Wednesday, January 2, 2013

ABC True Power Rankings, January 2013

It's time for another edition of the True Power Rankings! 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. This week, I'll offer a few thoughts on individual shows as part of the preview of midseason.

As on the Weekly True Power Rankings, these True2 and A18-49 numbers are averages of the last third of the season's episodes to date, rounded up. The number of episodes in the average is listed under "Counted Eps." Due to Nielsen holiday delays, we don't have everything from last week, so these numbers are all through December 23. But since almost nothing aired in originals last week, that mostly doesn't make a difference.

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

True2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Elite
1Modern Family4.234.58410
2The Middle2.292.3339

The Middle being anything less than "Certain Renewal" is laughable. That's all I got.

True2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Actual Middle
4Malibu Country1.741.4737
5The Neighbors1.731.88410
6Last Man Standing1.641.5337

These are the two big narratives for ABC's bottom-of-the-hour Wednesday sitcoms: 1) Suburgatory has been a huge disappointment at 9:30 after Modern Family! 2) Critically-reviled The Neighbors has not been as big a flop as most people expected!

I actually don't disagree with either of those. But just because the gap is smaller than expected doesn't mean there isn't a gap. Disappointing Suburgatory still looks to have a reasonable lead on overachieving The Neighbors almost every time they both air on the same night, even after factoring in the timeslot differences. This was on display to some degree on December 5 when Suburgatory had a Modern Family repeat lead-in and a little more competition and still beat The Neighbors by 0.3 points.

Though it looks like ABC will again have to look elsewhere to best utilize the Modern Family lead-in, Suburgatory still has a future somewhere. There will be a more direct comparison between the two when Suburgs returns to the 8:30 slot in April. If Suburgatory outrates The Neighbors' 8:30 numbers, perhaps it stays at 8:30 permanently.

True2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Terrible Tuesday
7Happy Endings1.331.2737
8Apartment 231.301.1037

In a not-so-shocking development, Happy Endings and Apartment 23 have had a rough go on Tuesday. There's a conventional wisdom that says Happy Endings has a much better shot at renewal than Apartment 23 because of its raw numbers advantage, its syndication proximity advantage and the fact that it's got the always renewal-friendly Sony studio on its side. I agree with all of that, although I would point out that I think the gap between the two in terms of ratings strength is actually pretty negligible. Were the two shows flipped, with Apt 23 airing right after Dancing with the Stars, the numbers would probably also (just about) flip.

Ultimately, though, neither one looks to be worth keeping around. Perhaps their random Sunday 10/9c airings will show us that huge chunks of their audiences were watching New Girl instead, but I can't say I expect much. Overall, I pity the poor show that would be paired with Happy Endings if it gets re-upped.

True2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Fab Five
1Grey's Anatomy3.303.0039
3Once Upon a Time2.302.9739

I feel I should note as always that Once and Revenge have extremely high Sitch scores due to the huge viewing totals on Sunday. Another factor working against them on this occasion is that they aired all of their episodes before True2's "fall hype" adjustment kicked in, whereas Grey's and Scandal got that in their favor for two of their three counted episodes. The point is that both Once and Revenge are a lot safer than their scores suggest, and hopefully their scores will even out a bit once the fall hype adjustment is fully in play and the NFL stops mucking up Sundays.

Scandal is probably not quite as safe as it looks here, simply because there's some question about whether it's going to keep getting mid-2's and beating Elementary on a sustained basis. But there's no doubt it finished 2012 as well as almost any show on TV.

True2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Lone Bubbler

This show is the only big question mark on the ABC drama sked right now. And there's a good chance it could stay that way all the way through May. It would take Zero Hour and/or Red Widow significantly outperforming their fall counterparts or Body of Proof somehow going about even year-to-year for Nashville to get any company. Not feeling too good about either of those prospects. But if all those midseason dramas fail, I would think ABC would strongly lean toward bringing this one back.

True2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Dunzo
7Private Practice1.391.15410
8Last Resort1.181.10410
9666 Park Ave1.071.2339

When ABC cancelled Last Resort and 666 Park Ave simultaneously, it was frustrating because it looked like there would be no way to confirm my belief that Last Resort was actually the stronger show. But things have changed since then, with 666 bumped to summer in favor of comedies and Last Resort (for now) still slated to run out the string. Last Resort wins! VINDICATION, BABY!

