According to zap2it.com, the Nielsen numbers are in, and even less people watched "Community" this week than usual.
The second episode of the NBC show's belated fourth season only scored a 1.1 among the 18-49 demographic, i.e., exactly the age bracket that would watch it. This was down from last week's season premiere, which netted 1.9.
For context, "The Big Bang Theory" won the same time slot (8:00pm) with 5.4, while "American Idol" netted 3.6. "Zero Hour," with Anthony Edwards, beat "Community" with a 1.3, which is considered weak. "Community" did at least best, if only slightly, the CW's "The Vampire Diaries," which scored a 1.0.
Thursday, of course, was Valentine's Day, and even the unstoppable "Big Bang Theory" had what were considered off numbers. If fans of other cultish NBC shows want to panic a touch further, consider that "Parks and Recreation" only got 1.5 in its time slot, against "Two and a Half Men"'s 3.8
The low Nielsen numbers mark further bad news for fans of "Community," whose new season is its first without jettisoned creator/show runner Dan Harmon. (Chevy Chase has also departed, but he quit after shooting most of his episodes for the season.) Even the cult show's champions have been skeptical of its ability to maintain quality control, and the discouraging numbers suggest there's a chance it may not make it out of the season alive.
Then again, aggressively reporting news of a beloved show's poor performance(s) can also serve to rally the troops, who could either save the show an undue demise or simply ensure that a weaker version of its once-strong self persists even after it should have thrown in the towel.
In unrelated news, "The Office" got a 2.0 in its 9:00pm time slot, beating "Glee" (1.7) but losing to "Grey's Anatomy" (2.7).