Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Demos Year-to-Year, Tuesday 2/28/12


A lot of ugly year-to-year things happen on broadcast TV, but this is one of the first days that has seen every single network significantly down. ABC's usually not nearly this weak year-to-year on Tuesday, but they benefited big last year from the 20/20 special with Charlie Sheen.

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 2/28/12


WHAT MATTERS:
  • It's that time of year again; American Idol returned to Tuesday, dominated the evening, and clobbered Fox's previous Tuesday average. But the new year-to-year paradigm for Idol was maintained; this number was 33% below the year-ago Tuesday telecast.
  • A diminished Idol had a smaller-than-usual effect on the rest of the field, although I feel it's worth noting that NCIS lost ground for the third straight week and has now come down nearly 20% from the 4.2 it pulled on the first Tuesday of the February sweep. Lead-out NCIS: Los Angeles, though, bounced back big from last week's awful showing, then Unforgettable followed up with a new series low to cap off an extremely mixed evening for CBS.
  • Last April, Parenthood had a huge spike in its season finale to clinch a renewal that was already (in my opinion) pretty safe anyway. This season, the finale got another spike above its typical 1.6/1.7 level in 2012. I'm not as 100% on the renewal this year, but that can't hurt.

The True Top 25, Week Ending 2/26/12 (2011-12 Week 23)


The official Big Bang Theory coronation will have to wait one more week, as this week's True Top 25 crown belonged to Oscar. But a BBT takeover now seems inevitable, with a disastrous week for American Idol throwing it squarely behind Big Bang and also behind The Voice. Next stop: Modern Family? Could happen as early as next week, the way things are going.

I said Undercover Boss could become the first Friday show to regularly make this list, and I won't rule that out just yet. It was #26 this week at a 2.26. We'll see if this was a down week or if breaking 2.0 was just a one-week thing.

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 2/25/12 (FINALS)


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Fox rode a slightly above average pair of Cops episodes to victory on a particularly slow Saturday.  Week two of The Firm on Saturday ticked down.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Demos Year-to-Year, Monday 2/27/12


An interesting note is that 2.5 Men is just 13% stronger than a year-ago repeat. It's worth noting said repeat came just two weeks after they ran out of originals and right at the height of the Charlie Sheen drama, but this was still a really weak showing for the original. It dropped behind 2 Broke Girls for the first time, and I'm pretty sure it's the first time it's ever tied HIMYM.

Demos Year-to-Year, Sunday 2/26/12



Spotted Ratings, Monday 2/27/12


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The first-ever Monday running of the Daytona 500 made Fox much more competitive than usual on Monday.
  • Hardest hit by the change in circumstances was CBS, where Two and a Half Men, Mike and Molly and Hawaii Five-0 all took double-digit hits. The Voice also lost a chunk, but Smash mercifully stopped dropping for one week (though the small rally in prelims was erased in finals).

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 2/26/12


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The Academy Awards exceeded many expectations considering the relatively low profile of the nominated films. The show was down just a tick from last year's finals and up by 4% in total viewers. As many expected, the show finished behind the Grammys (39.9m) in total viewers for the first time since 1984, but that ended up being much more about the circumstances surrounding Grammy than it was about Oscar.
  • Usually NBC waits to premiere Celebrity Apprentice until after all the huge winter Sunday events clear out, and I guess we found out why on this day; it dropped by 31% from last week's premiere. The other original was The Amazing Race, also down huge (21%) from last week but even with the year-ago against-Oscar telecast.

Schedule Five-Spot, February 2012 - House, Touch, Bent, Community, Archer


It's been three weeks since my last one of these, and since I don't particularly care about pilot casting, there's never really been a week with five good scheduling "spots" at once. So I'm just gonna recap some of the bigger scheduling news from the last three weeks.

House - The big scheduling tidbit of early February had to be Fox making official the end of House. This was one of the dominant TV ratings forces of the aughts, and looked pretty healthy as recently as two years ago. But the last couple years have brought huge and fairly consistent declines. As is usually the case with former ratings giants, the negative costs got driven up, making its still decent ratings much less acceptable than they'd normally be.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spotted Ratings, Friday 2/24/12


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Undercover Boss may have revolutionized Friday ratings in last week's premiere, but it came back to Friday reality this week, down a half point. It still topped the evening overall, but many of its viewers flocked back to Shark Tank and Kitchen Nightmares, which both returned to their last pre-Boss numbers. The odd man out in this logjam of strong reality was NBC's Who Do You Think You Are?, which returned after a week off well below its pre-Boss numbers.
  • In a somewhat close four-way race at 9/8c, A Gifted Man followed the Boss downward, Fringe gained a tick and a below-average Grimm was tops.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Demos Year-to-Year, Thursday 2/23/12



