Thursday, October 25, 2012

ABC True Power Rankings, October 2012

The much-beloved True Power Rankings are BACK. I line up every entertainment program in broadcast primetime by network/category using my timeslot metric True2, offering my take on the ratings strength of the shows.

Two changes of note this year. First: next week, I will create a separate page for each network, and I will update those every week when I do all the SpotVault updates. This will keep the numbers linked on the right sidebar much more up to date than last year. But the full-fledged versions in which I actually write stuff will be considerably less frequent. The current plan is to do those four times: now (beginning of November sweeps), early January (beginning of midseason), late February (end of February sweeps) and late April (beginning of May sweeps/pre-upfront). Subject to change!

Second change: I'm trying yet another new "formula" for the averages below. The A18-49 and True2 averages now average the last third of the season's episodes to date, rounded up. This seems like a decent way to quickly remove the value of inflated series premieres and give a show a larger sample if it's aired a larger number of episodes. I list how many episodes have aired (through the last full week, ending October 21) and how many of those are counted in the averages for each show.

Other October True Power Rankings: ABC | CBS | NBC | Fox | CW

ABC ComediesTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1Modern Family4.154.8024
2The Middle2.312.4524
4The Neighbors1.701.9524

With just four comedies on this first edition, I'm not going to do the "divisions" until January when Happy Endings, Apartment 23, Last Man Standing and Malibu Country are in the mix. (Though we'll get the first look at those on the spectrum in the aforementioned updated-weekly edition.)

The only question that sticks out to me: how disappointing was the Suburgatory premiere? I wanted it to go a lot higher, but in the end it doesn't look that far off of where it was in the relative landscape last year. It was two to three tenths weaker in True2 than The Middle last year, and it was a little over two tenths weaker last Wednesday. It's also noticeably stronger than the 8:30 show, The Neighbors, and also way Truly stronger than the Tuesday shows which were at 9:30 last year. All of that seems to line up with what went down last year, although Suburgatory dropped a bit more in last night's prelims.

I think it's safe to say The Neighbors has not flopped as hard as some people expected, but at least for now it still doesn't look like a particularly long term option. But with the way this season is going, it is probably an extension-worthy option.

ABC DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Elite
1Grey's Anatomy3.403.4013
2Once Upon a Time2.553.1524

I had to apologize for this quite a bit last year, and it doesn't really seem to be fixed as well as I expected this year; the Sunday shows are just really deflated because overall viewing is so much higher on Sunday than on any other day. Maybe they "should" be deflated, but there's no real evidence that anyone in power is much harder on Sunday shows than the raw numbers indicate. (Perhaps it made Scandal an easier renewal decision relative to GCB last year?)  Still, even with the possible deflation, Once is clearly an elite ABC drama, and until that changes, it's not worth worrying about.

The Second Tier

Again, Revenge on Sunday has a number that's probably far worse than anyone in power thinks, but it seems to be in pretty good shape. But there's no doubt the timeslot has been more favorable for the show; it never hit 2.6 after mid-November of last season and has hit 2.6+ every week this fall.

On the other hand, True2 loves Castle. I said before the upfront that there was not all that compelling a reason to move the show at this point. While Dancing with the Stars has made Monday a problem, I think the decision to keep Castle here was fine. The lead-in is of course far weaker than expected (it even fully retained it one week!), meaning DWTS wouldn't have been much of a launching pad for a new show. Castle faces what is essentially the only hit 10/9c drama on broadcast TV, Revolution, and it also has to deal with Monday Night Football. All told, its 2.1 looks way better than Nashville's 2.0 or Scandal's 1.9.

The Bubble
7Last Resort1.631.6524

These dramas all have their fans in the critical community but are limping along ratings-wise. The only thing I will say right now is that I'm probably going to take longer to bail on Last Resort than most people, much like I (foolishly?) took longer to bail on Missing last spring. It is just a very tough timeslot. And while LR has the worst True2 score of these three, it actually narrowly out-Trued both last week (with a 1.77) and has out-Trued Scandal each week that they've aired together; its average is deflated because the pre-debate number is included. Considering its average is of episodes three and four and Nashville's is of only episode two (though it was preliminarily steady in week three), I say it's a pretty close race. (And I actually like Nashville better personally.)

The Dunzo
8Private Practice1.471.6013
9666 Park Ave1.441.6024

On the other hand, I'm out on 666 Park, even though the raw numbers are the same. I think it would be kind of a shame if 666 and Last Resort end up airing pretty much the same number of episodes, because Last Resort has a much less favorable situation.

ABC UnscriptedTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Tentpoles
1Shark Tank2.221.9026
2Dancing with the Stars Mon1.982.1524
3Dancing with the Stars Tue1.922.1024

It's early, but it looks like this whole Shark Tank thing could get interesting. There will be a considerable temptation to make it a player in the middle of the week. It had a 2.0 rating last week, and we are fast approaching a point in this ratings-battered landscape where a 2.0 is not just a "good for Friday" rating but a "good, period" rating. It's been quite awhile, probably since the Ghost Whisperer heyday, since we've seen a show hit a "good, period" rating in a weekend timeslot. (Though Grimm last year was approaching "good for its network, period" levels.)

Keeping it on Friday will be an easier call should Tim Allen and Reba bomb starting a week from tomorrow. If they too show a pulse, things get really crowded when the primetime version of Nightline shows up in March.

The Filler
4Primetime: What Would You Do?1.551.4525
6America's Funniest Home Videos1.251.3013

On the other hand, Primetime and 20/20 are perfectly nice "good for Friday" shows that have become much more competitive on the night with the help of Shark Tank and the CBS struggles. 20/20 is +14% year-to-year at the moment, which I believe is the most of anything on the big four, though I could be forgetting something.


Spot said...

Shark Tank could be the tide that's rising ABC's boats on Friday. Much like they were loathe to move Castle off of Mondays, I can't see them moving Shark to midweek. The most optimal move, though, would be to Tuesdays at 9: a higher visibility but less ratings-brutal timeslot. And it would have the benefit of being the only reality show in the hour, so the counterprogramming gods would be pleased.

Spot said...

Well, I figured Grimm would get moved last season and that didn't happen. The only reason I think this might be different is because of all these other shows scheduled to air on Fridays. What do you think will happen if Tim and Reba succeed?

Spot said...

If LMS & Malibu Country succeed, Shark Tank would stay at 9 PM and Nightline would bump 20/20 starting in March. If Shark Tank manages to run through its 24 episode season before mid-to-late March (possible if the show takes a one week break at Thanksgiving and 2 weeks off around Christmas & New Years), Nightline moves in at 9 and 20/20 stays at 10.

I see the logic in moving a promising freshman show like Grimm off of
Fridays; I almost expect Malibu Country to get a tryout on Wednesdays at 8:30. But Grimm didn't pop in either its
Thursday night tryout or its Monday post-Olympics run this season. Its ratings staying relatively constant told NBC Grimm is a show better suited to a night with lower expectations, a big fish in a small pond type of scenario.

Ultimately I think
it would be healthier if the broadcasters stop
moving its few successful Friday night shows and using the night as a
dumping ground or placeholder.

Spot said...

Nightline gets bumped to Summer.

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