Monday, October 4, 2010

CW demo: Hellcats, Nikita, etc. vs. Broadcast Competition

About two and a half weeks ago before there was much of anything else to say about TV ratings, I wrote a post attacking the notion that we should ignore all CW ratings before the other broadcast networks premiere. Now that we're two weeks into the traditional season, we can see whether I was correct to say that.

In the aforementioned post I had the ratings track in "the CW demo" of Women 18-34 for each show in 2009-10 around the broadcast premiere week, so I'll do that again for 2010-11. Once again, the traditional premiere week and the arrival of full-fledged broadcast competition in bold.

America's Next Top Model 2.1 -> 2.2 -> 2.1 -> 2.1

Hellcats 2.1 -> 1.7 -> 1.7 -> 1.8

The Vampire Diaries 2.9 -> 2.4 -> 2.7 -> 2.4

Nikita 1.8 -> 1.5 -> 1.2 -> 1.1

90210 1.8 -> 1.8 -> 1.9

Gossip Girl 2.0 -> 2.5 -> 2.1

One Tree Hill 2.0 -> 1.8 -> 1.6

Life Unexpected 1.4 -> 1.2 -> 1.1

As with last season, it certainly appears that the big 4 didn't come in and totally crush the network during premiere week. Nikita took the largest percentage hit at 20%, though it faced one of the highest-rated broadcast episodes of the week in the CW demo (the 7.9 W18-34 of the Grey's Anatomy premiere). One Tree Hill only dropped two ticks (10%) against the mammoth premiere of Glee (and then another two against the Britney Spears ep of Glee). The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl actually rallied against full-fledged broadcast competition. And five of the eight shows have done at least as well against the big 4 as they were doing before.

So I'll say it again: I don't think the early start means we should invalidate the CW's early numbers. The shows that have taken real damage (namely Nikita and Life Unexpected) may well have done that anyway, as their numbers were marginal at best even before the broadcast premieres.

And a quick update on Hellcats/Nikita: after the first two weeks I gave a slight edge to Hellcats over Nikita for renewal because Hellcats still had a 0.2 lead in the CW demo and I felt the Grey's premiere would hurt Nikita more than anything else hurt Hellcats. I was pretty much right, as Hellcats has held up pretty well and Nikita has continued to drop. The gap between the two was a whooping 0.7 last week, with Nikita now behind a Friday edition of Supernatural, and Hellcats is in the top half of the network totem pole. So I'm feeling even better about Hellcats' prospects than I did then. In fact I'm a bit surprised it hasn't scored the back nine yet, though it does have an extended script order. I don't want to count Nikita totally out (it's still slightly ahead of Hellcats in adults 18-49, for example), but based on the W18-34 results alone, it isn't looking good.

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