Friday, February 3, 2012

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

The Elite
1. New Girl (3.42)

This show is still inflated by its huge pre-baseball run, but even its post-baseball average (3.12) is still comfortably stronger than the other comedies on the network and still a legitimate hit. The question is not about New Girl...

Animation Domination
2. Family Guy (2.63)
3. The Simpsons (2.51)

...and it's also not about the animation anchors (even if The Simpsons has posted some relatively ugly numbers without football help), it's about...

Declining Hope
4. Napoleon Dynamite (2.47)
5. Raising Hope (1.81)
6. The Cleveland Show (1.68)
7. American Dad! (1.68)
8. I Hate My Teenage Daughter (1.59)

...where in the world would Fox's entire scripted department be without them? Comedy in particular is not a deep genre for Fox, the only of the big four networks whose comedy bubble is weaker (and it's actually much weaker) than its drama bubble. This is a lot of mediocrity, but at least a few shows will probably survive. (The Cleveland Show is already renewed.) I'd expect upcoming returnees Bob's Burgers and especially Breaking In to, at best, join this club. (Napoleon Dynamite pulled just a 1.61 last week but still needs some more data points to fall back to the pack.)

The Dunzo
9. Allen Gregory (1.36)

I've noticed that the collection of Fox dramas are kinda like the GOP candidates; there's nobody you can feel unequivocably good about. Not trying to discuss politics here, I just thought these labels would be a fun entry to the conversation about these shows.

The Gingrich Division (Due For an Implosion)
1. Glee (3.42)
2. Touch (2.84)

Both these shows have creators not exactly famous for shows with long runs of sustained quality. (Plus, Touch has only aired one episode, so it may not belong this high up.) Give Glee credit: it was pretty much perfectly steady for about two and a half months even before this week's Michael Jackson-infused increase. But if I'm Fox, I still feel about as shaky having Glee as my far-and-away biggest drama as the GOP "establishment" did having Newt Gingrich as a frontrunner.

The Romney Division (Solid But Underwhelming)
3. Alcatraz (2.79)
4. House (2.48)
6. Bones (2.37)

The Alcatraz number averages the only two final TRUE results to date, but after we get the third data point, that number will probably be week two's 2.36. Right in the House/Bones/Nova pack. Both House and Alcatraz have rung up some nice raw numbers against a pretty uncompetitive field the last couple Mondays, but it's definitely gonna be interesting to see what happens when everyone files back in.

The Santorum Division (A Question of Resources)
5. Terra Nova (2.44)

What is the deal with this show? Remember when it was reported in December that a decision could be made like the next week? Remember when it was reported that the ridiculous post-production process required a decision to be made by January? Well, it's February, and Terra Nova is still hanging out in the clubhouse. The good news for Fox is that they're certainly getting access to a lot more information as Alcatraz continues to air. Can they continue to hold off till Alcatraz gets its own 8/7c run starting on March 5?

Should anything be made of the fact that Terra Nova kept repeating deep into January? The last Saturday repeat aired 33 days after the first-run finale! I'm guessing it doesn't really mean anything and they were just finishing out the complete run of repeats. But usually if a network knows they're gonna be cutting ties and there are no currently airing first-run episodes into which you can funnel audience, the repeats stop.

The Paul Division (Not Enough Mainstream Interest)
7. The Finder (1.36)
8. Fringe (1.17)

Despite the huge increase in week two, TRUE wasn't impressed with The Finder. In week three, it actually was impressed relatively speaking, as the show rose from 1.31 to 1.79. Certainly a 1.79 is still a pretty long way from the rest of the pack above, but I can pretty much guarantee it'll be even more impressed if it holds that 2.8 demo (or, why not, how about another 25%+ increase?) with the full slate of competition returning later today. (Last minute addition: week four overnights were back down, matching the week two numbers.)

The Wednesday/Thursday Reality Wheel
1. American Idol Wed (7.77)
2. American Idol Thu (6.61)
3. The X Factor Wed (3.98)
4. The X Factor Thu (3.87)

Over the last three years or so as shows like Grey's Anatomy have come back to earth, American Idol's demo lead over the rest of the entertainment field has been about 50%, which is just a mind-boggling statistic. It's still kinda early, and maybe the talent will inspire America in the back half of the season, but this looks like the first year that lead will meaningfully shrink. Idol's consistent 20%+ declines plus the rise of new comedy megahits like Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory mean the show looks as mortal as ever. (Cue obligatory "but it's still getting great ratings" line.)

The Other Tentpoles
5. Kitchen Nightmares (1.72)
6. Cops (1.32)

Cops and America's Most Wanted were supposed to outlive us all on Fox Saturdays. America's Most Wanted didn't. Is it just me or does it now feel like the clock is ticking on Cops? It's way down from last season.

Kitchen Nightmares was renewed again this week, so its status as a tentpole is secure.

The Filler
7. Mobbed (1.25)

The one thing you can say about Mobbed is that does actually seem to Truly benefit from the Idol lead-in. A lot of shows get Truly weaker with a huge lead-in because they don't go up as much as the calculation "expects," but Mobbed (which more than doubled its previous demo average) went up more than expected this Wednesday. But below 50% retention is still not anything to write home about.

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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