Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First Two Weeks, Lone Star


Premiere Week Year-to-Year, The Recap

As I usually do with my year-to-year posts, at the end of each week I take a look at the biggest of the big gainers and losers among adults 18-49. You can click the "sweep summaries" label to see the various forms those have taken in past sweeps. This time, I'm gonna keep doing the top 5 lists that I started doing last season.

Premiere Week Year-to-Year, Sunday

Will Undercover Boss continue to resurrect CBS Sunday as it did last year? Seems to be the case in the early going.

Monday, September 27, 2010

First Two Weeks, Outlaw


Premiere Week Year-to-Year, Friday

Medium plummets leading off the night, two hours of Dateline are better than one, and CSI: NY feels the hurt of a move to Friday, but Supernatural (not included below, but down just one tick in A18-49) amazingly didn't. It was down 24% in "the CW demo" from last year's premiere, but still ahead of what Nikita got in its old timeslot the night before.

Why the Metered Markets REALLY Suck

I try not to make any judgments about anything (OK, except Lone Star) based on the metered market results that usually start showing up around 9:00am Eastern time, because 1) they're not very accurate and 2) they're based on household measurements, not on the all important A18-49 demo. But this year it's even more of a folly than usual, at least when making year-to-year comparisons, because this year's metered market results are based on Live + Same Day DVR numbers while last year's were based on Live only. That's caused people to be incredibly optimistic based on the early numbers pretty much throughout premiere week, only to be crushed when everything takes its rather normal year-to-year drop when the demos come out.

I like to think my reply to a thread this morning on PIFeedback helped raise awareness about this, as already today it's been mentioned at TVByTheNumbers, while Marc Berman at Mediaweek, the guy who makes a lot of the metered market stuff available at PIFeedback, has now proclaimed he'll put a disclaimer about the Live + SD vs. Live comparisons in his daily columns. There's probably something or someone else who really deserves that credit (and props to PIF poster TVfanatic71, who I assume works in the biz, for bringing it up in the first place) but I'm takin' it anyway! In the meantime, just know that all those metered market household numbers should be taken with an even more massive grain of salt than usual.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Premiere Week Newbies: The Big Dropper

Just a preview of the many "First Two Weeks" posts to come next week... this is approximately how the "SAMPLING" (aka week one) portion of "the system" will look a week from now. Still going to wait on the CW shows until I get a look at the big 4 premiere week averages to see if I can figure out a way to adjust them, but I hope to get them on the list as well.

$#*! My Dad Says 4.0
Hawaii Five-0 3.9
Mike & Molly 3.9
The Event 3.6
Outsourced 3.6

Raising Hope 3.1
The Defenders 2.9
Better with You 2.5
Running Wilde 2.4
Chase 2.3

Outlaw 2.3
Detroit 1-8-7 2.3
Undercovers 2.1
My Generation 1.6
The Whole Truth 1.5
Lone Star 1.3

This is how it looked through the fall Thursday shows a year earlier (aside from the coloring to denote renewal/cancellation, lifted directly from the first ever post on "the system" on 10/2/09):

The Vampire Diaries (6.3)
NCIS: LA 4.4
Cougar Town 4.4
Modern Family 4.2

Flashforward 4.0
Melrose Place (3.9)
Community 3.8
Glee 3.5
Accidentally on Purpose 3.3

The Good Wife 3.1
Eastwick 3.0
The Forgotten 2.6
Mercy 2.3
The Beautiful Life: TBL (1.8)

Now, even if you don't buy some of the stuff I say later on, just on the surface, this year's premieres through four days are weaker than last year's. Even throwing out my rudimentary 3xA18-49 multiplier for the CW shows, four 2009 premieres did at least as well as fall 2010's best. And four of 2010's premieres did worse than Mercy, the lowest big-four premiere last time around. Three of those four did much, much worse. Nine of 11 premieres at this time a year ago broke the 3.0 threshold, and just six of 15 this year. I'm gonna look more at returning show drops in a future post, but my gut right now says that the weaker premieres are not just part of a larger broadcast erosion. I don't think the returning shows are looking this bad.

