Love Smash? Love to hate on Smash? Either way, the odds keep getting better that NBC’s musical soap opera will be back for you to love/hate/hate-love next season. Monday’s fifth episode averaged just shy of 8 million viewers, up nearly 20 percent over last week and the show’s best numbers in three weeks. Results were equally upbeat with folks under 50, where the series averaged a preliminary 2.7 rating and improved by double digits. There is a notable caveat to these gains: Not only did ABC and CBS air repeats at 10 p.m. last night, but lead-in The Voice leapt 13 percent week to week as the show began its (hilarious!) battle rounds. Still, there’s no denying that, just like our nation’s nascent economic recovery, Smash’s leading indicators continue to perk up.
As we told you last week, it seems as if Smash has found a decent viewership floor, a level of core viewership likely to lead to a renewal. Last night’s numbers back up that theory because, while there were certainly external factors that helped the show, in a TV universe with so many first-run cable options, it’s no longer a given that any broadcast network show will bump up in the ratings simply because other nets are in repeats. What’s more, when a show is in the process of being rejected by viewers, its ratings don’t usually surge by 20 percent week to week. Monday’s ratings don’t prove that Smash is becoming a word-of-mouth sensation that promises to keep growing every week, but they do indicate that the show is managing to at least hold on to whatever viewers are still watching. For NBC, that should be good enough for a season two green light.