Monday, February 13, 2012

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)

WEEK ONE
Long ago (January 15), Fox premiered Napoleon Dynamite after an NFL playoff game. Its premiere pulled a 4.4 demo out of a 5.4 demo from lead-in The Simpsons. Then Fox gave Napoleon the "Grover Cleveland" treatment, airing a non-consecutive episode at 9:30 after Family Guy. That one got a 3.3 demo out of a 4.4 lead-in from Family Guy. For the week one number, I'll take the average of the two episodes, which (when averaging the 18-49 viewerships for a more precise number) comes out to a 3.8 demo. Superficially good number, but lots of lead-in slippage on both counts.

WEEK TWO
If Fox set up Napoleon to get sampled well on premiere night, they certainly couldn't make things anywhere near as easy in subsequent weeks. Napoleon next aired two weeks later out of one of the lowest-rated episodes of The Simpsons ever (2.4 demo) and in a highly competitive timeslot (all three competing networks averaged a 3.4 or higher at 8:30). Napoleon managed just a 2.1 demo. That's a 45% drop from the 3.8 average, the biggest of the 2011-12 season to date. If you think calculating the drop from just the 3.3 of episode two is the more fair comparison, well... that's still 36%, which would be the second-biggest drop.

PROGNOSIS
The obvious comparison for Napoleon Dynamite in terms of situation is last year's Bob's Burgers, which premiered similarly (4.5 in the 8:30 episode after an NFL playoff game) and similarly dropped huge in week two (to a stronger 2.5, but out of a stronger 3.1 from The Simpsons). Bob's dropped again in week three (to a 2.2) but was relatively steady at that number or just below for the rest of its run and got renewed. I was wrong about its prospects, but in my defense, a post-playoff premiere and then one more data point are not a lot to go on. Bob's Burgers wasn't much of a performer, and I think its biggest saving grace was the relatively good buzz around the show. Napoleon Dynamite has not really done any better ratings-wise, especially considering one might expect some "built-in audience" because of the Napoleon Dynamite movie. And I don't detect the good buzz this time. So I'll once again project a cancellation.

"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."

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