Question of the week: what can NBC do to get people to actually watch its programmes?

Well, we’re three weeks into the fall season and we’ve already had our first drama cancellation – NBC’s The Playboy Club. It wasn’t a great show, but it wasn’t bad, certainly better than the likes of CBS’s Unforgettable and ABC’s Revenge. Yet The Playboy Club couldn’t even get 4m viewers for its final episode, while Unforgettable and Revenge are getting closer to 10m.

However, The Playboy Club is not alone. NBC’s remake of Prime Suspect got 6m viewers for its first episode, the worst debut for a Thursday night fall drama. And that’s pretty good. Now take a look at NBC’s undeniably excellent Community. That gets just about 4.5m, too, while the absolutely appalling and very racist 2 Broke Girls on CBS gets about 10m. What’s up there?

So today’s question is:

What does NBC have to do to get people to watch its programmes if quality isn’t it the answer and people will watch any old tat on the other networks?

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 2

Third-episode verdict: New Girl

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, Fox
In the UK: Acquired by E4

How much you’re going to love New Girl basically depends on how much you love Zooey Deschanel. The whole show revolves around her and her dorkiness and despite the opening episode managing to give the male supporting characters something to do, since then, their dialogue and plots have become less strong while Zooey’s has only got stronger.

"Coach" has been replaced by a new character who is at least more of an alpha male than Coach supposedly was, but not a better comic actor. Cece has more or less disappeared for now. This is most definitely the Zooey Deschanel show, right up to the new, title sequence of calculated kookiness.

Now I love Zooey and she is comedy gold. But they’ve super-saturated her character with dorkiness and she’s started to get ever so slightly irritating now. So, despite the fact this is a good comedy show and Zooey’s great, I’m going to have detox myself a little and give up. Your mileage may vary, so you should certainly give New Girl a try, particularly if you love Zooey Deschanel.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: will last at least a season, maybe more, but how much dorkier can they make her?

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British TV