Trae Patton/NBC

Will Community have any company on the shelf, besides Prime Suspect

The TV ratings know. (Possibly.)

First off, if Community's ratings are the guide, the benchmark by which decisions on which shows stay and go are made, then a lot of series are in trouble.

In the latest Nielsen broadcast rankings, more than a dozen Big Four network shows notched 18-49 demo ratings that were as low or lower than Community's apparently unforgivable 1.5.

But the reality is, only a couple of these stragglers seem in danger of joining Community (and Prime Suspect) on the sidelines. 

One show (Charlie's Angels) has already been canceled. One show (Chuck) is playing out the string. Another (Harry's Law) is hardly expected to pull in the kids. And the assorted newsmagazines and reality series are doing what their networks need them to do: plug holes.

That leaves A Gifted Man (1.2 rating in the 18-49 demo) and Fringe (1.1 rating).

On one hand, it's surprising both are still around. On the other hand, it's not—they've got the perfect cover: They air on Friday nights. What do you want from them? Viewers?

(Eventually, of course, their respective networks may answer: Um, yes, we some viewers, that is.)

Other key ratings performers: 

• Jerry Sandusky: The coach at the center of the Penn State child-molestation scandal was a draw for Monday's Rock Center (4.5 million estimated viewers), but courageous Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was a far bigger draw for 20/20 (13.4 million).

The Big Bang Theory (sixth place, per Nielsen broadcast rankings): Another big week, another week bigger than Two and a Half Men (ninth place).

Grey's Anatomy (20th place): Shot up 14 spots, and returned to the Top 20.Apparently, killing off a fan favorite was a good way to bump up ratings before the show's early Thanksgiving break..

Glee (46th place): "The First Time" moved the needle up from last week, but couldn't get the show back to where it was a year ago when Darren Criss first debuted.

Pan Am (56th place): Its best showing in three weeks. Once Upon a Time (17th place) is starting to pay off for ABC all Sunday night long.    

Grimm (63rd place): Fell seven slots, and, worse, dropped dangerously close to Community in the demo.

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

  1. Sunday Night Football, 20.9 million viewers
  2. NCIS, 20.4 million viewers
  3. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), 18.2 million viewers
  4. Country Music Association Awards, 16.4 million
  5. Sunday Night Football pregame, 16.2 million viewers
  6. The Big Bang Theory, 15.9 million viewers
  7. NCIS: Los Angeles, 15.7 million viewers
  8. Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), 15.1 million viewers
  9. Two and a Half Men, 14.7 million viewers
  10. 60 Minutes, 13.1 million viewers
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