Grab Bag: “Last Man Standing” stands tall





Plus other news of note, including Rosie Show results; Brandmeier’s return; and a new game show in an unusual time slot.

– Viewers welcomed back Tim Allen to network TV Tuesday night with open arms with strong sampling of his new sitcom Last Man Standing. On Tuesday, the series opened with  13.1 million viewers and grew from the first half hour (3.5) to the second half-hour (3.8) in the adult 18-49 demo. Last Man marks Allen’s first stint at a TV series since the wildly popular (and profitable) Home Improvement (1991-99).

Critics thrashed Standing, but received positive props on Twitter, meaning this could be another one of those “the-critics-hate-it-but-the-audience-loves-it” type of shows (e.g. Gilligan’s Island, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Brady Bunch, Full House, Married… With Children, Diff’rent Strokes, etc.)

Meanwhile, some Internet posters took issue with a scene in which Allen threatened to “kill” a young man if he did something to his daughter. Hey numbnuts, its a SITCOM – it’s not real. If this scene was too much for you, by all means please stick with Glee.

– At the opposite end of the sampling spectrum was Rosie O’Donnell’s new 6 p.m. talk show strip on the OWN network. On Monday, The Rosie Show premiered with 497,000 viewers, but on Tuesday dropped to 317,000 viewers and by Wednesday, only 254,000 viewers tuned in, according to TV Media insights. Rosie is shot in Chicago at Oprah Winfrey’s old Harpo Studios but apparently, the atmosphere surrounding Rosie’s new talk show in the Windy City is about as exciting as one would find at a White Sox game these days.

Meanwhile at 7 p.m. is Oprah’s Lifeclass, which is basically a repackaged version of Oprah’s old talk shows with new wraparound commentaries. Lifeclass actually dropped from its Rosie lead-in the first two days on the air with only 330,000 viewers for Monday episode and only 279,000 for Tuesday’s episode. On Wednesday however, Lifeclass finally outperformed its Rosie lead-in by hitting a series high of 338,000.

These numbers come as OWN is still trying to find its footing. In other words, OWN is like WWWN-FM with its all-news format – launching before the product was ready and rewarded with ultra-low ratings. Maybe Oprah and Randy Michaels ought to merge their operations?

– Rosie is not the only one with a new TV show in town. Jonathan Brandmeier’s new off-beat show Brandmeier returned Friday night with a brand-new episode at 7 p.m. on Chicago Non-Stop, which can be found of WMAQ’s digital 5.2 channel, and repeated on the mothership at 1 a.m. Saturday morning after Last Call. Brandmeier premiered on Sept. 30, but was sidelined last week due to the staff devoting resources to coverage of the Chicago Marathon, but returned this week with a new episode.

Last night’s episode featured interviews with a doctor who administers flu vaccine’s in your sleep; a local resident who announced she was running for President; a person with the Occupy Chicago movement; and viral video of a Wal-Mart pep rally (yes, a Wal-Mart pep rally.) Brandmeier would certainly work better if it were shot in front of a studio audience, a la Comedy Central’s Tosh 0.

Brandmeier has a ten-week commitment from WMAQ and at this point, could actually last longer than The Rosie Show.

– In a rather odd move, ABC has scheduled a new game show to run – not in primetime or on weekday mornings – but on Sunday afternoons? ABC is scheduled to premiere Million Dollar Mind Game on October 23 at 3 p.m., opposite NFL programming on the other networks. The series is set for a trial run and if successful, could air as a replacement for NBA games if the entire season is scrapped due to a lockout. The series is co-produced by Merv Griffin Entertainment, who previously produced Crosswords, a game show that aired in syndication during the 2007-08 season.

Updated on 2011-10-16 at 7:10 p.m. (corrected Rosie’s Wednesday numbers.)