Spotted Ratings, Thursday 2/23/12: American Idle


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The disaster week continues for the once and former Death Star, as American Idol lost another double-digit chunk from last week's 5.1 average. (And the show actually averaged about a 5.1 even in the 8:00 hour last week, so it's not really about a one-hour vs. two-hours comparison as it often is.) It finished down in the upper-30%'s year-to-year. The Finder followed up with a new low, but keep in mind its Idol lead-in was 1.3 freaking points bigger the last time it aired.
  • Except for Grey's Anatomy, down a tick from crossover night, there was some general recovery at 9/8c with no Idol. Person of Interest pulled into a tie with ABC and built on its lead-in for the first time in 2012. And the fast-crumbling Up All Night finally had something of a good week, recovering by 0.2 and handily outrating fellow bubbler Whitney from the previous evening.
  • Rob didn't do well in its final post-The Big Bang Theory test, posting its worst retention yet by far and now gets one last chance after a BBT repeat next week. Gonna be a data point to watch.

Demos Year-to-Year, February Sweeps 2012 Week Three Winners/Losers


As I usually do with my year-to-year posts, at the end of each week I take a look at the biggest of the big gainers and losers among adults 18-49.

Top 5 year-to-year show losers
1. The Cleveland Show (Su 7:30-8pm vs. Su 9:30-10pm) -54%
t-2. Gossip Girl (M 8-9pm vs. M 9-10pm) -38%
t-2. Nikita (F 8-9pm vs. Th 9-10pm) -38%
4. Law and Order: SVU -36%
5. American Idol Wednesday -35%


This week, "broadcast" (or the sum of the big five networks' averages for the week) was down by 7% year-to-year. How much of that year-to-year drop is wrapped up in the fast crumbling American Idol? If I plug in the year-ago numbers for Idol (that is, if we pretend Idol were even year-to-year), that year-to-year trend comes all the way up to exactly even. (OK, actually -0.05%.) This show is such a big part of the ratings picture that when it airs four hours a week as it did this week, the massive drops don't just hurt the show or even Fox. They are felt across the entire broadcast week as a whole to the tune of more than 3% per night. But let's talk about Fox. They can't like having two of these top five, plus #6 (Idol Thursday, -33%), #7 (Glee, -32%) and #8 (House, -31%).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Demos Year-to-Year, Wednesday 2/22/12



Demos Year-to-Year, Tuesday 2/21/12



Demos Year-to-Year, Monday 2/20/12



Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 2/22/12


WHAT MATTERS:
  • It was another mostly down day on broadcast, which is pretty disheartening following last week's bloodbath. The only really big dropper was the two-hour American Idol, down a full point from last week's Wednesday telecast and, after no finals adjustment, down a rather staggering 35% year-to-year.
  • Other notable bad news: The Middle and Suburgatory hit new season lows again; but the consolation for the latter is that it built on its lead-in for the first time since its sixth week on the air. Survivor lost 10% of its premiere rating and seems assuredly headed below the 3.0 plateau for the first time ever, Whitney came back to earth after its impressive resiliency last week, and Law and Order: SVU found yet another historic low and finished behind fellow NBC drama Parenthood this week. But it won't be Truly weaker because of its strides on that still-dreaded Rock Center lead-in.

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 2/21/12


WHAT MATTERS:
  • On a mostly relatively steady Tuesday, it was two of the only shows to hold up during last week's ratings nightmare - NCIS: Los Angeles and Unforgettable that followed up with the biggest drops this week. One of last Tuesday's stranger drops, Body of Proof, recovered by quite a bit tenths this week.
  • There were no big rallies at 8/7c from the viewing-depressed Valentine's Day numbers; in fact, NCIS was down a good bit after finals. Cougar Town lost a tenth in week two.

Spotted Ratings, Monday 2/20/12


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Despite NBC's The Voice leveling off in week three (and it's still higher than its season one peak), lead-out Smash took another big step downward. It's now behind Hawaii Five-0 in the timeslot and not far from Castle.
  • Some of the suspicious droppers on post-Grammy Monday rallied a bit a week later, with How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls and Two and a Half Men all up multiple tenths. But Alcatraz ticked down once again.

The True Top 25, Week Ending 2/19/12 (2011-12 Week 22)


Last week, The Big Bang Theory finished just 0.05 behind the Wednesday edition of American Idol for the entertainment programming lead. This week, that gap shrunk to 0.04, but it's still there, and the race at the top remains a pretty tight three-pronged one with The Voice still very much in play as well.

On the whole, it was one of broadcast TV's most down weeks of the season. Some of the drops were weird, but many were Truly explicable; for example, a below-average NCIS in raw numbers actually had its biggest TRUE since September due to Valentine's-depressed viewing levels. Modern Family was not significantly Truly affected despite its 0.8 drop in raw numbers because American Idol's arrival ramped up the competition.

Undercover Boss may have a shot to become the first Friday show to regularly make this list. It could even drop a tick or two from its huge Friday premiere levels and probably keep making it most weeks.

