Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Lost Repeat Lead-in

V got a 1.9 in adults 18-49 last night. That's got some people on the Internet proclaiming it a renewal-clincher and some proclaiming it a death knell. I'm not gonna break the tie, but I will take a look at V in the context of a few other recent Lost lead-outs. Here are how a few other Lost lead-outs did once they got a repeat for a lead-in:

3/27/08: Lost (R) 1.8 demo, Eli Stone 1.9 demo
4/3/08: Lost (R) 1.3 demo, Eli Stone 1.6 demo
4/17/08: Lost (R) 1.3 demo, Eli Stone 2.0 demo

3/11/09: Lost (R) 1.6 demo, Life on Mars 1.4 demo

4/22/09: Lost (clips) 2.9 demo, The Unusuals 1.4 demo

4/27/10: Lost (R) 1.8 demo, V 1.9 demo

Also worth noting that Life on Mars, The Unusuals, and a fifth show not included here, The Forgotten, all aired episodes that did worse with an original Lost lead-in than V's 1.9 last night.

Only one of the above five shows got a renewal or even an extension based on its post-Lost performance, and it isn't much of an argument to say "it's doing better than shows that got canceled!" But if you throw those out and just look at the one renewed show, Eli Stone, it's pretty comparable. Yes, the Eli Stone renewal came in spring 2008, when the writer's strike was just ending and there was a lot of uncertainty about development. Yes, Eli Stone was an in-house production and V isn't. Yes, I personally believe that renewal was a mistake and thought so even before it flopped post-DWTS in fall of '08. But ABC's weaker now than it was then, and with that precedent it's tough to call V completely gone. Airing out of Lost originals, it's been within a few ticks of Eli Stone's ratings, and Lost was much stronger then.

Bottom line is that most shows that have aired post-Lost have absolutely bombed. This one clearly places well ahead of some of those, and that might be enough for ABC to take a chance on it. I personally wouldn't renew, and I think it would be pretty likely to struggle the way Eli Stone did, but on a network like ABC that often greenlights bombs, the mediocre performers start to look a little better, especially since "mediocre" is about the best they've ever done with a show airing after Lost. Stay tuned...

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