Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fox 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

Fox ComediesTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Anchors
1Family Guy2.422.92514
2New Girl2.282.30618
3The Simpsons1.922.18514

It seems this is an unpopular opinion, but I'm pretty much in favor of Fox keeping New Girl and The Mindy Project together next season. Might be my own bias, as I was a buyer (creatively speaking) on Mindy even when everyone thought it was bad and I'm also enjoying the improvement of late. I just still feel like it's a pretty compatible pair and New Girl isn't so huge that keeping these two together is a massive missed opportunity. Plus I get the vague sense that the comedy development is going in a more masculine direction. Unless there's a perfect pairing, I say ride this one out for another year.

Fox ComediesTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Renewed
4American Dad!1.832.13412
5Bob's Burgers1.601.92515
6The Mindy Project1.601.65616
7Raising Hope1.591.54720

In the first couple Fox editions, you could notice me saying that I thought The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate were pretty much the same show. Yet here we are with Ben and Kate failing to get through its first-season order and Mindy getting an early renewal for a 22-episode second season.

So what happened? Two keys:

1. Ben and Kate didn't close the gap when the competition evened out. I still maintain that I was onto something when I said the 0.3 difference between these shows could be explained by B&K's massively worse situation. It had a much worse lead-in with Raising Hope, it had much more competition with The Voice (and NCIS mothership) and the 8:30 half-hour is less-viewed. Why do I think I was onto something? Well, because Ben and Kate stayed on the air at all, despite hitting a one point one three times in its last four 2012 airings.

Ben and Kate made it into 2013, but it turns out (surprise!) there weren't a ton of potential B&K viewers locked in on The Voice. It got 1.2, 1.1, 1.2, and the accompanying True2 scores with little competition were now worth much less than what Mindy's 1.5 was worth. Credit to Fox for giving it a shot in the easier January landscape, but it obviously didn't work out.

2. The 9:00 hour suddenly got much stronger after Ben and Kate left. Most people have assumed correlation = causation here. Could be, but I'm still surprised that New Girl suddenly bounced up by a half point over its late fall/early winter numbers just because its lead-in got like 0.3 points better. Still, it happened, and Mindy rode the wave, rising at least a couple ticks over its consistent 1.5 level. And since 1.7 is the new 3.0, we'll see you in 2013-14. While I still sense a perception that people think Mindy was a much "worse" renewal than Raising Hope, the recent True2 results have them about equivalent.

Fox ComediesTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Danger Zone
8The Cleveland Show1.371.48412
9Ben and Kate1.211.20513

Fox DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The 2013 (and probably 2014) Monday Lineup
1The Following2.792.8526

As rough a year as it has been for the new broadcast shows, the consolation is that the two programs that felt like they reeeeeeally needed to work (Arrow and The Following) have worked, to (for now at least) a pretty legitimately strong extent. If they'd failed? My goodness.

Fox DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Glee

 So let's talk about Glee.

I'm not going to say the show might get cancelled, because I don't believe that. (And Fox PR basically said it's coming back when they renewed the other shows; they're just not ready to announce.) But I do believe two things:

1. If Fox were stronger, Glee would be in legitimate trouble. When the show was a huge success early on, costs certainly went up. And the show was already expensive to begin with. Now it has a 104 A18-49+ with very good lead-ins. House had a 107 in its final season. 24 had a 105. Glee fits the "expensive veteran that has dropped by a huge distance from its peak and is now only barely above average" formula that I believe gets a lot of old shows axed despite what look like acceptable ratings. But Fox entertainment programming is headed for its worst relative standing since the mid-aughts, and they have one (1) other returning drama that they can air next fall. They're not in a position to get rid of the show.

2. Basically no matter where it is scheduled, season five of Glee is not going to go well. Season four, as expected, has not gone well. This is just a "burn brightly and then burn out" kind of show. While you can make the argument that maybe Grey's Anatomy is just murdering this show and it would still be strong elsewhere, I'm skeptical. I think it'd be consistently below 2.0 if it were, say, leading off Tuesday right now. Move it back there next season and it may be sub-1.5.

Given those two things, what can Fox do to not make season five of Glee a burden and a potential huge embarrassment? My suggestion: give it 13 episodes, a final season announcement and the Monday 9/8c slot that The Following will reclaim in winter 2014. This keeps Glee from becoming a long-term burden, gives it a "proper finale" for people who like that kind of thing, and it keeps the network from having to doom something new in the "filler with no midseason timeslot" situation on Monday.

