CBS drama Hawaii Five-0, has been holding onto a devoted fan base despite the competition. Mike Gordon at the Star Advertiser gives us some insight into this season’s numbers.
With a massive explosion at police headquarters, a few murders and a lot of mayhem in the streets of Honolulu, the CBS drama “Hawaii Five-0″ ended its second season Monday, and by the time the smoke cleared, it had a ratings victory.
“Five-0″ drew 11.42 million viewers, the third-largest audience of its sophomore season, according to Nielsen ratings information released Tuesday by the network.
The crime drama outpaced ABC’s “Bachelorette,” which drew 7.65 million viewers, and NBC’s “Smash,” which drew 5.96 million viewers.
“Five-0″ gave fans a wild ride during the 23-episode second season, which started with thousands of fans watching a sneak preview at Sunset on the Beach and a season-high draw of 12.19 million viewers a few days later.
The second season featured a steady parade of guest stars — including James Caan, Ed Asner, Jimmy Buffett and Peter Fonda — for added star power.
Semiregular “Five-0″ team members Lauren German and Larisa Oleynik were written out of the show.
And “Five-0″ headliner Alex O’Loughlin took a short break this spring to deal with a problem he had with prescription pain medication.
The show averaged 10.66 million viewers for original episodes.
“What do I think?” said Peter Lenkov, the show’s executive producer. “Whew. We made it. I now get to sleep for a week, then start writing again. Very proud of our cast and crew for an outstanding season two.”
CBS said in March it will bring back “Five-0″ for a third season. Filming is expected to start in July. The network hasn’t said whether it will host a Sunset on the Beach preview this year.
Among its key target audience, adults 18 to 49, the “Five-0″ season two finale was respectable, said Robert Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. The finale drew 2.7 percent of the total viewing audience and 7 percent of those watching TV at the time, according to the Nielsen numbers.
The 2.7 rating is only a few tenths of a point lower than the season one finale, which means the show has a faithful audience, said Thompson, who keeps an eye on Nielsen ratings.
“It is definitely holding its audience,” he said.
The show would be in jeopardy should that number drop significantly, he said.
“‘Hawaii Five-0′ is by no means getting huge numbers, but at the same time it is beating a lot of stuff out there,” Thompson said. “But it doesn’t have too far to go down before it would start being a marginal show.”
By comparison, the CBS show “Unforgettable” was canceled after a rating that averaged 2.3, he said. The drama, which averaged 11.3 million viewers, was one of the higher-rated shows this season to be canceled, he said.
Donne Dawson, who was recently reinstated as the state’s film industry development manager for the Hawaii Film Office after being gone for two years, said she applied an unscientific “gut level” check to “Five-0,” and the second season came up a winner.
“I know that the industry depends on ratings for survival, but I think you can get carried away to a degree, hovering so closely over them,” Dawson said. “You sometimes need to pan back and say, ‘Does this have the necessary ingredients for a successful show?’ I say it does.”
The show has storytelling and eye candy, she said.
“In my mind that equates to success,” Dawson said. “I think that bodes well for longevity.”