If Drew Barrymore's Grey Gardens had been in theaters this weekend, would it have outgrossed Zac Efron's 17 Again? Is Melissa Joan Hart the new queen of TV movies? And what could possibly be a hipper comedy than The Office?
The answers—and more questions—in the latest TV ratings pop quiz:
1. Could the HBO-aired Grey Gardens have been a No. 1 box office hit? Assuming every single member of its premiere broadcast audience bought a ticket over the weekend, and assuming the competition remained the same, then no, Grey Gardens would not have opened at No. 1.
But its 1.8 million Saturday night viewers (not including replays) would have translated into a roughly $13 million weekend, about the best a grown-up drama can do at the box office these days.
As it was, the movie—cats, squalor and all—was HBO's fourth most watched TV movie of the last five years, the network said, outdrawing the likes of Recount and Mrs. Harris.
2. Is Sabrina the Teenage Witch really the new Jaclyn Smith? Well, first off, let's not go crazy. And, secondly, Anna Paquin's The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler was the week's most watched TV movie, with 10 million viewers, per the final Nielsen rankings.
But Hart is on a roll. Her My Fake Fiancé, with Joey Lawrence, was cable's No. 1 TV movie (3.7 million), and ABC Family Channel's second-highest rated TV movie of all time among all sorts of advertiser-coveted groups, the network said, behind only Holiday in Handcuffs, which starred one, yes, Jaclyn Smith. Sorry, Melissa Joan Hart.
3. Isn't The Office TV's No. 1 comedy among demographically desirable adults? Sometimes. Like when Two and a Half Men is in reruns. Which it wasn't last week. Which is why the Charlie Sheen series was TV's No. 1 comedy among adults 18-49, and third overall in the demo. The Office ranked seventh.
4. Why do TV ratings always go down? Actually, the answer is they almost always go down. Last week, broadcast TV boasted 22 shows with audiences of 10 million-plus viewers, up from 20 shows during the same week last (writers' strike) year.
5. Why do Idol's ratings always go down? Another trick question! Last week, both Idols were up over last year's episodes. Tuesday's Idol had the week's biggest audience (24.4 million), followed by Wednesday's Idol (24.1 million), Monday's Dancing With the Stars (19.5 million), CSI (15.7 million) and Tuesday's DWTS (15.2 million).
6. How's Fox liking Sit Down, Shut Up? Enough to give the new toon (67th place) a shout-out in its weekly ratings rundown. Unlike, you know, the returning Prison Break (102nd place).
7. What is a more powerful cable force than Bill O'Reilly during the President Obama administration? SpongeBob SquarePants. A prime-time outing for the kids' toon was cable's biggest scripted show (5.8 million), and No. 2 show overall behind the first hour of WWE Raw (6 million). Other cable standouts: The second-season premiere of In Plain Sight (5.1 million), an all-new Law & Order: Criminal Intent (4.6 million), and Bill O'Reilly (4 million), Bill O'Reilly (3.9 million), Bill O'Reilly (3.6 million) and Bill O'Reilly (3.5 million). Deadliest Catch was big, too: 4.2 million viewers.
8. Whatever happened to Natalee Holloway? A docudrama about the case of the gone-missing high-schooler was cable's No. 2 TV movie, with 3.2 million viewers, and Lifetime Movie Network's highest rated movie ever, the network said.