Tuesday, October 9, 2012

First Two Weeks, Ben and Kate

On Fox's underwhelming premiere Tuesday, the weakest show of the bunch was 8:30 newbie Ben and Kate, which managed just a 2.1 demo and lost a quarter of its New Girl (2.8) lead-in. It was three tenths below the launch of fellow Fox newbie The Mindy Project (2.4), which launched at 9:30 with the same size lead-in.

But the really bad news for Ben and Kate was that New Girl wasn't gonna be there forever. In week two, Raising Hope took over the 8/7c slot and had a pretty weak premiere (1.7). If retention's your thing, Ben and Kate I guess did pretty well? But retention's not my thing, so a 1.6 with 94% retention is not a good result. That's a 24% drop. Mindy (1.9) remained three tenths ahead with what was now a much better lead-in.

You can believe me or not believe me, but prior to yesterday's full-season orders I had written in this space that at least one and probably both of these shows were going to get extended. How was Fox even going to get through the season if they canned both by 2013? However, renewal is a different story, and May's a long way away. So the real task is parsing these two underwhelming-rated shows. Does one have a clear advantage?

Raw numbers-wise, it looks like big advantage Mindy. You can argue that Fox prefers Mindy and that's why it got more episodes yesterday. (Though Fox said it had to do with the B&K showrunner's pregnancy.) But the thing is... Mindy has a huge advantage situationally speaking. Its lead-in was 1.1 points bigger, three of the four competing networks are much stronger at 8:30 than at 9:30, and there's a lot more overall viewing at 9:30 than at 8:30. Add all of those up and there's a rather eye-opening prelim True2 result in week two: Ben and Kate 1.64, The Mindy Project 1.56. In other words, if you'd flipped the shows' timeslots in week two I'd expect B&K to get a 1.9 to 2.0 and Mindy to get a 1.6 to 1.7. So Mindy's got the raw numbers but is, for now, probably the bigger disappointment of the two.

Really thought about deferring both of these, because I wonder if this may be another hyped-disappointment-vs.-little-show-that-could situation like last year's Secret Circle vs. Hart of Dixie. But I just doubt one more week will provide that much more clarity. I think Fox likes Mindy better, so I'm gonna lean Cancel on this one.

"First Two Weeks" is my look at... the first two weeks of a new scripted broadcast show's ratings. I also line up all of the premiere and week two drop numbers together.


Spot said...

Retention's not your thing? When did that change? Cause I recall you saying it WAS your thing way back when...

Spot said...

I do think lead-in dynamics matter, I just think using retention % as a metric on its own is rather meaningless, because the size of the lead-in matters. Saying "Ben & Kate is a 94% show and Mindy is a 68% show" is an oversimplification. But as written above, I also think saying Mindy is a 1.9 show and B&K is a 1.6 show is an oversimplification.

The reality is more like the average show has about 15-20% "retention" and then anything beyond that is what the show would get if it had a 0.0 lead-in. That's the idea that True2 uses.

Spot said...

Oh, ok. So you've tied it to a mathematical system. That makes sense.

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