SpotVault - Celebrity Apprentice (NBC) - 2011-12


Celebrity Apprentice
Sundays, 9/8c, NBC

SpotVault - The Amazing Race (CBS) - Spring 2012


The Amazing Race
Sundays, 8/7c, CBS

SpotVault - Survivor (CBS) - One World (Spring 2012)


Survivor
Wednesdays, 8/7c, CBS

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 2/19/12 (FINALS)


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The first "normal" spring Sunday was a pretty good day for reality premieres with Celebrity Apprentice down just two tenths from the year-ago premiere and The Amazing Race doing better than expected after finals to end up on the positive side by 12%. It was Truly right in line with the fall premiere.
  • Fox and the second half of the ABC evening were filled with double-digit rallies from the horrific Grammy Sunday numbers. The Simpsons was up the most among the cartoons thanks to its 500th episode.

    Spotted Ratings, Saturday 2/18/12 (FINALS)


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • It was all Fox on this evening thanks to NASCAR's Budweiser Shootout. NBC brought The Firm over to Saturday in ugly fashion, though it did beat its Smash repeat lead-in to avoid being the evening's lowest-rated show.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

    Spotted Ratings, Friday 2/17/12: Undercover Boom


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • CBS brought the strong-on-Sunday Undercover Boss to Friday and it absolutely took over, outshining any previous broadcast entertainment episode on the night all season and damaging reality competitors Shark Tank and Kitchen Nightmares. A Gifted Man got a decent bounce from the huge lead-in, but it also saw the Boss prove that CBS is still capable of thriving in this timeslot. The AGM pairing also seemed to hurt Blue Bloods, which tied a season low. Overall, I'd say not a very good day for AGM.
    • The Whitney Houston news is still reverberating across the ratings week, with 20/20's tribute tying its Friday high this season and the NAACP Image Awards getting a year-to-year bounce for presumably similar reasons.

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Demos Year-to-Year, Thursday 2/16/12


    An under-reported part of this week's ratings mess is that this same thing basically happened in this same week last year. That tends to turn me off to some of the "Nielsen glitch" theories floating around. While some of the week-to-week drops look bad, most of the year-to-year trends are not as horrible, except for shows for which they've been horrible for weeks. (See Office and Idol.)

    Ratings Carnage and the Heavy DVR Theory


    If you're reading this, you probably know it's been a fairly brutal week in the TV ratings world, even though there's no clear explanation in the overall viewing levels. Frankly, I find the "10-15% of TV viewers just suddenly decided they hate broadcast TV and love cable" theory about as ludicrous as the conspiracy theories.

    But there is one interesting one that's been floated recently. And it's wrapped up in Nielsen's relatively new definition of "viewing level." Here's Nellie from Deadline:
    I think a footnote in the HUT definition may hold the key to the puzzle. In addition to live viewing, it also accounts for people watching pre-recorded shows on playback. The theory is that a blockbuster TV event like the high-rated Grammys on Sunday created a “tsunami effect,” with people catching up on previously recorded shows as well as possibly replaying the Grammys, instead of watching that night’s programs. That perpetuated for a few days, especially with Valentine’s Day in the mix when many people were out, creating an additional backlog of shows on their DVR. The theory is supported by measurements that registered a higher-than-usual level of playback viewing this week.
    And I believe my own commenter iggy mentioned this a couple days back and I didn't exactly grasp what he was talking about. It does kinda make sense; the Grammys are typically the biggest non-sports event on TV against which the networks go "full-strength," and this year's was wayyy bigger than usual. That leaves a lot of potential entertainment programming (including The Walking Dead, remember) sitting on the DVR shelf heading into the week. I'm not endorsing the idea, but I am gonna try to explain it a bit and provide some numbers that are potentially in its favor.

    She and iggy aren't the first people to notice the problem here. My very first post in the creation of the True Strength number was largely about this. But since those posts weren't too well-read, lemme give a little refresher course:

    Spotted Ratings, Thursday 2/16/12


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • Hey, have you heard that it's been a bad week for TV ratings yet? If not, here's your heads-up. Almost everyone was down again. It was kind of understandable where most of the biggest victims resided (9/8c) because American Idol made Fox about three points stronger than usual. But a 20% week-to-week collapse for Grey's Anatomy on Private Practice crossover night still looks bad, The Office became the latest show whose season one ratings we can now disregard when discussing series lows (it was actually adjusted up in finals to tie its series low on 4/26/05), and the momentum for Person of Interest came to a halt. (EDIT: See this post on the heavy-DVRing theory for a possible explanation.)

    Demos Year-to-Year, February Sweeps 2012 Week Two Winners/Losers


    As I usually do with my year-to-year posts, at the end of each week I take a look at the biggest of the big gainers and losers among adults 18-49.

