Disney Channel/John Medland
Disney Channel/John Medland
Quick: When was the last time CSI, Desperate Housewives or Grey's Anatomy was not TV's most-watched scripted show?
And while your brain's at it, who would audiences rather: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or the Grinch? What do Drake Bell and Josh Peck have in common with the Jonas Brothers? And what septuagenarian was 73 percent hipper than Gossip Girl?
The answers—and more questions—in this week's ratings pop quiz.
Question 1: So, can you think back to a time when the Usual Suspects (CSI, Housewives, Grey's) were not No. 1? (Answer: Don't think so hard. The answer is just last week, when The Mentalist blew up by about 3 million viewers, and blew straight to the top of the Nielsen rankings—the first time a freshman show has pulled off the latter feat since, CBS said, Housewives was but a wee, young thing back in 2005.)
Question 2: So, what was so special about last week's Mentalist? (Answer: Nothing. Just "more exceptional storytelling," a CBS rep said modestly. That, and Dancing With the Stars is dark on Tuesdays until the spring.)
Question 3: If The Mentalist was No. 1, then one of the Usual Suspects was No. 2, right? (Answer: Wrong. CSI was third; Housewives, fifth; and Grey's, sixth. NCIS took second. Housewives was the No. 1 scripted show among the 18-49 demo.)
Question 4: Rudolph or the Grinch? (Answer: CBS' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was TV's top holiday classic, followed closely by ABC's How the Grinch Stole Christmas and less closely by Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town.)
Question 5: Can Drake & Josh possibly be as hot as the Jonas Brothers? (Answer: As cable draws, yes. Nick's latest Drake & Josh movie, Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh, was cable's No. 1 scripted show, scoring 8.1 million viewers, and rivaling the Jonases' Camp Rock, which debuted before 8.9 million last summer.)
Question 6: Perhaps one day, Gossip Girl will grow up to be desired by women 18-34 like which spunky 79-year-old? (Answer: Barbara Walters, whose 10 Most Fascinating People ABC special ranked third among young women, behind Grey's and Housewives. The CW's Gossip Girl did well to finish 18th.)
Question 7: What was TV's No. 1 half-hour comedy? (Answer: Among total viewers, CBS' Two and a Half Men reigned with a rerun. But in the 18-49 demo, NBC's The Office scored a rare win.)
Question 8: How dead is the deceased Pushing Daisies? (Answer: ABC dared not speak its name in its weekly ratings release. In a reference to Private Practice, the network noted Daisies only as "its lead-in.")
Question 9: Can you give one good ratings reason why Kath & Kim is still on the air? (Answer: Aside from the fact that Jay Leno will have to sleep sometime? Well, last week the NBC comedy did draw more women 18-34 viewers than ABC's Samantha Who? and CBS' How I Met Your Mother, to name two shows. Kath & Kim ranked 29th in the demo. The canceled Lipstick Jungle, by comparison, tied for 78th.)
Question 10: Isn't it about time for some good news about Heather Locklear? (Answer: Sure. And here it is—Locklear's new Lifetime movie, Flirting With Forty, averaged a solid 4.1 million viewers, and among cable movies outdrew all but the Drake & Josh special and TNT's latest Librarian entry, Curse of the Judas.)