Thursday, May 26, 2011

War and Strength: Summer at Starts TODAY!

The TV regular season has come to an end, and that means it's time for this blog - which last year was actually more busy in the summer than in the regular season - to kick into a different gear. Here's a quick look at what will be happening this summer:

  • THE WAR OF 18-49: Yes, my most popular series of posts ever, which breaks down the adults 18-49 ratings history of veteran primetime TV shows, is returning for a "second season." The first all-new post of the summer actually goes up in just one hour (2:00 PM ET)! (The new posts on summer shows will coincide with the premiere dates for said summer shows, and the first of those - So You Think You Can Dance - premieres tonight.) For the next three months or so, most weeks will consist of one all-new post and three season updates like the ones I did at midseason for the fall reality cycles. A couple weeks will have a little more than that, and there's one scheduled week off in the middle. That's a far cry from last summer when I rattled off six all-new posts a week for eight weeks, but... hopefully the main project of the summer (see below) will make up for the difference! The War will wrap up in mid-August aside from a few updates to summer shows which will come at the very end of the summer. I don't want to spoil too much of what I'm looking at this summer, but for a little tease, all those folks in the image above are gonna be getting all-new posts this summer. There will also be some formatting upgrades, most of which will come in on the new posts or (hopefully) around the time of the individual shows' updates. For a sample, I've begun adding them to posts for Ended Shows.
  • TRUE STRENGTH: There'll be a lot less War than last summer, but I've got a new project that should keep me plenty busy. As I noted when I started posting daily ratings updates back in February, the daily ratings updates were actually just sort of a fringe benefit of a larger effort. This summer, I'm gonna try my best to really "solve" TV ratings. We all look at TV ratings each day and make adjustments in our head. "This show's low ratings are better because it faced Idol!" "This show's low ratings are still pretty good for a Friday!" Et cetera et cetera. My goal is to quantify all of that stuff, try to put a sort of expected value on how much all that stuff matters. And the ultimate goal is to end up with a grand unifying formula that can take the ratings and the viewing levels and the lead-ins and everything else and spit out an individual rating's "true strength." I'm keeping this pretty vague so this post will be a reasonable length, but there will be a much bigger intro to this project next week. CliffsNotes version: a lot of Spotlight-type endeavors this summer and, if I'm lucky, I'll be able to connect it all together by summer's end.
  • OTHER STUFF: This sort of ties in with the above, but over the last couple months I've done some thinking about what this blog really is. Since I'm just one dude and my time doing this is less than infinite, I think it's in everyone's best interest for me to figure out what I'm really good at and hone in on that rather than try to do everything. What I'm really good at (or at least... I think so) is the "next-level" stuff, either historical (War of 18-49) or advanced analysis (True Strength and plenty of other Spotlight posts). What I'm not exceptional at is news reporting and all the other go-to-destination-for-all-things-TV stuff. So I'm gonna back off on some of the time sinks like the Five-Spots and the daily Spotted Ratings posts. They've been a nice way of keeping the blog from going totally dark at times, but during the summer months I don't anticipate that'll be an issue. Plus, the TV world in the present isn't as exciting at this time of year anyway. I'm not saying the Five-Spots are 100% dead, but I might kick them back to a once-a-month endeavor or just rest them till the fall. I'll keep doing the daily Spotted Ratings "What Matters" posts in the early afternoon but probably won't do the full table/viewing level updates every single night. The access to final ratings is a little spottier/delayed at times in the summer anyway. I might just save the tables for particularly interesting days.
So the overall gist is that things should be pretty interesting and less "churn out the sausage" around here this summer. Hope you'll stick around!

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