Saturday, May 29, 2010

May Sweeps 2010 Week Four Recap

Different day comparisons

The Mentalist (Th vs. T) -14%

Law & Order (M vs. W) -5%

Top 5 year-to-year timeslot gainers
1. The Biggest Loser vs. Most Outrageous Moments (R)/Law & Order: SVU (R) (NBC, Tuesday 8-10pm) +254%
2. Celebrity Apprentice vs. SNL: Just Shorts (NBC, Sunday 9-11pm) +127%
3. Lost: The Final Journey vs. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC, Sunday 7-9pm) +64%
4. Transformers vs. Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest (ABC, Wednesday 8-11pm) +50%
5. Chuck vs. Deal or No Deal (NBC, Monday 8-10pm) +33%

The problem with doing these timeslot comparisons for the last week of May sweeps is that a lot of networks "give up" toward the very end of the season in order to get their good stuff out of the way of big finales. So almost all these comparisons are instances of networks not giving up this year but giving up last year, and vice versa for the timeslot losers list. Perhaps the only truly interesting comparison out of these ten is just how well the Lost clip show did compared to the finale of Sunday tentpole EM:HE. Maybe next year I'll eliminate repeat-based comparisons for contention for these top 5 lists, but for now I decided to keep it consistent.

Top 5 timeslot losers
1. One Tree Hill (R) vs. One Tree Hill (CW, Monday 9pm) -85%
2. 90210 (R) vs. 90210 (CW, Tuesday 9pm) -82%
3. Gossip Girl (R) vs. Gossip Girl (CW, Monday 9pm) -73%
4. CSI (R) vs. Survivor reunion (CBS, Sunday 10pm) -68%
5. The Mentalist (R) vs. Survivor (CBS, Thursday 8pm) -63%

Top 5 show gainers
1. Glee +23%
2. Parks and Recreation +10%
3. Bones +8%
4. NCIS +3%
5. Dateline (Su7-8pm vs. Su7-9pm) even

Glee finally gets a chance to flex some year-to-year muscle against itself as it gets compared with the pilot preview from last year, which at the time was considered a pretty mediocre start, and deservedly so. Parks and Rec heads for midseason with its best comparison yet, while Bones and NCIS have been mainstays on this list.

Top 5 show losers
1. America's Next Top Model (R) -33%
t-2. Rules of Engagement (M8:30pm vs. M9:30pm) -27%
t-2. 60 Minutes -27%
4. DWTS finale -25%
5. Ghost Whisperer -24%

Rules has a worse timeslot (but is only just now making the list because usual suspects like Fringe and Smallville weren't here this week), 60 Minutes is one of the fluctuation-heavy newsmagazines, and Ghost Whisperer has been a mainstay here, probably figuring importantly in its cancellation. The only real surprise was how badly Dancing with the Stars fared. American Idol just barely missed the list, with Tuesday down 22% and the Wednesday finale down 18%.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Demos Year to Year, Wednesday 5/26/10

We've reached the end of another sweeps period. To come, ideally this evening, is a week 4 recap that will look exactly like the first three and perhaps one or two other posts about the sweeps as a whole.

(Transformers vs. Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest) +50%

(Undercover Boss (R) vs. Old Christine/Gary Unmarried) -9%
(Criminal Minds/CSI:NY vs. Criminal Minds) -17%
Criminal Minds (9-10pm vs. 9-11pm) -11%

(Minute to Win It (R) vs. Law & Order: CI (R)/Law & Order: SVU (R)) -10%
(Law & Order: SVU (R) vs. Law & Order) -45%

American Idol finale -18%

(America's Next Top Model (R) vs. Take the Lead) +25%

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Demos Year to Year, Tuesday 5/25/10

Dancing with the Stars (R) -11%
Dancing with the Stars finale -25%

NCIS +3%
(NCIS: LA vs. The Mentalist) -27%
(The Good Wife vs. Without a Trace) -20%

(The Biggest Loser vs. Most Outrageous Moments/Law & Order: SVU (R)) +254% (perhaps more importantly, -17% from last year's finale)
(Parenthood vs. Law & Order: SVU) +4%

American Idol -22%
Glee +23% - How far has Glee come in a year? The show did nearly a full point better than last year's May preview out of an Idol lead-in that did almost two full points worse.

(Life Unexpected (R) vs. Reaper) -57%
(90210 (R) vs. 90210) -82%

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Demos Year to Year, Monday 5/24/10

Dancing with the Stars -9%
The Bachelorette -7%

(How I Met Your Mother vs. Rules of Engagement) +30%
(Rules of Engagement vs. HIMYM) -14%
2.5 Men -6%
(The Big Bang Theory vs. Rules of Engagement) +20%
CSI: Miami -13%
HIMYM (8pm vs. 8:30) -5%
Rules of Engagement (8:30 vs. 9:30) -27% (there were two Rules episodes last year at this time, but I decided to keep making the 8:30 to 9:30 comparison I've done in previous weeks... but the show was +19% over the 8pm telecast last year, if you want something good to spin)

(Chuck vs. Deal or No Deal) +33%
(Law & Order vs. Medium) even

24 -10%

(Gossip Girl (R) vs. Gossip Girl) -73%
(One Tree Hill (R) vs. One Tree Hill) -85%

Demos Year to Year, Sunday 5/23/10

(Lost: The Final Journey vs. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) +64%
(Lost finale vs. Desperate Housewives) +23%

60 Minutes -27%
(Brooks & Dunn special vs. Survivor) -57%
(CSI (R) vs. Survivor reunion) -68%

(Dateline/Minute to Win It vs. Dateline 7-9pm) +21%
(Celebrity Apprentice vs. SNL: Just Shorts) +127% (perhaps more importantly, +10% from last year's finale)
Dateline (7-8pm vs. 7-9pm) even

('Til Death vs. King of the Hill (R)) -27%
(The Simpsons (R) vs. American Dad! (R)) -8%
The Simpsons -14%
(The Cleveland Show vs. King of the Hill) -8%
Family Guy (9-10pm vs. 9-9:30pm) -16%

Demos Year to Year, Friday 5/21/10

Been working like a mad scientist on the First Two Weeks system and incorporating some new stuff that seems to increase the accuracy, but the bottom line is that it's not at a point where I can post about it and may not be for awhile. So the final wrap-up post on that will have to wait.

Also upcoming are the Sunday/Monday posts, and I'm hoping to get together a ratings-based preview of summer TV, broadcast and cable, next week.

(Wife Swap vs. America's Funniest Home Videos 8-9pm) -14%
(Primetime: WWYD? vs. AFHV 9-10pm) even
20/20 -19%

Ghost Whisperer -24%
(Medium vs. Flashpoint) -11%
(Miami Medical vs. Numb3rs) -43%

(Friday Night Lights vs. Dateline) -23%
(Dateline vs. Farrah's Story) -35%
Dateline (9-11pm vs. 8pm) -13%

(House (R) vs. Prison Break 8-9pm) -25%
(Kitchen Nightmares vs. Prison Break 9-1opm) +17%

(America's Next Top Model (R) 8-9pm vs. The Game) -44%
America's Next Top Model (R) (9-10pm) -33%

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST finale

I posted this very brief review of the finale on PIFeedback and decided to cross-post it here for archiving purposes and for the folks who don't go there... it is not the longest or the best review of last night's finale that you will read, but it's all I felt I needed to add to the conversation about last night and the series in general.

I thought the finale was a very strong episode of TV, and the series as a whole was great TV, but season 6 was pretty disappointing. The payoff to the flash-sideways was fairly lame, but I guess I didn't get that mad about it because I found most of the flash-sideways pretty lame to begin with, so there wasn't a huge letdown.

I think I'll always feel Lost was at its best in the first three years, when as a show it was more character-driven. I actually preferred it back when everyone else called it "slow" and said "nothing was happening," and I'm not sure that them setting an end date really ended up being much of a net gain. It was certainly time to get rid of the regular old flashback structure by the end of season 3, but I'm not sure that a ten-year "slow" run for this show would've really been worse. (And I was most excited about the second half of the run during the season 5 time at Dharma, which I think often captured the spirit of the first three years.) I've felt that way for much of the last three years, and I've usually thought I was in a very, very small minority for feeling that way, but now it seems everyone is saying the show was best in the first three seasons.

