Thursday, October 1, 2009

First Two Weeks, Wednesday

Mercy (NBC)
Sampling: The total viewers lovers may like what Mercy brought to the table more than me. What I saw was a 2.3 demo. Since it's NBC, that kind of number can probably survive, but it can't feel very comfortable.
Retention: A drop to a 2.1 demo means a 9% drop. That's not bad.
Prognosis: It kept a lot of its initial samplers around may have picked up some new ones with Dancing out of the hour. However, it didn't have many initial samplers. I don't think this is going to be a success by ABC/CBS/Fox standards, but this one is probably too early to call either way. There's a decent chance NBC will want to extend either this or Trauma just to fill up all its timeslots at midseason, and there's a good chance this will end up stronger than Trauma, which faces heftier competition.

Glee (Fox)
Sampling: The first original episode of this season got a 3.5 demo and built heavily on its SYTYCD lead-in. That's a positive on this network, where you can count basically on one finger the number of fall programs that can consistently self-start at a 3.0 demo or better (House).
Retention: The second episode dropped to a 3.2, a better-than-average 9% drop. That's good news, and it lost only another tick in week three despite going up against season premieres on the entire big 3, then rebounded back to a 3.2 in preliminaries this week.
Prognosis: Given a back nine after week two, so it'll be around for all of this season. The even better news is that it's going to get an extended run at some point after the 2010 edition of American Idol. Season 2's looking very good even at this early-ish juncture.

Modern Family (ABC)
Sampling: The premiere nabbed an impressive 4.2 demo, and actually built on its Dancing with the Stars lead-in in the demo, which is almost unheard of in recent years.
Retention: A 12% drop is pretty average for a new show as it got a 3.7 in week 2. It's hard to say for sure either way on the show based on that, though its week 2 dynamics were different with the DWTS lead-in out of the picture.
Prognosis: The sampling was huge as far as ABC comedies are concerned, and that alone means it still has a long way to drop before it finds itself in unacceptability land. Combine that with waves of critical acclaim and a back nine looks to be pretty much a guarantee.

Cougar Town (ABC)
Sampling: If Modern Family building on the DWTS lead-in was impressive, perhaps Cougar Town building even more - to a 4.4 demo - was even moreso. It's the best rating for an ABC comedy since Samantha Who? was pulling consistent 4.5s out of its tremendous DWTS lead-in in fall of '07.
Retention: But then it gets a little less rosy, with the demo falling 18% to a 3.6 in its second week. This is neither catastrophic nor encouraging.
Prognosis: The good news for the 9pm hour on ABC is that even their mid-3s in week 2 are well beyond any self-starting comedy on ABC in several years. Like Modern Family, it's got a long way to fall before we starting talking about the axe, and like Modern Family, this one's getting a full season. But keep a closer eye on this one. It has acclaim, but not as much as MF, and its week 2 drop was more considerable.

Eastwick (ABC)

Sampling: The 3.0 demo for Eastwick's premiere is a good number for ABC at 10pm and put it ahead of a couple other 10pm premieres from earlier in the week, Castle and The Forgotten. Considering all three of those shows had similarish lead-ins (between a 3.5 and a 4.5) that's not a bad start.
Retention: Then came a 20% drop in week 2, which is undoubtedly bad news. The 2.4 it posted in week 2 still beats Castle and The Forgotten for the week, but that's a bit of a Pyrrhic victory.
Prognosis: It basically needs to stop dropping pretty quickly, and a show that drops 20% in week 2 usually does not just stop dropping. It's not been well received critically and seems to have been low-priority in ABC's promotion strategy this fall, so even if it's basically on par with the other two shows to which I've been comparing it when the dust settles, it probably doesn't get the extension. Not looking good.

The Beautiful Life: TBL (CW)
For some reason I was considering writing this up yesterday, then following it up with some kind of witty "If I told you that these numbers meant that the show should be pulled immediately, would you think I was a genius?" thing. But I'm too lazy to go look up the numbers for a show that's already been axed. It was DOA, it got even worse in week 2, and it's gone. Period.

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