Sunday, October 3, 2010

First Two Weeks, "The System" Explanation

Noticed I was filling up my "the system" post with lots of fine print about explanations and changes, so I've decided to split it into two. This one has all the bureaucratic stuff, and then I'll have another shorter one up in a few minutes with some observations about how the shows and networks are doing. So you can read this one if you're interested in "the system," or the next one if you're just interested in what it means for the shows. I won't be spilling much more ink about "the system" going forward, and I don't really consider it anything worth bragging about; it's just a little experiment alongside my "First Two Weeks" posts to see if it's possible to accurately predict the fates of new shows really early on.

With all the Monday through Thursday premiere week premieres and second weeks in place, it's time to bring back the "objective" way of predicting a second season for the new shows based on just their first two weeks. (This opposed to the "subjective" eyeball test, which I've been providing in my First Two Weeks posts all week long.) In case you weren't with me last year, the key assumption for this system is that being in the top third of new shows is a good thing, since about a third of new scripted shows on the broadcast nets typically get to a season 2. As I said in my long post about my tweaks to the system for last year, I'm doubling the value of the series premiere, since in looking at "the system" last year it was clear that the raw series premiere number was more important than the week two percentage drop.

Here's my all new version of "the graphic" which neatly lays out "the system."

I like this one better than last year's, because last year the "borderline" shows had one thumb down and were always just outside the top third, whereas "borderline" by definition should include the stuff just barely inside along with just outside that range!

Anyway, here's what I've decided on to let me include CW shows in the first category: 1.5 x W18-34. This is based on an approximately 2.87 A18-49 average for the big 4 during premiere week divided by an approximately 1.84 W18-34 average for the CW's 10 premieres this season. (OK, that number's more like 1.56, but 1.5 is cleaner.) This is still a kinda rudimentary way of incorporating them, but I'll give it a whirl this year.

And Friday shows will get a 1.25x multiplier. This is again pretty rudimentary, but it's based on an approximation on the difference between Households Using TV (HUT) for the whole week (which I had at a little over 34%) divided by HUT on Friday only (which I had at around 27.5%). This may seem way low, and you may be thinking "Blue Bloods was the top show of the night! Its effective rating should be a lot better than 2.2 * 1.25 = 2.75!" Maybe. But while the actual difference in Friday results is far greater (Friday ratings are less than half of the full week), that's more a result of the networks' approach to the night than it is a difference in HUT or a difference in renew/cancel standards. Ghost Whisperer was the top show on Friday last year and got canned. I just don't think "being on Friday" gets you all that much of a pass.

Applying these multipliers in the 2009-10 version, by the way, would not have changed anything. TVD, Melrose Place, and Life Unexpected would've all still been top-tier, while the Friday premieres of Miami Medical and Brothers wouldn't have escaped the bottom tier. I'll try to do something similar to these multipliers in future seasons, but I'll recalculate each year and maybe even come up with a better calculation. (Ideas?)

With that said.... here we go!

$#*! My Dad Says 4.0
Hawaii Five-0 3.9
Mike & Molly 3.9
The Event 3.6
Outsourced 3.6
Hellcats (3.2)

Raising Hope 3.1
The Defenders 2.9
Nikita (2.7)
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

Raising Hope even
Mike & Molly -5%
Hawaii Five-0 -8%
Chase -9%
Detroit 1-8-7 -9%
Better with You -12%

The Defenders -14%
Nikita -17%
$#*! My Dad Says -18%
Hellcats -19%
The Event -19%
The Whole Truth -20% 

Running Wilde -21%
Outsourced -22%
Lone Star -23%
Undercovers -24%
My Generation -31%
Outlaw -52%

EXCELLENT (5-6 points): Hawaii Five-0, Mike & Molly (6 points), The Event, $#*! My Dad Says, Hellcats (5 points)
BORDERLINE (3-4 points): Better with You, Chase, Outsourced, Raising Hope (4 points), The Defenders, Nikita (3 points)
IN TROUBLE (0-2 points): Running Wilde, Detroit 1-8-7 (2 points), The Whole Truth (1 point), Outlaw, Undercovers, My Generation, Lone Star (0 points)

A few other notes: in the preview post on Friday, I rounded Hellcats wrong, and its 3.15 should actually be in the top SAMPLING category for now. It won't end up mattering that much since next week's shows will bump it out, so the distinction is not that important right now. I hope there won't be any ties at the end of the year, but I break those based on the size of the lead-in, so Chase gets into the second category for now since its 3.6 lead-in from The Event was the smallest of the three 2.3 shows.

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