Mythologically, yes, tons is left unresolved, but how much of it do I need to know? Eh, not all that much. I do think it'd be helpful to know why Jacob seemed so convinced that letting out MiB or turning out the light would be the end of the whole world... clarifying whether there were big-time stakes on a global level would've been good. Perhaps it was just Jacob's paranoia. What is the light in the middle of the island? Sure, it'd be cool to find out more, but even if we did know more, the best answer would be that it was a big ol' MacGuffin.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Demos Year to Year, Thursday 5/20/10

(Flashforward vs. Ugly Betty) -20%
Grey's Anatomy (2 hrs.) -8% (despite the finale being stunningly high, it's still down from last year's, which shows just how far its ratings fell over the course of this season)

(The Mentalist (R) vs. Survivor) -63%
CSI -3%
(The Mentalist vs. CSI: NY) +7%

(Community vs. My Name is Earl) even
Parks and Recreation +10%
The Office -3%
30 Rock -4%
(The Marriage Ref vs. Southland) +25%

Bones +8%
(Fringe vs. Hell's Kitchen) -38%

(Smallville (R) vs. Smallville/Supernatural finales) -62%

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Finale Spike

We're into the last week of sweeps, folks, and that means a lot of season and series finales coming up (and several already in the books). So how far up can you expect the ratings of your favorite show to go when it comes time for the finale?

Well, this post is inspired by the huge finale for Grey's Anatomy last night, which I consider a true stunner. The show had been in the upper 3's down the stretch but then suddenly whips out a 5.4 rating for the finale. Officially, it's up 1.5 points from the 3.9 it pulled last week, a 38% increase, and I thought that seemed extraordinarily high for something that wasn't a big-time historic series finale. So I'm briefly gonna take a look at some of the finale spikes for some other TV shows that I thought might get big finale boosts.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
2007-08: penultimate episode 6.1, finale 7.0, spike of 15%
2008-09: penultimate ep 5.4, finale 5.9, spike of 9%
2009-10: penultimate ep 3.9, finale 5.4 (preliminary numbers), spike of 38%

Desperate Housewives (ABC)
2007-08: penultimate ep 5.6, finale 6.2, spike of 11%*
2008-09: penultimate ep 4.1, finale 4.7, spike of 15%*
2009-10: penultimate ep 3.8, finale 4.0, spike of 5%

*- Not that anyone will really care, but I noticed that the penultimate episode in both of these DH seasons was a really low number compared to most other episodes, so these numbers could be construed as kinda artifically high.

Lost (ABC)
2007-08: penultimate ep 4.9, finale 4.9, spike of 0%*
2008-09: penultimate ep 4.0, finale 4.4, spike of 10%
2009-10: penultimate ep 4.3, finale ???

*- pre-finale eps of Lost had aired after Grey's Anatomy at 10pm, and the finale aired outside of the regular season and with a much smaller lead-in, so those are a couple things to keep in mind for this one.

Dancing with the Stars (ABC) (not sure if it's better to compare to the previous results show in the same timeslot or to the competition ep from the night before, so I'm including both, and in parentheses are the respective spikes)
Fall 2007: penultimate results show 5.0, final competition show 6.0, finale 6.4 (+28%, +7%)
Spring 2008: penultimate results show 4.1, final competition show 4.4, finale 5.4 (+32%, +23%)
Fall 2008: penultimate results show 4.0, final competition show 4.7, finale 5.1 (+28%, +9%)
Spring 2009: penultimate results show 3.1, final competition show 5.6, finale 5.2 (+68%, -7%)
Fall 2009: penultimate results show 3.2, final competition show 4.0, finale 4.3 (+34%, +8%)

Survivor (CBS)
Fall 2007: penultimate ep 4.6, finale 5.2, spike of 13%
Spring 2008: penultimate ep 4.1, finale 4.4, spike of 7%
Fall 2008: penultimate ep 4.0, finale 4.4, spike of 10%
Spring 2009: penultimate ep 3.8, finale 4.2, spike of 11%
Fall 2009: penultimate ep 3.9, finale 4.4, spike of 13%
Spring 2010: penultimate ep 4.1, finale 4.2, spike of 2%

The Biggest Loser (NBC)
Fall 2007: penultimate ep 3.6, finale 4.6, spike of 28%
Spring 2008: penultimate ep 3.7, finale 4.4, spike of 19%
Fall 2008: penultimate ep 3.6, finale 4.6, spike of 28%
Spring 2009: penultimate ep 3.6, finale 4.7, spike of 31%
Fall 2009: penultimate ep 3.7, finale 5.0, spike of 35%

2007-08: penultimate ep 2.9, finale 3.3, spike of 14%
2008-09: penultimate ep 3.5, finale 6.0, spike of 71%

Included ER here because it was the most recent example I could think of a big-time series finale, something we'll be having with Lost this weekend and to probably a lesser extent with 24 on Monday. The 71% number is the largest one here; can we expect something similar for Lost?

American Idol (Fox)
2008: penultimate results show 9.2, final competition show 10.1, finale 11.4 (+24%, +13%)
2009: penultimate results show 8.7, final competition show 8.6, finale 10.0 (+15%, +16%)

24 (Fox)
2009: penultimate ep 3.2, finale 3.1, spike of -3%*
2010: penultimate ep 2.9, finale ???

*- Losing the House lead-in hurts, but I'd expect the series finale to go up from that 2.9 on Monday night.

House (Fox)
2007-08: penultimate ep 5.9, finale 5.8, spike of -2%
2008-09: penultimate ep 4.6, finale 4.7, spike of 2%
2009-10: penultimate ep 3.6, finale 4.3, spike of 19%

America's Next Top Model (CW)
Fall 2007: penultimate ep 2.3, finale 2.6, spike of 13%
Spring 2008: penultimate ep 2.0, finale 2.2, spike of 10%
Fall 2008: penultimate ep 1.9, finale 2.3, spike of 21%
Spring 2009: penultimate ep 1.7, finale 1.9, spike of 12%
Fall 2009: penultimate ep 1.5, finale 1.8, spike of 20%
Spring 2010: penultimate ep 1.5, finale 1.7, spike of 13%

Notice that what I've included here is mostly reality with a few select "event" type dramas. I don't think there are noticeable spikes on most comedies. Might come back and add to this later (and will certainly fill in some numbers on the above shows that haven't ended this season), but for now I think you get the gist of it. The norm is about a 10-15% spike. The Biggest Loser is perhaps the only show that regularly goes much higher than that. But when it comes to series finale time for a show that has a lot of history and still does at least reasonable business like ER, that number can explode. Can't wait to see what happens for Lost.

May Sweeps 2010 Week Three Recap

Different day comparisons

Lost (Tuesday vs. year-ago Wednesday) -2% (it was a finale in the year-ago week, will have finale comparisons next week)

The Mentalist (Th vs. T) -3%

Law & Order (M vs. W) -23%

Fringe (Th vs. T) -41%

Smallville (F vs. Th) -33%

Top 5 year-to-year timeslot gainers
1. Dancing with the Stars vs. According to Jim (ABC, Tuesday 8pm) +127%
2. Chuck vs. Deal or No Deal (NBC, Monday 8pm) +73%
3. Friday Night Lights vs. Howie Do It (R) (NBC, Friday 8pm) +63%
4. The Big Bang Theory vs. Rules of Engagement (CBS, Monday 9:30pm) +53%
t-5. 20/20 (ABC, Friday 10pm) +50%
t-5. Kitchen Nightmares vs. Dollhouse (Fox, Friday 9pm) +50%
t-5. Survivor reunion vs. The Unit (CBS, Sunday 10pm)+50%

With a few exceptions like Big Bang and Survivor, most shows on the list aren't blowing the house down, they're just doing a lot better than the even more anemic stuff airing last year. That's especially true for stuff like Chuck and Friday Night Lights, considered ratings losers in their own right, but looking like gangbusters when stacked up with Howie Mandel.

