While I try to distract myself from the growing possibility that my newspaper might cease to exist by January, let's take a look at some notable recent developments in that magical place we call TV land...
• TNT has renewed both "Raising the Bar" and "Saving Grace." While the press release about the renewals noted that "Raising" is averaging 5.5 million viewers per episode three weeks into the series, that's factoring in the basic cable record debut audience of 7.7 million viewers. The most recent episode averaged about 4.2 million.
• In other quick renewal news, HBO has ordered another season of "True Blood" after only two episodes have aired. The second episode drew about 1.8 million viewers, which was up considerably from the premiere (second item), but is still way down from the glory years HBO shows. (Insert obligatory disclaimer about how "Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" began in a universe without multiplexed HBO channels, On Demand, DVRs, etc., where virtually everyone watched each episode when it first aired.)
• Not surprisingly, ratings for "Fringe" were way up with "House" as a lead-in: from 9 million viewers last week to more than 13 million last night, retaining 92 percent of the "House" audience.Some of that retention is fake -- as people complained about, "House" ran a couple of minutes past 9, which artificially inflates the average of that first half-hour, but retention from 9 to 9:30 was still at about 90 percent. Even if you assume that all of the 9-9:30 number is a result of "House" running long, and that the 9:30-10 number is the true audience, "Fringe" still retained 83 percent of the people who were watching "House." You have to essentially consider this the real series premiere, based on the additional sampling, so we won't know for another week or two how many people intend to stick around for a while.
• Entertainment Weekly says that the CW has approached the reps for three of the "90210" actresses -- Shenae Grimes, Jessica Stroup and AnnaLynne McCord -- about packing a few pounds onto their skeletal frames. I've been reluctant to say much about this in my reviews of the new show, but nearly everyone who comments on the show, either here or elsewhere, can't help but bring it up. As with Calista and Lara Flynn Boyle at the height of the David E. Kelley era of dominance in the late '90s, it's impossible to not notice it, unfortunately.
• Speaking of "90210," week three ratings were down to 3.3 million viewers, which is decent by the CW's low standards, but below Monday night's best-ever "Gossip Girl" numbers of 3.7 million. The goal for the CW this year was to translate the "Gossip Girl" buzz into actual viewership, and to then build on that show's audience with "90210," which on paper would combine teen viewers and nostalgic 20 and 30somethings. Phase one looks like a success; phase two, we'll see.
(Many links courtesy of the invaluable TV Tattle.)
And now back to watching revised pilots and season premieres (and trying not to pay attention to the Recent Unpleasantness here).