Thursday, December 1, 2011

NBC True Power Rankings, November 2011

Here's part three of our journey through the five networks' scripted series by ranking their season-to-date TRUE averages. I've pushed the introductory stuff from the first post to the bottom.

Other networks: ABC | CBS | NBC | Fox | The CW

The Elite
1. The Office (3.24)

While The Office was down 20%+ year-to-year during November, which is not "holding up" by most recent standards, it has certainly "held up" as the runaway crown jewel of its network's totem pole. That means its declines are, at least for now, much worse news for the network than for the show itself.

The Legitimately Safe Division
2. Up All Night (2.34)
3. Parks and Recreation (2.06)

Up All Night is still a little inflated by its early results, but it's managed to settle down as a relatively reliable 2.1ish draw in TRUE under normal circumstances. On NBC, that more than deserves to stick around. Now, we'll see if NBC can actually turn it into something that looks like it has a future. Given the current occupant's +25%ish Sitch on Thursday at 9:30, it seems reasonable to believe Up All Night could get a 2.5 demo, maybe better.

Parks & Rec has had what I would call a "quiet" year ratings-wise, but I actually do think its extended run post-Office did have something of an impact. It's basically been getting about the same numbers it got in its last fall 8:30 run two years ago, which has to be something of a positive considering shows like Community and The Office are down 25%+ from those days.

The Inextricably Intertwined Division
4. Whitney (1.83)
5. Community (1.79)

You needed not search far in the immediate aftermath of NBC's midseason announcement to find people decrying the "benching" of Community while Whitney remained on schedule. Interestingly, the two shows are nearly Truly identical even though Whit has a raw numbers advantage of over 0.6 points. I can certainly understand, given two shows with identical TRUEs, giving the better treatment to the younger one. Only thing is... I don't really think shipping Whitney off to Wednesday to face The Middle, Survivor and American Idol is "better treatment," except for the episodes being broadcast earlier. This is basically an Outsourced-style sabotage of a show nobody really seems to like (at least on the Internet). We'll see if Whitney craters under the pressure as Outsourced did. Meanwhile, I certainly wouldn't rule out another season of Community.

The Dunzo Division
6. Free Agents (1.12)

The Bubble Wait, These are Our Strongest Dramas?! Division
(rejected name: The Mess with Success Division)
1. Law and Order: SVU (2.20)
2. Grimm (2.12)
3. Parenthood (1.96)

There are three dramas on NBC doing anything at all. One of them will get the likely sub-1.0 Rock Center lead-in for midseason. One will end in February. And one will remain on Friday. Call me crazy, but I do not believe NBC is in a position to be choosey about which dramas they want to have around. It seems this network feels they don't need to even try to put any of these shows in good situations. Grimm did finally score its full season last week, but I think the tough circumstances of its Friday timeslot will eventually wear it down, as has happened with Fringe. I'm hoping the show soars in its December 8 Thursday tryout to change some minds, but I'm not holding my breath.

The Dunzo Wait, One of These is Still Alive?! SMH Division
4. The Playboy Club (1.22)
5. Prime Suspect (1.16)
6. Harry's Law (1.12)
7. Chuck (0.94)

Yes, Harry's Law will limp into its March Sunday timeslot, and perhaps it did emerge from this really, really ugly pack of shows because it has such an advantage in 50+ audience size. But I don't see much improvement coming on Sunday. It did face a CBS procedural on Wednesday, but Criminal Minds is actually one of CBS' youngest-skewing procedurals. I feel like dead-skewing Harry's Law probably could've eked out a decent audience if there was one to be had. For NBC's sake, let's hope I'm wrong.

Welcome to the inaugural True Power Rankings! I'm just going to line up the shows of each network by their season average to date in my TRUE metric (through November 27). I don't think there's enough interesting stuff to do these with any regularity, so my tentative plan is to do them at the beginning and end of each sweeps period. (Meaning the next one would come in late January.) Future editions will perhaps be glammed up a bit and likely incorporate an unscripted category, but with much of that stuff rolling out at midseason, there just aren't enough of those shows to create a good hierarchy just yet.

FYI, these will replace the "True Bubble" posts I've done on a couple occasions in the past. Basically the same idea, except I'm throwing everything in rather than just the bubble shows.

I guess I don't read enough power rankings articles to know if this is commonplace, but I really liked the "division" setup that Bill Simmons uses, so I'm stealing it. Mine are a lot less clever. 


Spot said...

Firstly, if I might inquire as to what "SMH" means on the bottom tier of the drama division?

Secondly...well...something about Community possibly airing 31 episodes next year if they don't pull it off the bench...

Spot said...

Internet shorthand for "Shake my head," meant to further illustrate how crappily-rated those are. Actually meant to delete that because I thought the point was conveyed well enough anyway. Oops!

Spot said...

Pretty sure Whitney will only last a handful of episodes on Wednesday before Community steps in.

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