Which former Bachelor does Jason Mesnick most resemble? Which hit 1980s sitcom is arguably the most important show in cable—yes, cable—today? Which current hit sitcom is having a worse week than usual? And why do dead people see Ghost Whisperer?
The answers—and more questions—in this week's TV ratings pop quiz:
1. Who is nice-guy, single-dad Jason doing a pretty good Bachelor impression of? Jock Jesse Palmer. According to ABC, the Mesnick edition of The Bachelor is enjoying the franchise's biggest season, audience-wise, since football player Palmer handed out the roses five long years ago, in Spring 2004. Last week, per the latest Nielsen rankings, the show placed 15th in the 18-49 demo, and 19th in total viewers.
2. What's the sitcom from the 1980s that's ruling cable today? Head of the Class. The 1986-1991show launched, among others, Dan Schneider (aka, Dennis) and Brian Robbins (aka, Eric). Last week, Schneider's iCarly (he's executive producer) was cable's No. 1 half-hour comedy (5.2 million), while Robbins' debuting Sonny with a Chance (he's, likewise, executive producer) was cable's No. 2 half-hour comedy (4.1 million for back-to-back episodes). By the by, neither iCarly's Miranda Cosgrove, nor Sonny's Demi Lovato was alive when Head of the Class originally aired.
3. Which comedy series is putting up bigger numbers than most, but smaller ones than one? Worst Week. Last week, it tied 30 Rock in the 18-49 rankings, and outdrew The Office in total viewers. Unfortunately, it continued to have trouble holding onto its Two and a Half Men lead-in. Worse, The Big Bang Theory, getting a shot at Worst Week's time slot last night, didn't have nearly the same trouble. Big Bang only lost 15 percent of Men's audience, compared to the 37 percent Worst Week blew last week.
4. Dead people don't really watch Ghost Whisperer, do they? Well, the theory can't be ruled out. See, the Jennifer Love Hewitt series draws a big overall audience—last week, it was free TV's 17th most-watched show, with 11.4 million total viewers. But among young adults, the show is as popular, or not, as Life on Mars, which drew only 5.8 million viewers last week, but was tied with Ghost Whisperer, for 53rd place, in the season-to-date 18-49 rankings. So, if the demographically desirable aren't watching Ghost Whisperer, who is? (Cue eerie music…)
5. If The Closer is not the answer, then what was cable's No. 1 show? In a mild upset, Monk (5.7 million). The Closer (5.4 million) trailed pro wrestling, and was followed by Burn Notice (5.3 million) and iCarly. Top Chef (3.2 million) was the top reality show. Another standout: The Cuba Gooding Jr. TV-movie, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (4.2 million).
6. If Wednesday's American Idol is not the answer, then what was TV's No. 1 show? Tuesday's American Idol (26.6 million), of course. Wednesday's Idol (26.4 million), the Grammys (19 million), 60 Minutes (16.7 million) and Two and a Half Men (16.6 million) rounded out the Top Five. Grey's Anatomy was the top scripted series in the 18-49 demo.