    Top 5 year-to-year show losers
    1. The Cleveland Show (Su 7:30-8pm vs. Su 9:30-10pm) -46%
    t-2. Glee -33%
    t-2. Desperate Housewives -33%
    4. Winter Wipeout -32%
    5. 30 Rock (Th 8-9pm vs. Th 10-10:30pm) -30%

    There's a lot of new blood on the show losers list this week (with only 30 Rock returning from last week). I guess that's a reminder that there are a lot of struggling shows. Because of its timeslot downgrade, The Cleveland Show was the biggest year-to-year victim on Grammy night, but Fox as a whole was down over 20%. Desperate Housewives has had a rough year, but it was yet another result that was largely about Grammy's surge.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Demos Year-to-Year, Wednesday 2/15/12


    Even though ABC's quite healthy and CBS and NBC are not exactly catastrophic (at least on a year-to-year basis), Wednesday really never has any chance of being an up day for broadcast as a whole as long as Idol remains down that much. And Thursday's the same way.

    First Two Weeks, The River



    THE RIVER (ABC)

    First Two Weeks, Smash



    SMASH (NBC)

    Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 2/15/12


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • Survivor premiered down just a tick from last spring's premiere. That's a very small year-to-year drop for reality television in 2011-12 but still the show's lowest-rated premiere yet. CBS also got a small uptick from Elisabeth Shue's debut on CSI despite Criminal Minds dropping against American Idol.
    • Facing considerably more competition in the first couple hours, ABC got hit pretty hard, as The Middle and Suburgatory were at new lows against Survivor and then the Modern Family / Happy Endings duo got slammed against the second hour of American Idol. The bad mojo in the comedy block brought no help to an underwhelming Revenge in its big revisit-the-pilot episode.
    • The Wednesday premiere "bounce" dissipated as Rock Center collapsed and brought Law and Order: SVU with it. But give Whitney some credit for continuing to show some rather shocking resiliency at 8/7c.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Demos Year-to-Year, Tuesday 2/14/12



    Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 2/14/12: Penny Can't


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • ABC brought back Cougar Town for its third season, and the Tuesday run kicked off already at a new series low. It dropped 18% of its Last Man Standing lead-in, which is a slightly better picture than the HH-based overnights painted, but it still doesn't look good. It is Valentine's Day, though, so maybe it can hold up a little better than usual if the HUT increases in subsequent weeks.
    • Some day I'll do a post about the general overratedness of breakdowns within the telecast. But as I acknowledged last week, The River was one time when they really did tell the tale. The show dropped a massive 29% in week two and is now behind year-ago canceled occupant V.
    • The Valentine's effect was generally in play elsewhere, as almost everything was below average. ABC's Body of Proof rounded out a weak ABC evening way behind its previous results. Fox's Glee and New Girl both dropped noticeably and hit new season lows. NCIS and The Biggest Loser also lost a chunk (though the other CBS shows were slightly up). Ugliest of all had to be the CDub's Ringer, which got a mercy uptick in finals but was still at Remodeled-level numbers as its 90210 lead-in took the week off. (CW had a Hart of Dixie rerun in its place).

    The True Top 25, Week Ending 2/12/12 (2011-12 Week 21)


    With all the broadcast networks at full strength, it was a deep week for the True Top 25, with 21 shows cracking the 3.00 plateau. The second-biggest Grammys ever ran away from the entertainment programming field, but there was a pretty close race at the top of the entertainment pack. The Wednesday American Idol eked out a win over surging The Big Bang Theory, but it was so close that it feels like it could change any week now. The Voice was a fairly close fourth behind Big Bang and the Idols, but it seems likely to fade a bit from that pack as the Super Bowl bounce dissipates.

    NBC got a nice premiere out of Smash, but I'm quite sure the show will be out of the top 25 next week (and probably going forward). The premiere of The River (2.10) finished #38, and based on the Tuesday overnights that should only get worse.

    Demos Year-to-Year, Monday 2/13/12


    The year-ago evening was Valentine's Day, which explains why some of these superficially bad numbers don't look quite as bad year-to-year. We may experience the flip side of that on Tuesday, as this year's Valentine's Day is compared with a non-Valentine's year-ago evening.

    Demos Year-to-Year, Sunday 2/12/12



    Spotted Ratings, Saturday 2/11/12 (FINALS)


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • As of this Saturday, NBC had aired six hours of The Voice in the last seven days. But the viewers were still showing up, and this night's encore helped NBC win the evening over another weak America's Most Wanted special on Fox.

    SpotVault - The River (ABC) - 2011-12


    The River
    Tuesdays, 9/8c, ABC

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Spotted Ratings, Monday 2/13/12: Smashed


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • NBC came down from its Super Monday numbers, with The Voice down a pretty nice 10% (still a bit stronger than the season one high) but Smash down a far scarier 26%. And considering the bizarre ending to Smash (some sort of retrospective montage late in the episode, a sense of finality at the end, then no preview for next week), I have a feeling we haven't found the floor yet.
    • But NBC wasn't the only network that got smashed on a rather ridiculously down Monday that has many crying Nielsen foul. Nothing was up week-to-week and almost everything hit a season low. The biggest culprits were CBS' first three comedies, as How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls and Two and a Half Men all took 10%ish hits, plus yet another sizable Alcatraz drop. And we can throw away those late-2004 history books on House (2.4), which (over seven years later) finally did worse numbers than any of its early season one episodes.

