Thursday, March 10, 2011

A True Ratings Rat Race: Tuesdays 10/9c

Timeslot rankings aren't usually aren't very interesting to me. That's partly because they're not that important and it's partly because there aren't too many timeslots on TV where the "winner" is up for grabs on a week-by-week basis. There are even fewer (any at all? ever?) where the winner could be any of five different shows on a week-by-week basis. But Tuesday 10/9c has been exactly that way since The Game, Teen Mom, and Tosh.0 all premiered on January 11. Here's how that struggle has developed since then.

In order to make all these fluctuations clearer, I had the graph just go between 1.5 and 2.5, meaning the first two phenomenal weeks of The Game (which got a 3.6 and 2.8) are cut off. Anyway, like with most situations, the ranking doesn't "matter" that much, but I find all this rearranging every week kinda neat. Here are a few tidbits:
  • Three different shows have won the slot outright (The Game three times, Teen Mom three times, and The Good Wife once). There were two weeks with a shared lead, 1/25/11 (The Game/Teen Mom) and 2/8/11 (The Game/Good Wife).
  • Both of the other two shows, Parenthood and Tosh.0, have been within a tenth of the lead at least once.
  • Since week two of The Game, five of seven weeks have seen either a tie for the lead or a 0.1 win by the winner. The only two other times were a 0.3 win for The Good Wife last week and a 0.2 win for week four of The Game.
  • Three different shows (the three cable shows) have been the outright "loser," and all five shows have finished in third place or worse at least once.
As I said above, none of that stuff above really matters, so let me try to put this weird convergence of five similarly-rated shows into perspective. There are two scripted dramas, a scripted comedy, an hourlong reality, and a half-hour reality. Four of the five shows have been on the air for less than 18 months, with The Game the only exception (it premiered on The CW in late 2006). While they all have about the same 18-49 audience size, their overall audiences are very different. The Good Wife's 11 million plus total viewers are more than double what any of the other shows get, but it's the weakest of the lot in A18-34. Teen Mom is a beast in women 18-34 while Tosh.0 skews heavily male.

Then there are their roles on their networks. One of them is pretty clearly the runaway flagship original program of its network (The Game on BET). Two others are certainly big hits by cable standards but are arguably red-headed stepchildren on their networks. (Tosh.0 rates in the same ballpark as South Park on Comedy Central but is not as iconic as that show, while Teen Mom is miles behind the phenomenal Jersey Shore on MTV.) But the ~2.0 level ain't so grand on broadcast. Parenthood is a probable renewal on NBC simply because the network is so totally decimated otherwise, but it's no big hit, and The Good Wife is one of CBS' weakest shows but seems to be in better-than-it-should-be shape for renewal because of its critical acclaim. Five shows, five very different situations, but they come together for an epic showdown each Tuesday night.

One last note for this timeslot is that even though they're the only five shows with a realistic shot at "winning," they're not the only five shows period. And there'll be some change in the timeslot in the coming weeks. USA's White Collar (typically low 1's) and TNT's Southland (typically mid-to-upper 0's) both had their finales this week, and ABC drops low-1 dud Detroit 1-8-7 in three weeks for Dana Delany procedural Body of Proof. Wouldn't it be neat if that show settled around a 2.0 too?! One might assume the dramas would be most affected by this upheaval, but we can't say for sure. Something to keep an eye on!

1 comment:

Spot said...

I just looked at these five shows, but not mentioned above was the fact that on 3/1/2011, the actual "winner" was 20/20 with Charlie Sheen

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