Thursday, August 25, 2011

The "True" Bubble, Fox

Now that I have a full (if not final) formula for True Strength, it's time to emerge from the depths of my massive spreadsheet and start actually doing something with it. I thought I'd start by examining the bubble shows on each network and see what True Strength has to say about the shows that got renewed and axed. Next up: Fox.

Fox Comedies A18-49 TRUE Sitch
The Cleveland Show 2.67 2.08 +29%
American Dad! 2.25 1.94 +16%
Bob's Burgers 2.33 1.92 +22%
Raising Hope 2.48 1.79 +39%
Running Wilde 1.58 1.16 +37%
Traffic Light 1.45 1.11 +30%
Breaking In 2.43 1.08 +125%

All the marginal Fox comedies had very favorable situations (usually good lead-ins) and were weaker than they appeared. Raising Hope was the first new show renewal of the season, but seemingly a very borderline show; however, coming even with a stone's throw of Fox's second tier of animated shows for a live-action Fox comedy is something worth noting. I only include clear flops Running Wilde and Traffic Light to indicate what a huge reach the recent renewal of Breaking In was from a True standpoint. The True Strength system had Breaking In at around Running Wilde/Traffic Light levels even before it aired its post-Raising Hope episode, where it went on to perform almost exactly like those shows did (1.3 A18-49, 0.99 TS). I didn't mind the show, so I wouldn't mind seeing it back and I hope it proves me wrong. Yes, you can claim not to read too much into special airings like Breaking In's last Tuesday ep, but what it was doing after Idol was historically bad as well.

Fox Dramas A18-49 TRUE Sitch
Fringe 1.64 1.58 +4%
Human Target 1.72 1.49 +15%
The Chicago Code 1.92 1.41 +37%
Lie to Me 1.90 1.40 +35%

Though the much-ratings-maligned Fringe actually did grade out as the highest of the bunch (despite having the lowest raw ratings), it wasn't by much. These are all tightly packed enough that it was basically another "renew what you want" situation like the CBS dramas, and Fox followed the buzz. It was a particularly weak bubble. I thought two of the four would be renewed, but considering these four shows are behind most bubble shows on other nets, I can see why only one survived. It was a pretty unimpressive bunch.

Fox Unscripted A18-49 TRUE Sitch
Mobbed 3.80 3.33 +14%
Kitchen Nightmares 1.62 2.07 -22%
Cops 1.53 1.78 -14%
America's Most Wanted 1.63 1.70 -4%
Million Dollar Money Drop 1.70 1.56 +9%

Just throwing in the one episode of Mobbed to show that it clearly deserved a series pickup. Despite having a big Idol lead-in, it still did Truly well (including much better than Bones' usual TRUE after Idol). America's Most Wanted was a little stronger than Cops in raw numbers but a little Truly weaker, and it sounded like the negative-side financials were a big part of the decision to end that one. I thought as it was airing that Million Dollar Money Drop deserved another chance as a holiday-time filler. While it's at the bottom of this particular totem pole, it competes pretty well when you place it up there with the (much more expensive) dramas. So I stand by that instinct.

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