Lousy ratings kill.
Or do they?
Here are five shows shown the door this week that weren't exactly Nielsen busts:
1. Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior: CBS is a tough taskmaster. In its freshman season, this spinoff averaged 10.7 million viewers, more than any other show pink-slipped at the upfronts, and more than Glee, House and Celebrity Apprentice. Granted, Suspect Behavior wasn't as demographically desirable as those three shows, and it was on the low side for CBS, which, you'll recall, is a tough taskmaster.
2. $#*! My Dad Says: With an average audience of 10.69 million viewers, the Thursday-night William Shatner sitcom outdrew every Thursday-night comedy on NBC—and usually by a whole lot. (The renewed Community, for instance, averaged just 4.4 million.) Unfortunately for Dad, it aired on CBS. (See: above.)
3. Brothers & Sisters: With 8.2 million viewers, it was the most-watched ABC show to get the ax, was higher rated than fellow network shows The Middle and Cougar Town, both of which are coming back next season, and was in the demo neighborhood of the likewise-renewed Private Practice.
4. Law & Order: Los Angeles: What's the difference between this one-and-done series and the renewed Chuck, both of NBC? About 2.5 million viewers. (L&O: L.A. averaged 7.9 million; Chuck averaged 5.5 heading into last night's finale.) Then again, Nielsen doesn't measure love, and which shows have it (Chuck)—and which shows don't ( guess who?).
5. Breaking In: The numbers on this Fox comedy were so not bad for a Fox comedy (8.1 million), they may yet bring Christian Slater's hackers back from the dead. (But in case they don't, and you're a fan, you should be sure to bitterly note how Breaking In drew a bigger audience than Raising Hope and even 30 Rock.)
Elsewhere, per the latest Nielsen standings, here's a quick look at the week's winners—and losers:
• Smallville: It went out as CW's top-ranked show (96th place, 3 million viewers).
• Survivor: Redemption Island: It went out as TV's most-watched season finale (eighth place, 13.3 million viewers).
• Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm: Neither HBO comedy will be henceforth confused for Friends. Both shows' reruns have crapped out in broadcast-TV syndication.