Monday, October 3, 2011

First Two Weeks, Whitney


At the upfront, NBC somewhat controversially gave really the only good lead-in on the whole network, The Office, to new multicamera comedy Whitney. At least on premiere night, Whitney used that lead-in respectably enough, pulling a 3.3 demo out of the 3.9 demo lead-in from The Office. However, it was a slightly worse performance than the premiere of last year's eventually failed Outsourced, which got a 3.6 demo on 9/23/10 out of a 4.4 lead-in from The Office.

Then came week two and an ugly 24% drop to just a 2.5 demo. Its The Office lead-in also took a hit in week two, pulling just a 3.5 demo, but that's still a significant drop in retention (85% to 71%). Amazingly, though, that 2.5 demo would still make it the second-highest rated show from Monday to Saturday on NBC. The year-ago Outsourced behaved pretty similarly, dropping 22% (3.6 -> 2.8) with a big lead-in drop (The Office went from 4.4 to 3.7). Not 100% sure on this till Wednesday, but Whitney's second week will most likely finish Truly weaker than week three of fellow new NBC comedy Up All Night.

The Outsourced comparisons seem apt on a few levels. First, this show (like Outsourced) somehow managed to score the cushy post-Office slot despite waves of critical revulsion. Second, this show (like Outsourced) may well spend much of the fall as one of the disastrous NBC's strongest shows in raw A18-49 ratings. Outsourced got a back-nine, but the bad buzz saw it banished to 10:30 where it predictably faltered, while NBC gave the slot at midseason to something (Parks & Recreation) to which the critics were much kinder. It's pretty easy to envision a similar scenario playing out this season. Depending on what happens on NBC Wednesday, they may end up with little choice but to import Up All Night into the Thursday lineup. There's also 30 Rock waiting in the wings. Unless it gets a lot worse, NBC will likely have no real choice but to keep the show around well into this season in some form. I see them sending it somewhere else (a comedy block with fellow multicam Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea maybe at 10/9c or maybe elsewhere?) where it will limp to the finish. It may well be saved by a kinder treatment than what Outsourced got, but with what we have now... I'll say no season two for Whitney.

"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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