Top 5 timeslot losers
1. Life Unexpected (R) vs. 90210 -67%
t-2. Primetime: WWYD? vs. Lost -53%
t-2. America's Next Top Model special vs. ANTM -53%
4. Parenthood vs. The Biggest Loser -50%
5. The Good Guys vs. Lie to Me -42%

This list has consisted of a lot of repeats in recent weeks, and the LUX repeat along with the ANTM clip show hold up that tradition, but big numbers for a 2009 Lost finale and a 2009 Biggest Loser finale throw a couple decent-performing originals onto the list. The Good Guys, however, has no excuse; it came in way, way below an only marginally performing Fox original in 2009.

Top 5 show gainers
1. 20/20 +50%
2. The Big Bang Theory (M9:30 vs. M8pm) +49%
3. Family Guy +22%
4. American Dad! +17%
5. The Simpsons +16%

Great week for Fox animation, great week for one of those always fluctuating newsmagazines, and yet another great week for The Big Bang Theory, a mainstay on this list. Will its move to Thursday work out, or will it have to worry about avoiding the other list next fall?

Top 5 show losers
1. Fringe (Th9pm vs. T9pm) -41%
2. The Biggest Loser (T8-10pm vs. T8-11pm) -34%
t-3. 90210 (T8pm vs. T9pm) -33%
t-3. Smallville (F8pm vs. Th8pm) -33%
t-3. Ghost Whisperer -32%

The Biggest Loser has the misfortune of being a non-finale vs. finale comparison, and on that show the finale spikes are large. Still, it's been a slightly down year for the show, but nothing catastrophic. Fringe, Smallville, and Ghost Whisperer have all been here before, and this week the renewed 90210 joins the list.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Demos Year to Year, Wednesday 5/19/10

(The Middle (R) vs. Lost recap) -39%
(The Middle vs. Lost recap) -4%
(Modern Family vs. Lost) -5%
(Cougar Town vs. Lost) -38%
(Primetime: What Would You Do? vs. Lost) -53%

(I Get That a Lot vs. Rules of Engagement/Old Christine) +5%
Criminal Minds -3%
CSI: NY -22%

(Minute to Win It (R) vs. Law & Order: CI (R)) +36%
Law & Order: SVU (R) -8%
(Law & Order: SVU vs. Law & Order) +23%

(The Good Guys vs. Lie to Me) -42%
American Idol -30%

(America's Next Top Model (clips) vs. ANTM) -53%
(One Tree Hill (R) vs. 90210 (R)) -25%

Thoughts on The CW Fall 2010 Sked

8 - 90210
9 - Gossip Girl

Monday night becomes the last bastion for the rich kid soaps, I guess. I think there's a pretty good chance 90210 got moved off of Tuesday because they felt American Idol was killing it, and yes, it was probably detrimental to its ratings. Then again, in the fall, I think this hour is tougher...

8 - One Tree Hill
9 - Life Unexpected

This evening will likely do worse than Monday in the CW's coveted demo, but not by much. I'm happy to see Life Unexpected back, but it's hard to deny that it was a pretty close call of a renewal. One Tree Hill keeps eking out renewals, but it gets to be the Idol bait this time around.

8 - America's Next Top Model
9 - Hellcats

A newbie gets what will be one of the two largest lead-ins on the network. Hard to complain too much when you compare it to airing after anything on Monday or Tuesday.

8 - The Vampire Diaries
9 - Nikita

A newbie gets what will be one of the two largest lead-ins on the network. Hard to complain too much when you compare it to airing after anything on Monday or Tuesday.

8 - Smallville
9 - Supernatural

It's "not in our target demo" night! In total viewers, this night will be competitive with Monday and Tuesday. That doesn't matter, but sadly, most people who will talk about this night will think that it does, so there won't be a lot of intelligent conversation about CW Friday night. The reality is that this will be their lowest-rated night in what they care about. You can question "what they care about," but that doesn't really get us anywhere, because they still care about it.


As with several other non-CBS nets, there are some really marginal returning players that would seem to indicate The CDub doesn't have a lot of development that they want on the sked. I don't really see the 90210/OTH swap being all that beneficial, especially not in the 4th quarter. The only other thing that's really worth comment is the placement of the new shows. And they go after the net's highest-rated shows. Can't complain too much about that, I guess. It's not like this was really a hard schedule to screw up, and I don't think they did, in terms of scheduling the shows they had. That's about it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Demos Year to Year, Tuesday 5/18/10

(Dancing with the Stars vs. According to Jim) +127%
(Lost vs. Dancing with the Stars) +39%
(V vs. Cupid) +40%
Dancing with the Stars (8pm vs. 9pm) -19%

NCIS even
(NCIS: LA vs. The Mentalist) -6%
(The Good Wife vs. Without a Trace) -21%

The Biggest Loser (8-10pm) -30%
(Parenthood vs. The Biggest Loser (10-11pm)) -50%
The Biggest Loser (8-10pm vs. 8-11pm) -34% (note: it was the finale on the year-ago evening, but not this year... so next week I'll include comparisons between finales)

American Idol -16%
(Glee vs. Fringe) +23%

(90210 vs. Reaper) -11%
(Life Unexpected (R) vs. 90210) -67%
90210 (8pm vs. 9pm) -33%

Demos Year to Year, 5/14/10 thru 5/17/10

Friday 5/14/10

Wife Swap/Primetime: WWYD? vs. Happy Feet +23%
20/20 +50%

Ghost Whisperer -32% (these numbers have been ugly all season, and now the show's axed... perhaps we know why)
(Medium vs. Flashpoint) -17%
(Miami Medical vs. Numb3rs) -40%

(Friday Night Lights vs. Howie Do It (R)) +63% (who'd have thunk we'd see FNL on a list of biggest growers? It's gonna happen)
Dateline -7%

(House (R) vs. Prison Break) +11%
(Kitchen Nightmares vs. Dollhouse) +50%

(Smallville vs. Chris/Game) +25%
(America's Next Top Model (R)) -20%

Sunday 5/16/10

America's Funniest Home Videos even
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition +12%
Desperate Housewives -3% (perhaps more importantly, -15% from last year's finale)
Brothers & Sisters -3%

60 Minutes +13%
(Survivor vs. Amazing Race/Cold Case) +45% (perhaps more importantly, even with last year's finale)
(Survivor reunion vs. The Unit) +50% (perhaps more importantly, -12% from last year's reunion)

Miss USA 2010 vs. (Dateline/Celebrity Apprentice) -13%
Celebrity Apprentice (9-11pm) -36%
Celebrity Apprentice (9-11pm vs. 8-11pm) -26%

('Til Death vs. Sit Down, Shut Up) +29%
(The Simpsons (R) vs. American Dad! (R)) +40%
The Simpsons +16%
(The Cleveland Show vs. King of the Hill) +47%
Family Guy +22%
American Dad! +17%

Monday 5/17/10

Dancing with the Stars (8-10pm vs. 8-9:30pm) -2%
Castle even

(How I Met Your Mother vs. BBT) -16%
(Rules of Engagement vs. HIMYM) -19%
2.5 Men -2%
(The Big Bang Theory vs. Rules of Engagement) +53%
CSI: Miami -26%
HIMYM (8pm vs. 8:30) -14%
Rules of Engagement (8:30 vs. 9:30) -19%
The Big Bang Theory (9:30 vs. 8pm) +49%

(Chuck vs. Deal or No Deal) +73% (again, Chuck will surprisingly make the list of biggest timeslot growers, which should illustrate just how dead DOND really was by the end)
(Law & Order vs. Medium (9-11pm)) -19%

House -9%
24 -9%

(One Tree Hill vs. Gossip Girl) -17%
(Gossip Girl vs. One Tree Hill) even
One Tree Hill (8pm vs. 9pm) -9%
Gossip Girl (9pm vs. 8pm) -8%

Fall 2010 Matchups

When the networks release schedules, the easy thing to do is look at each schedule as an individual unit. But the reality is that they're all matching up, so I'm going to look at the matchups. I'll try to be very brief on most of these so the post doesn't become toooo long. Yes, we don't have the CW yet, but I think we'll manage. ;-) New shows in bold!

8pm - Dancing with the Stars (ABC) vs. How I Met Your Mother/Rules of Engagement (CBS) vs. Chuck (NBC) vs. House (Fox)

One of the few where there's no real change from how it's gone down this spring.

