Katharine McPhee as Karen, the muse of Jack Davenport’s Derek.
NBC’s downward slide continues. The heavily promoted Smash premiere debuted Tuesday night to shockingly low ratings: 4.5 million viewers and a weak 1.1 million in the 18-to-49 demographic. It was a two-hour start for the show, which had a troubled first season (extensively chronicled here).
After replacing its creator/executive producer/showrunner, Theresa Rebeck, with Joshua Safran of Gossip Girl, NBC had high hopes that the show could turn around. Instead, these numbers, particularly among 18- to 49-year-olds, are lower than experts predicted.
Its series premiere a year ago, boosted by Super Bowl promotion days before, drew 11.4 million viewers and a 3.8 among adults under 50. Smash’s ratings dropped from there, but relative to the rest of the NBC lineup, it did fine. Its live-plus-same-day ratings for the season ended up being 9.3 million viewers and a 2.3 in adults 18 to 49. It did air after hit show The Voice, which is not the case now.
NBC’s turnaround, which was the TV story of the fall, has ceased. The network is now second to CBS. Here are the standings in 18 to 49: CBS (3.2/9), NBC (2.8/8), Fox (2.5/7), ABC (2.2/6). At this rate, it won’t be long before Fox catches up.