Friday, October 1, 2010

First Two Weeks, The Defenders


Sampling: CBS premiered legal drama The Defenders after Criminal Minds, where it scored a 2.9 demo out of Minds' 4.0 premiere. It's a start pretty reminiscent of The Good Wife's 3.1 premiere out of a 4.4 NCIS: LA premiere last year. While legal dramas are never going to be demo stars, this is a serviceable enough start. That said, it won't have to go very far down to be in a danger zone for CBS, and in fact it's already below CSI: NY's average of last year.

Retention: It dropped a very average 14% to a 2.5 demo in week two, on some level following Criminal Minds downward (it also dropped four-tenths to a 3.6). Retention of the Minds lead-in is now below 70%. As on The Whole Truth post, I will note that the successful premiere of Law & Order: Los Angeles may have drawn some people away, but I will also note that LOLA was really no stronger than Law & Order: SVU was in the hour a week ago.

Prognosis: On any other network, I'd have some optimism about a 2.9 start and a relatively average decline. But on CBS, where there's a deep supply of solid dramas and four other series premieres did well, average is unlikely to be good enough. I see the show posting Good Wife-like ratings for most of this season, but it won't have the acclaim and awards buzz of that show, and when CBS evaluates it at the end of the year I think they're going to feel like they can do better. I'm saying one and done, though I wouldn't rule out an extension.

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