9pm - Dancing with the Stars (ABC) vs. Two and a Half Men/Mike and Molly (CBS) vs. The Event (NBC) vs. Lonestar (Fox)

Can The Event break out for NBC? Yes. CBS, while still pretty potent, will probably be a bit weaker, and while I really like the look of Fox's Lonestar, I'm pretty skeptical that viewers will.

10pm - Castle (ABC) vs. Hawaii Five-O (CBS) vs. Chase (NBC)

Gonna really be one of the more interesting hours. Castle is the only incumbent, but it will not likely break a 3. That leaves some room. Chase is going to be held down if The Event flops, and the same to some extent for Hawaii Five-O (though Mike and Molly is probably less likely to flop).

8pm - No Ordinary Family (ABC) vs. NCIS (CBS) vs. The Biggest Loser (NBC) vs. Glee (Fox)

Glee is probably the early favorite to win the timeslot, but not by much. NCIS will be stronger than in the spring with Idol and DWTS gone. Does No Ordinary Family have much of a shot? It looks good, but all three opponents will be strong. It won't be easy.

9pm - DWTS: Results (ABC) vs. NCIS: LA (CBS) vs. The Biggest Loser (NBC) vs. Raising Hope/Running Wilde (Fox)

Except for Fox, this is the same as last fall. Again, three strong nets, can the fourth make any inroads? This time, the newbies are Raising Hope and Running Wilde. I think the good news is that they don't have much of anything as far as compatible competition. And frankly, DWTS: Results and NCIS: LA are both OK, but not real powerhouses. Glee will probably be a good lead-in. But then there's this: Fox really, really can't get people even remotely interested in live-action half-hour comedy.

10pm - Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC) vs. The Good Wife (CBS) vs. Parenthood (NBC)

Again, one newbie against timeslot incumbents. This time the timeslot incumbents are pretty marginal, and Detroit 1-8-7 looks relatively different from both. The real question for Detroit 1-8-7 is whether they can get any interest in this show to begin with.

8pm - The Middle/Better Together (ABC) vs. Survivor (CBS) vs. Undercovers (NBC) vs. Lie to Me (Fox)

It's a historically awful timeslot, and at least two nets will probably not be strong here in ABC and Fox. That leaves the question: can Undercovers hit against Survivor? Again, I think with the move and the fact that it isn't an All-Star season, Survivor is not going to be a show pulling 4.0's in the fall. So I don't think the CBS move crushes Undercovers, but it certainly doesn't help either.

9pm - Modern Family/Cougar Town (ABC) vs. Criminal Minds (CBS) vs. Law & Order: SVU (NBC) vs. Hell's Kitchen (Fox)

This has not typically been an hour filled with veteran shows, but that's the case here. Criminal Minds, especially with help from a Survivor lead-in, is going to handily beat SVU again, while Modern Fam and Cougar Town will continue to do their thing; unfortunately, Cougar Town's "thing" involves losing a ton of its lead-in. That leaves Hell's Kitchen as great Fox counterprogramming that is likely to beat SVU and be a decent and low-cost third place show in a tough hour.

10pm - The Whole Truth (ABC) vs. Defenders (CBS) vs. Law & Order: LA (NBC)

Lawyers vs. Lawyers vs. Lawyers? Three new shows? Really? Well, it's anybody's guess, but in spite of James Belushi, I'm favoring Defenders, which will have the best lead-in support.

8pm - My Generation (ABC) vs. The Big Bang Theory/Shit My Dad Says (CBS) vs. Community/30 Rock (NBC) vs. Bones (Fox)

The traditional force of this timeslot, Survivor, is out. But a new game is in town in The Big Bang Theory, and that's going to keep everyone else below a 3.0.

9pm - Grey's Anatomy (ABC) vs. CSI (CBS) vs. The Office/Outsourced (NBC) vs. Fringe (Fox)

Only one show here that wasn't here last fall, and that's newbie Outsourced. Hard to say how it'll do, really, but this hour is not as prohibitive as it was back when Grey's and CSI were both monsters.

10pm - Private Practice (ABC) vs. The Mentalist (CBS) vs. Love Bites (NBC)

Private Practice and The Mentalist are both reasonably potent. Both have a lot of females in their audiences. NBC's Outsourced (the Love Bites lead-in) is not going to have a lot of females. So how does Love Bites hit? Um...

8pm - Secret Millionaire (ABC) vs. Medium (CBS) vs. Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC) vs. Human Target (Fox)

Boy, this is a tough hour to handicap, since Secret Millionaire and WDYTYA both have pretty short seasons and Human Target was, in my mind, a highly marginal renewal. Despite CBS declining big last year, Medium should cruise in this hour, I say. The shows listed for ABC an NBC should probably say "reality TV carousel" instead. Oh yeah, and please renew Shark Tank, ABC!

9pm - Body of Proof (ABC) vs. CSI: NY (CBS) vs. Dateline (NBC) vs. The Good Guys (Fox)

The Good Guys may well never air here if it struggles in the summer, but it's unlikely Fox will come up with anything else that will really mess things up here. CSI: NY is the favorite. Body of Proof seems horribly wasted.

1opm - 20/20 (ABC) vs. Blue Bloods (CBS) vs. Outlaw (NBC)

I give Tom Selleck the edge over Jimmy Smits because the lead-in will probably be better, as stated earlier. 20/20 will occasionally have its big stories, though, so it could be a timeslot winner here sometimes.

7pm - America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC) vs. 60 Minutes (CBS) vs. Football Night in America (NBC) vs. NFL overrun/comedy repeats (Fox)

Whoever has the overrun will do awesome.

8pm - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC) vs. The Amazing Race (CBS) vs. Football Night/Football (NBC) vs. The Simpsons/The Cleveland Show (Fox)

NBC will win with football and lose once they bring in something for midseason. Everyone else will be fine, but look for a lot of 4th place showings for EM:HE in the fall.

9pm - Desperate Housewives (ABC) vs. Undercover Boss (CBS) vs. Football (NBC) vs. Family Guy/American Dad! (Fox)

The Housewives vs. Boss clash will again be interesting. Since these are mostly incumbent shows, the real drama here is whether Undercover Boss is a long-term kind of show.

10pm - Brothers & Sisters (ABC) vs. CSI: Miami (CBS) vs. Football (NBC)

How big does Miami drop? That is the question. I do think it will be strong enough to edge Brothers & Sisters, though.

Thoughts on CBS Fall 2010 Sked


9:30-10:00 PM MIKE & MOLLY (N)
10:00-11:00 PM HAWAII FIVE-0 (N)

I was convinced that there were two possibilities for Monday, and I thought both were potentially good ideas. The first was that the Big Bang Theory would move to lead into a new comedy. The second was that CSI: Miami would move so a new drama could have the big lead-in (presumably from BBT). Instead, both things happened. Is that a good idea? Well, their number one new drama (at least that's my sense) now has a bit of a question mark as a lead-in. And 2.5 Men and HIMYM are the two shows lucky enough to remain Monday anchors, while it's the biggest of the bunch that gets risked elsewhere. Is that wise? Stay tuned...

8:00-9:00 PM NCIS
10:00-11:00 PM THE GOOD WIFE

While I think The Good Wife has very overrated ratings (there's a phenomenon that allows even people who seem to know that the demo is what matters to start focusing on the Peetooplus for certain shows; the lack of "mass appeal" in NBC's comedies being the flip side of the same phenomenon) I had a feeling this night was going to get left together. NCIS: LA, as I posted on PIFeedback a couple weeks back, is in that "decent" range where it doesn't do quite well enough (like The Mentalist) to risk a big move. The Good Wife doesn't really even do decent, but since it's a newer show than the similarly struggling CSI: NY, it gets to stay around.

8:00-9:00 PM SURVIVOR (NT)
10:00-11:00 PM THE DEFENDERS (N)

CBS has apparently (and maybe foolishly) bought into the notion that Wednesday sitcoms are inherently weak and that somehow it's different on Thursday. This means that Survivor is off to Wednesday. It's going to do fine in terms of timeslot ranking, but I think the move from a timeslot it's been in for so long may hurt. Now, obviously, Heroes vs. Villains was an above-average cycle to begin with, so the more interesting comparison will be to the year-ago Samoa. We'll see. Criminal Minds finally gets used as a lead-in to a new show. But it's Yet Another Lawyer Show, this one starring the distinguished James Belushi. We shall see...

