Sunday, May 27, 2012

Spotty Summer 2012


Another regular season is in the books! Thanks to all readers and commenters old and new. Been a fun season. If you've been around awhile, you may remember how I used to brag that this blarg is actually busier in the summer than during the regular season. I'm hoping that will not be the case this time, mostly since I did so much more stuff than usual during the regular season. But we're not exactly going dark. There's no huge game-changing project this summer, but all the oldies are back. Here's very roughly how the summer will go:

SUMMER PROJECTS

The War of 18-49. My show ratings history project is back for a third season! As last summer, the vast majority of the War posts will be "updates," in which I quickly discuss how a veteran show did last season and rewrite a chunk of the show's main page. There will also be 11 full-fledged new entries to the War library, one each week.  The War kicks off with an all-new entry on Memorial Day (May 28) and will have one post each weekday through Friday, August 17. There will be one off week at the end of June for me to get caught up on everything during the week after my late-June vacation. There may also be an additional period right at the end of the summer to cover updates for the summer shows.

To round out the full 11-week schedule, I'm also going to do a few longer-than-update-shorter-than-original posts that I'm tentatively calling "Skirmishes," which will briefly recount short-running fan favorite shows that were axed several years back. These will start showing up in July.

True Two. Most of my work last summer was behind the scenes on the number I call True Strength, which makes adjustments to a show's 18-49 rating based on its timeslot circumstances. For the most part, I think the number was at least an improvement on raw 18-49 ratings, but there were still some problems. To create version 2.0, I'll essentially run through the same very general process, and hopefully most of the repetitive stuff will take a lot less time since I have so much of the foundation in place. My focus will be on the stuff that I think went wrong and, perhaps more importantly, on creating better ways to implement the number next year. I'm gonna try to have a post within the next week or two that's more specific about the issues/goals for 2.0, and then sometime soon after I'll launch into making the fixes.

A18-49+. My plan was for the "fair historical ratings measure" to be the big new project of summer 2012, but it started to set in that beginning another huge project from scratch plus continuing the above two things would totally burn me out. So I did most of the heavy lifting there during the relatively slow months of March and April. I was hoping to just about finish by regular season's end, but the upfront stuff got in the way. So there are at least three more posts in this arena that should appear at some point soon.

Fall Preview. I'm planning on doing another 22-post look at each primetime hour late in the summer. I'm not 100% sure when it will start and I'm also hoping to shake it up a bit this time, so I'm kinda light on details at the moment.

DAY-TO-DAY

Daily Ratings. A year ago, I completely stopped doing the full tables over the summer because it took me a long time to do the formatting. This summer, since I generate them much more quickly, I am planning on doing them, but they will be considerably slimmed down with TRUE in the shop for maintenance. And like during last summer, the routine will be a lot less rigid. I'll probably only do the usual two-step process ("what matters" based on prelims and full table after finals) for particularly significant non-sports evenings. Usually, it'll just be the full table after finals, and I'll probably totally drop the pretense of trying to find something that "matters" on some days and just paste tables.

SpotVault. I considered not doing the ratings archive at all over the summer, but it occurs to me that for other record-keeping purposes it might be good to go ahead and get all the historical info for the summer shows into my spreadsheet. So there will be a summer SpotVault, but (like the daily ratings) it will be both "slimmed down" and far less rigid in terms of updates. And it will also only be for broadcast shows that are original during the summer. Too much hassle to do all the summer reruns updates on a week-to-week basis. (Though there is a good chance that when I'm going through and creating the fall 2012 pages, I'll create a new summer rerun category on the old 2011-12 pages.)

Five-Spots/True Top 25. I completely abandoned the Five-Spot news/ratings recaps last summer. I'd promise not to do that this summer, but it may be an empty promise. The idea is the same as it was this past regular season - just do them every time five notable things happen. Not sure I'll follow through on that. With True Strength undergoing maintenance, and since version 1.0 is not really built for the summer (will get into that in the True issues/goals post), I will rarely if ever do a True Top 25. Maybe I'll do one for the last pre-Olympics week or something just to get some larger sense of how things are going.

Cable Ratings Guide. Cable's kind of a big deal in the summer, so these will continue to go up during the first week of each month at SpoilerTV! I'm also gonna try to say a little more on cable on the daily posts this summer.

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