Wednesday, March 6, 2013

CBS True Power Rankings, March 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.

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 (and, new in this edition, excluding most season finales). The number of episodes in the average is listed under "Counted Eps." These numbers are all through March 3.

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

CBS ComediesTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Fab Five
1The Big Bang Theory5.905.87617
2How I Met Your Mother3.293.58617
3Two and a Half Men3.254.07617
42 Broke Girls3.143.65618
5Mike and Molly2.733.15616

OK, so here's quick revisiting of the "CBS comedy expansion" discussion, since it's been awhile since I last beat this dead horse. What are the pros and cons of the expansion decision this year vs. the expansion decision last year? Here's what we know.

- Five slam dunk full-season renewals in three hours.

The Big Bang Theory is now the most valuable series lead-in on broadcast TV. It seems unlikely it will be used on Two and a Half Men again next year, but moving Men back to Monday would be kind of awkward.

- Aside from TBBT, the other comedies are not as strong. The reason expansion was so compelling last year was that all the comedies, even the second-tier ones, were way out ahead of pretty much every other scripted show on TV. They're still among the top tier, but that lead is not quite as overwhelming anymore.
- Inability to renew Rob. It was a marginal candidate that could've come back as a reserve in a four-hour world last year. They can't do that this year. It also might be harder to renew Rules of Engagement since contracts are up. This is a significant con.

As always, what we don't know is development. BUT... there sure are a lot of big names on this list across a lot of shows. Anna Faris' Mom sounds like a very good bet, but is that the only one to make the fall sked?!

All I'm saying is that development might make this happen even though, peripherally speaking, it seems like an even worse decision than last year... when they didn't do it. It was easy to have one new comedy when comedy #1 was Partners, but that might not be as easy this year. And with this quantity of single-camera comedies, it's hard to imagine CBS not making a push into that space next season. But I'm not sure that has to be at 9:00 on Thursday. They may go off on their own somewhere. (Sunday?)

CBS ComediesTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Red-Headed Stepchild
6Rules of Engagement2.272.8024

If CBS adds comedy, even if it's a single-cam hour on some other night, I would think they'd want Rules of Engagement as a backup, but David Spade joining a pilot suggests they may not be too serious about that option. But unless they're ordering a single-cam hour and multiple new multi-cams, which would not be a very CBS thing to do, I would think they'd want a multi-cam backup. Maybe Mom is such a stone cold sure thing that those could be the only six multi-cams, but that's still a big risk.

On the other hand, if CBS has three comedy hours next season, it's almost impossible to imagine them needing Rules.

CBS ComediesTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Dunzo

CBS DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Elite
2Criminal Minds3.082.85616
3Person of Interest2.973.15616

Not that the show's in danger or anything, but I can't really figure out why Criminal Minds has gotten raw numbers weaker since its lead-in got much better with Survivor's return. It seems more likely, looking at the True2 scores across the season, that it just really overachieved during the Survivor hiatus for some reason, and it's now back to approximately the same True level as in the fall.

CBS DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Second Tier
4NCIS: Los Angeles2.482.92616
7Hawaii Five-02.022.43617

The second tier is pretty much the same shows as all sesaon, but there's been a lot of separation among what was a very tightly-packed tier when last we did this. Namely, CSI has weakened (particularly in the last three episodes), while Hawaii Five-0 has weakened a lot. As mentioned in the ABC post with Castle, this is largely about a drastic decrease in competition with football and Revolution gone.

Both shows will be back, but their scheduling has been thrown a bit into question with the continued mediocrity. If they want to move one to Friday, CSI certainly "feels" more like a Friday show than Five-0. I'm not really sure where Five-0 could be favorably moved.

There's also the possibility NCIS: LA could move to make way for the new spin-off, or Elementary could get jettisoned by a comedy expansion. So I don't know that any of these shows are safe from a "keeping their timeslots" standpoint.

CBS DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Bubble
8Blue Bloods1.861.48616
9The Mentalist1.841.84515
10CSI: NY1.751.48616
11Golden Boy1.651.8011
12The Good Wife1.441.62515

If it were me, Blue Bloods is safe for another year on Friday, The Mentalist is a true toss-up (in a year with very few true toss-ups) but I would probably bring it back, and the rest are done. But it's not me. CBS may reach for The Good Wife again, and (as far as I know) it is difficult to get at whether they will do that just by looking at the ratings we have. Even giving it a "Sunday numbers are deflated" bonus, it's still hard to make the case.

CBS DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Dunzo
14Made in Jersey0.570.3738

CBS UnscriptedTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1Survivor Spring2.822.6013
2Survivor Fall2.622.66513
3Undercover Boss2.041.78410
4The Amazing Race Spring2.032.5013
5The Amazing Race Fall1.972.53410
660 Minutes1.431.81719
748 Hours1.271.00719
8The Job0.850.7012


Spot said...