Even just with the raw numbers, it looks like a weak year for new shows. But then I take it to the next level and gets even more grim: so many of this fall's newbies dropped big from their lead-ins. Here's the above list again with lead-ins added in. The big droppers are in bold.

$#*! My Dad Says 4.0 (from 4.9)
Hawaii Five-0 3.9 (from 3.9)
Mike & Molly 3.9 (from 4.9)
The Event 3.6 (from 2.0)
Outsourced 3.6 (from 4.4)

Raising Hope 3.1 (from 5.6)
The Defenders 2.9 (from 4.0)
Better with You 2.5 (from 2.7)
Running Wilde 2.4 (from 3.1)
Chase 2.3 (from 3.6)

Outlaw 2.3 (from 3.9)
Detroit 1-8-7 2.3 (from 4.4)
Undercovers 2.1 (none)
My Generation 1.6 (none)
The Whole Truth 1.5 (from 3.4)
Lone Star 1.3 (from 4.2)

So 11 of these 16 shows took pretty large drops from the shows airing before them. And even leaving out Better with You is a bit conservative considering the increase in Households Using TV (HUT) at 8:30, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. That leaves two shows that had no lead-in and debuted weakly (Undercovers/My Gen) and then two legitimately strong launches relative to the lead-in in Hawaii Five-0 and The Event. And even then, Five-0 merely maintained, it didn't build meaningfully.

Compare this to last year's launches. Yes, there were a few that took similarly large drops, like The Good Wife, Eastwick, and The Forgotten, and one of those (TGW) actually got renewed. But those were still near the bottom of the sampling list at this time last year. Others had good lead-ins but did much better work with them. Accidentally on Purpose and NCIS: LA, in typical CBS fashion, got good lead-ins to start, but both dropped less than 10% from them. Same with Community. Modern Family actually built big out of Dancing with the Stars, and then Cougar Town grew from Modern Family! The Cleveland Show rose seven ticks out of The Simpsons, Glee rose big out of So You Think You Can Dance, and other large premieres of the season like Flashforward and The Vampire Diaries were leading off the evening.

So does this matter? If you've been reading TVByTheNumbers long enough, you may have been convinced that lead-in retention never means anything. I started a project on this issue once, and maybe I'll finish it when things slow down. Until then, I'll offer an alternative way of looking at why dropping from a big lead-in bodes poorly; it often means the shows drop big within the airing. Here's a look at the first 15 minutes vs. last 15 minutes of each newbie.

$#*! My Dad Says 4.1/13 -> 3.8/11
Hawaii Five-0 4.1/11 -> 3.8/11
Mike & Molly 4.1/10 -> 3.8/9
The Event 3.3/8 -> 3.9/10
Outsourced 3.9/10 -> 3.3/9

Raising Hope 3.2/9 -> 2.9/8
The Defenders 3.2/9 -> 2.7/8
Better with You 2.5/7 -> 2.6/7
Running Wilde 2.5/7 -> 2.3/6
Chase 2.6/7 -> 2.2/6

Detroit 1-8-7 2.7/7 -> 2.0/6
Undercovers 2.0/7 -> 2.2/6
My Generation 1.5/5 -> 1.8/5
The Whole Truth 1.8/5 -> 1.3/4
Lone Star 1.7/4 -> 1.0/2

I included the shares just to offer a HUT-resistant measure of looking at this stuff as well. It's no coincidence that of the 10 shows that dropped big from the lead-in, all of them also dropped both in rating and share across the airing, while just one of the other five shows took a rating drop (H50) and just one took a share drop (Undercovers). I don't think it's all about viewers rejecting those 10 shows and liking the other five, I just think it should illustrate that a show taking a big lead-in drop shouldn't "count" quite as highly, because it's propped up by people leaving on the TV. It's only natural. If you need some evidence of this "propping up" thing, look no further than Outlaw's drop from a 2.3 after Got Talent to a 1.1 prelim last Friday. 50%+ drops do not happen under normal circumstances.

