Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spotted Ratings, Friday 3/30/12: Ratings Jackpot

  • The big story of the evening was ABC's 20/20, whose story on the Mega Millions lottery hit the newsmagazine's biggest numbers on a Friday (and second-biggest overall this season behind a Monday airing in November) in over two years. The net was also about average with Primetime: What Would You Do? and saw Shark Tank finish in sole possession of second place at 8/7c even in repeats.
  • CBS' original Friday lineup was back for the first time since before DST with Undercover Boss taking the expected hit and CSI: NY showing no bounce from what was easily its biggest lead-in of the season.
  • Fox upticked from last week with Kitchen Nightmares, but the show still signed off for the season in pretty weak fashion. Fringe got a big rebound back to its February levels after a terribly ugly rating last week. Perhaps this supports the idea that the massive Hunger Games opening was a factor.
  • NBC had the worst night as Who Do You Think You Are? was completely uncompetitive at 8/7c and Grimm followed it down the drain in its first ep in three weeks.

First Two Weeks, Touch


Friday, March 30, 2012

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 3/29/12: Diplomatic Community

  • The Big Bang Theory was back (and down nearly 10% in its first post-DST airing), but Community was totally unfazed. The rest of the NBC evening continues to implode without The Office around, with Up All Night and Awake brutally dropping another couple tenths. The latter is surely done for. NBC will again go without an original The Office next week, saving most of the remaining ones to lead into Parks and Recreation's return on April 12.
  • Week two of Touch dropped a typical 18%. The timeslot got a bit tougher with Person of Interest back in the mix, so this isn't necessarily that bad, but this is still not a terribly difficult timeslot with The Office and Grey's still out of the picture.
  • Missing rose in finals and lost just a tick in its first airing against CBS comedy. Now, can it rally as it airs alongside other ABC originals next week?
  • CBS' return of Rules of Engagement was really ugly as it dropped a season-high 43% of its Big Bang lead-in and, after finals, did no better than the last post-original episode of Rob (2.9 out of a 5.3). Technically, Rules was even with its last December original, but its lead-in was a repeat (and 1.8 points smaller) on that night.
  • Today brought another new low for The Secret Circle (0.6).

Introducing A18-49+, a Historical Ratings Statistic

If you follow the TV industry at all, you know that the Nielsen ratings for regular series on the broadcast networks are like a fast-flowing river, and the individual shows are just fish trying desperately to swim upstream. Maybe that water hits an occasional bump in the road and splashes up for a couple seconds, but the decline on the whole feels inevitable. How much of it is the networks' "fault" and how much of it is the rise of alternative options? Debatable. Either way, it's real.

To some extent, this grim reality hurts the integrity of historical ratings. TVByTheNumbers has this thing they call the "Gunsmoke Rule" which essentially says that any ratings beyond the previous season are meaningless for comparison purposes. Sometimes I feel like they just wave that around to save themselves the trouble of looking something up, but the general principle is certainly correct; as ratings decline, so too do standards for renewal and cancellation and pull-me-from-the-schedule-right-now, and this is drastic enough that the raw number standards for network decision-making are completely different within a few short years. Just one example: CBS pulled fall 2006 newbie Smith from the schedule after it got a 2.8 demo in its third episode. Five years later, the occupant of the same timeslot, Unforgettable, premiered to a 2.9, has averaged about a 2.1 for most of 2012, and will air (at least) a full season.

All this collective declining is meaningful and needs to be reported. At this rate, eventually ratings are going to get low enough to seriously challenge the broadcast model. No denying that here. But we're not there yet, and sometimes I think all the talk about series lows and the collective decline misses the trees for the forest. For now, broadcast TV ratings are still a system that largely operates by the same set of rules. It's just that the standards for "hit" and "flop" shift to match the collective declines. There are other things happening in this system beyond "everything's down."

Since it's basically the same system, that means there should be a way to put those old, much higher ratings on a level playing field with those of today. Enter what I'm calling the A18-49+.

First Two Weeks, Bent


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 3/28/12

  • NBC's "Happy Hour" of Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea? signed off for the season in relatively normal fashion. In Chelsea's case, that's almost certainly for the series as well. Whitney? To be determined. Looks like a renewal to me, but my numbers may be a bit too kind to the 8:00 hour.
  • Nothing else really made a move. One Tree Hill got bumped up in finals but still lost a tick in the penultimate episode of its run. Smallville was kinda the same way at the end of last season, hitting series lows in its last couple pre-finale episodes before spiking for the finale. We'll see if this one behaves similarly.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 3/27/12: Body Improof

  • ABC got back into the Tuesday mix with the return of the Dancing with the Stars results, down 30% from the year-ago Tuesday premiere but, thanks to no Voice on the evening, still down less year-to-year than the first two Monday editions. The real story was the huge boost this provided to Body of Proof, which tied its second-best number of the season. There are just two more episodes left this season, but if it can maintain this level, it probably becomes a more interesting case than it's appeared for the last several months. 
  • Fox kept downticking with New Girl and Raising Hope, though the newly installed Hope repeat did make a tiny improvement on the week-ago I Hate My Teenage Daughter. And NBC took the biggest hit, with The Biggest Loser and and Fashion Star both down double-digits against relatively full-fledged competition.