ABC UnscriptedTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1Dancing with the Stars Tue Fall2.072.3039
2Shark Tank2.062.03411
3Dancing with the Stars Mon Fall1.972.33410
5Primetime: What Would You Do?1.551.4525
6America's Funniest Home Videos1.341.55410
7Extreme Makeover: Home Edition1.321.1338

The Bachelor will join this list shortly. Could it actually outrate Dancing with the Stars this year? The gap wasn't that wide last year, and this year Bachelor doesn't face The Voice.


Spot said...

When I looked at the SpotVault for Suburgatory, it's clear that American Idol's (weakened) return damaged the sitcom's ratings potential in season one; the show only cracked above a 2.5 twice after AI's return when it had easily eclipsed that bar on every other airing. Then DST hit and the show fell again. I think we ratings pundits expected too much from the show if you consider that kind of context. While in raw numbers it's an anchor-worthy show amongst ABC's sitcoms' numbers, perhaps it's the new utility player.

I know you're working on a Best Case/Worst Case for midseason shows, but The Bachelor has two advantages this season: no Voice competition and airing almost its whole season before DST kicks in. All the show has to do is not fall more than 10% to beat DWTS' fall numbers. And if The Bachelorette's steady summer season is a guide, then The Bachelor may be the second unscripted success show for ABC this season after Shark Tank.

Spot said...

TVBTN has had Middle at Likely all season long. I don't necessarily agree with it, but I don't think it's the howling gaffe you seem to think it is. At least not now. It's down 15% year-on-year, and it's last couple outings haven't been so good. Plus, it is going up against Idol, which will likely be anywhere from 60-75% stronger than X Factor. Modern Family still does gangbusters, but it too has taken a step backwards. As for the other single-cam comedies, I don't really expect any of them to make it to Fall 2013. Suburgatory isn't showing growth in a much better position. The Neighbors found its footing early on, but at such a low level I don't think it matters. HE and Apt. 23 are getting burned off. The TGIF twins after a hot start are kind of...there.

We've talked so much about Shark Tank during the fall it's almost old hat, but I still think it's such an amazing story. This was a show that struggled to find its place in its first season, but now I think it's deserving of a slot on Tuesday line-up.

Spot said...

My ranks (I take into account syndication proximity, number of episodes, new show vs. old show, etc):


1. Modern Family: 2.31
2. The Middle: 1.19
3. Suburgatory: 1.01

4. Last Man Standing: 0.87
5. Happy Endings: 0.78
6. Malibu Coutry: 0.75
7. The Neighbours: 0.68

8. Apartment 23: 0.41

Basically, I agree with you on almost everything here. I just think that Suburgatory is not in such a bad position as you make it look like and I think that Happy Endings is more likely to be renewed than canceled at this point, although this is one of the biggest question marks of the season (I am actually curious to see how it turns out so that I can see if the current boost I have for syndication potential in my mode is appropriate or not)


1. One Upon a Time: 1.61
2. Grey's Anatomy: 1.55
3. Revenge: 1.23
4. Scandal: 1.06
5. Castle: 0.97

6. Nashville: 0.84

7. Private Practice: 0.62
8. 666 Park Avenue: 0.60
9. Last Resort: 0.51

In general, I agree with everything here, although I think that your relative distribution with the top-tier is weird, but you explained that yourself. I do think you overestimate Castle a bit as well though.

Spot said...

OK, I'll agree it's less laughable now than it was a few episodes ago. The 2.1 on 12/12 was a bit worrying. But there's no way as of the beginning of December that it should've been considered.

Anyway, I believe Robert said at one point that he put Middle at Likely just because he wanted to create some separation between it and Modern Family. If you take more of a sports statistics approach, as I do, then sure, there's definitely a big separation between the two that needs to be addressed. (In A18-49+, I have The Middle as "solid" and Modern Family as "megahit.") But if you're laser-focused on renewals, there's no need to care about degrees of success. Downgrading Middle just because its ratings are a lot less than Modern Family seems kinda irresponsible to me.

Post a Comment

© 2009-2022. All Rights Reserved.