Monday, October 3, 2011

First Two Weeks, Person of Interest


Frequently hailed in the off-season as the highest-testing drama in history (or something), CBS drama Person of Interest premiered rather modestly, pulling just a 3.1 demo and 13.33 million total viewers. The biggest strike against this premiere rating was the hugeness of its lead-in; the second half of the one-hour premiere of The Big Bang Theory got a huge 5.1 demo. For those people who pegged this as the next great heir to CSI's historic timeslot, this premiere rating certainly fell short of expectations.

I was prepared to come down hard on this show, but then it goes and posts one of the better week twos of any new show thus far. It dropped just 13% to a 2.7 demo, and it's important to note that there was a major change in lead-in; instead of the 5.1 of Big Bang, Person of Interest had the weak 2.7 demo from the premiere of How to Be a Gentleman. And it was weaker than that in the last 15 minutes, meaning PoI actually grew slightly from the lead-in this time. Perhaps the viewers really did embrace it the way the testing indicated!

This is the second straight show (joining Revenge) that had a massive lead-in change in week two and held up better than expected. The problem is, like the other CBS drama newbie Unforgettable, this show's already on fairly shaky ground on the CBS totem pole. The 2.7 demo would make it easily CBS' weakest 9/8c offering from Monday to Thursday. I'm fairly confident CBS feels good enough about this show that they aren't going to cut it loose immediately, and it seems likely to get an extension beyond the initial order. But if these first two weeks are any indication, this isn't the Great Savior of Thursday, and it doesn't necessarily seem like the kind of show that would hold up well in a banishment to Friday. (I actually think Unforgettable would be better suited for that.) With The Big Bang Theory one of TV's Truly strongest shows and the rest of the CBS night almost completely squandering that start, I think CBS is gonna further shake things up next season and go with two hours of comedy. That could leave Person of Interest without much of a home. Like Unforgettable, I'm not totally confident, but I'll say this one ends after one season as well. It's tough to pick against all the CBS dramas; I'll likely be wrong on one of these two, but I really doubt I'll be wrong on 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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