Wednesday, January 2, 2013

CBS 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

CBS ComediesTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
Three of Top Four, Five of Top Eight Scripted
1The Big Bang Theory5.135.45411
22 Broke Girls3.413.63412
3Two and a Half Men3.344.05411
4Mike and Molly2.933.23410
5How I Met Your Mother2.913.25411

With How I Met Your Mother renewed, the next stop in CBS' winter of negotiation is getting Two and a Half Men back. If that happens, we can start having the "Will CBS add a comedy hour?" discussion again. I'm sure you can't wait...

CBS ComediesTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Dunzo

CBS DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Elite
2Criminal Minds2.852.93411
3Person of Interest2.682.95410

Person of Interest is another of the sophomore shows like Suburgatory and Revenge that got really favorable scheduling and hasn't quite lived up to what seemed like the potential. And that's created a negative narrative in some circles: "They put Two and a Half Men at 8:30 and yet PoI is struggling to pull Criminal Minds numbers!"

And as with Suburgatory, I don't really disagree. Still, it looks like this show has the most potential to be a long-term elite player of any drama CBS has developed in the last half decade or more. They've proven extremely capable of developing a drama for the second tier on an almost yearly basis, but they haven't had a truly elite drama come along since Minds.

CBS DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Second Tier
4Hawaii Five-02.442.38411
5NCIS: Los Angeles2.412.83410

Perhaps the comeback story of the last couple months has been Hawaii Five-0, which began disastrously but has quietly worked its way from upper-1's to the nearly mid-2's level at which it currently resides. Would've been real interesting to see what CBS would've done with this show if it'd stayed at those horrific early levels, but it doesn't look like we'll get a chance to see. It will last long enough for a proper-sized syndication package, and it will deserve to last that long.

CBS DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Bubble
8Blue Bloods1.671.4739
9The Mentalist1.621.68410
11CSI: NY1.521.45410
12The Good Wife1.411.70410

Since the last analysis-filled edition of these, an incredibly wide gulf has opened up between the second tier and the bubble, leaving little doubt about what's totally safe and what's marginal. Like last year, when I was advising comedy expansion, I'd be pretty liberal with the cancellations here. Blue Bloods is close enough to syndication that I'm pretty sure it's sticking around. Beyond that, I'm not sure I'd keep anything, but I have a feeling at least one of The Mentalist and The Good Wife will find a reprieve.

CBS DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Dunzo
13Made in Jersey0.480.3026

Does the head-to-head loss for Made in Jersey against The Mob Doctor affirm that MiJ was the biggest flop of the season? Well, TMD did have a much bigger lead-in from Cops, so from a ratings standpoint that result was close to a wash. But considering how much weaker Jersey was than all the other shows on its network, I'll give it the nod.

CBS UnscriptedTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1Survivor Fall2.722.78514
2The Amazing Race Fall2.042.55411
360 Minutes1.862.93412
4Undercover Boss1.781.7025
548 Hours1.291.03410


Spot said...

With the minimal midseason slate, and with shows that appear to be underwhelming since The Job & Golden Boy are slated for Friday and RoE is just utility player spackle, CBS is a snooze for the rest of the season as far as scheduling. Other than Elementary's Super Bowl spike and how long it lasts, the main story is which bubble drama after Blue Bloods gets a final season. I lean towards The Mentalist since Warner's has it in syndication and could probably slash the cost enough to juice the episode package.

I almost wonder if CBS will go for a 2 season pickup of Two and a Half Men so the network's substantive pick-up talks with Warner Brothers can focus just on The Big Bang Theory since its three-season deal expires in May 2014.

Spot said...

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

1. Mike and Molly: 1.48
2. The Big Bang Theory: 1.37

3. 2 Broke Girls: 0.94
4. Two and a Half Men: 0.93
5. How I Met Your Mother: 0.85

6. Partners: 0.43

The biggest difference is of course the relative position of Mike and Molly, but that comes from the syndication potential that it has (it is on the third season). That, together with its ratings and position on the schedule, make it the most likely renewal on CBS comedy sea, even ahead of TBBT, imo.

1. Hawaii Five-0: 1.74
2. Blue Bloods: 1.42
3. NCIS: LA 1.36
4. Criminal inds: 1.21
5. Person of Interest: 1.18
6. NCIS: 1.13

7. Elementary: 0.89
8. CSI: 0.87
9. The Good Wife: 0.83

10 CSI NY: 0.73
11. The Mentalist: 0.69

12. Vegas: 0.56
13. Made in Jersey: 0.38

This is perhaps the one in which we have the biggest differences. I think the underlying cause is that your focus is on identifying the strongest shows for the network, whereas my model aims at capturing the likelihood of renewal. Because there are other factors at stake when looking at renewals than ratings, we do not get the same results. In this case, as CBS is such a syndication machine with its procedurals, the difference is more clear than ever. I do stand by that H50 and Blue Bloods are completey safe and everything else seems about right to me. I do think the good wife is not as much on the bubble as some people make it look like - i still say it will be ahead of csi: ny and the mentalist unless ratings change during the next months. A note of interest is that elementary is way below the top tier shows and it is actually not so far from csi and the good wife.

Spot said...

That looks pretty interesting and makes me curious about your formula. You are correct in pointing out that mine is a sheer "ratings strength" measure. I do that because I think focusing on timeslot differences is the best way for me to add value. I don't think it's possible with the numbers we have to do much better than TVByTheNumbers does already in terms of "renewability."