Come on, Fox. You don't want to waste the singing show lead-ins on Glee. You don't want to re-heat this fast-declining show as a Tuesday anchor. And you really don't want to move it to Friday. This makes sense.

Fox DramasTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
The Dunzo
6The Mob Doctor0.890.64513

Fox UnscriptedTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1American Idol Wed4.464.1037
2American Idol Thu4.113.8037
3The X Factor Wed2.692.70514
4The X Factor Thu2.662.60412
6Kitchen Nightmares1.361.13411

Just emptying the notebook with this one last thought: I have no idea what to put on Fox Friday next season. Cops and Kitchen Nightmares?! It also wouldn't stun me to see Raising Hope end up getting skedded on this night.


Spot said...

I'm glad someone else has considered Raising Hope as a potential Friday night show. Paired up with a a Gordon Ramsey show, I think it could at least do good-for-Friday numbers. Especially since this is the last season needed for syndication. I also agree on keeping New Girl and Mindy together. The former can't launch anything at this point.

I could have sworn that I read somewhere that the Greg Kinnear drama pilot, if picked up, would also run only half a season, like The Following, but now I can't find any evidence of that. But if it's true, they could be looking at that for Mondays in the fall.

Question for the room: what should go on Tuesdays from 8-9? Raising Hope + new comedy? Two new comedies? New drama? I'm kind of leaning toward the third option, if only because the first one already failed and the second one seems like the bigger risk. But it shouldn't be a heavy drama, and it should have a female lead or co-lead. The Sleepy Hollow one might work, if it's up to snuff.

Spot said...

I like comedies at 8-9 on Tuesdays. It's some counter-programming to the reality shows and dramas. I'd only put a drama at 8 to lead into New Girl if it's very female-skewing and/or has comedy elements similar to Glee and (here's a reach) Ally McBeal.

Spot said...

My numbers:


1. Raising Hope: 1.45
2. New Girl: 1.22

3. The Mindy Project: 0.78

4. Ben and Kate: 0.55


1. Glee: 1.44
2. The Following: 1.40
3. Bones: 1.30

4. Fringe: 0.82
5. Touch: 0.60

6. The Mob Doctor: 0.44

Nothing very interesting here to say to be honest. The early renewal for Mindy was for sure a surprise, I thought it was a true bubble show. Do you have any systematic way of accessing 18-34? They are the most likely explanation for it IMO.

Spot said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Bones finally lands on Fridays, depending on their development season and what's picked up. For so many years they've made that threat, so why not go through with it now? But I like the Raising Hope idea as well. That, though, may force The Mindy Project's hand on leading off Tuesday nights unless there's a high-testing sitcom that emerges from pilot season.

As for Glee, I think Fox should hold it for midseason on Mondays to avoid airing against The Voice. But the sentiment is right for a short final season announcement. To fill Glee's spot, I'd put two new sitcoms on Thursdays.

I keep pushing comedies on Fox even though there's a drama drought mainly because The X-Factor has sucked up 3 hours a week in the Fall. The Following's shorter seasons may help with the timeslot sharing, but giving so much space to a reality show is causing problems here, too.

Spot said...

As for the schedule, I had never really thought about your suggestion for Glee, but it makes perfect sense. The show will be renewed and the show will sink wherever it goes and the show should not waste the singing competition lead-ins while they still can provide some. These three things are facts. So your suggestion for sure sounds like the best one. However, that means that, assuming that Fox will keep 4 hours of comedies during the Monday-Thursday schedule, it can only launch one new drama the whole season. And they need to develop new hit dramas badly, so I think they must have two of them on. That is the only flaw I find on your otherwise very elegant idea, but I think it is a very important one. I think the only solution is to send Glee to Fridays to die, even though it will have a collapse of epic proportions.

New Drama (JJ Abrams show?)

New Girl
The Mindy Project

The X-Factor/ American Idol
The X-Factor/ American Idol

The X-Factor/American Idol
New Male Skewing Comedy
New Male Skewing Comedy

Raising Hope
Raising Hope [Burnoff mode]

At midseason:
- if all three new hours work, which, to be honest it is not likely, finally send Bones to Fridays at 8 (which will be free), where it will still probably do very well to get a final 10th season. The Following then takes its place.
- replace the poorest performing hour out of the three new hours (new monday drama, delirium and new thursday male comedies) with the following. Depending on the level of disaster of the replaced hour either yank it completely or put it on a try out on friday at 8. If the disaster hour is simply one half of the new thrusday comedies, cancel that one, place the other one at 9h30 of Wednesday and put the following there.


Post a Comment

© 2009-2022. All Rights Reserved.