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 NBC Power Rankings: November | January | February
Other networks: ABC | CBS | NBC | Fox | The CW
The Ones I'd Renew
1. The Office (2.55)
2. Parks and Recreation (1.85)
3. Community (1.83)
4. Whitney (1.80)
I know a lot of NBC Thursday cynics would just cancel the whole lot, but I'm not sure that is realistic. That said, the Thursday lineup has clearly dropped beneath the point where you can just throw on four returning players and call it a day. What I would do is have Community and Parks share the 8/7c slot (especially if Big Bang stays put there), then have a bunch of SNL Weekend Update election specials at 8:30 (worked great in 2008) followed by a November premiere of The Office at 8:30. Then start over with two promising new singlecams at 9/8c.
On a night where they've done much, much, much, much worse, I think Whitney earned another shot, especially since NBC seems to be leaning toward an even bigger multicamera presence next year. Whit should help a Wednesday multicam block at least not turn into two hours of total disaster area. I think the show has more upside potential than, well, any other comedy on the lineup. That's not saying much, since all the others basically have zero upside potential, but... there you have it.
The Ones I'd Not Renew
5. 30 Rock (1.64)
6. Are You There, Chelsea? (1.40)
7. Up All Night (1.33)
My guess is 30 Rock returns, but I'm not really sure why it should return. I guess it's still NBC's best hope at awards shows, but it's a distant third among critical darlings and it doesn't really bring it in the ratings either.
The argument Up All Night has to lean on is "The Office is just a horrific lead-in for everybody!" Its collapse on Thursday was baffling, but then Parks moved post-The Office last week and also took a major TRUE drop. So maybe it's on to something there. That said, it's another one like 30 Rock where I just don't see the argument. It didn't take the leap into widespread critical adoration as many expected before the season, and it's now nearly five months removed from the last time it showed any ratings promise. I still think NBC might bring it back, but for me it wouldn't even be close.
8. Free Agents (0.94)
9. Bent (0.77)
10. Best Friends Forever (0.75)
1. Law and Order: SVU (1.92)
2. Smash (1.76)
3. Parenthood (1.70)
4. Grimm (1.70)
Still waiting on Parenthood, but my fingers are crossed. I think it'd be a cool option for the midseason Sunday role leading into Celebrity Apprentice. I've never been as convinced as some that it would do better in an earlier hour, but it'd be a great opportunity to run a 16-episode or so season repeat-free.
5. The Playboy Club (1.18)
6. Awake (1.18)
7. Chuck (0.97)
8. Prime Suspect (0.96)
9. Harry's Law (0.93)
10. The Firm (0.50)
Here's some trivia for ya: of the twelve lowest-rated big four scripted newbies (in raw ratings), three of them, all in this group, aired on NBC at Thursday 10/9c. Another three aired on NBC at Wednesday 8:30/7:30c. It's pretty ridiculous to have three huge flops in two different timeslots on the same network in the same season. Another three of those twelve were elsewhere on NBC! Better luck next year, peacock...
1. The Voice Mon (5.29)
2. The Voice Tue (3.28)
3. Fear Factor (2.32)
4. The Biggest Loser Spring (2.12)
5. The Biggest Loser Fall (2.08)
6. Off Their Rockers (2.05)
7. Celebrity Apprentice (1.88)
Off Their Rockers certainly looks worthy of a return, but I don't exactly think it's something NBC should be building a schedule around. I think it may have real potential in the Friday 8/7c timeslot or in midseason replacement duty.
The evidence is piling up that a one-hour The Biggest Loser is Truly stronger than a two-hour version. Maybe the Voice pre-tune also helps, but they're getting the same or even a bit better raw numbers at 8:00 than they were previously getting for the whole two hours. Is it more valuable from a scheduling standpoint to have one solid hour or two decent ones? I'm guessing they'll continue to have some of both (depending on The Voice).
8. Dateline Fri (1.47)
9. Who's Still Standing? (1.41)
10. The Sing-Off (1.36)
11. Dateline Sun (1.21)
12. Who Do You Think You Are? (1.17)
13. Rock Center (0.61)
14. Escape Routes (0.19)
I have nothing against the show, but from the numbers geek perspective I've been rooting for Escape Routes to hit the first ever negative TRUE. Because of lead-in dynamics, that is possible. It's also highly improbable. (My thinking has always been that a test pattern would pull a 0.00.) So far, it's not showing any sign of making the leap to the first-ever 0.1 demo rating, and I think that's what it'd take. :(
I'm guessing this is the year NBC does away with Who Do You Think You Are? It's kind of sad that it somehow ended up against three legitimate unscripted programs on a Friday at 8:00, which is basically the worst situation you could possibly ask for. Even so, it's done better than Chuck but probably not as well as NBC wants for that hour, especially if they're going to continue to "try" on Friday with Grimm next season.