    Ratings Five-Spot, WE 2/12/12 - Smash, The River, Person of Interest, The Walking Dead, Comic Book Men


    This week's Ratings Five-Spot at SpoilerTV examines the less-than-great premieres of Smash and The River, the rise of Person of Interest, yet another big step up for The Walking Dead, and the disappointing start for Dead lead-out Comic Book Men. Check it out!

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Demos Year-to-Year, Friday 2/10/12



    Spotted Ratings, Sunday 2/12/12


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • The Grammy Awards absolutely soared thanks to remembrances of Whitney Houston and finished up over 40% from last year. It was the second-biggest Grammy viewership ever and the biggest since 1984. It also sets up the awards to potentially beat Oscar for the first time since that Michael Jackson-fueled 1984 show.
    • That left little remaining audience for the mostly original competing networks. Once Upon a Time held up by far the best, down just 14% from last week, and it was the only show to avoid a season low. Most were also series lows (with American Dad! an exception, as it slightly edged a couple of its 7:30 airings last year). Later on ABC, Desperate Housewives and Pan Am got absolutely creamed. Fox's animation generally took double-digit hits (from numbers that were already quite low last week). And NBC's randomly-scheduled two-hour Fear Factor did less than two thirds of any of this season's Monday results.

    First Two Weeks, Napoleon Dynamite


    Forgot to do this one since the show has been aired so sporadically! Trying to pump it out before demo numbers on week three come in.


    NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (FOX)

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Spotted Ratings, Friday 2/10/12


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • The three three-hour networks all had something good to report, as ABC got a big surge to a new Friday high from Shark Tank, CBS upticked with CSI: NY and Blue Bloods and NBC got nice rebounds from Grimm and especially Dateline, with the latter pulling ahead of 20/20 for the first time since January 6.
    • Fox was the only all-down network as Kitchen Nightmares fell back out of the 8/7c lead and Fringe dropped the tenth it had gained in the last couple weeks.

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Demos Year-to-Year, Thursday 2/9/12



    Spotted Ratings, Thursday 2/9/12


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • It was mostly a pretty steady Thursday, but there were a couple notable movers at 9/8c, where ABC got its best ratings from Grey's Anatomy in over a month while NBC saw The Office completely collapse, three tenths below any previous result this season. Perhaps it's being held up by some shared audience with Parks and Recreation? This week's 8:30 episode of 30 Rock finished behind all Parks results this season.
    • In new show news, The Finder dropped back to its week two numbers while Rob was steady despite yet another Thursday high from lead-in The Big Bang Theory.

    Demos Year-to-Year, February Sweeps 2012 Week One Winners/Losers


    As I usually do with my year-to-year posts, at the end of each week I take a look at the biggest of the big gainers and losers among adults 18-49.

    Top 5 year-to-year show losers
    1. 30 Rock (Th 8-8:30pm vs. Th 10-10:30pm) -46%
    2. Nikita (F 8-9pm vs. Th 9-10pm) -44%
    3. Dateline (F 10-11pm vs. F 9-11pm) -42%
    4. House -42%
    5. Parks and Recreation (Th 8:30-9pm vs. Th 9:30-10pm) -29%

    It's been the "year of the comedy" for pretty much everyone but NBC, as you can see by two of their comedies making this list. To be fair, both of those shows also moved into tougher situations, facing Idol in the lead-off hour. Also, NBC claimed 30 Rock got hosed by some program guide mix-ups. But even if it got the 1.5 demo they think it shoulda gotten, it'd still make this list! (At -38%) Nikita's a Friday exile, while Dateline is losing the Friday 10/9c battle with 20/20 in a big way.

    Then there's House, down 42% from its Super Monday 2011 airing. Later in the week, it was announced it's done after this season. Coincidence?! Probably so, since huge year-to-year drops are nothing new for this House season. There's a chance House could finish down by 25%+ in three of its last four seasons, which I guess says a lot about how big the show once was; most shows don't have the ratings cushion to be able to weather multiple drops of that size.