One thing I wish TVBTN would do is add some rudimentary way of quantifying the syndication effect, as you have. They always end up having to explain why their lineup of "smiley faces" is different from their lineup of numbers. Mine is pure ratings, yours is pure renewal. And theirs is pure ratings, but they want it to be all about renewal.

Spot said...

Exactly, I agree with everything you've said. I think the analysis that you do is the best one to assess for instance the possibility of networks moving around shows and stuff like that. As for my formula, it is a tad confusing, but here are the basics:
- i use weighted averages of ratings to compute a weighted average rating for each show. The weight is very very skewed towards more recent ratings (e.g. in my model from last year, hart of dixie is indeed a hair higher than the secret circle, which ended up being canceled)
- friday ratings have a 35% boost, but i actually think i might increase this up to 40% in the future, we'll see
- i then compute an index using these weighted averages, similarly to what tvbtn does
- then i apply various factors that depend on the number of episodes a show has. A new show has a -12% discount factor because it usually has more room to fall and because it is very far from syndication, so networks have showed to be less patient with rookies (for the cw, this factor is actually higher, -20%, as i could not otherwise explain some of their past decisions... but this actually makes sense to me, because as they have such low ratings, it is normal that the % of their revenues that comes from syndication is higher, therefore making the very long term potential of rookie shows with bad ratings less appealing). If a show is going to have 88 episodes after the next season, then it receives a gigantic boost of 80%. I had a smaller factor before, but I did a check with previous seasons and only this number works for me. I also have a factor for shows that are already syndicated but don't have 100 episodes (eg. fringe this year), of 20%. This is one which I might increase later on.

My model has 100% accuracy for the past two seasons (it was adjusted according to them to be fair, so that was obvious lol), except for the happy endings renewal two years ago. I have since then introduced a comedy at 10pm hour adjustment, which is half of the friday factor adjustment, as this is the only way I have found to justify this (this would be similar to your true score logic I think). This year, Happy Endings again seems to be a problem, because while not technically within the 88 episodes, it will be pretty close for me to ignore syndication. I created a semi syndication factor for these situations of 45%, but I need to wait and see if this is about right or if I have to adjust it.

Hope that was more or less clear!

Spot said...

Personally I believe s1 of Happy Endings just suggests that not every network decision is quantifiable. There is always going to be SOME subjectivity than an R/C Index can't capture. There was really no strong reason to renew that show over Better with You or Mr. Sunshine except that they probably just liked it better and believed there was more growth potential. The Better Off Ted renewal a few years prior was even worse.

I actually think TVBTN may somewhat overvalue syndication in general. They've leaned on it to explain some renewals they got wrong, when maybe it was just subjectivity and/or bad analysis. I still have a tough time believing The Good Wife survived this long because of a syndication package it doesn't even have yet. But Happy Endings will be another interesting test of that.

Spot said...

I am not sure if I can agree with you on that, as nice as it would be. There have been shows adored by critics that networks canceled just like that. I think you may be on to something when you say that it was just because they thought it had more growth potential though, but that sort of is my argument about giving it a boost due to a very weak timeslot (weak timeslot => not able to pull as many viewers as the network thinks it should => renewed => moved to a new timeslot, hopefully to capture all those viewers the networks feels the show has the potential to). As for the overvalue of syndication, I disagree... I think that more and more that is where the big bucks will be coming from (ratings decline => lower revenues per ad => lower % of revenues coming from ads and more coming from syndication). Regardless, even if you take out syndication at all, the good wife could have been renewed last season based on ratings alone.

CBS Dramas as of the End of Last Season (with Syndication Factor):

1.NCIS: LA: 2.09
2. The Good Wife: 1.33
3. Criminal Minds: 1.25
4. NCIS: 1.20
5. The Mentalist: 1.18
6. Hawaii Five-0: 1.03
7. Person of Interest: 0.95
8. CSI: 0.89
9. Blue Bloods: 0.81
10. CSI: NY: 0.79

11. CSI: Miami: 0.71
12: Unforgettable: 0.69 (i am ignoring the uncancelation, i cannot explain that one)
13. A Gifted Man: 0.67
14. NYC: 22: 0.42

Taking out syndication:

1.Criminal Minds: 1.42
2. NCIS: 1.37
3. NCIS: LA: 1.32
4. Hawaii Five-0: 1.18
5. The Mentalist: 1.12
6. Person of Interest: 1.08
7. CSI: 1.02
8. Blue Bloods: 0.92
9. CSI: NY: 0.90
10. The Good Wife: 0.84

11. CSI Miami: 0.81
12. Unforgettable: 0.78
13. A Gifted Man: 0.76
14. NYC: 22: 0.48

The first one sounds much more correct to me, especially because the last renewed show in there (CSI: NY) actually had its renewal announcement coming way later than all the others, including the good wife. Regardless, even ignoring syndication, the good wife would be renewed last season, we do not need qualitative factors to justify it.

One other thing I found interesting is that, at least according to my model, networks often screw up by canceling shows before May. My model cannot justify, in any possible way, the Terra Nova cancelation from last year (though that may have been due to the supposedely very high costs, I have no way to incorporate that) or the Life Unexpected canelation two years ago. Part of the problem may be that overall ratings for the network decline in spring by more than normal, so shows that aired in the fall only have a benefit over the others if we look only at numbers..

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