Last year, The Forgotten and Eastwick took big lead-in dives in week 1 and then huge overall dives in week 2, though The Good Wife was actually the only 2009-10 newbie to grow in week 2. So the power of the big lead-in for week 2 retention is still a bit inconclusive. It might seem that the "propping up" would continue going forward and help those numbers a bit. We'll see.

For now, though, I hope at least the raw numbers and maybe some of the other rather bad signs should help to show that this is a pretty dire year for new shows so far. Last season, 7 of 14 newbies at this point (50%) got a second season, two others got a full back-nine, and 12 of the 14 (only Eastwick and The Beautiful Life excepted) got some kind of episode extension. By the time all the new scripted shows were in play, 43% (13 out of 30) got renewed. It's early, of course, but I'm feeling pretty confident all those percentages are gonna be lower this time around. And I'll reiterate, I don't just think this is about the decline of primetime in general. I think even taking that stuff into account, it looks bad. We shall see!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Premiere Ratings: Blue Bloods, Outlaw

Two last premiere week series bows to discuss! May do something like this for the No Ordinary Family and Law & Order: LA premiere next week, but I've mostly done these to cut down on all the work that the "First Two Weeks" posts will require next week, and I won't have nearly as many of those to write in week three. So we'll see.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Premiere Week Year-to-Year, Thursday

This is kind of a strange year-to-year evening because both NBC and Fox premiered a week early last year, and 30 Rock premiered a few weeks into fall 2009. So it's kinda hard to gauge the premieres of stuff like Bones and Fringe, down big from the premieres against little competish last year but down not so big vs. the non-premieres in the slot last year in the traditional premiere week. I'll let you decide!

Premiere Ratings: $#*! My Dad Says, Outsourced, My Generation

It seems that so much of the premiere week analysis has been "how did the show do relative to its big lead-in?" I don't really remember it being that way last year, but... yeah. Two of today's three premieres fall under that blanket as well.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Premiere Week Year-to-Year, Wednesday

Premiere Ratings: Undercovers, The Defenders, Better with You, The Whole Truth

If you were underwhelmed by the premiere ratings for the likes of Hawaii Five-0, The Event, and Raising Hope, you hadn't seen nothin' yet. Two more pretty ugly numbers and two more barely passable ones on premiere Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Premiere Week Year-to-Year, Tuesday

In which I look at just how steep the Glee increase ended up being in the finals.

Premiere Ratings: Raising Hope, Running Wilde, Detroit 1-8-7

As I did yesterday, I'll quickly run through how I see the ratings performances for the series premieres on Tuesday, and check back this evening for another year-to-year table. Today, we look at Fox comedies Raising Hope and Running Wilde along with ABC's Detroit 1-8-7.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Premiere Week Year-to-Year, Monday

We're approaching the 18-month anniversary of this blargspot, and in the earliest days I used it exclusively for my Demos Year-to-Year posts during sweeps periods. I've decided to add premiere week to that collection for 2010-11, since it's the most interesting time of the ratings year. I may do it next week as well, but I have a feeling the 15+ "First Two Weeks" posts will be more than enough crap for that week. You can click on the "daily ratings" label to see lots of other individual year-to-year comparisons dating back to May sweeps in 2009. I'm sprucing it up a bit this time around, though it's all the same info, and I have a brief explanation of how to read it at the bottom.

