WINNER The Voice and Whatever Airs After It
NBC’s The Voice remains triumphant (averaging 14.8 million viewers, including seven days of DVR playback). Now Xtina & Co. are helping make James Spader’s Monday drama The Blacklist fall’s most watched new show (15.1 million) and fueling Chicago Fire‘s surprising sophomore-season heat on Tuesdays (10.9 million).
WINNER The Big Bang Theory and Whatever Airs After It
Still breaking viewership records (20.5 million viewers in season 7!), CBS’s The Big Bang Theory fired into ratings orbit two new Thursday shows that critics didn’t even like that much: Fart-y The Millers (12.5 million) and hyper The Crazy Ones (12.6 million), which rank as fall’s most watched new comedies.
LOSER NBC's Thursday Pit of Sitcom Despair
Luring back NBC royalty Sean Hayes for Sean Saves the World (4.3 million) and Michael J. Fox for that show named after him (6.5 million) hasn’t made Thursdays must-see again. Viewers have so fled the network’s comedy block it’s practically haunted.
WINNER That Hot British Guy With the Long Hair and the Boots
Fox’s Sleepy Hollow (11.5 million) has spawned this fall’s most passionate fandom flash mob (”Sleepyheads”!), thanks to the dorkiest-named hero on TV, Ichabod Crane. Star Tom Mison casually tosses around enough charisma for the whole cast.
LOSER Snoozy Bored-Walk Empire
Remember when a Sunday-night Mob drama on HBO was everything that TV fans talked about the next day? Yeah, that was a long time ago.
WINNER The Good Wife's Postmenopausal Greatness
With other networks offering zombies, terrorists, and horny fairy tale characters on Sunday nights, it’s not surprising that CBS’s workaday legal drama The Good Wife has relatively humble viewership (10.9 million). What is surprising: The fifth-season show is stunning loyal fans by delivering its best episodes ever.
LOSER Spunky Heroines in Corsets
They’re beautiful, they?re feisty, they?re talking in cute accents! Alas, the heroines of ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (6 million) and The CW’s Reign (2.1 million) haven’t charmed a big audience.
WINNER The Horror, the Horror
The Vampire Diaries‘ spin-off, The Originals (2.7 million, keeping in mind that The CW grades on a steep curve), is the only new CW show with a pulse, and FX’s American Horror Story: Coven (7.7 million) is off to the franchise’s strongest start ever — and AHS hasn’t even done vampires (yet).
Yet another year when networks can’t figure out how to make a group of men funny without being kinda gross and creepy. CBS’s divorced-dudes sitcom We Are Men (6.7 million) was canceled, while Fox’s lecherous Dads (4.7 million) continues drawing breath by the network’s good graces. Now even CBS’s archetype Two and a Half Men is getting wheezy in the ratings. (Could ex-Men star Angus T. Jones have been the glue holding that crazy together?)
WINNER Every Drama on AMC...
Breaking Bad fans are still obsessing over September’s series finale (and won’t go anywhere near Stevia), while season 4 of The Walking Dead is having a record-shatteringly ginormous season, averaging 19.9 million viewers for its first two episodes when including DVR; in fact, when it comes to the all-important young-adult demo, zombies even sack NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
LOSER ...Except a Couple of the Newer Ones
Low Winter Done? Hell on Who Cares? What great new shows have you made for us lately AMC? Nope, Talking Dead doesn’t count!
LOSER The Avengers' Assistants
How can ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (10.9 million) be the top-rated new broadcast show in the valuable 18-49 demo and still be a loser? Because those beautiful, cheerful, jet-setting quipsters solving sci-fi mysteries are still shedding viewers (down 40 percent since the premiere), while even the show’s loyal fans seem more obsessed with debating how to improve the series (instead of asking, say, who would win in a fight, Skye or Agent Coulson?).
WINNER That Lucky Andy Samberg
The SNL vet’s new police comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, has disappointing ratings (5.6 million) — which makes Samberg a winner! Because Fox not only gave Brooklyn a full-season pickup anyway, it’s also putting the sitcom in the coveted post-Super Bowl slot on Feb. 2. If ratings sink any lower, will the network let Samberg sing at the big game’s halftime show and judge American Idol, too?
LOSER Simon Cowell and His Pop-Star Harem
One upside: We don’t think Fox’s The X Factor (7.9 million, down 19 percent from last season) will be on this list again next year.