Spotted Ratings, Monday 3/26/12

  • The two-hour finale of Alcatraz took one last drop and closed out its run 55% behind the promising 3.3 premiere ten weeks ago. When it was getting 1.8's and 1.9's, I felt it had a better chance than most people thought if it could hold there or get back a little bit. We'll never know if that was the case, as the show just kept moving in the wrong direction.
  • Dancing with the Stars took a 9% post-premiere drop. Silver lining: Castle was unaffected.

The True Top 25, Week Ending 3/25/12 (2011-12 Week 27)

With the two biggest sitcoms off the air, it was all about unscripted, as American Idol rather comfortably captured the top two spots and The Voice (despite continued declines) still overshadowed everything else in the entertainment realm. Week two of March Madness had a nice presence, with Saturday's Ohio State/Syracuse game beating everything but Idol and the Friday game also near the top. Despite nearing a season low, How I Met Your Mother got a turn as the top scripted program as it aired in its second-toughest timeslot of the season (ahead of only Halloween night).

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 3/25/12

  • ABC's GCB dropped in finals but still got back a tick from last week's drop and was in a virtual three-way tie at 10:00. If this is where it's stabilized, it has a good chance to be back.
  • Harry's Law took yet another brutal demo drop and is now actually taking a noticeable dip from its Dateline lead-in. Celebrity Apprentice remains down by enormous amounts year-to-year and, like everything at 9/8c, saw no bounce from the departure of The Walking Dead.
  • Second-tier cartoons The Cleveland Show, Bob's Burgers and American Dad! all held up pretty well despite repeats from anchors The Simpsons and Family Guy, but keep in mind those animated anchors repeat as well as anything on TV as a percentage of the original numbers; they were each down only a little over 20% from the week-ago originals.

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 3/24/12 (FINALS)

  • CBS completely overwhelmed the other three sub-1.0 networks with most of the Ohio State/Syracuse basketball game. Unlike most games this week, it was actually up slightly vs. the year-ago game, and it was the biggest CBS primetime game thus far in this tourney.
  • NBC's encore of USA Network drama Fairly Legal tied as NBC's weakest telecast of the season in the demo, and lead-out The Firm suffered.

SpotVault - Dancing with the Stars (ABC) - Spring 2012

Dancing with the Stars
Mondays and Tuesdays on ABC

SpotVault - Bent (NBC) - 2011-12

Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spotted Ratings, Friday 3/23/12 (FINALS)

  • Despite a down evening from Shark Tank, ABC was above average with Primetime: What Would You Do? and 20/20 and dominated the entertainment evening again.
  • The first post-DST run for Fox's Friday originals was brutal, with Kitchen Nightmares only equaling the week-ago repeat. It and the return of Fringe were both down a whooping 25%+ from their last originals.
  • A week after Nikita hit its first 0.4, it bounced back up but saw lead-out Supernatural drop to its first 0.6.
    • CBS' Kentucky/Indiana basketball game was by far the biggest CBS primetime game of the first six days of the tourney, but both of these Friday games were significantly behind the year ago games (which got a 1.8 and 3.8 respectively).

    First Two Weeks, Missing


    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Spotted Ratings, Thursday 3/22/12: Cool Cool Cooling Off

    • Fox looked solid with the timeslot premiere of Touch, which dropped by just 21% out of another soft American Idol. After the upward finals adjustment, it may end up Truly stronger than the second episodes of eventual failures Terra Nova (3.1) and Alcatraz (3.0), even though both of those had much smaller lead-ins. But Touch had very little competition in this particular hour. Obviously Touch looks good by comparison right now because it hasn't collapsed (yet) as those other shows eventually did. Need to see more data.
    • An Office-free NBC had a really bad night, with everything down by multiple ticks. Community and 30 Rock each lost a half point in the 8:00 hour, Up All Night lost 0.2 without its usual lead-in, and Awake plummeted by 25%. It seemed inevitable that the 8:00 hour in particular would drop, but for it to happen to this extent before the CBS scripted competition returned is rather unfortunate. Next week: Big Bang's back.
    • ABC saw a nearly Charlie's Angels-esque 24% drop from week two of Missing.
    • Vs. the year-ago games, CBS' first game (Wisconsin/Syracuse) was about even, while the second game (Cincy/Ohio State) was significantly down from last year's 3.3.