Premiere Ratings: Hawaii Five-0, The Event, Lone Star, Mike & Molly, Chase

As they'd say on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I got a little "jammed up" so I couldn't finish this quite as soon as I hoped. But let me be the last to offer some quick thoughts on the premiere Monday prelims. Will do a more numbers-licious post based on the finals later on:

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Know What You Rated Last Summer, Cable

One last post on summer TV ratings as I vomit out some of my cable A18-49 averages from this summer. (I vomited the broadcast averages earlier today.) A few important caveats:
  • This isn't even close to being a comprehensive list. It only consists of the shows whose ratings I keep up with, and that mostly includes scripted shows and fairly well-known unscripted shows, and not even close to all of those either. So there are a ton of microscopically-rated unscripted shows toward the bottom that I just don't care enough to keep up with. It's not quite as dire for scripted as it appears. 
  • For WWE Raw, Pawn Stars, and American Pickers, which seem to air new eps all the time, I took exclusively the episodes that aired from the last day of the regular season through the last day of the summer. Other shows that started a run of episodes during the regular season but aired mostly during the summer are averages of the whole run, not just the summer ones. 
  • Many or even most of these nets don't actually target A18-49, and the standards for what's "good" even within A18-49 are wildly different from network to network, so don't take this as necessarily a "totem pole" of performance. It's just one way of lining it all up.

I Know What You Rated Last Summer, Broadcast

These are Live + SD averages for broadcast series that aired this summer. I left out a few of the shows that are year-round (Dateline, 20/20, Fox Saturday shows) but this should cover most of it. I was going to write more, but I couldn't come up with anything except that, despite all the efforts, broadcast scripted in the summer still has a long way to go to gain a real foothold. Lots of bold in the second half of the list.

The Replacements, Fall 2010

One underused way of predicting early cancellations is to look at what the network would have to put in their place. Without an obvious replacement or terribly disastrous ratings, shows can linger longer than ratings warrant. (See several new shows kept around during the 2007-08 WGA strike, along with NBC's Mercy and Trauma sticking around post-Leno.) So with my apologies for being a Gloomy Gus, here's one more piece of perspective: what I see happening in each show's nightmare scenario.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

22 Hours of Primetime Index

Thanks for reading 22 Hours of Primetime. Hope it was an informative way to get you geared up for fall 2010, or at least a trip down recent memory lane. And what do you know, here we are on the eve of the fall season! Here's a quick rundown of the 22 hours:

Sunday - 7/6c | 8/7c | 9/8c | 10/9c
Monday - 8/7c | 9/8c | 10/9c
Tuesday - 8/7c | 9/8c | 10/9c
Wednesday - 8/7c | 9/8c | 10/9c
Thursday - 8/7c | 9/8c | 10/9c
Friday - 8/7c | 9/8c | 10/9c
Saturday - 8/7c | 9/8c | 10/9c

List of 2009 posts

With the submission of this post, it means for the first time in almost three months I have ZERO finished posts scheduled to go up in the future. But tomorrow I hope to finish up a little something on summer TV ratings, and I'll probably have some stuff to say next week about all the interesting premiere week happenings.

Till then, enjoy fall 2010 TV!

22 Hours of Primetime, Sunday 10/9c

Today, the end of the road as my fall preview dissects Sunday 10/9c. This hour presents a very different situation for each network. For one, it's the lead-out to a top drama, one of the most plum spots on the net. For another, it can be a really tough road because football overruns often push the start of the program nearly out of primetime. For the third, it's sports in the fall, meaning you can't air something that would be year-round in the first and second quarters.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

22 Hours of Primetime, Saturday 10/9c

Today, my fall preview looks at Saturday 10/9c. It's the third straight hour of Saturday night that will see two nets going original, although unlike in the first two, this time it's CBS and not Fox.

Friday, September 17, 2010

First Two Weeks, Nikita


Sampling: Nikita's not-that-relevant numbers looked pretty good, with 3.570 million viewers and a 1.4 in adults 18-49. But it got only a 1.8 in "The CW Demo" of W18-34. That was pretty close to most of the CW pack, but it still finished ahead of just one of eight CW premieres. And that was with easily the network's largest lead-in, the 2.9 W18-34 of The Vampire Diaries.

