These labels are not meant to suggest that a "hit for Friday" or a "hit for CW" would be a real hit if scheduled on a big four weeknight, just that they're top performers in that environment.
Today I'll try to devise new labels to cover Friday shows. I'll do the CW portion sometime soon, probably next week. I'd like to do this for cable shows and maybe summer broadcast shows as well, but those will take more thought. Particularly cable.
There are two ways to go about this. There's the "look at all the shows and see what looks like a hit" approach. And there's a more "objective" approach, in which I apply the labels I already came up with to the lower-expectation environments. (Though the labels I already came up with were via a "look at all the shows" approach, so it's not that objective.) I'll try both and see which I prefer.
What are the shows I would consider "hits for Friday" in the A18-49+ era (since 2006-07)? I feel pretty confident that Ghost Whisperer and Numb3rs were hits for Friday, at least prior to their last seasons (2009-10) when they took large, fatal downturns. Maybe Law & Order when it was first on the night? Maybe Blue Bloods early in its run? And today's hits for Friday are Shark Tank, Undercover Boss and probably Grimm. If you have any other ideas, I can look 'em up.
|Law & Order||06-07||74|
All these candidates fell in roughly the same arena. Based on this list, somewhere in the low 70's seems like an OK benchmark. Only season one of Blue Bloods would be significantly below that, so maybe we can just throw that one out.
The "objective" approach takes the old labels and applies them to the new environment. What's the Friday environment?
My previous post placed "hit" at 1.25 times the league average. 55 * 1.25 = roughly a 69. So by that objective method, all of the above table would qualify. (And a "big hit for Friday" would be 55 * 1.5 = roughly an 83. Only the penultimate season of Ghost Whisperer and this season of Shark Tank make that cut, and just barely.)
So I will meet the subjective and semi-objective methods in the middle at the nice round number of 70.
There's probably also some value in a "solid for Friday" number, because there are clearly Friday shows below 70 that aren't treated like "flops." The "solid" benchmark is 100, AKA the league average. By the "objective" method, the "solid" Friday number would be the Friday league average: 55.
20/20 has ranged from 58 to 65 over the last seven years, while the Friday Dateline has ranged from 52 to 60, with only the 52 of 2008-09 going sub-55. Those Friday stalwarts are probably reasonable shows to consider "solid for Friday," so
I should note that a "solid for Friday" show, even if I increased this benchmark to 60 or higher, is far from a lock for renewal. Many of these shows are expensive veterans that can't survive with "solid for Friday" ad rates. There have been Friday cancellations well into the 60s: Close to Home (68), Las Vegas (65), Ghost Whisperer (67), Numb3rs (64). CSI: NY (65) is definitely a candidate this year. 55 just means it's about an average Friday show. That's not necessarily a compliment.
Not sure there's a need for a "marginal for Friday." I mean, if you're "marginal for Friday," you're probably into flop territory. While some sub-55 Friday shows have been renewed (hello, Dollhouse at 49), I doubt the networks have ever felt all that good about those renewals.
EDIT (8/13/13): With a formula adjustment and some high-rated older seasons, I'm increasing the baseline for Friday programming to 60. Now, 60 = "solid for Friday" and 1.25 * 60 = 75 = "hit for Friday."