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 3/21/12: Bent and Broken

    • NBC's Bent now takes over as the lowest-rated in-season weeknight scripted premiere on the big four ever, taking the title from last season's NBC entry The Paul Reiser Show (1.1 on 4/14/11). This was brutal, made all the worse by the fact that NBC was otherwise on the upswing with Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea?.
    • CBS bounced around a lot; Survivor and CSI were down (but each got a tick back in finals), Criminal Minds was way up
    • Fox had a soft showing from American Idol, down three tenths from last week, while Happy Endings was the only original on ABC and was a couple ticks below its last post-repeat airing two weeks ago. (The Modern Family repeat was four tenths weaker than on that date.) ABC's 10/9c encore of Missing did OK and equaled the Thursday premiere encore of GCB from a couple weeks ago.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 3/20/12

    • NBC got a fairly promising week two out of Fashion Star, up by double digits from its week-ago premiere. It's still dropping out of The Biggest Loser, but this should at the very least ensure that the show will be around long enough to air after The Voice's results shows in April.
    • CBS' originals were back in action for the first time since they stumbled through February sweeps, and the NCIS duo kept on dropping. Since it's the first post-Daylight Saving airing, this particular drop isn't really unexpected (in fact, NCIS looks Truly stronger than some recent episodes), but it does mark a fourth straight down original for the show, and the sum total of those drops is kinda worrying.
    • The increased competition and Daylight Saving effect brought a lot of ugliness elsewhere, as Last Man Standing and Raising Hope both took significant hits, while Fox's :30 sitcoms just keep decaying. I Hate My Teenage Daughter got pulled this afternoon, but I actually think Breaking In is the Truly weaker show (by a long shot, in fact). But it too shall be gone shortly. The only decent news came from Cougar Town, which managed to pick up a couple ticks with an original lead-in for the first time in three weeks.

    SpotVault - Missing (ABC) - 2011-12

    Thursdays, 8/7c, ABC

    Ratings Five-Spot, WE 3/18/12 - South Park, Community, Missing, In Plain Sight, The Walking Dead

    This week's Ratings Five-Spot at SpoilerTV examines the return of South Park, the shockingly big return of Community, the series premiere of Missing, USA Network's return to Friday with In Plain Sight and Fairly Legal, and yet another mind-blowing set of The Walking Dead numbers. Check it out!

    SpotVault - Fashion Star (NBC) - 2011-12

    Fashion Star
    Tuesdays, 10/9c, NBC

    Spotted Ratings, Monday 3/19/12: Declining with the Stars

    • ABC's newest season of Dancing with the Stars took an expectedly massive year-to-year hit in its first-ever airing against The Voice. If historical trends are any indication, expect the season to settle at 3.0 or lower. But despite the lower numbers, DWTS was still a boon to Castle, which scored better numbers than in any of its last six airings (all of which were without a DWTS lead-in).
    • As for The Voice, it too took a hit and has now shed 1.6 points (or 26%) in the last two weeks. Smash then dropped a couple ticks at 10/9c but remained in a pretty close three-way race with Castle and Hawaii Five-0.
    • CBS' sitcoms were weaker than usual against the return of Dancing, but Two and a Half Men and Mike and Molly were technically up from their last originals against the Daytona 500.
    • Fox was left behind, as House returned in horrific fashion (0.4 behind any previous result) and Alcatraz stayed even despite a much bigger lead-in than last week. Its two-hour season (and probably series) finale is next week.

    Spotted Ratings, Sunday 3/18/12 (FINALS)

    • ABC's GCB followed up its remarkable week two hold with a double-digit drop in week three, eating up most of the show's margin for error going forward.
    • The big winner of Sunday was Fox's Bob's Burgers, up by two ticks from last week's premiere and also pulling ahead of the last few episodes of Napoleon Dynamite in the timeslot. If it can maintain this number, I'd certainly put it ahead of Dynamite in the renewal race.
    • NBC had a really rough night as Harry's Law downticked in finals to a new low, while Celebrity Apprentice keeps collapsing; it tied its low set on Oscar Sunday.

    Spotted Ratings, Saturday 3/17/12 (FINALS)

    • The Kentucky/Iowa State basketball game was the biggest CBS primetime game of the weekend and beat the combined competition in its timeslot.
    • Fox's Q'Viva! took another brutal drop and is looking like it could approach worst-ratings-in-broadcast-history territory with three weeks still to go.

    The True Top 25, Week Ending 3/18/12 (2011-12 Week 26)

    The True Top 25 leadership changed once again this week as American Idol took the top two slots by a decent margin. Modern Family was back in originals and, despite hitting a season low in raw numbers, hit its best TRUE in several episodes and nearly doubled all other scripted shows. And NCAA basketball had a presence with all three primetime CBS games on Friday and Saturday. The Thursday games ranked #32 and #44 on the TRUE list. (Haven't had this matter in awhile, so lemme just reiterate that the TRUE scores are for primetime-portion only, which means sometimes the TRUEs are being calculated relative to a higher 18-49 number than the one that appears for sports events.)

