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Uh-Oh: What Might Terra Nova's Cancellation Mean for Other Bubble Shows?

Fringe, Smash, Alcatraz Liane Hentscher/FOX; NBC; FOX

Looking back, how bad were Terra Nova's TV ratings?

Nielsen stats show the now-canceled Fox series actually drew in more young adults than Dancing With the Stars, Revenge and many more.  

If Terra Nova can go out like that, then where does that leave the bubble shows?

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It depends on which bubble show you're talking about.

During its 11-episode, one-and-done freshman season, Terra Nova averaged a 3.6 rating in the all-important 18-to-49-year-old demographic, per Nielsen's DVR-adjusted final numbers.

Before last night, Alcatraz was running slightly above that number. After last night's weak performance, it might not be anymore. In its case, the Terra Nova precedent doesn't bode well. 

Fringe, another Fox drama, is sitting well below the Terra Nova line, with a 1.6 demo rating. Still, will it get credit for doing something, anything on Friday night?

Smash was at a 3.4 demo rating heading into Monday. The backstage musical has two things going for it: One, it's by far NBC's top-rated 10 p.m. show; and, two, its numbers are on the rise. Last night, it was up by nearly 20 percent among young adults over the previous episode. (Oh, and, three, it airs after The Voice.)

Parenthood averaged a 2.5 demo rating for its just-wrapped third season. While that's well off the Terra Nova pace, it's still pretty good for an NBC series. (Consider: For all the push the network gave Awake, that show premiered last week to a 2.0 demo rating.) Plus, when the head of NBC tells Peter Krause it's coming back, we consider that a good sign.

Cougar Town couldn't have less in common with Terra Nova, so comparisons are moot, which is good because after three episodes, Cougar Town is at just a 1.9 demo rating. We'll see if tonight's Scrubs reunion gives it any kind of boost. (A few of the actors appear.)

Since it's possible Terra Nova's cancellation wasn't all about its own ratings—Fox chief Kevin Reilly had said the show was "hunting" for an identity, and it certainly wasn't a cheap production—any comparison may be moot, which is good for all the bubble shows. 

Who wants to be compared to a dinosaur?

Other TV ratings winners and losers, per the latest numbers and rankings: 

Jon Hamm Per TiVo, the Saturday Night Live bit where Jimmy Fallon introduced the Mad Men star as Lindsay Lohans emergency back-up host was the top-rated episode's most watched and rewatched moment among its users. (Wishful thinking perhaps?)

American Idol and Smash: This dog fight is something else. Last week, the selection of Idol's Top 13 finalists lifted the franchise to No. 1 in total viewers. The Voice, meanwhile, edged Idol for No. 1 in the 18-49 standings. (Actually, Nielsen has the two shows in a virtual tie there, although The Voice was shown to have slightly more young-adult eyeballs.) Last night, the beginning of the so-called battle rounds powered The Voice to a whopping 6.1 demo rating. Your turn, Idol

GCB: The retiring Desperate Housewives gave it a decent lead-in (8.2 million viewers; 2.5 demo rating), which the premiering Kristin Chenoweth-Leslie Bibb series held onto (7.6 million viewers; 2.2 demo rating). As of now, it's an upgrade over what Pan Am had been delivering for ABC in the 10 p.m., Sunday slot.

Here's a complete look at the TV week's top 10 most-watched broadcast shows:

  1. American Idol (Thursday), 18.5 million viewers
  2. NCIS, 18.2 million viewers 
  3. American Idol (Wednesday), 17.2 million viewers
  4. American Idol (Tuesday), 16.1 million viewers
  5. NCIS: Los Angeles, 15.9 million viewers
  6. The Voice, 14.9 million viewers
  7. Daytona 500, 13.7 million viewers
  8. Criminal Minds, 12.5 million viewers
  9. Daytona 500 red-flag delay coverage, 12.5 million viewers
  10. Two and a Half Men, 11.9 million viewers

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