/// No Laughing Matter: Season Premiere of ‘The Office’ Falls Flat
NBC’s Thursday night lineup continues to underwhelm, as the season premieres of The Office , Parks and Recreation and Up All Night failed to find an audience. According to preliminary Nielsen data, The Office ’s ninth season opener averaged just 4.32 million viewers and a 2.1 adults 18-49 rating, marking a drop of 46 percent versus the Sept. 11, 2011 table setter and tying a series low in the demo. Much of that decline is safely attributable to the old “what a difference a year makes” trope. After a summer of speculation, last season’s premiere revealed that Ed Helms’ Andy Bernard was tapped to replace Michael Scott (Steve Carell) at the helm of Dunder Mifflin. This will be the final season of The Office , which returns under the auspices of original showrunner Greg Daniels. The Office also labored under the burden of a weak lead-in. Sophomore comedy Up All Night returned with a whimper, averaging just 3.14 million viewers and a 1.3 in the demo. In stark contrast, a repeat of CBS’s The Big Bang Theory delivered 9.2 million viewers and a 2.4 in the demo in the same time slot (8:30 p.m.).