Friday, February 24, 2012

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%).

Top 5 year-to-year show gainers
1. 20/20 (F 9-11pm vs. F 10-11pm) +67%
2. The Big Bang Theory +38%
3. 60 Minutes +29%
4. Modern Family +17%
5. Private Practice +13%

Friday's 20/20 (plus a big increase for the NAACP Image Awards, not included here since it aired a couple weeks later last year) capped off what was a solid seven-day period of Whitney Houston-driven ratings spikes. Private Practice has been struggling this winter, but it got its usual Grey's Anatomy crossover boost, and it might have been even bigger if not for Grey's collapsing in an Idol-filled slot at 9/8c.

Top 5 year-to-year timeslot losers
1. Nikita vs. Smallville (CW, Friday 8-9pm) -47%
2. NAACP Image Awards vs. Who Do You Think You Are?/Dateline (NBC, Friday 8-10pm) -41%
t-3. The Cleveland Show vs. American Dad! (Fox, Sunday 7:30-8pm) -40%
t-3. Rock Center vs. Minute to Win It (NBC, Wednesday 9-10pm) -40%
t-3. Remodeled vs. Shedding for the Wedding (CW, Wednesday 9-10pm) -40%

One of the big ratings mysteries of 2012 (in terms of strangeness, not in terms of media coverage) is why Fox is doing so much worse at 7:30 with a similarly "second tier" animated program. Most of the other animation is down, too, but the rest of it is generally a more "typical" 10-15% (with The Simpsons doing a bit better this week in the 500th episode). The Cleveland Show got upper-1's in this role in the fall but suddenly decided to start getting 1.1's and 1.2's this year.

By the way, just gotta say: there is a show that made it into the top 5 year-to-year timeslot losers of the entire week when the year-ago occupant was Shedding for the frickin' Wedding. I mean, is NBC gonna put something with a 0.3 in this timeslot next year and be down 50% from Rock Center? I guess I shouldn't put it past them.

Top 5 year-to-year timeslot gainers
1. The Voice vs. Chuck/The Cape (NBC, Monday 8-10pm) +314%
2. Undercover Boss vs. The Defenders (CBS, Friday 8-9pm) +85%
3. Last Man Standing vs. No Ordinary Family (ABC, Wednesday 8-8:30pm) +57%
t-4. Shark Tank vs. Supernanny (ABC, Friday 8-9pm) +50%
t-5. Whitney vs. Minute to Win It (NBC, Wednesday 8-8:30pm) +50%

I already pointed out the Idol impact on "broadcast" as a whole, but The Voice has a significant one in the other direction. Give NBC the year-ago Chuck/Cape numbers in that timeslot and "broadcast" goes from -7% on the week to -11%. More amazingly, it takes NBC as a whole from a seemingly stellar +14% on the week all the way down to -11%. And that's not even touching the additional boost the show is no doubt giving to Smash, which would be (very conservatively) at least a half point weaker anywhere else on the NBC sked. The Voice is practically a winter-time version of Sunday Night Football at this point; it singlehandedly keeps some of the larger network averages competitive, but it's not really a boon to anything else on the schedule. The trick moving forward is for NBC to parlay this success into some kind of other success.

Here are this premiere week's daily posts, in case you missed any:
Thursday | Friday | Sunday | Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday

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