    This is the first full week post-Daylight Saving Time, which is evident in some of the huge scores for 8:00 shows below. I think we tend to forget about DST when the affected show didn't air the immediate week before (or at least I do), but it's also got to be counted for premieres and returns from hiatus. So Community looks rather spectacular in its return to the schedule, and ABC's Missing wasn't so bad itself. Yes, Community didn't face The Big Bang Theory and may well drop big even next week without Bang as the hype dies down, but it also rated 0.4 higher than any previous result in its lowest overall-viewed timeslot of the season. It is a moment worth celebrating.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    Schedule Five-Spot, WE 3/18/12 - Luck, The Good Wife, Dallas, Grimm, Jersey Shore

    Here's the Schedule Five-Spot for the week ending March 18, 2012:

    Luck - In one of the season's more bizarre stories, HBO's Luck is suddenly done for after a third horse died during production of the racing drama. This happened early in the production of season two, and the show will conclude airing at the end of its first season on Sunday. Despite critical acclaim, the show was a huge ratings disaster, frequently coming in below the 500,000 viewer and 0.2 demo thresholds.

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Spotted Ratings, Friday 3/16/12

    • With most of the rest of the big four sitting out the original entertainment evening, ABC dominated with Shark Tank, Primetime: What Would You Do? and 20/20. The first two were each up by 0.3 from last week.
    • CBS had a great night with March Madness, as the huge Lehigh upset over Duke was up about 50% over the year-ago game. Both games did much better than the Thursday offerings.
    • Nikita is one of those CW shows that has been getting the same two ratings all season (either 0.5 or 0.6 for each of the previous 15 originals), so dropping to a new low 0.4 seems notable.

      Friday, March 16, 2012

      Spotted Ratings, Thursday 3/15/12: A Mother Looking For Her Demos

      • Oh, those sneaky overnights. Missing appeared to have a solid start based on the HH numbers, but it ended up skewing pretty ancient. Of its 10.60 million total viewers, only about a quarter of them were in the demo. The show started out even with this fall's Charlie's Angels, and there is not much room to drop now. Not a good start, but perhaps better than it appears because of the difficulty of the hour.
      • Amazingly, Missing was not even the top scripted program in the 8:00 hour. That went to Community, surging in its first episode in over three months. This performance was 0.4 above any previous result this season and the highest-rated ep in over a year. 30 Rock was also way up in its 8:30 debut. I'm not discounting the hype machine Truly helping out Community, but this would appear to be pretty telling about just what a big deal The Big Bang Theory is at 8/7c, despite all the "its audience is its audience" claims re: Community. Both shows get one more week free of a CBS comedy presence.
      • Elsewhere on those two nets, it was pretty meh, as The Office dropped despite the bigger lead-in, Grey's Anatomy ticked down to a new low and Awake steadied in week three but increased in total viewers (another result of CBS' absence - no The Mentalist to chew up the 50+ers).
      • The encore of Touch after American Idol looked a little stronger than recent The Finder originals, but I think it was still reasonable to expect better. Hard to make much of a judgment till the originals show up.
      • Night one of March Madness was about even year-to-year; last year, the 7:00 game scored a 1.5 and the second game got a 1.4.

      Thursday, March 15, 2012

      Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 3/14/12

      • Of the four post-Daylight Saving days so far, this almost entirely original Wednesday was probably the worst. Nearly every scripted show in the first half of the evening hit a new season low: Whitney (EDIT: tied a low), Are You There, Chelsea?, The Middle, Suburgatory, Modern Family. And Criminal Minds hit its lowest mark ever. Worth noting that almost all these shows had fairly normal share numbers, which should indicate there was a particularly major overall viewing dropoff. For further reference, see the TRUE scores, none of which are out of line with previous results (in fact, most are actually higher than usual).
      • The only risers were in the second half of the night, as usual less affected in overall viewing. Happy Endings bounced back from last week's original after a repeat lead-in (in its defense, it pulled a number about on par with recent post-Modern eps despite Modern Family being weaker). CSI gained a couple ticks and had a surprising full retention out of Criminal Minds for the first time. But the 10:00 hour was not entirely unscathed as Rock Center absolutely tanked from the 1.0 of its 10/9c debut last week.

      First Two Weeks, GCB

      GCB (ABC)

      Wednesday, March 14, 2012

      Ratings Five-Spot, WE 3/11/12 - Raising Hope, Happiily Divorced, The Mentalist, Harry's Law, Bob's Burgers

      This week's Ratings Five-Spot at SpoilerTV examines Fox's new Tuesday two-hour sitcom block, the return of Happily Divorced on TV Land, CBS' Friday test of The Mentalist, the stark viewers/demo contrast of Harry's Law and the season two premiere of Bob's Burgers. Check it out!

        Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 3/13/12: Fashion Stumble

        • NBC's Fashion Star got off to a bad start, dropping significantly out of The Biggest Loser and coming in way behind the Loser/Parenthood averages. And it's tough to have much less competition than it did on this evening. Not good for series premiere night.
        • I guess I was just a week early, as Fox's comedy lineup dropped across the board to almost exactly the levels I SpecTrulated for last week. Raising Hope and New Girl still aren't awful compared to previous results in better situations, but I Hate My Teenage Daughter and Breaking In couldn't exactly afford the post-premiere drops.
        • Mostly original ABC was weak as Cougar Town ticked down for the fourth straight week. That streak should finally end next week as Last Man Standing (repeat 1.3) returns to originals.

        Spotted Ratings, Monday 3/12/12

        • ABC wrapped up another season of The Bachelor. This is a show that typically has much larger spikes on finale night than this; last year, the show went from 3.1 in its penultimate ep to a 4.5 on finale night, a jump of about 45%, and almost all of the jumps historically are well over 20%. This was more like 16% up from last week. Consider that disappointing.
        • It was pretty ugly for the few other originals on the first post-DST Monday, too. The Voice lost a full point from last week's battle rounds premiere and Smash was also back down by double digits (though that was a little more understandable with The Bachelor in the hour). Alcatraz suffered from its first-ever repeat House lead-in.

        The True Top 25, Week Ending 3/11/12 (2011-12 Week 25)

        The Big Bang Theory was back in action and back on top of the True Top 25, edging both The Voice (the raw A18-49 winner) and American Idol. Thanks to March Madness, this was its last Thursday episode for a few weeks, original or repeat. (The "or repeat" thing is key because the repeat was easily the second-biggest scripted show of the week.) No other scripted show cracked a 3.00, but a couple promising freshman performances (New Girl and Person of Interest) were closest.

        In a slow week, also the lowest overall-viewed week of 2012 to date, we at least got to see some shows that usually won't make the cut. Smash, CSI: Miami and the last pre-hiatus Parks and Recreation all got relatively rare nods.

        Spotted Ratings, Sunday 3/11/12 (FINALS)

        • Fox debuted the second season of Bob's Burgers in fairly underwhelming fashion as it tied the series low from last season. It perhaps worryingly came in a notch below the last couple Napoleon Dynamite episodes, but it was Truly about equal to those episodes because of the Daylight Saving effect; The Simpsons was also down a couple ticks.
        • Worst hit by DST at 8:00 was ABC, with America's Funniest Home Videos getting massacred and Once Upon a Time down 15% at 8:00. But things got better from there, with Desperate Housewives up a tick and GCB defying the post-premiere odds and gaining a tick in week two. This would make it only the second show out of 36 scripted premieres this season to gain in week two, and the other one (The Finder) only did so because it got the American Idol lead-in in week two. Encouraging.
        • NBC struggled with the return of Harry's Law only managing to equal the week-ago encore of Celebrity Apprentice, then the Apprentice original dropping double digits.
        • CBS' The Amazing Race was totally resilient to DST and remains slightly up year-to-year, but The Good Wife followed with its second straight multiple-tick drop.

        Spotted Ratings, Saturday 3/10/12 (FINALS)

        • Both new Saturday offerings were down more than 20% in week two, but The Firm saw a big spike (at least by percent) to its biggest-yet Saturday number. Perhaps the Harry's Law lead-in was more beneficial than Smash.

        Monday, March 12, 2012

        Schedule Five-Spot, WE 3/11/12 - Terra Nova, The Star Next Door, Justified, Duets, America's Got Talent

        Here's the Schedule Five-Spot for the week ending March 11, 2012:

        Terra Nova - The buzziest news of the week had to be Fox's cancellation of Terra Nova. I asked when evaluating its first two weeks whether this was a show that needed to be a big hit to survive. Though the show did drop a lot from the 3.1 demo of those first two weeks, I still think that was probably close to the truth. Later in the week, Netflix "eyed" a pickup of the show. My advice: treat that as what it is - a long shot - and be pleasantly surprised if it happens.

        Saturday, March 10, 2012

        Spotted Ratings, Friday 3/9/12

        • As I said in the Power Rankings earlier this week, this was a great chance to see what CBS could do on Friday when they really attack the night. After not affecting the Thursday lineup, it was time for revenge of the basketball preemptions! The lineup looked pretty solid in the prelims, then the finals saw a 0.2 drop for each show that really changes the feel of the whole evening. At its preliminary 2.0, The Mentalist had a case as a viable Friday show. At 1.8, not really that far above the mostly-CSI: NY average in the timeslot, it suddenly looks like a worse idea. We do have to take into account that along with those preemptions also came a likely drop in CBS primetime's coverage figures, so it may have done better under totally normal circumstances. It was also a special one-shot airing, and those always seem to disappoint. But at now over a third below its Thursday average, it just doesn't look so good.
        • ABC's reality lineup sagged multiple ticks across the board, while NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? dipped back to its number from two weeks ago (more evidence that last week's result was a Reba McEntire bounce).

