Thursday, November 15, 2012

First Two Weeks, Malibu Country

On premiere night, the Reba McEntire fanbase brought a serious reinvigoration to Friday night. Malibu Country opened with 9.13 million viewers and a 2.3 demo rating, the highest number for a Friday series premiere in years. It did even better than the last couple shows that went on to become Friday staples, Blue Bloods (2.2) and Grimm (2.1), it built from its Last Man Standing lead-in (an also overachieving 2.0) and it helped boost Shark Tank to a series high (2.3). It was as strong a start as ABC could've possibly hoped for.

But it only looked like a true Friday game-changer for one week. Malibu Country dropped 26% in week two to more of a merely-good-for-Friday 1.7 demo, built by just a tenth from Last Man (1.6) and lost decisively in the timeslot to Undercover Boss (1.9 overall, 2.2 at 8:30).

It looks like this will be my third deferral to week three for an ABC show, with just one on all the other networks combined. This one's a pretty textbook case; great start, huge drop to a level that would still be more than acceptable, but... we just don't know where it's going to settle yet. This one dropped a lot more than I expected; maybe it was because the draw of Reba wasn't necessarily tied up in her previous sitcom (as it probably was with Tim Allen last year). But 1.7 is still a very good number for a Friday night, so I want to see more. If Malibu can stay above a 1.5 tomorrow night, I'm in. If not, it becomes a surprisingly tough call. For now, Defer.

But stay above a 1.5 it did not, as week three saw another 18% drop to a 1.4 demo. The story of this show sure changed in a hurry. Is a 1.4 still an acceptable number for this show on Friday night? Maybe so, but not by much. There's also the chance this show becomes part of some plan to try to rescue ABC's horrific-rated Tuesday night. But it's hard to feel good about the way things are headed following two large drops. There's a very real chance it still hasn't stabilized yet. And why defer this if I was going to say "Renew" after another 18% drop? I'm going with a hesitant Cancel.

"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.

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