8:30-9:00 PM $#*! MY DAD SAYS (N)
10:00-11:00 PM THE MENTALIST

OK, so Big Bang is probably not going to do as well as it did on Monday. How much worse is really the question. But it'll basically eliminate any hope of NBC's comedies doing well, that's for sure. Meanwhile, perhaps the only thing that was widely considered a true inevitability in CBS scheduling - a CSI/Mentalist flip - did not happen. That means CSI is going to stick at 9 and it's going to have a new sitcom as a lead-in. Whether that will be a better lead-in than Survivor is a very good question. But they're clearly hoping the dynamic there will change in CSI's favor. I guess it might have pissed off Jerry Bruckheimer to clearly deprioritize all three CSI's in the same season while axing Cold Case and Numb3rs.

8:00-9:00 PM MEDIUM (NT)
9:00-10:00 PM CSI: NY (NT)
10:00-11:00 PM BLUE BLOODS (N)

Only one of the Friday shows returns, and that's CBS-produced Medium. It leads into CSI: NY, which has really been struggling down the stretch and probably deserved to go somewhere else. Then, at 10, it's a newbie, and that newbie stars Tom Selleck, whose Jesse Stone movies often see less than 20% of their audience in the demo. It will go up against Yet Another Lawyer Show on NBC in an epic matchup of Tom Selleck vs. Jimmy Smits. Do they kill each other, or does one post acceptable Friday ratings? You'd have to favor Selleck here, even though he has one of the oldest fanbases in history, mostly because CSI:NY is probably going to be stronger than Dateline.

7:00-8:00 PM 60 MINUTES
10:00-11:00 PM CSI: MIAMI (NT)

And Miami, which has struggled out of Big Bang for much of this season, gets the Sunday 10pm "death slot" and will get to have fun starting its episodes at 10:45pm throughout the fall. I don't think you're going to get many people saying this, but I believe the success of Undercover Boss ended up having a lot of ripple effects across the whole sked. People have been calling for Sunday comedies for ages, but suddenly the Race/Boss block makes it look like they finally have something from 8-10 on Sundays worth keeping. It squeezed out a Sunday comedy block. This left them with a choice between Wednesday or Thursday. They chose Thursday, they decided to be very splashy, and that sent Survivor to Wednesday and Big Bang to Thursday.


It's aggressive, certainly moreso than Fox or ABC. (NBC not really worth mentioning, because they just don't have the returning pieces to come up with any real "aggressive" strategy.) Returning shows will take hits in favor of new shows. But as I said with NBC, that's how it should be. It's pretty hard to write off any of the new shows, whereas on ABC you can say it's pretty hard to write in any of the new shows. The question marks are going to be how big the hits will be on the "deprioritized" returning shows... those being Survivor, Big Bang, CSI: Miami, and CSI: NY.

Thoughts on ABC Fall 2010 Sked

Gonna try to make this and the CBS post quick so I can get to the 1,000 other blogs that I'm doing today.

8:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars"
10:00 p.m. "Castle"

Standing pat, which is understandable.

8:00 p.m. "No Ordinary Family"
9:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars the Results Show"
10:00 p.m. "Detroit 1-8-7"

Many had pegged No Ordinary Family for Sunday at 8, which I think might have been a smarter idea. As it stands, it goes up against Glee and perhaps an underrated competitor in The Biggest Loser, both of which will have families tuning in. Gonna be tough. Detroit 1-8-7 will certainly have a chance against some relatively weak returning competition in The Good Wife and Parenthood, a couple of female-heavy shows. Then again, lead-in DWTS results is also very female-heavy. So the question becomes whether promotion can get the target audience to show up.

8:00 p.m. "The Middle"
8:30 p.m. "Better Together"
9:00 p.m. "Modern Family"
9:30 p.m. "Cougar Town"
10:00 p.m. "The Whole Truth"

Hmm. A multicamera comedy thrown into the middle (zing!) of a bunch of singlecams, and then a lawyer show that doesn't have a lead airing out of the fast-weakening Cougar Town. Depending on who you believe, Cougar Town is going to have a massive spike if they change its name (I resoundingly do not believe that), but it's still going to be tough skating here against a lawyer newbie on CBS and a new Law & Order on NBC. Prognosis preliminarily doesn't look good. Oh yeah, and there's the inherent fact that nobody below 50 cares about lawyer shows.

8:00 p.m. "My Generation"
9:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy"
10:00 p.m. "Private Practice"

My Generation will try to be dramatic counterprogramming in the same way Flashforward tried to be that last fall. Didn't work for Flashforward, but it wasn't because it was DOA. It was because it kept on dropping. Private Practice seems to be in its final resting place. Unlike Housewives, Grey's has a long history of shows flopping after it, so that's why ABC seems to think it's such a no-brainer once they find something that does decent retention.

8:00 p.m. "Secret Millionaire"
9:00 p.m. "Body of Proof"
10:00 p.m. "20/20"

One of their more buzzed-about shows, Body of Proof, gets thrown onto Friday and will air out of a reality show that has like a six-episode order. Seems a little baffling. Tuesday or Wednesday at 10 would be a tough task as well, but why not? Dana Delany is certainly a name that's going to have a shot on ABC moreso than Michael Imperioli on Detroit or ?????????????? on The Whole Truth.

7:00 p.m. "America's Funniest Home Videos"
8:00 p.m. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
9:00 p.m. "Desperate Housewives"
10:00 p.m. "Brothers & Sisters"

Yes, America, it's the fourth straight year that you were wrong about ABC finally moving Brothers & Sisters. It's back again. Is it the right call this time? I've historically supported them keeping this night together, and really I thought the only close call was when they were considering putting season 2 of Dirty Sexy Money in the hour. But now, we're really at a point where this could be the last year that Housewives is a legitimate lead-in. A lot of people want Body of Proof here because of the Delany connection. Eh. Maybe. I could also see My Generation as an option. I think maybe this was the first year where the scale tipped to "they should make a move." Once again, they didn't.


What I liked about the NBC schedule is that it gives the new shows a chance. On ABC, that is much more dubious. In fact, you can pretty reasonably say that almost every single new show is an a less-than-optimal situation, while some pretty marginal returnees are kept in good shape (especially Cougar Town and Brothers & Sisters). That usually looks like a sign of bad development. And as I've said in previous summaries, if that's how it is, then that's how it is. I still think most of these shows should have been given more of a chance to break out.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thoughts on Fox Fall 2010 Sked

I'm not even going to bother with the midseason sked. It should go without saying that those never end up being what happens in the winter. I don't find this quite as interesting/controversial as the change-heavy NBC schedule but hopefully I can provide some insight.


8:00-9:00 PM HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM LONESTAR (new)

House stays where it is, and Lonestar is their number one new drama option out of their number one drama. (That's assuming Glee is more of a comedy.) Seems reasonable enough. Lonestar vs. The Event will be one of the more intriguing newbie vs. newbie matchups of the season, especially with CBS and ABC likely to be quite strong in the hour. Can either do much?

8:00-9:00 PM GLEE
9:00-9:30 PM RAISING HOPE (new)
9:30-10:00 PM RUNNING WILDE (new)

Glee was strong enough last fall to be the centerpiece of Wednesday, has grown even more this winter, so now it gets to be a lead-in. If there's a night to try to establish live-action comedy, it's gotta be Tuesday, the only M-Th night where the rest of broadcast has zero half-hour comedies.

8:00-9:00 PM LIE TO ME
9:00-10:00 PM HELL’S KITCHEN

Lie to Me gets another year as a Fall/Summer option that probably won't see much action once American Idol shows up. That show will be barely passable. Hell's Kitchen will be good counterprogramming in an hour where all the other three nets will at least be competent (with Criminal Minds, Modern Family/lead-out, and SVU), reminiscent of when Fox was a solid 4th place with another Gordon Ramsay show here in Kitchen Nightmares in Fall 2007 against Minds, Private Practice, and Bionic Woman. This time, there's definite potential to do better than 4th place, but it still won't be a timeslot-winner.

8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE

Standing pat here. Early last season that didn't seem like a particularly good idea, but Fringe eventually started to show enough muscle to keep it here. Both these shows could probably do better in other places, but the difference isn't large enough to blow up a night that they've kinda established.

