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NBC's 'Parenthood' slowly starts to make case for itself


As NBC executives start to figure out what shows deserve to come back next fall, its Tuesday night dramedy "Parenthood" is starting to quietly make a case for a second season.

The 10 p.m. program, which is NBC's second attempt to turn the hit Steve Martin movie into a TV series, beat "The Good Wife" in the coveted 18-49 demographic Tuesday. It was the first time since "Parenthood" premiered a month go that it beat a new episode of the CBS freshman drama head-to-head in that category. Last week, a new "Parenthood" beat a repeat of "The Good Wife."

In terms of viewers, it is still no contest. "The Good Wife" had 12 million watching on Tuesday, compared with 6.3 million for "Parenthood," according to Nielsen.

The ratings for "Parenthood" have been all over the map since its March 2 premiere, but the last few weeks have seen some stabilization. Helped by heavy hype during NBC's Olympics coverage, the show launched  with 8.1 million viewers and a 3.1 rating in adults 18-49 (each rating point in that demo equals 1.3 million viewers). It dropped the following two weeks, hitting a low of 5.8 million viewers and a 2.3 in the demo on March 16.

Some may have been ready to throw in the towel on "Parenthood" at that point, but it rebounded on March 23 with 7 million viewers and a 2.7 in adults 18-49. Perhaps fans of "The Good Wife," which was in repeats that Tuesday, checked out "Parenthood" and now some are starting to stick around. Although "Parenthood" has not matched the numbers of two weeks ago, the show is performing at the same level as it was in week two and is doing particularly well with women.

Of course, the bar for success is lower at NBC than at other networks because of its struggles. A decision as to whether the show, which features Peter Krause, Lauren Graham and Craig T. Nelson, will make it to a sophomore season is not expected any time in the immediate future. NBC ordered 13 episodes and has seven more to get through. If "Parenthood" can maintain or improve on its current performance, though, odds are NBC will bring it back. It doesn't hurt that NBC has had a very tough season and anything that shows the slightest sign of clicking with viewers will get a long look.

There will be a little bit of schadenfreude for NBC if "Parenthood" can continue to make a dent on "The Good Wife." At January's Golden Globe Awards, that show's star, Julianna Margulies, took a swipe at NBC's ill-fated strategy of putting Jay Leno on at 10 p.m. when she thanked CBS President Leslie Moonves and entertainment chief Nina Tassler for "believing in the 10 o'clock drama."

Who knows, NBC might have to thank them one day too.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: NBC's "Parenthood." Credit: Art Streiber.

Comments () | Archives (21)

Love this show. Would hate to see it go!

I'm loving "Parenthood" - it's a really well-done, funny, smart show! Please keep it NBC!

I haven't missed an episode of Parenthood. It's a smart, relateable show with a great cast of characters. Unfortunately, I haven't been contributing to the ratings because I watch Parenthood, On Demand. I watch a former NBC show, Southland, on Tuesday nights instead. I do hope that executives take a chance and decide to give Parenthood a second season.

I hope this show lasts forever. It is hilarious that it can be my favorite show (I'm almost 56 and my 33 year old son loves to watch it with me). There are not many shows we agree are great. But this one hits everyone but my husband, and he is only interested in cooking shows and buying and selling shows. Don't ever let it go off the air. We need more shows that touch so many funny bones, reminicent bones, and even the scarey bone.

Love Parenthood. Can't decide what to watch Parenthood or The Good Wife.

I've watched every episode of Parenthood, thanks to Hulu, and enjoyed it so much that I was compelled to search online for more information. That a well-written, honest, character-driven television show is in danger of cancellation saddens me, but does not surprise me in the least. Today's studio executives cater to the most simplistic and base members of the television watching audience. I hope this lovely show can live on in spite of their lack of vision.

We saw this show for the first time last night via Comcast On Demand. I actually think the show is excellent, and really captures what life is like for today's parent. So I am hoping it continues.

I have an 11 year old son in the Autism Spectrum. This show is dead on with capturing all of the quirky behavior of these children. It also captures the heartache of the parents as they see their child without friends and the expense of a private school; the quilt and the constant worry. My husband and I love this show. It has a stellar cast and the writing is incredible. Please don't let it be taken off the air.

the music on this show is very cool. if this show can't get renewed then i'll pickle my TV!

Parenthood should totally come back for a second season. Personally, I really enjoy the show. The actors are great and the plot lines are interesting. TV has had a hard season and Parenthood should certainly get another chance with a second season!

I've watched Parenthood since the very first episode. Anything with Peter Krause in it, I'm there. I fell in love with him on Six Feet Under and the affair goes on. Parenthood, a great family show with good actors.

I LOVE this show, but I watch it on ON Demand. They need to count those numbers also. Great show!!

I hope it comes back to - I think at the beginning it was questionable as to what exactly this show was going to be and all the characters didn't quiet have their place yet. But as the episodes continue I think the performers/writers are really doing a fine job establishing these characters.

My wife & I sounded off on my blog recently about the show and we both really do hope it continues to gain momentum and sticks around.

I love this show!!! I hope they don't cancel it!

Watched the show for the first time tonight. Really enjoyed it!

I love this show. So smart and just downright classy. I, too, watch it delayed via my DVR, but it's one of my favorite parts of the weekend. Peter Krause and Lauren Graham are perfect in their roles. Please don't cancel this show, NBC.

this is the best tv show in a long time, I could watch it every day!

Yes this is a great show, I just caught up watching it on my Iphone and will become a new fan when it comes on tv now. Great job NBC this is a class act show. Much better than Desperate Housewives or Ugly Betty.

Parenthood is my new favorite show, and my daughter's new favorite show as well. We look forward to watching it every Friday night. It's a real highlight of our week! We love the acting, the story-line, the music, a refreshing change from all those other political/crime/reality shows. I hope they bring it back next season. And I hope next season arrives soon. I've told my friends and family about this show and I'm certain it will become even more popular in the fall season.

This is a great show. It is good for the family and good for the country. I wish it was on sooner. The acting is good and the plot is excellent. Families are messy and dramatic but when they stick together they make for a great story.

I love this show please NBC keep this show!!


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