Friday, March 9, 2012

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

The Anchors
1. New Girl (3.08)
2. Family Guy (2.45)
3. The Simpsons (2.36)

The Inverse Relationship
4. Napoleon Dynamite (1.82) (1.59)
5. I Hate My Teenage Daughter (1.59)
6. Raising Hope (1.56)
7. American Dad! (1.53)
8. The Cleveland Show (1.49)

What I mean by that division name is that these five shows, all pretty closely bunched, are basically arranged in reverse order of renewal likelihood. Dad and Cleveland are already renewed, Raising Hope certainly appeared to improve its prospects in its Tuesday 8/7c debut, and the top two are in trouble. At least on IHMTD's end, that should get more accurate by the next edition as it accrues more 8:30 data points.

Though I will say Napoleon Dynamite (even at its post-premiere week average, the second one listed) is a more interesting case than I kinda expected it to be. Before I get to the ratings, I want to note that it only aired in consecutive weeks one time. It would be kind of a shame for a show to have only ever had such stop-start scheduling.

As for the Dynamite ratings: every week it was on the air alongside Dad and Cleveland, it out-TRUEd the both of them (if usually by thin margins). Bob's Burgers was renewed last year for doing very slightly worse than the animated second tier, so by that standard, Dynamite looks pretty good. But the second season bow of Burgers looms as well, and I have to wonder if Fox is eventually going to start clearing out some of the second-tier chaff in anticipation of The Flinstones' arrival in fall 2013. Fox also may see more upside on the back-end with a show like American Dad!, whose repeats are doing great on Adult Swim.

The Dunzo
9. Allen Gregory (1.36)

The Definitely Not Dead
1. Glee (3.16)
2. Touch (2.84)
4. Bones (2.37)

You can argue Glee is still a "hit," but that could change at almost any moment. I'm still pretty confident that it will not be a hit a year from now. Bones is still a decent player, but it's not a "hit" right now. In both cases, I can't say I'm entirely confident they will even be on the air two years from now. That is a daunting thing to say about your only two returning dramas doing anything at all. Touch has demonstrated some initial interest, but that doesn't mean much yet. (Just ask Alcatraz!)

The Expensively Dead
3. House (2.55)
5. Terra Nova (2.29)

There are basically two ways to profit big in primetime: 1) get great ratings in first run (the serialized drama/competition reality route) and 2) get decent ratings in first run and then make up the difference on the back end (the sitcom/procedural route). Recently axed Terra Nova was clearly built for 1). It got first-run ratings that might've worked for 2), but even if it could've somehow scored a decent per-episode syndication rate (itself unlikely), it just would've taken sooo long just to get any remotely large number of episodes. (Though perhaps not as long as I joked on Twitter.)

The Presumed Dead
6. Alcatraz (2.07) (1.60)
7. The Finder (1.45)
8. Fringe (1.11)

Last year, Fox had a collection of dramas bunch up together, and I think most people just assumed that meant it was a "bubble" without really evaluating what duds all the shows really were. Fox then got out their axe, killing three of the four and sparing only Fringe. I was surprised at the time (my prediction was two of the four would make it), but in looking at their TRUE scores in retrospect, I feel I shouldn't have been.

This year, call it "won't get fooled again syndrome"; the two new shows really aren't any weaker, Fox's drama situation at the top is much more dire (can't understate this), but nobody really gives either of them a shot. Yes, Fox has less real estate than the rest of the big four, and quite a lot of that goes to comedy and reality, but can they really take as few as two dramas into next season? All I'm saying is if Alcatraz (even at the second average, which is more where it's steadied) can get back up a bit with a smaller lead-in and much more competition than seemingly bubbly Chicago Code last year... or if The Finder can somehow manage like a 1.4+ on Friday... and especially if Touch flops... I dunno. If nothing else, maybe one of them could pair with a bailed-out final season of Fringe to fill up some Friday fall real estate. (I'm not saying that kind of lineup would work, but it wouldn't be an unprecedented Fox strategy, as Terminator: SCC and Dollhouse can attest.) I don't think these are shows that deserve a renewal, but Fox may be in a situation where they have to think about them.

The Wednesday/Thursday Reality Wheel
1. American Idol Wed (6.45)
2. American Idol Thu (6.31)
3. The X Factor Wed (3.92)
4. The X Factor Thu (3.77)

Yet another tough reality for Fox: if American Idol has another season with year-to-year drops of this size, the late-season 2013 eps may well barely even qualify as a hit anymore. That would be a heck of a fall from grace, but of course we're getting a little ahead of ourselves projecting all that. I'm just saying this show is closer to ratings mortality than it might seem.

The Rest
5. Kitchen Nightmares (1.67)
6. Mobbed (1.46)
7. Cops (1.24)
8. Q'Viva! The Chosen (0.69)

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