9:00-10:00 PM THE GOOD GUYS

I actually found Human Target the "worst" renewal of the season, despite a lot of people keying in on the supposed stupidity of bringing back stuff like Chuck and V. (Well, correction: if CBS renews Old Christine, that will be the new "worst" renewal of the season.) Here's why: Human Target was barely stronger than those two shows and on a net that is considerably stronger and has considerably less space on the schedule. It did skew old by genre standards, which sometimes bodes well for a move to Friday, but I still don't see this generating any real interest. Applause to the net for trying scripted, but I think it probably should've been Lie to Me here and Target on Wednesday, even though Target would match up with the similar Undercovers. Or Target shouldn't have been renewed at all. The Good Guys should probably be considered written in pencil, because if that show completely bombs in the summer, it'll get replaced for some kind of reality.

8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS

Standing pat.

7:00-8:00 PM THE OT (NFL post-game)
8:00-8:30 PM
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM AMERICAN DAD

Standing pat.


It isn't very aggressive. That's all you can really say. The fact that they brought back a couple of mediocre performers in Lie to Me and Human Target indicates they don't have a lot of drama development that they want to put on in the fall. And if that's how it is, that's how it is. I'd have tried Lie to Me on Friday and kept Human Target on Wednesday, but that's the only real change from a scheduling standpoint that I can say I'd make, and I think even with that arrangement they wouldn't do very well, so it's probably neither here nor there.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thoughts on NBC Fall 2010 Sked

Been revealed by THR, you probably know that already, so here's what I think.


9 P.M. THE EVENT (new)
10 P.M CHASE (new)

I think this night is pretty well put-together. Chuck is a place-holder in the very difficult 8pm hour, but that's fine; they have 6.5 other new hours to worry about, and putting a newbie here could, as pathetic as it sounds, do even worse. The Event is going to have to self-start. Everyone seems to think it is doomed with a Chuck lead-in, and if that's the case, well, then it was doomed anyway. Because what kind of lead-in is this network really going to give it? This is a show where they're looking to bring in a new audience, not a show where they're looking for it to scoop up a good percentage of its lead-in. Chuck will at least have an opportunity to funnel in a larger-than-usual male audience, but NBC is just not strong enough in the scripted arena to give The Event much support.

Chase is a show that could get a little help from a successful The Event but could also have a lot of its own audience too. That's a good thing. One thing I would like to do some posts on (may be a summer project) is the idea of "flow" across a three-hour broadcast primetime. But suffice to say I think most of the historically strong top-to-bottom nights don't have what intuitively looks like a "flow." They go after more than one audience on the same night. Chase provides that opportunity.



Parenthood did well enough to get a season 2, not well enough to look like an anchor on another night... yet. So the net stands pat here. That's fine.



Now, let me get this out of the way first: I don't think it's a good idea to greenlight another Law & Order spinoff anymore. The brand has been reduced to one decent but usually sub-3.0 demo performer, a sub-2.0 broadcast flop that's just gotten canceled, and a middling cable show. Not the kind of brand that looks like it's worth replicating. But that said, pairing it with SVU is about the only way there's even a remote chance of it working. Put on its own, I think what you'd have to expect is about Law & Order: Original ratings from 2009-10: mid-1's in the demo. They don't want mid-1's. Does the scheduling maximize SVU's ratings? No, not even close. But at this point, the network isn't working for SVU. SVU is working for the network, and the network wants it as a lead-in. Should LOLA struggle, something that I think is pretty likely even in this situation, SVU can always slide back to 10pm.

Undercovers, one of the higher-priority newbies, will have a chance to capitalize on a very weak hour, the same strategy NBC hoped for at the upfront a year ago with Parenthood. Last year, the strategy fizzled before it even got off the ground due to Maura Tierney health issues, and the dud Mercy ended up in the hour for most of the season. This year, we'll see.


8:30 P.M. 30 ROCK
9:30 P.M. OUTSOURCED (new)
10 P.M. LOVE BITES (new)

With the declines from Grey's Anatomy and CSI, this timeslot does not look as daunting as in past years, so Outsourced will have as good a chance here as it would anywhere. I don't think Love Bites has a great chance of success here, paired with a generally slightly male-leaning comedy block, but again, there's really nowhere else that it'd have much of a better shot. Post-Biggest Loser is certainly an idea, but that's used for something else right now.


10 P.M. OUTLAW (new)

I feel like I've said this already for LOLA and Love Bites, but my problem with Outlaw is not so much the scheduling but the fact that it's greenlit at all. I just don't get why there seemed to be so very many legal pilots this year when the genre has not been a strong one in recent years. When the very mediocre-rated The Good Wife is considered some kind of big success in this field, you know the genre skews too old to be much of a game-changer. If they have to greenlight it and it has to be on the schedule, it may as well be on Friday, I say. Dateline will be an OK lead-in by Friday standards. (In fact, I wished NBC had swapped L&O to 9pm with a Dateline lead-in back when Leno was still around.) Yes, Outlaw is somewhere between "pretty likely" and "extremely likely" to flop, but better a Friday flop than a flop elsewhere. A second hour of Dateline at 10pm is an obvious replacement, so there's that.


I feel about the same way about this NBC schedule as I did about last fall's, which is that the net did a pretty good job from a sheer scheduling standpoint, given what they have. Of course, they stunk up the joint last year because "what they have" turned out to be a couple major bombs in Trauma and Mercy, but I still think those were given reasonable chances to succeed. Most of the priority stuff for NBC (which I see as Undercovers, Outsourced, The Event) will also have a reasonable chance to succeed, while some returning stuff is certainly put in less-than-optimal situations (Chuck, Law & Order: SVU, 30 Rock). But that's how it should be. If they need new blood, which everyone seems to agree on, they have to give the new blood a chance. Yes, it could all fail, but I don't think it will really be the fault of the scheduling. My only major problems have to do with the very existence of some of these shows.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Demos Year to Year, Thursday 5/13/10

(Flashforward vs. Ugly Betty) -38%
Grey's Anatomy -28%
(Private Practice vs. Michael J. Fox special) +3%

Survivor +8%
CSI -17%
(The Mentalist vs. CSI (R)) +33%

(Community vs. My Name is Earl) +18%
Parks and Recreation -5%
The Office -13%
30 Rock -14%
(The Marriage Ref vs. Southland) -20%

Bones +13%
(Fringe vs. Hell's Kitchen) -15%

(The Vampire Diaries vs. Smallville) +13%
Supernatural +8%

Friday, May 14, 2010

May Sweeps 2010 Week Two Recap

Different day comparisons

Lost (T vs. W) +3%

The Mentalist (Th vs. T) -8%

Law & Order (M vs. W) -22%
Law & Order: SVU (W vs. T) -24%

Fringe (Th vs. T) -42%

Smallville (F vs. Th) -43%

Top 5 timeslot gainers
1. Dancing with the Stars vs. Scrubs/Better Off Ted (ABC, Tuesday 8pm) +92%
2. Minute to Win It vs. Law & Order: CI (R) (NBC, Wednesday 8pm) +69%
3. V vs. Cupid (ABC, Tuesday 10pm) +44%
4. The Mentalist vs. Criminal Minds (R) (CBS, Thursday 10pm) +43%
5. Kitchen Nightmares vs. Dollhouse (Fox, Friday 9pm) +36%

Only two comparisons involving repeats make the list this week. If you believe in shows getting renewal because of timeslot improvement, well, maybe that's something you can use to justify the recent pickup of V, which is doing better than most Lost lead-outs historically, and much better than DWTS lead-out Cupid last year. The other two originals built on shows that actually ended up getting renewed (Scrubs, Ted, Dollhouse), which might help provide further illustration of how dumb those renewals were in the first place. (If we needed any!)

Top 5 timeslot losers
1. Life Unexpected (R) vs. 90210 (CW, Tuesday 9pm) -67%
2. Jesse Stone: No Remorse vs. Cold Case/The Unit (CBS, Sunday 9-11pm) -52%
3. Lie to Me (R) vs. Lie to Me (Fox, Wednesday 8pm) -48%
4. Law & Order (R) vs. Medium (NBC, Monday 9pm) -45%
5. Miami Medical vs. Numb3rs (CBS, Friday 10pm) -41%

Three repeat comparisons make the list, as does a Jesse Stone movie, which did considerably worse than both of the modestly-rated programs airing on the night last year, and also more than 40% worse than the previous Jesse Stone movie. Not a good showing. Miami Medical's considerable drops from last year's Numb3rs (a show that is itself probably not returning) should help show how doomed that show is.