        First Two Weeks, Awake

        AWAKE (NBC)

        Friday, March 9, 2012

        CW True Power Rankings, February 2012

        It's time for the post-February sweeps True Power Rankings! For this edition, I'm averaging the 10 most recent TRUE results, then I'm dropping both the biggest and the smallest result from that group. Not sure 10 is the magic number for the best possible analysis (as many shows are still somewhat inflated by fall numbers), but I think it will serve us better in the last two editions.

        I have very little to say for this one, but I'm just throwing the numbers out there anyway!

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

        Spotted Ratings, Thursday 3/8/12

        • Week two of NBC's Awake took a typical-to-high 20% drop. It had a bit rougher go of it as The Mentalist returned to action in the hour (a big part of why the drop was steeper in overnights/total viewers). Parks and Recreation got knocked down in finals but still snapped its five-episode 1.7 streak and heads to hiatus on an up note.
        • American Idol dropped around 10% from last week's typically strong Thursday episode but was still up from its most recent one-hour episode. The Finder was also on the upswing in its Thursday finale.
        • The ACC country basketball preemptions didn't mean much as Person of Interest hit another new high. It wasn't Truly anything special, though, because its lead-in was so much bigger than usual. The Big Bang Theory's repeat was the second-biggest repeat for anything this season, trailing only Modern Family's Halloween encore and handily beating CBS' Rules of Engagement/Rob original average.

        Fox True Power Rankings, February 2012

        It's time for the post-February sweeps True Power Rankings! For this edition, I'm averaging the 10 most recent TRUE results, then I'm dropping both the biggest and the smallest result from that group. Not sure 10 is the magic number for the best possible analysis (as many shows are still somewhat inflated by fall numbers), but I think it will serve us better in the last two editions.

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

        Thursday, March 8, 2012

        NBC True Power Rankings, February 2012

        It's time for the post-February sweeps True Power Rankings! For this edition, I'm averaging the 10 most recent TRUE results, then I'm dropping both the biggest and the smallest result from that group. Not sure 10 is the magic number for the best possible analysis (as many shows are still somewhat inflated by fall numbers), but I think it will serve us better in the last two editions.

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

        Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 3/7/12

        • Repeat season is on for most of ABC and CBS, and that brought upticks (and usually double-digit upticks) to almost all of the leftover originals like American Idol, Survivor, Whitney, Are You There, Chelsea? and, mercifully, America's Next Top Model.
        • Happy Endings took a big hit in the season's first airing without an original or massively-repeating Modern Family lead-in (repeat got a 2.4). Compared to last week's 2.7, that looks like a horrific drop, but it's more reasonable when compared to the 2.4 demo of the previous couple weeks.
        • The premiere of March filler 20/20: Revenge for Real at 10/9c certainly didn't get as much interest as the fake version, but it did about a half point better than most recent Revenge repeats.

        CBS True Power Rankings, February 2012

        It's time for the post-February sweeps True Power Rankings! For this edition, I'm averaging the 10 most recent TRUE results, then I'm dropping both the biggest and the smallest result from that group. Not sure 10 is the magic number for the best possible analysis (as many shows are still somewhat inflated by fall numbers), but I think it will serve us better in the last two editions.

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

        SpotVault - America's Next Top Model (CW) - Spring 2012

        America's Next Top Model
        Wednesdays, 9/8c, The CW

        SpotVault - GCB (ABC) - 2011-12

        Sundays, 10/9c, ABC

        SpotVault - Q'Viva! The Chosen (Fox) - 2011-12

        Q'Viva! The Chosen
        Saturdays, 8/7c, Fox

        SpotVault - Awake (NBC) - 2011-12

        Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

        Wednesday, March 7, 2012

        ABC True Power Rankings, February 2012

        It's time for the post-February sweeps True Power Rankings! For this edition, I'm averaging the 10 most recent TRUE results, then I'm dropping both the biggest and the smallest result from that group. Not sure 10 is the magic number for the best possible analysis (as many shows are still somewhat inflated by fall numbers), but I think it will serve us better in the last two editions.

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

        Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 3/6/12

        • The Fox comedy lineup did 0.2 to 0.3 better than I expected across the board, but at least I had the general pecking order correct: Raising Hope in its 8/7c debut held its 9:30 demo and thus did the best relative to previous results, while I Hate My Teenage Daughter and Breaking In are clear weak links. Overall, still nothing great, but (at least in my opinion) coulda been worse. They may ultimately settle closer to my guesses, but at least for now Raising Hope would appear to be capable of venturing out on its own.
          • Note: in looking at the preliminary TRUEs, not much seems "off" of what the previous results expected. Raising Hope was definitely Truly stronger, but IHMTD predictably dropped some from its 1.50 level across the hiatus, Breaking In was not really stronger than the 1.00 level of its first season and New Girl hardly changed from recent results either despite the big lead-in change. My problem in the predictions, it would appear, was underestimating the impact of the lessened competition.
        • The few remaining originals didn't do much. Cougar Town lost a tick for the third straight week; it had a repeat Last Man Standing lead-in, but also no American Idol in the mix. And The Biggest Loser rose in finals but was still disappointingly steady despite the departure of Idol. 

