Thursday, February 2, 2012

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



COMEDIES
The Elite
 1. The Big Bang Theory (6.16)

The 2.5 Men inflation is lessened somewhat with my drop-the-highest methodology, but it's still pretty inflated vs. its more recent results. Based on late fall and early winter, Big Bang obviously belongs in a tier of its own. Whether it ends up outrating the 2009-10 season or not (it almost certainly won't), this is certainly its Truly best season yet because it did this as an anchor. And its repeats would clearly be renewed as a comedy...

(The Big Bang Theory (R) (3.29)) 
5. Mike and Molly (3.28)
6. Rob (3.10)
7. Rules of Engagement (2.92)

...and would be (easily!) the third-biggest drama on the network!

1. NCIS (4.25)
2. Criminal Minds (3.45)
(The Big Bang Theory (R) (3.29)) 
3. NCIS: Los Angeles (2.82)

The Anchor-Worthy Division
2. Two and a Half Men (5.08)
3. How I Met Your Mother (4.58)
4. 2 Broke Girls (4.37)

These shows are all clearly worthy of leading off an hour, yet the same "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" argument persists across the webs that we saw back in spring 2010 when people insisted the 2.5 Men/Big Bang power-hour just haaaad to stay together.

What perhaps complicates the break-up is not the "if it ain't broke" thing, it's the question of just how many more years are left on the rather old Men and HIMYM. For me, the over/under is 1.5. If you think either Men or Mother have just one more year left, I could see leaving Monday together and grooming 2 Broke Girls to become a big Monday anchor in fall 2013. If you really think they both have 2+ more years, then I'd send one of the three elsewhere. Because the first two are so established, you'd think 2BG, but I could see putting HIMYM on Thursday or something.

The Retainers
5. Mike and Molly (3.28)
6. Rob (3.10)
7. Rules of Engagement (2.92)

I dunno if it will happen, but I still say renew this whole gang. My newest case for a CBS comedy expansion: even the in-timeslot repeats of the "retainers" would basically be on the bubble if they were original dramas:

7. Person of Interest (2.44)
(2 Broke Girls (R) (2.34)) 
8. Blue Bloods (2.22)
9. Unforgettable (2.20)
(Two and a Half Men (R) (2.17))
(Rules of Engagement (R) (2.01))
10. CSI: Miami (1.96)
11. CSI: NY (1.88)
(Mike and Molly (R) (1.87))
(How I Met Your Mother (R) (1.83))

When there's this kind of gap between genres, it is time to increase the presence of comedy. Period.

The Dunzo
8. How to Be a Gentleman (1.83)



DRAMAS
The Elites
1. NCIS (4.25)
2. Criminal Minds (3.45)

The Compressing Second Tier
3. NCIS: Los Angeles (2.82)
4. Hawaii Five-0 (2.79)
5. CSI (2.64)
6. The Mentalist (2.47)
7. Person of Interest (2.44)

The gap among these shows from top to bottom is narrowing. H50 and NCIS:LA have been trending down of late, while CSI has actually been the Truly strongest of the five lately and The Mentalist and PoI are also on the rise. Person of Interest has been hitting its highest ratings yet in the last month or so. I'm still not calling it totally safe, and it's probably still below many pre-season expectations, but its prospects seem to improve with each new episode.

The Friday-at-Best Division
8. Blue Bloods (2.22)
9. Unforgettable (2.20)
10. CSI: Miami (1.96)
11. CSI: NY (1.88)
12. The Good Wife (1.49)
13. A Gifted Man (1.38)

With the possible exception of A Gifted Man, these all seem to have some life. And even A Gifted Man gets a chance to improve with its upcoming timeslot change. Personally, I probably renew Blue Bloods (which we at least know does good numbers for Friday) and axe everything below it. Make some more room for comedies and look for some dramas that can get up into that second tier.

I've kinda gotten sick of bagging on The Good Wife (especially since it'll probably get renewed anyway), but I will just bring this one point up. If I eliminate the Sports As Competition adjustment (as I discussed on the ABC post with respect to Once Upon a Time), that'd bring TGW up to 1.66. Still, from a ratings perspective, a pretty obvious cancel.



UNSCRIPTED
1. Survivor (3.51)
2. Undercover Boss (2.62)
3. The Amazing Race (2.20)
4. 48 Hours Mystery (1.33)

The big point of interest here: the premiere of Undercover Boss actually out-TRUEd every single episode of The Amazing Race from last fall, not to mention all the Sunday drama episodes. It got killed against the NFC Championship but then bounced right back up in week three to tie the Race finale in TRUE. It's obvious that the ratings so far are way too good for the Friday treatment, especially with the rest of Sunday so weak.

The more interesting question is what it'll actually do on a Friday. If the 2.62 it got last week translated over, that'd be like a 2.1 demo, which would make it the top show on Friday. I think it'd be lower, in part since so much of the competition would be other reality. But perhaps they feel that coming in and damaging all that decent-performing reality on the other nets is actually the biggest upside they can get out of this show.



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.

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