Sunday, August 26, 2012

Best Case/Worst Case: The Intro

In 2009, I began a yearly tradition of posting about every single hour of primetime TV to preview the fall season. In year four, I completely overhauled it, and the new format (Best Case/Worst Case) became one of this blog's most popular formats. There's a ton more content, with more focus on predictions and some of the numbers I've developed in the last couple years. Let me show off a couple of these loaded sample tables so I can explain a few things.

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Monday 8:00 11.6 6 +3% 2 35.8 7 32% 8

Starting with the Monday 8:00 post, I'll have this little table at the top of each post and a quick paragraph of analysis. I'm sure some eyes kind of glaze over at this stuff, but I personally think at least some people might be interested in the "peripheral" info around the timeslot. Here's a quick rundown of what they all mean.

bc = Combined broadcast ratings for the big-five broadcasters. I apply the 10:00 adjustment to all these numbers to try to put the 10:00 numbers on a somewhat level playing field.
y2y = Combined broadcast ratings year-to-year.
TPUT = Overall viewing levels (with the Old Methodology adjustment).
bc/TPUT = Percentage of overall viewing that's on broadcast; a fairly decent measure of how much competition is in the slot.
Rank = The ranks compare these numbers among all 21 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 hours in primetime.

The Shows:

For my next trick, a big table jam-packed with info for each fall show. Here's an example.

Image America's Funniest Home Videos Slot Average
Premieres September 29 1.43
Best Case: AFV had a surprisingly decent hold last year as the rest of ABC Sunday crumbled. It can do it again! Another -7% to a 1.39.

Worst Case:
It's gonna get really ugly from 8:00 to 11:00 on ABC Sunday, and that has to matter at some point. And this show is bound to even out from its overachievement last year. Down 18% to a 1.22.

Now that I have a decade of Plus data on this show, it really amazes me how independent this show is from the rest of ABC. Its 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons, when ABC Sunday had the strongest three-hour lineup on television, were really no different for AFV than other seasons. Still, I say it is due to drop a bit more than average since it overachieved a bit last year. I'll say it goes -12% to a 1.31.
Slot Orig Avg
America's Funniest Home Videos
y2y Label
-7% marginal1.49 1.42
True Sitch
1.42 +5%
Last Pick Miss
1.44 +3%
2012-13 Slot
Sunday 7:00

Out are the Phil Steele-esque long narratives about timeslot history. Instead, I'm blatantly stealing another format from a sportswriter (a storied tradition at this blog!). I'm adopting the "Best Case/Worst Case" scenarios I always enjoy from Pat Forde come March Madness time, then I'm giving my Official Prediction in the Likeliest part. I'm trying not to be too hedge-y except when I'm genuinely stumped, so I'm sure many shows will do worse than the worst case (or maybe even better than the best?!). I think it would kind of be boring to say "RUNS FOR 30 SEASONS" for every best case and "AXED AFTER ONE EPISODE" for every worst case.

There are also a lot of numbers and other stuff. I'm gonna explain each part, but a good rule of thumb is that all the white background stuff is about the show and all the blue background stuff is about what the network did in the timeslot last year.

Number in the huge font under the icon = the A18-49 original average for the show in 2012-13.
y2y = the show's percent change in A18-49 from 2011-12 to 2012-13.
Label = the show's label based on its A18-49+. See this post about the creation of the labels.
True = the show's average in my signature timeslot metric.
Sitch = difference between True and the A18-49 average.
(NEW FOR 2013-14!) Last Pick = The demo rating I predicted for this show during Best Case/Worst Case last season.
(NEW FOR 2013-14!) Miss = How much I missed the mark with last season's pick.
2011-12 Slot = where the show aired last year.
Slot Average = the network's average in the show's timeslot last season. (For half-hour shows, it's just the average in that half-hour. For two-hour shows, it's just the average in the hour of that day's post.)
Slot Orig Avg = the network's average in the show's timeslot last season with just original non-sports series programming. (For half-hour shows, it's just the average in that half-hour. For two-hour shows, it's just the average in the hour of that day's post.)
Occupants = A list of shows that aired in the timeslot last year, including their A18-49 average and True average respectively in the slot. This just includes episodes that start at the timeslot of that day's post. That means double-length episodes that may have included an out-of-slot second half are fully included.

Then I'll have a quick table with cable shows in the hour (if applicable):

ShowNetworkPremieres Avg y2y
Monday Night FootballESPN9/105.38-8%
WWE Raw (full 11-12 avg)USAongoing1.70
Switched At BirthABC Fam9/30.77

Then I'll pick one "network to watch" which I think will be most interesting in the hour this fall, and I'll say what I'm watching. At that point, if somehow there is anyone still reading, it will be over until 24 hours later!

Hope y'all enjoy these as much as I do. Please lemme know if you spot any errors or if you think my predictions are insane. Finally, a special thanks to TV-aholic for the new and improved show icons!


Spot said...

Very impressed. Keep up the good work!

Spot said...

for doin’ this, I love the Rating system! I work a ton of hours at Dish,
so any help picking and choosing what and when to DVR is a huge bonus!
This year should be easier though, as I'll be using the Hopper. I
have Prime Time Anytime, so it'll record every prime time show on the four big
networks for me! Plus, I have 2,000 hours of recording space, so I'll
finally have enough space to store all my recordings, and watch one after the
other to decide which are my favorites!

Spot said...

It looks really great, love the new table for shows and the info is extremely interesting and helpful.

Spot said...


This is incredible! I've looked at all the 8pm cases, and its awesome! Keep up the good work.

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