    Demos Year-to-Year, Wednesday 2/8/12


    One thing to keep in mind is that the Happy Endings comparison below is to the big premiere of Mr. Sunshine. Those comparisons will likely be even or better going forward.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 2/8/12


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • At 8/7c, Fox's American Idol finally leveled off, while NBC comedies Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea? took a hit from the return of ABC's 8/7c comedies.
    • ABC's only big mover was Modern Family, on the upswing with no Idol in the 9/8c hour.
    • 10/9c saw a big CSI drop relative to Marg Helgenberger's last episode, and it appears a lot of those refugees ended up viewing Law and Order: SVU, which was still up double digits despite its two-tick drop in finals.
    • It was a soft day for news programs, with CBS' Person to Person revival coming in behind almost all of the 8/7c repeats/specials previously run in this timeslot between Survivors. Fortunately for CBS, the reality show is back next week. And Rock Center was actually above average in its Wednesday 9/8c debut, but... it's still a 1.1.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Demos Year-to-Year, Tuesday 2/7/12



    Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 2/7/12: Downstream (FINALS)


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • ABC got a fairly slow start from The River, with the worst sign probably being its declines throughout the telecast (preliminary 2.5 -> 2.4 -> 2.3 -> 2.2). If it settles about 20% below this, that'd be a V-esque 1.8 or 1.9, but the tune-out suggests it could do even worse than that.
    • Glee came back down to earth after last week's Jacko-themed episode but was still stronger than most of its post-baseball results. That change, like the last change, had no real effect on New Girl and Raising Hope.
    • CBS was a little above average with the 200th episode of NCIS but was unable to turn that into any momentum for NCIS: Los Angeles and Unforgettable.
    • Elsewhere, it was another potentially brutal series low for both Ringer and Parenthood.

    SpotVault - The Voice (NBC) - 2010-11


    The Voice
    Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC

    SpotVault - Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC) - 2010-11


    Who Do You Think You Are?
    Fridays, 8/7c, NBC

    SpotVault - Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC) - 2009-10


    Who Do You Think You Are?
    Fridays, 8/7c, NBC

    SpotVault - Smash (NBC) - 2011-12


    Smash
    Mondays, 10/9c, NBC

    SpotVault - The Voice (NBC) - 2011-12


    The Voice
    Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC

    The True Top 25, Week Ending 2/5/12 (2011-12 Week 20)


    Yes, this week gave us what will surely be our biggest overall telecast (the Super Bowl) and our biggest entertainment telecast (lead-out The Voice). Other than that, though, it was a fairly slow week. The first three days were deader than usual as most networks sat out the last few pre-sweeps days, Thursday was full strength, and then we had a Friday and a Saturday, then a Sunday on which only one network tried at all. Just 9 shows cracked the 3.00 barrier and not even a full 25 managed a 2.00. Things should ramp up a bit in the next few weeks.

    One observation I made about this week was that it was almost uniformly less-overall-viewed than expected, particularly Monday through Thursday. Not sure if that was because the weather was much better this year than last or what. The relatively low viewing certainly benefited the TRUE of shows that managed to hold up or build, like Glee, Person of Interest and especially The Big Bang Theory, which rather handily beat both American Idols this week.

    Spotted Ratings, Monday 2/6/12: Smashing the Competition


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • Of course, the big story of the day was NBC's Super Monday, with The Voice hitting easily its biggest regularly-scheduled ratings ever the day after its big post-Super Bowl turn. It came in a bit behind the American Idol premiere (7.4 on January 18) but stronger than the last couple Wednesday Idols. Smash followed with an OK performance that was relatively in line with most expectations I saw (though behind my own). Both shows easily more than tripled NBC's previous original averages in their timeslots this season, and The Voice looks to have gotten NBC's biggest regularly-scheduled entertainment telecast rating since the first season of Heroes.* Overall, an amazing start at 8:00, and as for 10:00 (stop me if you've heard this before), the next few weeks will tell the story.
      *- You might have noticed that NBC instead claimed The Voice was their biggest regular entertainment telecast since Heroes' season two premiere on 9/24/07. That show actually pulled a 6.5 demo on that Monday night, but NBC infamously reran the premiere the next Saturday night and was able to get the repeat ratings bundled in because they showed identical advertisements. That brought the rating up to a 7.3, which is clearly the one to which NBC is making the comparison. At the time, NBC drew flak for artificially inflating their ratings in this way, and nobody's done it since. (Nielsen may have eliminated the rule, not sure about that.) Ironically, that act now comes back to bite them, as they'd be able to add significantly more time to their "best since" comparison without that little trick. As far as I can tell, The Voice's 6.7 was really their best number since Heroes got a 6.8 back on 11/27/06. That'd be an extra ten months!
    • Fox got most smashed by The Voice, with House and Alcatraz somehow dropping double-digits despite seemingly being the least compatible with the reality program. CBS' comedies were down around 10% on average, with 2 Broke Girls tying 2.5 Men for the lead for the second straight time (it looked to win outright before Men's upward adjustment in finals). Of the eleven competing shows, the only one not below average was the one you'd most expect to be: the flat week-to-week The Bachelor. Ah, TV ratings.

    Demos Year-to-Year, Sunday 2/5/12


    Apparently having the Super Bowl matters a lot on a year-to-year basis!

