Tuesday, October 4, 2011

First Two Weeks, Pan Am


ABC's new period drama Pan Am got off to a pretty solid start on premiere Sunday, managing a 3.1 demo despite its Desperate Housewives lead-in pulling easily its worst fall numbers ever (3.2). The premiere rating handily beat CSI: Miami in the 10/9c battle and actually rated higher than any episode of Brothers & Sisters in the hour last season. Its retention out of Desperate Housewives was also better than Brothers & Sisters ever did (though admittedly Housewives was a whole lot stronger for most of the B&S run), and it actually averaged over a million more total viewers than its lead-in.

Week two saw Pan Am drop to a 2.6 demo, a 16% decline that is fairly typical of new shows. Its Housewives lead-in (3.0) also got a little weaker in week two, but Pan Am still managed to eke out another win over CSI: Miami (2.4). It dropped behind the year-ago episode of Brothers & Sisters (3.0), but it was much stronger than B&S toward the end of its run last spring, and it's frankly kind of hard to imagine B&S actually getting a 2.6 in this slot if it were still on today. An odd note was that most of the viewers who left Pan Am were outside the demo; the show skewed about 36% in-demo in week one but was up to 43% in week two (more in line with Housewives' percentage).

This is another show kind of like Revenge where I'm a little tempted to pick against its renewal simply because it feels like the kind of show that might just keep on dropping gradually. But like Revenge, there's no particularly compelling ratings case against it based on the first two weeks. A 16% drop is nothing to be over the moon about, but it's nothing too prohibitive either. And the start was pretty solid. With Desperate Housewives ending after this season, ABC is going to have one more hour open on the schedule than usual, which may benefit these new dramas. I think I'm gonna have to say Pan Am makes it to a second season as well. I feel like I'll probably be wrong on one of Revenge or Pan Am, but for the sake of the network, hopefully not both!

"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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