Top 5 show gainers
1. The Big Bang Theory (M9:30pm vs. M8pm) +56%
2. NCIS +15%
3. Survivor +14%
t-4. Family Guy +9%
t-4. Bones +9%

As predicted last week, The Big Bang Theory is the biggest gainer of this week, since it's really the only show airing both of the last two years that has a "better" timeslot now. It was generally a bad week for last week's big-gaining newsmagazines, so the numbers on this list are much smaller this week and mostly consist of small increases by shows that happened to have good weeks. NCIS making this list is particularly impressive since it was a regular gainer in 2009, meaning the show looks much better than it did two years ago - a rare feat.

Top 5 show losers
1. Smallville (F8pm vs. Th8pm) -43%
2. Fringe (Th9pm vs. T9pm) -42%
3. Ghost Whisperer -33%
4. America's Next Top Model (R) -33%
t-5. Dateline (Sun.) -25%
t-5. 60 Minutes -25%
t-5. Grey's Anatomy -25%

Two newsmagazines which made the top 5 show gainer list last week are tied for a top 5 show loser spot this week. So it goes for newsmagazines. Smallville and Fringe remain fixtures because of worse timeslots, while Ghost Whisperer looks like it may remain a fixture just because it's had a terrible season.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Demos Year to Year, 5/10/10 thru 5/12/10

Not sure if I'll have the Week Two recap up tonight or tomorrow, but it's forthcoming. Till then, the last three days of the week:

Monday 5/10/10

Dancing with the Stars -15%
Castle -11%

(How I Met Your Mother vs. The Big Bang Theory) even
(Rules of Engagement vs. How I Met Your Mother) -11%
2.5 Men -8%
(The Big Bang Theory vs. Rules of Engagement) +29%
CSI: Miami -20%
HIMYM (8pm vs. 8:30) -6%
Rules of Engagement (8:30 vs. 9:30) -22%
TBBT (9:30 vs. 8pm) +56%

(Chuck vs. Deal or No Deal) +58%
(Law & Order (R) vs. Medium) -45%
(Law & Order vs. Medium) -28%

House -22%
24 -18%

(One Tree Hill vs. Gossip Girl) even
(Gossip Girl vs. One Tree Hill) -9%
One Tree Hill (8pm vs. 9pm) even
Gossip Girl (9pm vs. 8pm) -9%

Tuesday 5/11/10

(Dancing with the Stars vs. Scrubs/Better Off Ted) +92%
(Lost vs. Dancing with the Stars) +28%
(V vs. Cupid) +44%

NCIS +15%
(NCIS: LA vs. The Mentalist) -8%
(The Good Wife vs. Without a Trace) -8%

The Biggest Loser -6%
(Parenthood vs. Law & Order: SVU) -30%

American Idol -18%
(Glee vs. Fringe) +26%

(90210 vs. Reaper) -13%
(Life Unexpected (R) vs. 90210) -67%
90210 (8pm vs. 9pm) -22%

Wednesday 5/12/10

(The Middle (R) vs. Scrubs) -20%
(The Middle vs. Scrubs) +9%
(Modern Family vs. Lost) +8%
(Cougar Town vs. Lost) -33%
(Happy Town vs. The Unusuals) -31%

Old Christine -6%
(The Big Bang Theory (R) vs. Gary Unmarried) even
Criminal Minds +3%
CSI: NY -24%

(Minute to Win It vs. Law & Order: CI (R)) +69%
(Mercy vs. Law & Order: SVU (R)) even
(Law & Order: SVU vs. Law & Order) +22%

(Lie to Me (R) vs. Lie to Me) -48%
American Idol -20%

America's Next Top Model (8-10pm vs. 8-9pm) even

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Demos Year to Year, Sunday 5/9/10

America's Funniest Home Videos -13%
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition -19%
Desperate Housewives -14%
Brothers & Sisters -17%

60 Minutes -25%
The Amazing Race -9%
(Jesse Stone: No Remorse vs. Cold Case/The Unit) -52%

Dateline (7-8pm vs. 7-9pm) -25%
Celebrity Apprentice -9%

('Til Death vs. Sit Down, Shut Up) -13%
(The Simpsons (R) vs. American Dad (R)) +9%
The Simpsons -16%
(The Cleveland Show vs. King of the Hill) +4%
Family Guy +9%
American Dad +7%

Demos Year to Year, Friday 5/7/10

Wife Swap even
(Primetime: What Would You Do? vs. Supernanny) +27%
20/20 -11%

Ghost Whisperer -33%
(Medium vs. Flashpoint) -14%
(Miami Medical vs. Numb3rs) -41%

(Friday Night Lights vs. Howie Do It (original and repeat)) +33%
Dateline -13%

(House (R) vs. Prison Break) +10%
(Kitchen Nightmares vs. Dollhouse) +36%

(Smallville vs. Everybody Hates Chris/The Game) even
America's Next Top Model (R) -33%

The Smallville vs. Chris/Game comparisons are particularly alarming because this was one of the biggest timeslot gainers almost every week during November. Smallville has since fallen so far that it's about even with how these canceled shows were doing at this time last year.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Demos Year to Year, Thursday 5/6/10

(Flashforward vs. Ugly Betty) -35%
Grey's Anatomy -25%
Private Practice -20%

Survivor +14%
CSI -16%
(The Mentalist vs. Criminal Minds (R)) +43%

(Community vs. My Name is Earl) -5%
Parks and Recreation -14%
The Office -5%
30 Rock -10%
(The Marriage Ref vs. Southland) +10%

Bones +9%
(Fringe vs. Hell's Kitchen) -21%

(The Vampire Diaries vs. Smallville) +14%
Supernatural -8%

Friday, May 7, 2010

May Sweeps 2010 Week One Recap

Different day comparisons

Lost (T vs. W) -2%

The Mentalist (Th vs. T) -14%

Law & Order (M vs. W) -23%
Law & Order: SVU (W vs. T) -33%

Fringe (Th vs. T) -50%

Smallville (F vs. Th) -38%

Top 5 timeslot gainers
1. Dancing with the Stars vs. According to Jim (ABC, Tuesday 8pm) +140%
2. The Mentalist vs. Harper's Island (CBS, Thursday 10pm) +68%
3. 60 Minutes (CBS, Sunday 7pm) +47%
4. The Cleveland Show vs. Sit Down, Shut Up (Fox, Sunday 8:30pm) +37%
5. Who Do You Think You Are? vs. Howie Do It (NBC, Friday 8pm) +33%

Expect these numbers to be generally smaller than they were in the November comparisons since there are usually fewer flops airing in the spring than in the fall and because Jay Leno is out of primetime. Still, four of these comparisons are to shows that didn't make it into 2009-10. Even if Dancing results' 2.4 demo is a disappointment, it still easily takes the top spot by building on an According to Jim duo that managed only a 1.0. 60 Minutes, which had an interview with Conan O'Brien this year, is the only same-show comparison in the top 5.

Top 5 timeslot losers
1. Law & Order (R) vs. Heroes (NBC, Monday 9pm) -57%
2. Life Unexpected (R) vs. 90210 (CW, Tuesday 9pm) -56%
3. Lie to Me (R) vs. Lie to Me (Fox, Wednesday 8pm) -43%
4. Cougar Town vs. Lost (ABC, Wednesday 9:30pm) -41%
5-t. 20/20 (ABC, Friday 10pm) -36%
5-t. Parenthood vs. Law & Order: SVU (NBC, Tuesday 10pm) -36%

Well, I resolved to start doing the weekly recaps again because there'd be fewer repeats, but... here we are with three repeats on top of the list! NBC has to run some repeats because the loss of Leno freed up so much space. The CW is running LUX repeats because it's more cost-effective than making more Melrose originals, which frankly wouldn't do much better. I guess Fox is saving up the original Lie to Me episodes for a summer run, so they're giving us some awkward May sweeps repeats. As with the timeslot gainers, a single same-show comparison makes the list, and it's a newsmagazine. These shows are so story-dependent that the potential for big-time fluctuations is always there.