I have to believe that this is finally the year of CBS comedy expansion.

The people involved in Garcia's multicamera comedy, the David E. Kelley Robin Williams vehicle and Mom make them all seem too good to pass up.

Strategically, it would also make sense. With HIMYM ending and TaaHM closer to the end than the beginning, it makes sense for them to double down on new comedies to find replacements while they have so many hits. They can always cut an hour next season.

Spot said...

My no guts, no glory prediction for next season: Survivor is held for midseason, to be replaced with a single-cam hour. I know they've tried comedies in that hour before, but the comedy landscape is different now. If nothing else needs to be replaced at midseason, Survivor could sub in for The Amazing Race, further preventing two-cycle-a-year reality burnout.

I went into this season sure that this was going to be CSI's last night on Wednesday, with its final season or two back on Fridays. Then, it looked good in the fall (and CBS's 10pm hour got weaker as a whole), so I changed my mind. Now, I'm back to thinking it'll move.

Spot said...

Three seasons ago CBS shook up their schedule by bumping Survivor to Wednesdays and Big Bang to Thursdays. I think it's time they do it again. Outside of Fox's cartoons, straight-up comedy hasn't worked for the networks on Sundays. That leads me to say CBS should try sitcoms on Wednesdays again, with 2.5 Men leading off the night. Bump Survivor to 9, Criminal Minds to 10, and CSI shipped off to Fridays.

Hawaii Five-O could move to Tuesdays with the NCIS: LA spinoff put on Mondays, but could the possible synergy for an NCIS-fueled night be impossible to say no to? I hope so.

Spot said...

I want CBS to move Survivor to 9:00 Sundays (after TAR). Those two shows share so much audience, that I think both would benefit from that.

Spot said...

My numbers for CBS, as always, vastly differ from yours due to syndication economies:

1. The Big Bang Theory: 1.56
2. Mike and Molly: 1.49
3. To and a Half Men: 0.97
4. 2 Broke Girls: 0.96
5. How I Met Your Mother: 0.92

6. Rules of Engagement 0.65

7. Partners: 0.45

I am all for a comedy expansion. I think the number of high profile comedy pilots that CBS has is just crazy. They even have Rupert Grint headlining one. I am not sure how well the single cams would fit in with the multicams, so I am with you on the thought that they are likely to try to separate them, but I am not sure that would be a good idea. Also, it just sounds too much of a waste to not capitalize on the big bang theory while it is so hot.

1. Hawaii Five-0: 1.69
2. NCIS: LA. 1.46
3. Blue Bloods: 1.38
4. NCIS: 1.33
5. Person of Interest: 1.30
6. Criminal Minds: 1.18

7. Elementary: 0.99
8. CIS: 0.82
9. The Good Wife: 0.79

10. The Mentalist: 0.73
11. CSI: NY: 0.72

12. Vegas: 0.61
13. Golden Boy: 0.60

14. Made in Jersey: 0.41

I think the good wife will be renewed and that will be because of syndication (100 eps). Other than that, we are discussing semantics, but bottom line we agree that everything above it will be back, even though a lot of those shows are in risk of a timeslot change (either upgrades or downgrades).

Spot said...

My dream schedule:

How I Met Your Mother
Friends with Better Lives
2 Broke Girls
Mike and Molly
Beverly Hill Cops


Person of Interest
Criminal Minds

Two and a Half Men
Super Clyde
The Big Bang Theory

The Good Wife [13 eps]/Undercover Boss
Blue Bloods

Spot said...

I thought about Wednesday at 8 for comedies as well, but I'm holding till the next edition to see how Survivor develops. I would've been more on board two weeks ago, but the fact that Survivor has gone up from the premiere means it may still end up being the best option.

Spot said...

Not to be that awkward person who claims to know what the network thinks about development, but if you look at thefutoncritic's development section you can see that this year CBS is looking into 12 comedy pilots:
where as last year they looked at 7: which to me seems to say that they're much more serious about expanding this year.

On another note, the big Robin Williams/David E Kelley fish is single camera, as is the Garcia/Grint one and a few others (almost all of them last year were multi), so I would advise any wannabe schedulers to take those laugh tracks into account (not that I have any actual expertise on the subject)

Spot said...

I agree with this 100%. I think they are going to expand. But you do have a point about a lot of them being single cams. Although I would think the 2 hour block on Thursday would be the better idea to make use of the gigantic numbers from the big bang theory, I am not sold on mixing up single cams and multi cams, so they are probably going for a 4th hour elsewhere...

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