    Spotted Ratings, Super Bowl Sunday 2/5/12 (FINALS)


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • It was kinda funny following the various streams of preliminary numbers, some of which said the Super Bowl ratings didn't suggest a new American viewership record and some of which did. In the end it did, just barely, set the record with 111.35 million viewers, ahead of last year's 111.01 million. The demo rating was a 40.5, up a bit from last year's 39.9 and the highest in 15 years.
    • The season two premiere of The Voice started relatively early (10:19) and picked up the best lead-out demo numbers since Grey's Anatomy (16.5) in 2006, but its 40.2% retention was less than that of 2010's Undercover Boss (16.2 with 42% retention). The show also finished a bit behind the Boss in total viewers (37.61m vs. Boss' 38.65m). Viewership retention was about 34%, behind Grey's and Boss but well ahead of most recent shows (and very close to that of the Survivor: All Stars premiere). It's definitely a top-tier performance among Super Bowl lead-outs in the last decade or so.

    Spotted Ratings, Saturday 2/4/12 (FINALS)


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • Except in the most prestigious of cases (like college football's Heisman Trophy presentation), sports and awards shows don't seem to mix. A day before NBC set a new viewership record with the Super Bowl, they got about 3% as many viewers with the NFL Honors. And NBC finished in fourth place for the night despite the two-hour presentation.

    SpotVault - Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC) - 2011-12


    Who Do You Think You Are?
    Fridays, 8/7c, NBC

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Demos Year-to-Year, Monday 2/6/12


    One thing nobody I've read has observed today is that House got a big Super bounce last year, yet newbie The Chicago Code (in a somewhat similar situation to Smash) was nearly DOA despite getting its own decent share of Super Bowl promotion. I still think Smash could've and maybe should've done better, but it was not necessarily a given that it'd even get what it got.

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Demos Year-to-Year, Friday 2/3/12



    Schedule Five-Spot, WE 2/5/12 - Cable Renewals, Alcatraz, Kitchen Nightmares, Awake, Breaking In


    After two weeks full of pilot pickups but very little immediate scheduling news, it all came at once, as it so often seems to. So here's the Schedule Five-Spot for a busy week ending February 5, 2012:

    Cable Renewals - Lots of these this week. Showtime re-upped its whole current Sunday lineup of Shameless, House of Lies and Californication as did HBO with Luck despite its weak ratings start. Top Chef will be back for season 10 on Bravo. TV Land renewed The Exes, meaning we still don't know how low a TV Land show has to go to get axed. And FX renewed Sons of Anarchy for season six while inking creator Kurt Sutter through a potential seventh.

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Super Bowls and Lead-Outs in A18-49


    Super Sunday! As last year, I'll point you to the TVByTheNumbers posts (Super Bowls and lead-outs) for the complete list of viewership info, and here I'll post my figures in adults 18-49 dating back 13 years. Thanks to SonOfTheBronx for the 1999 & 2000 numbers, which I didn't have in last year's post.

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    Spotted Ratings, Friday 2/3/11 (FINALS)


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • NBC debuted season three of the unscripted Who Do You Think You Are? tied at its series low levels already (and down a tick from last season's premiere). But it still improved the timeslot for NBC vs. previous occupant Chuck. The show also seemed to have no effect on fellow unscripted shows Shark Tank and Kitchen Nightmares, the latter of which pulled ahead of the sharks for the first time in three meetings this season.
    • The four 9/8c dramas were all simultaneously original for the first time in nearly two months. A couple upward finals adjustments made the picture a bit rosier, but Grimm still tied a low and CSI: NY and Fringe were both still below average. In the ridiculous world of analyzing CW ratings, Supernatural was adjusted up from a season low to a season high.
    •  Unscripted alternative Primetime: What Would You Do? also took a hit at 9/8c, but it joined the aforementioned Shark Tank and another strong 20/20 to help ABC impressively tie for the Friday lead.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Demos Year-to-Year, Thursday 2/2/12


    Hey, this blog's oldest tradition is back for another sweep! I'm gonna add a number for each network as a whole each night, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. Should be able to do it this weekend and have it on all of them moving forward.

    CW True Power Rankings, January 2012


    Here's the fifth and final part 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

    Spotted Ratings, Thursday 2/2/12


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • Another week, another tie for the Thursday lead. The Big Bang Theory and American Idol were both flat week-to-week. Week four of Rob dropped a troubling two tenths, then the hot Person of Interest hit another new high.
    • Week four of The Finder dropped double-digits against the full slate of competition. But its growth in its first three weeks appears to have been at least somewhat True; this is still certainly a better performance than its 2.2 in week two under similar circumstances. The Idol lead-in was a little weaker than two weeks ago.
    • As noted earlier this week, the best place to be on NBC is not airing. 30 Rock completely collapsed (though the drop was "just" 19% comparing it to last week's same-timeslot ep), The Office hit a new worst-since-season-one and Up All Night sits just a tenth ahead of the Whitney/Chelsea block despite its easier situation.

