Every few months or so, when Glenn Beck’s truly impressive ratings soften, critics of Fox’s most controversial conservative start writing and re-writing his obituary. Most recently, it’s the New York Times, which speculates that the honeymoon may finally be coming to a close when Beck’s contract expires at the end of the year. True, Beck’s shed about a million viewers per night in the past year, but it’s worth noting that he still draws a bigger audience then all his timeslot rivals — combined. Lost in the debate over whether Beck is informed, credible, (or sane?) is the undeniable fact that he’s more popular at his particular job than just about anyone else in the entertainment industry is at theirs. So the question has to be asked: Why exactly would Fox be eager to part ways with the man who draws about two million viewers every day at 5 p.m., while Chris Matthews and Wolf Blitzer are scrambling for about a third of that figure?
Last night, Mr. Sunshine, Matthew Perry’s new ABC show, delivered 10.6 million viewers—besting the season-to-date average of Courteney Cox’s Cougar Town in the 9:30 p.m. slot by 32 percent and beating Cougar’s premiere by 9 percent. Sunshine also scored the network’s best numbers in this time period in 16 months.
The episode was seen by 26.8 million viewers and had an 11.1 rating of adults 18-49; impressive, but not as big as last year’s post-game premiere of Undercover Boss, which was seen by 38.7 million people.