Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SpecTrulation, Whitney/Up All Night

The third edition of SpecTrulation is a double feature, as we examine NBC's midseason comedy flip. Whitney moves to Wednesday 8/7c starting tonight, then tomorrow night comes the Thursday 9:30/8:30c debut of Up All Night.

TRUE says: This should be one of the more interesting tests of the True Strength metric. The two shows have very similar raw adults 18-49 rating average (Whitney's actually slightly ahead with a 2.20 to Up All Night's 2.15), but TRUE likes Up All Night much better. Throwing out some of the inflated early episodes, it's averaged about a 2.14 TRUE to Whitney's 1.56. That means Whitney has had an average Sitch of +27% over its relatively "stable" period vs. Up All Night's average of -9%.

So plugging in Whitney's 1.56 with Up All Night's -9%, you'd get 1.56 * (100% + -9%) =  a 1.4 demo. And plugging in Up All Night's 2.14 with Whitney's +27%, you'd get 2.14 * (100% + 27%) = a 2.7 demo.

Spot says: There are a lot of things in play here that my really rudimentary calculation above couldn't really account for. Let's start with Whitney. I have three points to make, and lemme know if I'm way off base.

1) The biggie here is that on this particular Wednesday, the timeslot just won't be as tough as it usually was for Up All Night. There will be no Survivor and (at least for this one week) no big singing competition on Fox. I think the Sitch will certainly be more like even or very slightly positive than -9%, so that'd bring it up to a 1.6 demo.

2) Another thing to consider is whether there will be a series premiere "halo" effect of sorts with Are You There, Chelsea? Even though it's a lead-out and not a lead-in, that might make people more conducive to committing to the whole hour.

3) And the last consideration is this: the post-"exile" debut of Outsourced last year dropped by 28% from its last post-Office ep. That same kind of drop would put Whit at a 1.4. But I don't think the drop will be that big for Whitney since The Office isn't nearly as big as this time a year ago. I'm gonna go ahead and stick with a 1.6 demo, but I could see it being higher if the general populace is more interested in Chelsea than I am.

Now, Up All Night. The bad news here is that the show will be facing basically full-fledged competition. The other bad news is that if the show were actually to get the 2.7 demo predicted above, I think its TRUE would be a lot higher than 2.14. A lot of that positive Sitch for Whitney was based on a big drop from the lead-in, which Up All Night wouldn't have with a 2.7 out of a 2.9.

The debut of Parks and Recreation out of The Office last year got a 3.2 out of a 4.5 from The Office, or 71% retention. Whitney did 85% on premiere and around two-thirds in the second half of its run. I have to believe Up All Night showed enough on Wednesday to suggest it can do better. I'm going to give it 80% out of a 3.0 demo The Office, which would add up to a 2.4 demo. I'm a little gunshy about predicting the big increases; already been burnt once with Grimm. But I'd be pretty surprised if the show pulls a Grimm and just doesn't benefit at all.

I created True Strength this summer because I wanted an effective way to compare different timeslots across the primetime TV landscape. To take advantage of that, I'm going to do one of these posts called "SpecTrulation" each time a show undergoes a move to a drastically different situation. It'll be good for me to highlight these anyway because it's how the ratings responded in these types of drastic moves that formed much of the foundations of True Strength last year. Presumably it'll be that way again in future updates.

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