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Halloween is a good night for everything but TV ratings. A lot of the usual TV watchers are out and about carting their children from door to door before eating a late dinner and falling, exhausted, into bed. Grandparents are busy snapping photos of grandchildren and people in their twenties often use the holiday as an excuse to dress up and go out if they don’t already have kids. All of these things are generalizations, of course, but the fact that last night was a holiday that kept a lot of people out of their homes did lead to poor ratings. And none were more dismal last night than the ratings for Fox’s The X Factor.
The X Factor brought in 3.2 million total viewers and a .8 rating in the 18-49 advertising demo, tying Fox’s singing competition series with last night’s episode of The CW’s The Vampire Diaries. We can give The X Factor a little bit of a pass, thanks to the show not being a normal episode. Since there was no seventh game in the World Series, the show put together a weird “Meet the Top 12” sort of episode that clearly piqued nobody's interest. Still, we’re talking about a reality program with a fairly big budget that offers a $5 million prize to its ultimate winner. If you thought American Idol’s ratings were a disaster last season, I bet The X Factor would prostrate and beg for those ratings at this point.
Elsewhere, it was not a great night for TV, either. ABC aired its annual repeat of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which did decently but is a little lacking when compared to A Charlie Brown Christmas, a program that routinely dominates in the ratings. This year’s outing of It’s the Great Pumpkin pulled in just under 7 million total viewers and a 2.2 rating. Over at CBS, the network’s dominant comedy block was down, which also could have been affected by the fact that The Big Bang Theory aired a rerun. NBC ran an SNL Halloween special, which somewhat helped the network’s faltering Thursday night slot, but the Michael J. Fox Show was still down in the ratings. I’m wondering if the network is regretting signing on to air all 22 episodes of the half-hour comedy, yet. (That sounds kind of negative, but for the record, I support and watch the show.)
Still, there was one vaguely bright point during the night’s programming. I say vaguely because Scandal only managed to match last week’s season low of 9.2 million total viewers. Tying a season low is never music to a network’s ears, but in this case, it doesn’t seem so bad. If Scandal managed to match last week’s numbers on a night when far fewer people were watching television, those numbers should grow when the next episode airs (theoretically). Plus, it’s easy enough to spin that “season low” note on its head. According to EW, last night Scandal also managed to win the ratings in the advertising demo. The show will likely be unseated when The Big Bang Theory airs a new episode, but the little victories still count. At least Scandal can be comforted in the knowledge The X Factor is no longer a formidable foe.