Are super-sized reality families out? Is Steven Seagal—gasp!—in? And, is Wednesday the cure for Ugly Betty?
The answers—and more questions about Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, Monk and other finales, fall and otherwise—in the latest TV ratings quiz:
1. Jon & Kate is over. Michelle Duggar is hospitalized. Is this it for the giganto-family genre? Not if TLC keeps getting some of its best ratings from its biggest casts. Last week, while the network averaged 775,000 prime-time viewers, per Nielsen, an all-new episode of the Duggar army's 18 Kids and Counting scored 1.2 million, and an all-new episode of the Hayes squad's Table for 12 scored 889,000.
2. What is up with Steven Seagal? His profile. The action star's Cops-esque Steven Seagal Lawman was cable's No. 1 reality show, averaging 3.5 million for back-to-back episodes. The show outdrew the openers of Hoarders (3.2 million) and Intervention (2.5 million), outdrew part one of the Top Chef season finale (3 million) and made the streets safe for residents of Louisiana's Jefferson County Parish.
3. Should Ugly Betty be looking forward to its move to Wednesday? Yes and no. Yes, Friday night is killing the comedy, but, no, Wednesday night isn't necessarily the anecdote, especially at 10 p.m., a time that's been dragging down ABC all season long. Last week, Eastwick, the show Ugly Betty will be replacing, drew only about 3,000 more viewers than the Friday-beset Ugly Betty: 4.252 million to 4.249 million.
4. What was the biggest "fall finale?" ABC's plane-crashing Desperate Housewives (14.9 million) led TV's favorite new designation, a decided upgrade over "and now here are some repeats until after New Year's." The fall-finale gimmick worked for ABC's Brothers & Sisters (season-high 10.8 million), and USA's White Collar (5.5 million), but not so much for ABC's fading FlashForward (7.1 million), which let Fox's Fringe (6.9 million) back into the game on Thursday night.
5. What about Monk? The Tony Shalhoub series was in old-fashioned series-finale form. And it was huge. The retiring USA series went out with the biggest-ever audience for a basic-cable drama series: 9.4 million.
6. What about The Amazing Race? The CBS Emmy-winner was in old-fashioned season-finale form. And it was pretty big: season-high 12.2 million.
7. What about Sons of Anarchy? Ditto on the season-finale and pretty-big points. The FX series ended its second season before 4.3 million, putting it only behind Monk and White Collar among cable dramas.
8. How is Obama's war doing? Great—Nielsen-wise, that is. Obama's address on Afghanistan averaged a combined 40.8 million, up 27 percent from his last prime-time speech, Nielsen said.
9. Rihanna or Chris Brown? For the umpteenth week, Rihanna trumped her ex, with her Saturday Night Live appearance pulling in solid overnight ratings, and Brown's 20/20 interview (5.8 million) pulling in about 30 percent fewer viewers than the singer's own sit-down on the ABC newsmag.
10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was demographically hipper than: (A) Glee; (B) Family Guy; or (C) 30 Rock. Trick question. The answer is D—all of the above. The CBS-aired Christmas classic outrated all those shows among young adults.
11. What wasn't TV's No. 1 show? Anything on free TV. Cable's (and ESPN's) Monday Night Football was the week's top draw, with 21.4 million viewers.