Top 5 show gainers
1. 60 Minutes +47%
2. The Big Bang Theory (M9pm vs. M8pm) +35%
3. Castle +25%
4. Dateline (Fri.) +23%
5. Dateline (Sun.) +20%

The trend remains positive for The Big Bang Theory, which was usually on this list in November and is back despite a below-average result this week due to airing out of timeslot. Its number could get even higher - likely chart-topping - starting next week. Castle remains a pretty modest performer in the raw numbers, but its ability to build out of the weak 9:30 sitcoms is a step in the right direction compared to last season, when it actually dropped a couple ticks out of the last Monday airing of Surviving Suburbia. And then there are the newsmagazines. Since nobody really wants to talk about those, Dateline has been a bit of an unsung hero this season. It's now highly competitive with the scripted material on CBS Friday.

Top 5 show losers
1. Fringe (Th9pm vs. T9pm) -50%
2. Smallville (F8pm vs. Th8pm) -38%
3. 20/20 -36%
4. Law & Order: SVU (W10pm vs. T10pm) -33%
5. Ghost Whisperer -32%

Fringe and Smallville were regulars on this list in November, and expect that to still be the case, as they continue to suffer from moves into much tougher situations. Other regulars on the November lists like Ugly Betty, Heroes, and Cold Case won't be on the list this sweeps, so some new blood! Law & Order: SVU has been moved a couple times now, and its lead-in is considerably weaker than The Biggest Loser was last season, and it's felt the effects. And Ghost Whisperer, which popped up on one of these lists in November, remains one of the bigger deterioration stories of the season and has gone from the dominant Friday show to having a pretty doubtful future.

Demos Year to Year, Wednesday 5/5/10

Presidential news conference on the year-ago evening so leaving out the 8pm hour for ABC, CBS, and NBC. Week one recap will have to wait till tomorrow. Sorry to leave you on pins and needles.

(Modern Family vs. Lost 9-9:30pm) even
(Cougar Town vs. Lost 9:30-10pm) -41%
(Happy Town vs. The Unusuals) -20%

Criminal Minds even
CSI: NY -28%

(Mercy vs. Law & Order: SVU (R)) -17%
(Law & Order: SVU vs. Law & Order) -15%

(Lie to Me (R) vs. Lie to Me) -43%
American Idol -16%

America's Next Top Model -17%
(Fly Girls 9pm vs. 90210 (R)) -17%
(Fly Girls 9:30pm vs. 90210 (R)) -20%

Thursday, May 6, 2010

First Two Weeks: How'd it go?

A little over seven months ago, I embarked on a quest to see if the ultimate fate of a first-season TV show could be determined by just its first two ratings results. Using that hypothesis, plus the tried and true wisdom that two-thirds of new shows don't make it to season 2, I divided the premiere results and the week 2 retention results into equal thirds and introduced this elegant graphic which illustrated the points system:

Thirty shows later, we're done with regular season shows for 2009-10, and we've got everything in place. This is what the final lists look like:


The Vampire Diaries 6.3*
V 5.2
The Cleveland Show 4.9
NCIS: LA 4.4
Cougar Town 4.4
Modern Family 4.2
Flashforward 4.0
Melrose Place 3.9*
Community 3.8
Life Unexpected 3.6*

Glee 3.5
Accidentally on Purpose 3.3
The Good Wife 3.1
Parenthood 3.1
Eastwick 3.0
Human Target 2.9
Romantically Challenged 2.9
Past Life 2.8
The Middle 2.6
The Forgotten 2.6

Mercy 2.3
Trauma 2.2
Hank 2.1
Sons of Tucson 2.1
Three Rivers 1.9
The Deep End 1.8
The Beautiful Life: TBL 1.8*
Happy Town 1.7
Miami Medical 1.6
Brothers 1.0

*-Although A18-49 isn't necessarily the "CW demo," in an attempt to put them on a level playing field with the big 4, I've taken the A18-49 premiere number for the CW shows and multiplied it by 3.

The Good Wife +3%
The Deep End even
Accidentally on Purpose -6%
Flashforward -8%
Glee -9%
Mercy -9%
Modern Family -10%*
Sons of Tucson -10%*
The Cleveland Show -10%*

Romantically Challenged -10%*
Three Rivers -11%
Miami Medical -13%
Cougar Town -14%
The Vampire Diaries -16%
Parenthood -16%
Human Target -17%
The Beautiful Life: TBL -18%
The Middle -19%
Brothers - 20%

Trauma -23%
Eastwick -23%
The Forgotten -23%
Life Unexpected -24%
Hank -24%
V -27%
Community -29%
Happy Town -29%
Melrose Place -31%
Past Life -50%

*- I finally did the rounding work, so the show with the actual worst retention is now the one that's bumped to tier 2. Modern Family and Sons of Tucson dropped 9.53%, The Cleveland Show dropped 10.20%, and Romantically Challenged dropped 10.34%, in case you were wondering.

EXCELLENT (6 points) - NCIS: Los Angeles, Flashforward, Modern Family, The Cleveland Show
GOOD ENOUGH (5 points) - The Vampire Diaries, Cougar Town, Accidentally on Purpose, Glee, The Good Wife
BORDERLINE (4 points) - V, Mercy, The Deep End, Melrose Place, Human Target, Parenthood, Community, The Middle, Romantically Challenged, Life Unexpected, Sons of Tucson
IN TROUBLE (2-3 points) - TBL:TBL, Eastwick, Three Rivers, Past Life, Miami Medical, The Forgotten, Brothers (3 points), Trauma, Hank, Happy Town (2 points)

How'd it go?

So now, with all the results in, how'd we do? We're not at the upfronts yet, so maybe it'd be better to wait on this post till then, but I can still say a few things at this point and will have more to say then. For now I'll go by category.

EXCELLENT: The biggest failing of this entire system was on Flashforward, which started pretty well and retained pretty well in week 2, but then just continued to slowly trickle downward until it became the mid-1's show it is today with almost no chance of renewal. I don't think there was really any way of doing this system that could've prognosticated a Flashforward failure. You just had to look at the other data points. The other three shows in this category were slam-dunk renewals.

GOOD ENOUGH: Perhaps the early renewal phenomenon bailed us out a bit here. Glee and The Vampire Diaries were both very obvious renewals, but The Good Wife and Cougar Town have struggled mightily down the stretch. Still, they're in based on earlier performance, just I said they would be in based on earlier performance. ;-) Accidentally on Purpose is the only question mark, and even it probably has a small chance of coming back, but I'm leaning no. So we probably go 4/5 here.

BORDERLINE: All season I've lamented about how a lot of true bombs have ended up in this category due to good retention out of a DOA start, but I think in saying that I may have lost sight of the basic principle of this exercise, which was "One third of new shows make it. Determine what the best third of shows is." And the shows in the borderline column are not in the best third. They're outside it, so officially the prognosis is cancellation. So a DOA show can't possibly get up into the 5 or 6 point land. In other words, maybe I shouldn't get too upset about the system saying a show is "barely dead" as opposed to "very dead."

That said, BORDERLINE really has been a borderline kind of category. Three shows here are already renewed, and perhaps the four shows with the biggest question marks at this late juncture (V, Human Target, Romantically Challenged, Life Unexpected) all reside here, too. So is there a way to separate the "DOA but good retention" bombs from the legitimately borderline shows? More on that in the post-upfronts post...

IN TROUBLE: To my credit, everything that scored 2 or 3 points is going to be canceled. Six of those ten shows are already axed, and the other four almost certainly will be.

So in the "safe" categories, I'm probably going to go 7/9, an unimpressive 78%. And in the "in trouble" category I'll go 100%. Borderline is going to be legitimately borderline, with currently 3 renewed, 4 axed or certain to be axed, and 4 borderline, of which I'd guess 2 or 3 will come back. Not half bad. But a few things need to be hammered out, namely the above issue about separating the two types of borderline shows, as well as trying to figure out if this is a useful tool early in the season... because you don't really need it that much right now, when it's easier to just look at the other data. I'll have more on all that after the upfronts.

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