        Ratings Five-Spot, WE 3/4/12 - Awake, GCB, America's Next Top Model, Army Wives, Breakout Kings

        This week's Ratings Five-Spot at SpoilerTV looks at two series premieres - NBC's Awake and ABC's GCB - plus the season premieres of CW's disastrous America's Next Top Model, Lifetime's Army Wives and A&E's Breakout Kings. Check it out!

        The Five-Spots are my recaps of what aired, what got renewed/cancelled and what rated well or poorly last week in TV. For more Five-Spots, see the Index.

        The True Top 25, Week Ending 3/4/12 (2011-12 Week 24)

        There was a tie atop the broadcast standings in raw 18-49 (adding a decimal point, The Voice technically won 5.44 to 5.36), but it was the historically strong Thursday edition of American Idol that topped The Voice in TRUE because it came on a much less-viewed evening. Still, The Voice topped the two semifinal performance episodes. With The Big Bang Theory in repeats, Modern Family topped the scripted world, but only Modern and How I Met Your Mother were even able to top the repeat of Big Bang.

        Among this week's debuts: GCB (2.33) just barely missed the top 25 and got a True boost in the final calculation due to an abnormally low viewing calculation at 10:00. Even so, it'd likely be the big four's Truly weakest renewal of the season to date should it find a way to get there. Awake (2.14) ranked 33rd, but more importantly, it did top the pack of otherwise-tightly bunched NBC drama contenders. Will that still be the case next week?

        Spotted Ratings, Saturday 3/3/12 (FINALS)

        • Fox disappointed with the premiere of a six-week Saturday run for so-called "docu-journey" reality series Q'Viva! The Chosen, as it significantly trailed Fox's Saturday original average (mostly Cops and some America's Most Wanted). Fox was only able to finish third on the evening, trailing mostly-repeat CBS and an ABC that got a pretty decent showing from their new series of 20/20 specials.

        Tuesday, March 6, 2012

        SpecTrulation, Raising Hope/I Hate My Teenage Daughter/New Girl/Breaking In

        Today's edition of SpecTrulation examines Fox's two-hour sitcom block, debuting tonight and running on Tuesdays till the April 10 return of Glee.

        Spotted Ratings, Monday 3/5/12

        • The Voice completely avoided last season's post-blind auditions drop, instead gaining more than 10% week-to-week as the battle rounds began. It does not appear to be Truly significantly stronger than last week, since the Fox and CBS competition were much weaker than last week. Smash was also up double digits, though it too had much less competition on broadcast.
        • A two-hour Alcatraz actually did a little better at 8:00 but is still fairly soft. I actually don't think it's too far away from a range where drama-starved Fox might take a flier on it, but it needs to get some momentum going in its final three weeks.

        Monday, March 5, 2012

        Schedule Five-Spot, WE 3/4/12 - Anger Management, The Finder, Shark Tank, Jane By Design, Saving Hope

        Here's the Schedule Five-Spot for the week ending March 4, 2012:

        FX Summer - The big cable schedule announcement was that FX will have a jam-packed comedy Thursday starting on June 28. The Wilfred/Louie block that inhabited the night last summer returns intact, but it'll be surrounded by much-ballyhooed Charlie Sheen sitcom Anger Management (which premieres with two eps starting at 9:00, but will usually be original just at 9:30) and Russell Brand late night show Strangely Uplifting (at 11:00).

        Spotted Ratings, Sunday 3/4/12: Bad Christian Ratings

        • ABC got a pretty weak premiere out of GCB, which dropped by 12% from its Desperate Housewives lead-in. If it settles at the typical 20% below this, that'd still be a lot better than previous occupant Pan Am but still probably an unlikely renewal. One positive out of the final breakdowns: it was even in the half-hourlies (2.2 -> 2.2).
        • Otherwise, though, it was a great evening for ABC. All three other shows were up double-digits, including a season high from America's Funniest Home Videos and a night-topping number from Once Upon a Time.
        • Fox had a fairly steady day except for The Cleveland Show, which finally posted a more reasonable 7:30 number. The reality shows saw big post-Oscar bouncebacks, but CBS was squarely on the downswing with The Good Wife, which tied a season/series low.

