.D., The Mob Doctor, Deception, Do Not Harm (57%)

Still Waiting to Hear: Hannibal

 Returning Shows

Planned Endings: Private Practice, 90210, Gossip Girl, Fringe, 30 Rock, The Office

Cancellations: Body of Proof, Don’t Trust the B- In Apt 23, Happy Endings, CSI: NY, Rules of Engagement, Touch, Smash, Up All Night, Whitney

Ratings Successes

Undoubtedly, the biggest ratings success of the season was The Big Bang Theory. Since reruns started to air on TBS in syndication, the ratings have exploded. There was at least one night when the 18-49 demo ratings for the show equaled or succeeded the combined demo ratings for the other 4 networks combined. It also beat American Idol in the half-hour that they overlap on Thursdays on more than one occasion.

The other surprise success this year was Scandal. Its first season only had 7 episodes, which typically doesn’t bode well for a returning show. Rather than falter, like so many do, Scandal continued to grow throughout the season. It has received a lot of positive media attention and as a result, ratings have drastically increased throughout the season, so that it easily wins its timeslot every week and is now competitive with Grey’s Anatomy for the best rated show on ABC for the night.

Ratings Failures

Ratings failures mostly belonged to NBC this year. The largest failure, looking strictly at the numbers, was Do Not Harm, which premiered to a .7 demo rating and was quickly pulled off the air. However, Smash proved to be the biggest ratings disaster for NBC. After a buzzy first season and lots of press about the change of showrunners who promised to fix the problems of season one, Smash had an unimpressive comeback and just kept dropping from there. Eventually, it was relocated to Saturdays to burn off the rest of the episodes of this expensive show.

Network Analysis

CBS didn’t have as strong of a lineup of new shows as they did in 2011-2012. Of all of their pilots, only one was renewed and as much as I like Elementary, its ratings are nothing spectacular. On the other side of that, however, The Big Bang Theory and NCIS are still getting phenomenal ratings, especially when considering that this was their 6th and 10th seasons, respectively.

ABC also struggled with their new shows this year. Two survived, one comedy and one drama. Of the two renewals, Nashville was the better choice. It doesn’t have the strongest ratings but it has gotten a lot of positive attention and there’s a good chance more people will marathon the show over the summer. They also struggled with the ratings of many of their returning shows. Once Upon a Time and Revenge in particular saw ratings shrink substantially over the course of the season, but given the criticisms of the sophomore seasons of these shows, it’s hard to say whether it was the writing or the scheduling that caused the drop.

FOX found a new hit with The Following although I’m not convinced that the second season will perform as well as the first. The Mindy Project started off slow but has begun to find itself. For returning shows, Glee’s ratings sunk a bit, but it was still renewed for two seasons so it doesn’t seem like the network is too concerned.

NBC seemed like they were doing so well at the beginning of the year. Then football ended and The Voice went on hiatus and things fell apart. While they had some horrible failures, they did manage to come out of the season with a decently strong drama lineup. It’s nothing other networks would be happy with, but it is solid enough to help with the network rebuilding.

The CW had a new hit and what seems to be a new direction this year with Arrow. Their biggest performers are all genre shows and it looks like that is the way the network will be heading. With two of their teen dramas ending this year after awful ratings, this may be the right move for them.


Finally, let’s look at some of the highlights of this television season. I’ve named some of the best things about this year in TV in my opinion, now I want to hear from you. What shows, actors, or moments really stood out to you this year?

  • In my attempt to not make this whole list about Parks and Rec, I will pick my top three biggest highlights from this season. First is the entirely of the episode “Ben and Leslie”. Second is Ben arranging for Leslie to meet Joe Biden. Third is Ron, Chris, and Ben coming down with food poisoning after eating a bad calzone. Adam Scott dialing a phone with his nose was my favorite comedic moment of his in a season full of great ones.
  • Pej Vehdat’s performance as Arastoo Vaziri on Bones was fantastic this year. From his gorgeous recitation of poetry to his frustrations about 9/11 as it related to his religion in The Patriot in Purgatory, we saw who this character is.
  • It was a great year for male/female friends on TV. Joan and Watson’s friendship on Elementary, Shay and Severide’s friendship on Chicago Fire, and Ron and Leslie’s friendship on Parks and Recreation are all fantastic examples of friendships without sexual tension. These friendships are full of respect and love and are beautiful to see.
  • The Carrie Diaries was my biggest surprise of the year. I really didn’t expect to love the show as much as I do and I really didn’t expect for it to be renewed for a second season.
  • Hannibal was the brightest spot in my season. There were so many shows I loved, both new and returning, but Hannibal was easily the best. The music choices and the cinematography are stunning. It’s a fascinating show and one I’m still hoping will somehow be renewed or picked up by a cable network.
  • I didn’t love this past season of The Good Wife, but one moment did make the season worth watching. In preparation for her nomination to the Illinois Supreme Court, Diane had Kalinda vet her. In the process, Kalinda found The Vampire Diaries fanfiction that had been uploaded from her computer and the scene that she asks Diane about it was hilarious.
  • New Girl’s handling of Nick and Jess’s romantic and sexual tension and the relationship that has followed deserves praise. We didn’t have to wait several seasons and while it may not last this time around, I’m glad the writers weren’t afraid to try.
  • Castle had one of their best seasons yet. They had several episodes that stood out for quality and they (mostly) did a good job with getting Castle and Beckett together while staying true to the characters and the dynamic that we love.
  • This was also the year that Parenthood finally got the recognition it deserves. Everybody knows what a brilliant job Jason Katims did with Friday Night Lights but Parenthood never got the same praise. It feels so real and genuine, which is rare in television. I’m thrilled that Monica Potter got recognized for the amazing job she did this year with her storyline and I can only hope that the love for this show continues next season.

2 thoughts on “2012-2013 TV Season In Review

  1. I love this post because I always appreciate the way you look at TV from an analytical standpoint in terms of ratings and networks. It’s a perspective I don’t often think about, so I love hearing your thoughts about it.

    And I also love your picks for the highlights of the season. I agree with so many of them: Nick and Jess’s relationship development, the way Castle and Beckett’s relationship was handled, almost everything about Parks and Rec, and the depiction of male/female friendships on TV. I’d also add the series finale of The Office as a highlight as well as everything about the Jaime/Brienne storyline this season on Game of Thrones.

    1. Thank you! I love talking about ratings so I’m glad someone wants to hear about them.

      I’m so excited to see the Jaime/Brienne storyline on screen. It’s such an interesting part of the books and NCW is really the perfect Jaime.

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