Saturday, April 14, 2012

First Two Weeks, Scandal


The premiere of ABC's Scandal pulled a 2.0 demo on a slightly viewing-depressed pre-Easter Thursday. That was below any episode of Private Practice in the timeslot all season, but Scandal had the smallest Grey's Anatomy lead-in ever (2.8) and also less overall viewing than any of PP's episodes. Overall, it was underwhelming but not totally dead on arrival, even though it's now yet another show that'd set a new mark for lowest weeknight new drama premiere that gets renewed.

Just like fellow ABC midseason drama GCB, Scandal had a promising week two as it maintained that 2.0 demo. However, most of the peripheral stuff was a touch more favorable this time. It had no original competition on CBS, overall viewing was higher, and the Grey's lead-in (2.9) was a tick bigger.

As I said yesterday, the ABC drama bubble is really playing out in an interesting way. GCB and Scandal are not complete duds. I'm not sure Missing is still in the mix, but until its drop this week, I felt its numbers might still be well worth consideration (especially if ABC gets a discount since it's a co-production) in its very difficult timeslot. Private Practice had barely renewable numbers airing after Grey's Anatomy and is about to start regularly airing without the show for the first time in over three years. And left-for-dead Body of Proof rose from the ashes and went into the clubhouse with three surprisingly decent results after Dancing came back. All these shows are converging around the same marginal level.

What's all this mean for Scandal? It means just about anything is possible. But it also means, especially with ABC producing two solid new dramas this fall, that Scandal is not going to be able to back into a face-saving renewal the way Body of Proof did last season. As I said on the GCB post, I tend to pick against the shows with a soft opening and a good week two, because week two by no means assures the show has stabilized. And I think this week's 2.0 will end up being noticeably Truly weaker than last week's 2.0, so it wasn't that good a week two anyway. I certainly don't rule out Scandal, but I think it's less than 50/50 to come out of this mess right now. So I'll say no season two.

"First Two Weeks" is my look at... the first two weeks of a new scripted broadcast show's ratings. I also line all of these numbers up to do an objective analysis in what I call "the system."

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