        Saturday, March 3, 2012

        Spotted Ratings, Friday 3/2/12

        • Fox went into repeats, and all the rest of the competition had a nice time without 'em, though much of the goodness got adjusted away in finals. Still, CBS got a bit of a bounce-back from Undercover Boss, NBC was up with Grimm and especially Reba McEntire's episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, and ABC had a big gain from 20/20.
        • A Gifted Man also rose in its season finale, but not enough. This 9/8c turn ultimately just reaffirmed that it's CBS' Friday weak link.

        Friday, March 2, 2012

        Demos Year-to-Year, February Sweeps 2012 Grading the Networks

        If you've followed my Demos Year-to-Year posts last month, you know I've started tracking each network as a whole along with the combined total of the networks each night. I tacked that on kinda late, so I didn't really have the framework to examine them on a larger scale... UNTIL NOW. First, here are the total Live+SD adults 18-49 counts for each network across the sweep:

        Feb Sweep 2012 ABC CBS NBC Fox CW Total
        A18-49 Average 2.25 2.76 (3.40) 2.69 0.59 11.68
        Year-to-Year -3% +7% (+121%) (-53%) -28% -10%

        Obviously, the Super Bowl and the fact that it switches networks is a big part of any February sweep network evaluation. Hell, it's so huge that it's a big part of any network evaluation for the full season. So I put the numbers for directly affected nets in parentheses. But there are two ways we can get around that...

        Spotted Ratings, Thursday 3/1/12: Drowsy

        • NBC got another relatively "meh" premiere with Awake. The good: it did build noticeably from its Up All Night lead-in, and it's the biggest drama episode NBC has aired in the timeslot this season (and way bigger than the horrific The Firm/Prime Suspect averages). Even a 20%ish drop to settle at a 1.6ish could very well have it in the pathetic NBC conversation. The bad: there was no real competition, and it dropped in each fifteen minutes for no apparent external reason (2.1 -> 2.0 -> 1.9 -> 1.8). Not exactly DOA, but certainly nothing to cheer about. That's where we are. The rest of the NBC evening was rather underwhelming as usual, especially considering the repeats on ABC/CBS, but then again a growing American Idol did cover two hours.
        • The other data point of interest to me (but probably not you) was Rob, which dropped by 0.3 in its finale as The Big Bang Theory went into repeats. The show did hold up a little better than $#*! My Dad Says in a similar situation last year (it went 2.8 -> 2.3 as its lead-in went 4.2 -> 2.3). And it Truly did about the same as Rules of Engagement's post-repeat episode on 12/15/11 (which got a 2.7 out of a 2.9, but against much less competition). Not sure how much stock CBS puts in this data point, but I put a lot, and the show basically held serve. My thinking coming in was that 2.5 or less makes it a  pretty clear cancel, 2.6 or 2.7 is a gray area, 2.8+ is a good point in its favor. So this one's in a gray area just like Awake.

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

        We've reached the end of another sweep! For now, one last look at the biggest of the big gainers and losers among adults 18-49. Additionally, there'll be one more year-to-year post looking at the networks as a whole coming up a little later today.

        Top 5 year-to-year show losers
        1. America's Next Top Model (W 9-10pm vs. W 8-9pm) -44%
        2. American Idol (Th 8-9pm vs. Th 8-10pm) -38%
        3. American Idol (W 8-10pm vs. W 8-9:30pm) -36%
        4. 30 Rock (Th 8-8:30pm vs. Th 10-10:30pm) -35%
        5. American Idol (Tu 8-10pm vs. Tu 8-9:30pm) -33%

        The year-to-year drops have been ugly for Idol all season, but they've gotten worse over the course of this February sweep. The show went from just missing this top five list (it was -27% on both nights in week one) to barely getting onto the list last week to pretty much monopolizing it this week. For Top Model to be down this much following a year-ago season that was down so much is almost unimaginable. (This situation has really required me to unearth the full extent of my un____able vocabulary!) The show has gone from near-crown jewel of the network to literally a H8R-sized program in the space of about one calendar year.

        Thursday, March 1, 2012

        Demos Year-to-Year, Wednesday 2/29/12

        The year-to-year drop is a little "better" here for Top Model because it premiered a week earlier last year, so it's not being compared with the premiere's 1.1. Premiere-vs.-premiere, it's 55%!

        Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 2/29/12: Drop Model

        • Leap Day's biggest story was that once-proud America's Next Top Model is now pretty much a bomb just like everything else on its network. Already down a ridiculous 45% year-to-year in the prelims, an unthinkable downward adjustment in finals made the year-to-year drop an unheard-of fifty-five percent. Considering the year-ago spring cycle was itself down 35% (and 31% on premiere night), there just really aren't any words anymore. It's time to start phasing this series out.
        • Aside from that, it was mostly a pretty steady day on broadcast, with ABC's The Middle and Happy Endings being a couple notable shows on the rebound. The only big dropper was CSI, and it really only came back to earth from an oddly high rating last week.

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