For the past several years, many broadcast network executives have looked at the ratings for their 10 p.m. shows and lamented that it has become impossible to build a true, breakout hit at that hour anymore. No hits at 10 p.m.? How about Thursday at 10 on MTV? For most weeks this winter, about six million viewers 18 to 49 (the prime age group for most advertising sales) have flocked to "Jersey Shore," a number that would constitute a blaring hit by almost anyone's measure.
Nothing at 10 on any broadcast network on any night of the week comes anywhere near that six million figure. In fact, fewer than five shows in all of the rest of television (other than sports) have averaged that many young-adult viewers this season.