First Two Weeks, Hellcats

It's the return of the system in which I try to prognosticate new show fates based on just two weeks of data! Rather than bury the lede, I'll talk Hellcats first, and then after that I'll reintroduce some of the finer points of this project.

22 Hours of Primetime, Friday 10/9c

The cancellation of Numb3rs, long a favorite in this hour, throws this timeslot up in the air. Long-running newsmagazine 20/20 will have a real shot, but so may the new scripted offerings.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

22 Hours of Primetime, Thursday 10/9c

Today, my fall preview looks at Thursday 10/9c. There have been quite a few changes in this hour in recent years, but at least two of the nets seem to be set here for now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CW demo: Premiere week on the CDub

Well, the CW's crazy Wednesday to Tuesday premiere week has come to an end, and it was one of their ugliest yet. And that's saying something. Here are how the net's eight premieres did this "week" in "The CW Demo" of women 18-34.

22 Hours of Primetime, Wednesday 10/9c

Today, my fall preview looks at Wednesday 10/9c, one of the true scheduling oddities of fall 2010. Once a longtime home to veteran procedurals Law & Order and CSI: NY, a new generation of episodic dramas takes over on all three nets. Not only that, but they're all legal-themed!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Intro to Nielsen Ratings


Last updated: 8/12/2011. As I said when I first wrote this, please let me know if you find anything that's unclear or incomplete or incorrect. I'd like this to lay pretty much all the necessary groundwork you need to start looking at TV ratings, and I could very well have left out something big!

22 Hours of Primetime, Tuesday 10/9c

Today, my fall preview looks at Tuesday 10/9c. NBC's Law & Order: SVU dominated this hour for years but took a hit when CBS finally moved a veteran crime drama to the hour in Without a Trace last year. Now both are gone and we have a second straight season with no clear favorite. It's anybody's game.

Monday, September 13, 2010

22 Hours of Primetime, Monday 10/9c

 Today, my fall preview looks at Monday 10/9c, a battle of three crime dramas. I've got one of them threatening to do about as well as the other two combined, at least early on.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How to Remake It in America

Tomorrow, I'll launch into my 10:00 hour previews with Monday 10/9c, and in that post I will predict that the remake of Hawaii Five-0 will have the biggest series premiere of any new scripted show this season. I just wanted to expand on my reasoning for that prediction a bit. None of this info is particularly new if you've been keeping up with ratings for the last three years, but here's the deal: when you remake an old TV show/film with a particularly iconic past, it's kinda like signing a deal with the devil. These two things have, time and again, proven true:

22 Hours, Sunday 9/8c

Today, my fall preview looks at Sunday 9/8c. Desperate Housewives premiered in this hour on ABC in fall 2004 and a megahit - and timeslot definer - was born. It's used to losing to football in the hour, in the 2009-10 season an upstart on CBS often kept the long-running ABC drama out of the winner's circle even in the spring.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

22 Hours of Primetime, Saturday 9/8c

Today, my fall preview looks at Saturday 9/8c. As I said last week, the night is dead in terms of scripted originals (or at least good faith efforts at scripted originals), but two of the networks will have something original in the fall.

Friday, September 10, 2010

22 Hours of Primetime, Friday 9/8c

Today, my fall preview looks at Friday 9/8c. This is one of the very few timeslots on TV where almost every network has had a lot of upheaval in the last few seasons. Nobody's had a staple show.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

But they had no competition!

If you're reading analysis of the Top Model and Hellcats premiere ratings today, you'll notice a lot of people saying that we need to wait to see how they do against full-fledged broadcast competition.  And that's true, of course, but does that mean last night's numbers are totally invalid?

22 Hours, Thursday 9/8c

Today, my fall preview looks at Thursday 9/8c. In fall 2006, the Thursday landscape completely changed thanks to ABC bringing Sunday hit Grey's Anatomy over to the night. CSI dominated this hour for the first half of the decade but last season was lucky to even come in second in the 9:00 half-hour.

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