Friday, June 22, 2012

Network Shifts, 2006-12


I've used my A18-49+ numbers to try to offer a fresh macro look at sitcoms vs. dramas, unscripted, new shows, reruns and sports/specials. Another perspective that I think is worth visiting: how the networks line up over the years. So this post will compare each network's entertainment original average to the combined big four entertainment original average. As I did in the new show post, I'm just going to briefly recap each year and then put them all together at the end.



2006-07: The Height of Drama

Year ABC CBS NBC Fox CW
2006-07 106 99 81 123 41

Fox and ABC are the two top networks in entertainment programming thanks in very large part to having TV's four megahits at or nearly at the height of their powers: Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, House and American Idol.



2007-08: The WGA Strike

Year ABC CBS NBC Fox CW
2007-08 98 93 88 130 36

The writers' strike has a very tangible effect in this season. The three networks that lean heaviest on scripted originals (ABC/CBS/CW) take a clear hit from all the shortened seasons, while NBC (with Deal or No Deal and American Gladiators) and Fox (with a higher % of their hours going to American Idol, plus plenty of in-season reality hours from the likes of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Hell's Kitchen and Moment of Truth) are able to benefit.



2008-09: The Return of Scripted

Year ABC CBS NBC Fox CW
2008-09 100 103 82 121 39

NBC/Fox drop back  to near their pre-strike levels. ABC and CBS bounce back, but CBS did so to a much larger extent. In what was largely a terrible season for development, CBS has really the only bonafide hit in Tuesday's The Mentalist, and lead-in NCIS also catches fire. CBS also has a great Monday as sophomore The Big Bang Theory and vets How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men build on their post-strike momentum. The CW drops Friday tentpole Friday Night Smackdown! but still grows slightly because they essentially give up originals on Sunday. The Media Rights Capital-purchased block did not air any originals after the end of October.



2009-10: The Jay Leno Show

Year ABC CBS NBC Fox CW
2009-10 99 106 78 123 39

NBC takes another notable hit thanks to punting the 10/9c hour for most of the season with The Jay Leno Show. CBS continues to grind its way upward on the back of a still-surging NCIS and a massive performance from The Big Bang Theory at 9:30. The other networks are relatively unchanged, as ABC has a successful comedy block on Wednesday but continues to lose ground with their former megahit dramas.



2010-11: A Healthy Idol

Year ABC CBS NBC Fox CW
2010-11 98 106 77 128 37

Not a lot of movement in this year, but Fox does get back to nearly its writer's strike levels thanks to a great season from American Idol and a peaking Glee. NBC downticks ever so slightly even though they're trying a little harder at 10/9c. Despite great seasons from Modern Family and Dancing with the Stars, ABC takes another small downtick since they lose Lost and take continued hits with the other big dramas.



2011-12: The Return of the Sitcom

Year ABC CBS NBC Fox CW
2011-12 96 115 77 119 29

This season had perhaps the most seismic shifts of any of the six seasons. Start with the two relatively unchanged networks: ABC drops another tick, and most of the blame goes to a terrible couple of seasons from Dancing with the Stars. And NBC amazingly drops two ticks despite the heavy concentration of megahit The Voice, which just goes to show how disastrous everything else was.

Then there were the huge shifts. CBS had essentially been grinding their way up the ladder over the last five years despite not having any spectacular performers. But give CBS megahits and they're pretty scary. They get significant improvement from their returning sitcoms and launch the biggest relative new hit in years in 2 Broke Girls. Like NBC, the Fox drop is particularly concerning since they introduce a big, timeslot-improving, high real estate show in The X Factor. But returnees American Idol, House and Glee were all down in the 30% range. And the CW had likely the worst year for any network out of the last six seasons. All of their three new dramas get full seasons, but none are anywhere near hit-by-CW-standards, and nearly all of the CW returnees drop 20%+. Plus, they lost Smallville.



All Together Now

Year ABC CBS NBC Fox CW
2006-07 106 99 81 123 41
2007-08 98 93 88 130 36
2008-09 100 103 82 121 39
2009-10 99 106 78 123 39
2010-11 98 106 77 128 37
2011-12 96 115 77 119 29

Lining up all six seasons, my first observation is that the way the networks line up has not really changed that much relatively speaking. If there's one obvious trend, it's CBS up, everybody else down. CBS was slowly grinding its way upward before breaking out with all their huge sitcoms this season. For the other big four nets, the relative decline has been pretty subtle; ABC, NBC and Fox were all at lows last season, but they were down just a bit from their lowest points in the previous five seasons. The CW was kinda slowly trickling down for awhile too (closing up shop on Sunday helped mask the problem a bit) but then dropped more this season than in the previous four combined.

No comments:

Post a Comment

© SpottedRatings.com 2009-2018. All Rights Reserved.