    Fox True Power Rankings, January 2012


    Here's part four 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

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    NBC True Power Rankings, January 2012


    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

    Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 2/1/12


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • The final pre-sweeps evening saw American Idol keep on fallin' week-to-week. Lead-out Mobbed did over twice its previous average but still dropped over half the Idol lead-in. That's a much worse performance than last season's post-Idol episode, which got a 3.8 out of Idol Thursday's 6.8.
    • NBC's Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea? block got a nice rebound even though the timeslot really wasn't any less competitive than last week. CBS had their annual Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials special in the 8/7c hour too. Things will ratchet up even more going forward; ABC returns next week, then Survivor's back in two weeks.

    CBS True Power Rankings, January 2012


    Here's part two 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

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    ABC True Power Rankings, January 2012


    Hell yeah. It's Power Rankings week. In case you missed the first set, I use season averages in my True Strength metric to rank each network's shows by genre. All averages this time are through January 29.

    One change: This time, I am continuing to use the full list of TRUE scores this season, but I'm dropping both the biggest and the smallest result from each show's list (unless it has less than three results). With most shows (especially returning ones) this won't make a huge difference, but it does have the double benefit of 1) reducing the early-episode inflation present especially in new shows and 2) also dropping the occasional major outlier that the TRUE calculation can't properly portray for whatever reason.

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

    Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 1/31/12: Beat It


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • Featuring the music of Michael Jackson, Glee hit numbers unseen since its last pre-baseball episode back in early October. That bounce provided only a tiny bump to New Girl and none to the down Raising Hope.
    • It certainly didn't hurt Glee that this Tuesday was otherwise another boring edition of "last week before sweeps." CBS and (mostly) ABC were repeats. Celebrity Wife Swap signed off at 0.2 below its previous results.

    The True Top 25, Week Ending 1/29/12 (2011-12 Week 19)


    The final full week of January was an extremely slow one as almost all of the usual suspects squeezed in an extra repeat before sweeps begins. American Idol officially topped the True Top 25 for the first time, but The Big Bang Theory soared on Thursday despite facing American Idol and posted its biggest TRUE of the season. It beat the Thursday Idol in TRUE and was pretty close to the Wednesday one. It feels like Big Bang topping the TRUE charts even against Idol (and maybe even the raw 18-49 charts) is almost inevitable at this point considering Idol's usual late-season dips.

    Spotted Ratings, Monday 1/30/12 (FINALS)


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • Both Alcatraz and House rose in finals and finished down by 0.2 from last week despite relatively little competition from CBS and NBC. It feels psychologically better than when they were down by 0.3, but I still think Fox might have hoped they'd hold better given the lack of competition. The "true test," as they say, comes next week against a relatively full slate.
    • Otherwise, it was a slow and relatively steady calm before the storm, as NBC has its most anticipated Monday (if not day, period) of the season next week with The Voice and Smash premiering.

    Spotted Ratings, Sunday 1/29/12 (FINALS)


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • NBC was back in the driver's seat on this Sunday thanks to the AFC/NFC Pro Bowl, but it was down from last season's 4.7.
    • But the game was relatively little sports competition compared to most previous Sundays, so ABC was able to benefit with an increase from Once Upon a Time and the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie A Smile As Big As the Moon, which did four tenths better than ABC's debut Hallmark film back on November 27.
    • The return of Napoleon Dynamite was predictably way weaker than either of its debut episodes two weeks ago (as was the entire Fox lineup that aired that week). This time, it got no help whatsoever from a near-season low from lead-in The Simpsons, down 56% from its post-NFL airing!
    • Not facing an NFL championship game, the bipolar Undercover Boss put back on its 3.0 hat and now certainly has to be having CBS execs wondering whether this show should really be thrown away on Friday.

    Spotted Ratings, Saturday 1/28/12 (FINALS)


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • Fox once again got great-for-Saturday numbers thanks to the UFC, though the full rating was 20% weaker than the last time Fox had UFC back on 11/12/11.
    • This was pointed out elsewhere and I thought it was kinda funny: a movie about figure skating, Blades of Glory, beat actual figure skating head-to-head. The US Figure Skating Championships posted typically weak ratings.

    Spotted Ratings, Friday 1/27/12: Upchuck


    WHAT MATTERS:
    • NBC aired the two-hour series finale of Chuck, which at least capped off an otherwise very low-rated final season with growth in each of its last three episodes.
    • In the last Friday before CBS returns for sweeps, ABC was once again the dominant network. Shark Tank was down from last week's premiere but still beat Kitchen Nightmares head-to-head and tied its best Friday results from last season, while Primetime: WWYD? was up a tick.
    • With the usual 9/8c drama suspects mostly sitting out, Fringe got a small uptick despite lead-in Kitchen Nightmares tying its season low.

    SpotVault - Touch (Fox) - 2011-12


    Touch
    Mondays, 9/8c, Fox

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