Friday, April 8, 2011

If "First Two Weeks" Existed in 2008-09

I started looking at the First Two Weeks of all new scripted broadcast shows back in the 2009-10 season, but since I've been doing a little more ratings archiving lately, I've found I have the data to do this at least two more years into the past. Here's 2008-09, and I'll have 2007-08 next week. I'm not doing this to "reinforce" the current system or anything, mostly just to have the data on hand for a more thorough re-evaluation during the off-season.

Note: I'm applying the Friday rule of the 2010-11 season (1.25xA18-49) and the CW rule of the 2009-10 season (3xA18-49) because I don't have W18-34 numbers for these older shows.

WEEK ONE (tiers worth 4, 2, 0 points)
90210 (7.8)
Fringe 5.1
Lie to Me 4.9
Worst Week 3.8
Life on Mars 3.7
Privileged (3.6) 
The Mentalist 3.5
Southland 3.2
Kath & Kim 3.2

Eleventh Hour 3.2
Castle 3.0
My Own Worst Enemy 3.0
Parks & Recreation 3.0
Surviving Suburbia 3.0
Harper's Island 2.6
Knight Rider 2.5
The Ex-List (2.5)
Dollhouse (2.5)
Gary Unmarried 2.4

Sit Down, Shut Up 2.3 
Cupid 2.3
In the Motherhood 2.2
Better Off Ted 2.1
The Unusuals 2.1
Crusoe (2.0)
Do Not Disturb 1.9
Kings 1.6
Easy Money (1.2)
Valentine (1.2)

WEEK TWO (tiers worth 2, 1, 0 points)
The Mentalist +3%
Eleventh Hour even
Valentine even
Castle -3%
Knight Rider -4%
The Ex-List -5%
Southland -6%
Privileged -8%
Gary Unmarried -8%

Lie to Me -10%
Surviving Suburbia -13%
Better Off Ted -14%
The Unusuals -14%
Dollhouse -15%
Harper's Island -15%
My Own Worst Enemy -17%
Parks & Recreation -17%
Sit Down, Shut Up -17%
Crusoe -19%

Kings -19%
Fringe -20%
Do Not Disturb -21%
Kath & Kim -22%
Worst Week -24%
Easy Money -25%
In the Motherhood -27%
Cupid -30%
Life on Mars -32%
90210 -35%

EXCELLENT (5-6 points): The Mentalist, Southland, Privileged (6 points) Lie to Me (5 points)
BORDERLINE (3-4 points): 90210, Fringe, Worst Week, Life on Mars, Kath & Kim, Eleventh Hour, Castle, Knight Rider, The Ex-List, Gary Unmarried (4 points) My Own Worst Enemy, Parks & Recreation, Surviving Suburbia, Harper's Island, Dollhouse (3 points)
IN TROUBLE (0-2 points): Valentine (2 points) Sit Down, Shut Up, Better Off Ted, The UnusualsCrusoe (1 point) Cupid, In the MotherhoodDo Not Disturb, Kings, Easy Money (0 points)

A few observations: As I've noted in the past, I was a little spoiled by starting this experiment with the 2009-10 season when there were so many shows that obviously did very well out of the gate. The 2008-09 season was a lot more like the current season, a year in which almost nothing got off to a very good start and most shows are either obvious flops or fairly inconclusive based on the first two results. As with 2009-10, there's one show pretty solidly in "excellent" territory which got axed, but in this case that may have something to do with the "CW adjustment." (If it were 2.5x A18-49, for instance, Privileged would only have a 3.0 and be "borderline.")

The only "in trouble" show renewed was Better Off Ted which was fairly widely regarded as a "bad" renewal. Harry's Law may in 2010-11 become the second show to get renewed from the "in trouble" zone.

Obviously this "system" is not very helpful in predicting renewal in a year like this when over half the shows (15/29) are labeled "borderline." But I think one of the more interesting things this does illustrate is how "good" of a year it was for development overall. In 2008-09 just six out of 15 "borderline" shows (40%) got renewed, while in 2009-10 that number was eight out of 11 (73%). 2010-11 is looking to end up more like 2008-09, but we'll see.

Also, this is a year (much like 2010-11) where having some kind of adjustment for the lead-in would be a big help. In particular, shows like Worst Week, The Ex-List and Privileged did not premiere nearly as well as they appear from just looking at raw numbers. (And something like $#*! My Dad Says would qualify from this season.) That'll be something I hope to work on this summer.

Anyway, as I said, there's no real "point" here, just want to have the data out there. Hope someone finds it interesting...!

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