Saturday, January 21, 2012
CBS got a pretty nice premiere out of Rob, as its 4.1 demo was the highest Thursday comedy rating CBS has gotten in the last couple years out of a show not named The Big Bang Theory. The show did drop by 23% from its Big Bang lead-in (5.3), but overall it was a little better than the $#*! My Dad Says premiere (4.0 on 9/23/10) and much stronger than anything Rules of Engagement or especially How to Be a Gentleman got on Thursday.
Like Are You There, Chelsea? from the last one of these, the timeslot got a lot more crowded in week two. Rob had to go up against American Idol starting in its second week. The Thursday premiere of Idol was fairly weak by Idol standards (5.7 demo), and it had no effect at all on The Big Bang Theory (or, more likely, Big Bang was held up by the 100th episode hype). Rob dropped a relatively standard 15% to a 3.5 demo, which is only a little bigger than Rules of Engagement's average in the timeslot this season (3.34). Retention is now 66%.
This one's pretty complicated. A 3.5 demo is clearly renew-worthy on CBS. But this network has a history of focusing on lead-in dynamics when it comes to comedies. By that standard, Rob at 66% is already fairly marginal and behind most of the admittedly bubbly Rules' results this season. It does deserve some credit for going up against American Idol. Another question about this whole retention thing is whether CBS will adjust their standards somewhat now that the comedies are such massive hits in the relative landscape and their entire comedy department (including Rob) is pretty much outshining their entire drama/reality departments. Then there's the recent rise of Person of Interest, which has somewhat complicated what many felt was an inevitable expansion to four hours of CBS comedy. Well, I'm going to predict Rob gets renewed. I think it has to get a bit of a pass for facing Idol, I think CBS likes people involved with the show, I think CBS will be more tolerant of Rules-style retention or a bit worse from a new show with potential for improvement, and ultimately, I think CBS is going to have to really evaluate whether they want to get rid of a comedy that's outrating almost all their dramas. Even with the recent Person of Interest developments, I still strongly believe CBS should add a fourth hour of comedy somewhere. But don't be shocked if this ends up another $#*!-ty situation.
"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."