Sunday, January 29, 2012

First Two Weeks, Alcatraz


Fox got a nice two-hour premiere rating from Alcatraz. It averaged a 3.3 demo and hit a 3.3 both in the first and the last half-hour. It tied Revenge as the second-biggest drama premiere of the season at the time and actually slightly outdid a couple recent two-hour genre pilots on Fox, Fringe (3.2 on 9/9/08) and Terra Nova (3.1 on 9/26/11). And it pulled this off against relatively decent if perhaps incompatible competition for a post-football Monday; NBC was well above average with Betty White Night, while CBS' comedies and ABC's The Bachelor were also original.

As with Fringe back in 2008, Alcatraz got a House lead-in starting in week two. Unlike in 2008, House is not exactly a monster anymore. House got a 3.1 demo, then Alcatraz pulled a 3.0 demo. That's a 9% drop week-to-week. The competition was less stout; The Bachelor was stronger, but NBC had a Republican debate and CBS went into repeats.

Superficially, these are two solid weeks, but what gives me pause here is that I think Alcatraz's week two drop was Truly more than 9% (preliminary TRUE comparisons have it at about 15%). It had a decent lead-in this time, plus a lot less competition. And with regards to the lead-in, let's keep in mind House was well above its season average and may well come back to earth. Week three will again see little competition, but in two weeks it'll be thrown into the gauntlet as The Voice and the CBS comedies return. That said, none of those shows feel like they should have massive audience overlap with Alcatraz, and Fox as a network has a lot of drama problems. The question is where it settles, but I think even if it settles in the low 2's as Terra Nova did, that low 2 would be worth more than Nova's low 2 because of Nova's costs and production difficulties. I'm a little worried it could dip even lower with a lot of competition still to return, but for now, I'll say there will be a 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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