Friday, September 23, 2011

First Two Weeks, Up All Night


Three days into the 2011-12 regular season, there have been a lot of pleasant surprises in the realm of half-hour comedy. The first of those was the premiere of Up All Night, which managed a 3.7 A18-49 rating on pre-premiere Wednesday airing out of the finale of America's Got Talent. The Talent finale averaged a 3.6 overall but was much stronger in the last half-hour (where it averaged a 4.3). Still, this was a fairly smashing premiere rating considering legal drama Outlaw premiered in a similar situation last year and managed only a 2.3 demo.

As almost everyone expected, week two brought a huge drop as the show's situation got much more difficult. It had to face full-fledged broadcast competition (including a series-high showing from incumbent comedy The Middle) and led off the night for NBC. It dropped 35% to a 2.4 demo. The drop was Truly more like 31% (at least preliminarily), but that's still pretty hefty. Modest as its week two performance was, it was amazingly still the highest-rated show of NBC's miserable first three days of the season.

Well, if this show doesn't make it, we won't be able to say it was impossible to see it coming. The week two drop was pretty big. But I think Up All Night has done enough so far on an incredibly beleaguered network to feel pretty optimistic about its future. I'm not saying the 2.4's gonna hold. I'm not even saying the show won't ever post cancellation-worthy ratings. But I think even if it does drop toward cancellation territory, NBC will likely take further action to try to salvage it (specifically integrating it in the Thursday block). We don't have their Thursday results yet, but this network is probably going to be in pretty bad shape across almost the entire week this fall, and this decent-buzz show with lots of good pedigree seems the most likely newbie to make it. I'll say yes to season two.

"First Two Weeks" is my look at... the first two weeks of a new scripted broadcast show's ratings. I also line all of these numbers up to do an objective analysis in what I call "the system."

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