“Two and a Half Men” is on a losing streak in the ratings.
For the third consecutive week, the star-crossed sitcom now starring Ashton Kutcher has seen its audience decline. Monday night’s episode — the fourth in the CBS comedy’s ninth season — drew 15.889 million viewers, according to the Nielsen overnights. That’s a loss of about 1.4 million from the week earlier.
It’s also a loss of nearly 13 million viewers from Kutcher’s debut episode on Sept. 19, when the sitcom averaged more than 28.7 million — one of the highest audience tallies for any scripted series on any network in some years. While a loss of 13 million viewers in three weeks would be cause for alarm for any show, it’s not entirely accurate to slap a “tailspin” label on the ratings for “Two and a Half Men.”
The sky-high viewership for the season premiere was likely due in large part to sampling resulting from the mountain of publicity the sitcom received in the wake of Charlie Sheen’s implosion last winter. And this week’s 1.4 million-viewer loss actually represents — at least seemingly — a leveling off of the sitcom’s losses (though the jury’s still out on that).
But of course, the situation could be that viewers aren’t taking to Kutcher. And if that’s the case, then CBS has a problem on its hands.
Elsewhere in the Monday night ratings:
ABC won the night with an average audience over the three hours of prime time (8-11/7-10c) of 15.056 million, thanks mostly to the two-hour “Dancing With the Stars.” “DWTS” averaged 16.993 million from 8-10/7-9c. “Castle” had 11.182 million viewers at 10/9c.
Though it might be concerned about the losses sustained week-to-week by “Two and a Half Men,” CBS can at least be satisfied that, overall, its Monday lineup is stable. Here’s how the other CBS shows scored: “How I Met Your Mother” at 8/7c, 8.939 million (come to think of it, “HIMYM” ought to do better than that); “2 Broke Girls” at 8:30/7:30c, 10.587 million; “Mike & Molly” at 9:30/8:30c, 11.759 million; and “Hawaii Five-O” at 10/9c, 9.742 million (hmm, that oughta be a better number — maybe CBS does have a growing problem on Monday night). CBS’ average on the night: 11.11 million.
Fox averaged 8.608 million viewers over its two hours of prime time (8-10/7-9c): A portion of the Detroit-Texas ALCS playoff game averaged 10.35 million at 8/7c, and Episode Three of “Terra Nova” had 6.865 million at 9 — another big weekly loss for a high-profile series Fox had high hopes for, but is now in big trouble.