Thursday, October 25, 2012

CBS 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

CBS ComediesTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1The Big Bang Theory4.304.6524
22 Broke Girls3.003.4024
3Two and a Half Men2.993.7524
4How I Met Your Mother2.693.1524
5Mike and Molly2.582.9024

Immediately after the upfronts, I was one of the very few people in the world that eviscerated the CBS schedule. Now, most of their scripted shows are doing worse than almost anyone expected. So am I some kind of genius? I think I was right on some things, especially on giving less-than-elite lead-ins to the new shows.  But they were likely right about my #1 complaint, which was not expanding to a fourth comedy hour. I insist that, in a vacuum, it was a no-brainer. But if their number one comedy in development was freakin' Partners, the four-hour arrangement probably would've been a shaky situation. It definitely required at least one competent new show to be feasible; I just assumed they would have that one show because they almost always do. It seems the mistake on CBS' part, at least on the comedy front, was more in following up that amazing year of comedy with a development slate led by Partners, not so much in scheduling.

While How I Met Your Mother was a bit inflated by all the 8:00 bonuses in the first edition of this number last year, now I think its numbers should probably be a bit higher; it gets the misfortune of facing zero additional competition from Monday Night Football while everybody else on Monday faces the full game rating. I probably need to come up with some way to smooth out the Monday competition thing somewhat. I feel like Mother should be closer to the 2BG/Men vicinity.

CBS DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Elite
2Criminal Minds2.643.1013
3Person of Interest2.482.8013
4NCIS: Los Angeles2.323.0013

Long way to go, but it seems these shows don't have anything to worry about. I would argue they've all been disappointments ratings-wise, but the whole network is a disappointment ratings-wise, so it's kind of a wash for all parties. NCIS: LA is a much weaker show than its raw numbers suggest, but that doesn't really matter because it still seems Truly stronger than most of the shows behind it.

The Second Tier
7Hawaii Five-01.912.0024
8The Mentalist1.761.8024

Since it hasn't yet steadied, Elementary certainly belongs more in this tier than in the above one. If it has a Vegas-esque week four tonight, it may not even belong in this one. CSI and Five-0 are pretty underwhelming, but so is everything on CBS, so they appear to be OK on the totem pole at the moment.

Then there's The Mentalist. Most of the Sunday 10:00 shows with the overrun have done a couple ticks worse when they have a late start time. But The Mentalist is downright chameleonic; maybe the even later late afternoon NFL start times are hurting more than usual? Anyway, when it starts on time, I would argue it has been legitimately pretty impressive, hitting a 2.1 (and over a 2.00 True2) both times and building by a significant amount from The Good Wife. When it has an overrun, it's a mid-1's show (sub-1.50 True2!) that drops from The Good Wife. I would think that the start-on-time version is the "real" The Mentalist, but we'll have to see if it can survive all this tumult and hit that 10:00 level consistently going forward and once football is gone. Can't rule out it joining the bubble tier.

The Bubble
10The Good Wife1.591.8024
11Blue Bloods1.551.3524
12CSI: NY1.541.3024

Next week's update will include the big week four hit to Vegas, which will push it right into the middle of this pack, and maybe even below. I don't have much else to say except that barring significant numbers separation I think CBS would favor Blue Bloods (nearing syndication) and The Good Wife (prestige). Vegas is still trending down, and CSI: NY just barely scraped its way into this season and was probably first on the block in CBS' mind coming into the season.

The Dunzo
13Made in Jersey0.960.8012

CBS UnscriptedTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1Survivor Fall2.582.8025
2The Amazing Race Fall1.932.6024
360 Minutes1.852.8024
448 Hours1.221.0024

As I said with the ABC Sunday shows, I think The Amazing Race is a little deflated here, but it should still probably be a few notches weaker than Survivor.


Spot said...

The fact that Partners hasn't been yanked off CBS' schedule is surprising since both Rules of Engagement and Friend Me are in the wings. I expected by now to see RoI Mondays at 8:30 with Friend Me coming in at midseason.

Given how CBS is in worse shape than expected, it begs the question: does the network use the post-Super Bowl slot to help shore up a veteran or to launch a new series? The predisposition to their dramas makes me think Person of Interest, but if they want to boost their Monday comedies I could see 2 Broke Girls & Friend Me sharing the hour.

Spot said...

I think CBS didn't pull Partners, because they are not worried about their Monday's future. why? because they decided to help 2BG with SB, and premiere Friend Me then, when the whole night will be boosted. so Monday on CBS might be fading, but they have a plan to save it, so they don't care too much. this is the only reason I can think of, though as we remember, this week a repeat of 2BG tied Partners, and was led by 2.2 only.

Spot said...

I was right there with you in bashing CBS, although for different reason. I focused on dramas, you on comedies. But the idea was the same: Why are the big shows leading in to other established shows? NCIS to LA instead of Vegas or Elementary. Big Bang to 2 1/2 Men instead of Partners or anything new that isn't Partners. Sure, there's a possibility that they would still tank like they are tanking now, but you always have the option of moving or cancelling them. At least give them the proper sampling a new show deserves.

As it stands, Person of Interest's meh start has led to Elementary starting weak...or not? Maybe this is all we can expect from 10 PM anymore. Nothing else on CBS is doing better, according to your chart. Nothing on ABC is doing better. Only one show on NBC is doing better, and it has a 70% stronger lead-in. I still feel that it should be doing better.

Vegas, on the other hand, has taken two half-point drops in its first four episodes. It's pretty much done for. But if I'm CBS, I have to wonder if the story would be different if it debuted at 9.

Spot said...

I think the mentalist was definitl hurt by the move, it has a much weaker lead in (which in non-over run it usually builds on) plus it can start so much later, there's already a large drop off at 10, I'd have to imagine the drop off at 11 would be so much worse, that being said, it still probably is on the way out

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