Chicago’s NBC ‘Smash’ ratings okay but not great

“Smash’s” Kathleen McPhee and Megan Hilty

Is “Smash” a smash hit?  We know you’ve been wondering about that in the wake of the show’s debut and all the attendant hype.

Executive produced by movie legend Steven Spielberg, “Smash” purports to take us behind the scenes and show the development of a new Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, even as it introduces us to a varied  collection of theater people who are involved in the musical project.

NBC executives are pushing hard to put the best possible spin on the all-important overnight ratings for “Smash” after its first two weeks on the air.

We’ll leave the national ratings alone for now, and focus on the response to “Smash” in the Chicago market, which,  more than most cities, might be expected to have an interest in a TV series about the theater, given the large amount of live theater produced in the city every year.

Chicago ratings are fair

But the Nielsen overnight ratings aren’t trending in the right direction in Chicago, after the first two weeks of “Smash.”  In its debut week, “Smash” only wound up in second place in the ratings for the  9  p.m. hour on Monday —  in front of  CBS’s “Hawaii Five-O” by a hair, and just behind ABC’s “Castle” by four-tenths of a rating point.

By week two (last Monday), however,  “Smash” had sunk to third place in the Chicago market, nearly a full ratings point behind “Castle” and almost two-and-a-half ratings points behind “Hawaii Five-O,” the top show in the 9 p.m. hour in Chicago last Monday.

This decline should be especially worrisome to NBC because “Smash” follows directly after “The Voice,” which has been a huge hit for the network in the ratings.  Still, NBC keeps wanting to point out that although the ratings for “Smash” aren’t as robust as the network might have hoped, the show is attracting more of the young demos that advertisers supposedly covet.

What’s more, “Smash” at least is doing better at this juncture than some of the turkeys NBC has slotted into the 9 p.m. hour previously.  At least for now.  And at least for now NBC  executives are happier than they’ve been.

But the “Smash” ratings story, rest assured, isn’t over yet. We’ll keep you posted

Contact Lewis Lazare at LewisL3@aol.com.

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