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

The Elite
1. Modern Family (5.44)
2. The Middle (3.00)

The Family Comedy Second Tier
3. Suburgatory (2.54)
4. Last Man Standing (2.35)

There's some bellyaching these days about how Suburgatory is much weaker than The Middle because it drops from it in a higher-viewing period. No one believes that more than TRUE, where the gap between the two is 0.46 (rather than the 0.1 or so it is in raw numbers). But that doesn't mean it should be axed or anything. The show continues to make drastic improvements on year-ago Better With You, and that show was not exactly a complete flop itself. Suburgatory and Last Man Standing are not big anchor shows, but there's nothing wrong with solid players.

The Relationship Comedies
5. Happy Endings (2.04)
6. Cougar Town (1.59)

As much as it may make the Internet discourse more ugly, I think it's usually "correct" (though not really productive) for fans of a marginally-rated show to "root against" new/upcoming shows. I wonder if that's really the case for these shows with upcoming Apartment 23. I think ultimately what these shows really need, long-term, is for ABC to have a good reason to stay firmly in the relationship comedy business. They currently have four of what I would call "family" comedies out-TRUEing all of their so-called "relationship" comedies. Apartment 23 being strong enough to anchor a more relationship-focused block is probably gonna be a good thing for these shows.

On all the Cougar Town actors' second position pilots, it seems everyone feels compelled to fall into one of the two schools of thought: 1) it means the show is dead and 2) it's meaningless. Cougs boss Bill Lawrence particularly likes pushing #2 on Twitter. But the reality is somewhere in the middle. It's true that, as some point out, it's not impossible to get renewed in that situation; just look at Happy Endings last year. But I still think it should be considered a bad sign. The vast majority of shows whose actors get second position pilots are not gonna make it. I'm not ruling out a season four, but I'm pretty sure its odds are lower than Lawrence's 65%. And Cougar Town certainly isn't showing much life ratings-wise.

The Dunzo
7. Man Up! (1.51)
8. Work It (1.39)

The Elites
1. Grey's Anatomy (3.71)
2. Once Upon a Time (2.86)
3. Revenge (2.45)

There are really no red flags around Revenge right now, and (unlike the below division) there's no big change in circumstances upcoming, so I'm moving it up to the top division... for now.

We Shall Re-See
4. GCB (2.33) 
5. Private Practice (2.20) 
6. Castle (2.08)

I'm not gonna kill GCB just yet, but the odds are rather against it with that kind of start. (The above number is just one data point.) Private Practice and Castle both had fairly uneventful sweeps; both did around 2.00 TRUEs, excepting PP's crossover boost. They're basically just awaiting their big circumstance changes in the spring: the return of DWTS on Monday, plus PP's move to Tuesday in April.

The Dunzo
6. Desperate Housewives (1.89)
7. Body of Proof (1.51)
8. The River (1.45)
9. Charlie's Angels (1.26)
10. Pan Am (1.14)

Aside from the 1.94 TRUE the week after Dancing ended, Body of Proof really hasn't shown any sign of life in the between-Dancings period, averaging somewhere in the 1.3's. The River, new to the Power Rankings since last we spoke, had an arguably OK premiere but has shown nothing since.

The Tentpoles
1. Dancing with the Stars Mon (3.15)
2. Dancing with the Stars Tue (2.60)
3. The Bachelor (2.33)

As first predicted in last month's edition, The Bachelor's average has picked up as the season progresses. In most seasons, this is also reflected in raw ratings growth, but this season has basically just held steady in raw numbers against The Voice. That's seemed like a great accomplishment, but it's not really unexpected when compared with the prior history of the show.

The Filler
4. Winter Wipeout (1.92
5. Shark Tank (1.82)
6. 20/20 (1.78)
7. Celebrity Wife Swap (1.77)
8. America's Funniest Home Videos (1.55)
9. Primetime: What Would You Do? (1.53)

Perhaps no show has been happier about the end of football than unheralded little America's Funniest Home Videos, which has hit 2.0+ demos for three straight weeks after never doing it in the fall. That, 20/20 and Shark Tank are the only shows on this list I'm totally sure will be around next year, but there's a case to be made for all of them.

The Dunzo
10. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (1.42)
11. You Deserve It (0.74)

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