Thursday, April 26, 2012

CBS True Power Rankings, April 2012

For the first time in seven weeks, it's the True Power Rankings! This is the most critical edition of all, because the networks have just about all the ratings info that they will take into final decision-making time. This should be fun, since lots of new shows have entered the mix since last we spoke. Let's go.

As last time, the numbers below take the ten most recent final TRUE scores (as of April 22), drop the highest and lowest result, and average whatever's left.

Previous CBS Power Rankings: November | January | February

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

The Elite
 1. The Big Bang Theory (6.92)

The Anchor-Worthy Division
2. How I Met Your Mother (4.28)
4. 2 Broke Girls (3.87)
3. Two and a Half Men (3.76)

I suppose there's a chance CBS could fail to add another comedy hour, but I personally don't even think that's worth considering. Unless Two and a Half Men is somehow cancelled, I think it'd be a pretty massive mistake. We'll see. The debate for me at this point is which Monday show moves to the additional hour. I've got a "CBS Sitcom Scenarios" post still sitting in my drafts which goes more in-depth, but I'm not sure I'll ever finish that. The fascinating thing is I think there is a legit argument for every single Monday show. So here are my really quick thoughts on each one:

How I Met Your Mother
Upside to move: As the youngest-skewing CBS show, it creates a very clear 18-34-leaning brand on Thursday
Downside: Puts 2 Broke Girls in a lead-off role, minimizing the growth potential for the youngest of the anchor-worthy shows

2 Broke Girls
Upside: Would be the splashiest/boldest move involving the show with the most growth potential
Downside: Leaves Monday without a "show of the future," meaning in the worst-case scenario the night could be in serious trouble if both HIMYM and 2.5 Men end soon

Two and a Half Men
Upside: If the show's ending soon anyway, it's a relatively small risk to Monday, and 2 Broke Girls can immediately move into "Monday show of the future" mode at 9:00
Downside: Men has been tethered to its timeslot for many years, and a move could really damage the already fading program

I'll also throw in a dark horse candidate from below:

Mike and Molly
Upside: Best fortifies Monday against what will be a continued onslaught of competition
Downside: Could lead to a fairly underwhelming fourth hour of comedy, especially in the short term; would be the least flashy PR move

Personally, my favorite move of the four is Mike and Molly; I think it's essential to keep Monday strong, especially if The Voice is gonna be there in the fall. What I think will happen is either 2 Broke Girls or maybe M&M. I'm skeptical they will want to move HIMYM or Men when they have other viable options and those two shows have spent so many years on Monday.

The Retainers

5. Rob (2.97)
6. Mike and Molly (2.95)
7. Rules of Engagement (2.82)

If you read my post from earlier this week about the last six years of new shows, you know that Rob could get the distinction of becoming the first "hit" newbie to get axed after one season. It'd be rather amazing to see a show in this day and age get canned with a 3.3 demo average. (Of course, all that disregards that it aired directly after a "megahit.") I'll just note that both Rob and Rules even at their Truly worst did better than recent episodes of most of the "safe" second-tier dramas, but it would seem at least one is dunzo.

The Dunzo
8. How to Be a Gentleman (1.83)

The Elites
1. NCIS (4.00)
2. Criminal Minds (3.17)
3. Person of Interest (2.95)

I said last time that PoI "may" end up closer to Minds than to the second tier "by season's end," but that's already happened with a full sweep still to come. Now, the question becomes whether it can actually pass Minds. The last time both aired in the same week, PoI was ever-so-slightly bigger.

Tier Two
4. The Mentalist (2.64)
5. CSI (2.61)
6. Hawaii Five-0 (2.56)
7. NCIS: Los Angeles (2.48)

With none of these shows sweating out the renewal, it's now all about scheduling. Pretty much all these shows are soaking up good lead-ins, and some are doing so in underwhelming fashion. Will that continue?

The Mentalist: This show seems most likely to move if only because of another comedy hour squeezing it off of Thursday. The obvious choice is Friday, since it skews old and was tested there earlier in the season. Sunday is also possible. I also think there's some chance that the show could stay put even with a comedy expansion, as CBS may want to maximize Person of Interest's potential in another 9:00 slot.

CSI: Wednesday has worked pretty well for CBS, so I could see it returning totally intact, but then Criminal Minds is a nice lead-in. Because of its age, I think this is the other candidate that could attempt improvement in the CSI: NY slot on Friday.

Hawaii Five-0: This one feels most likely to stay put. A potential new comedy at 9:30 on Monday is not necessarily a great lead-in that's being wasted, so I'd leave well enough alone.

NCIS: Los Angeles: This show seems the weakest of the four (even if you throw out the baffling 2.4 demo of its last original), and it's using the best drama lead-in on CBS. Does that mean it's time to go or that it needs to be protected? Some have suggested shifting it to 10/9c and giving the NCIS original recipe lead-in to either a new show or maybe even Person of Interest, but the NCIS sandwich seems sort of awkward to promote. Maybe it'd be ingenious because it'd ensure people watch the show in the middle.

The Friday-at-Best Division
8. Blue Bloods (2.09)
9. CSI: Miami (2.04)
10. Unforgettable (1.93)
11. CSI: NY (1.87)
12. The Good Wife (1.47)

With Blue Bloods and The Good Wife renewed, presumably this comes down to, at best, the two CSI spinoffs dueling for one Friday spot. Even that's far from a given on a network with so few timeslots, and I'm guessing that Friday spot would be better served with one of the next group up (either The Mentalist or CSI original). Miami was a little stronger, but NY has the "bird in the hand" advantage. I'm not sure replacing NY with Miami is really worth the trouble unless there's some big back-end benefit to Miami.

There's also the question of what to do with The Good Wife. Many have suggested a Friday move, but since I think the renewal is largely about acclaim/PR/branding, I have a feeling they'll waste some of that goodwill with a Friday move. I think it shifts up to Sunday 10/9c and takes the worst of the NFL overrun damage in the fall.

The Dunzo
13. NYC 22 (1.39)
14. A Gifted Man (1.35)

1. Survivor Spring (3.54
2. Survivor Fall (3.51)
3. Undercover Boss (2.44)
4. The Amazing Race Spring (2.29)
5. The Amazing Race Fall (2.18)
6. 60 Minutes (1.78)
7. 48 Hours Mystery (1.41)

Gotta give some credit to quietly successful The Amazing Race, whose spring season has a chance to finish up year-to-year in a world where most competition reality programs are down 20%+. Right now it's down by 1% and needs to post a 2.67 average in the last two eps (three hours total) to finish even, or a 2.7 average to finish up. Drama!

The only other issue here is whether Undercover Boss gets back onto the fall schedule. It's been the Truly strongest show of almost every Friday night since it moved there, which would seem to suggest a resounding yes. But this is another of those shows with burnout potential when it airs for long stretches, and have I mentioned that there are not that many timeslots on CBS???

1 comment:

Spot said...

I think there's a viable case for bringing Boss back in the fall and holding one of the returnees for midseason, from a raw ratings perspective. Maybe one that could be used to test out the ratings situation for starting one of their shows at midseason and running 22 episodes straight through to the end...

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