Friday, May 31, 2013

Top 10 of the Last 10, Comedy Seasons

The collective decline in Live+SD ratings makes it hard to fairly compare numbers across seasons. But with the A18-49+ stat, we have the technology! So today, I'm introducing the "Top 10 of the Last 10" lists, which will line up the last ten seasons (2003-04 thru 2012-13) and give us an idea of which shows were strongest after we set the collective decline off to the side. (I'll throw in the raw numbers too, to give a sense of how far ratings have fallen.) Today, we start with the top 10 sitcom seasons in the last decade.

Top 10 of the Last 10, Comedy Seasons A18-49+ A18-49
Image 10. Two and a Half Men (CBS, 2012-13) 180 3.79
Season two of Ashton Kutcher's stint on Men appeared doomed for a collapse, but a move to Thursday after The Big Bang Theory helped prop up the ratings. Retentionistas think Men wasn't all that special this season, so its top ten berth goes to show how huge TBBT has become.
Image 9. 2 Broke Girls (CBS, 2011-12) 180 4.25
By far the closest thing we've had to a season one comedy megahit was 2 Broke Girls, which launched to a 7.1 after the ridiculously high-rated debut of Ashton Kutcher but held at a very strong level, not really showing any vulnerability till The Voice showed up in February.
Image 8. Will and Grace (NBC, 2003-04) 186 7.53
How important was the Friends halo to Must See TV? Will and Grace made this list in Friends' final season, but it dropped about 40% in the following season, then actually went below the league average in its 2005-06 final season.
Image 7. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2009-10) 188 5.26
Big Bang's first stint as the top scripted show on TV came when CBS moved it after Two and a Half Men in fall 2009. It turned out to be just a one-year "power hour," as Big Bang headed for eventual bigger and better things on Thursday starting the next season.
Image 6. Modern Family (ABC, 2012-13) 201 4.23
Though Modern Family came back to earth a bit from its 2011-12 numbers, it did narrowly hold onto its megahit status in a season that was ugly for many a program.
Image 5. Two and a Half Men (CBS, 2011-12) 210 4.96
Season nine of Two and a Half Men started off introing Ashton Kutcher with an astonishing-for-2011 number: a 10.7 demo. It ended dropping behind two other megahit comedies in season average. Still, this should go down as the zenith of the biggest sitcom of the late-aughts comedy depression.
Image 4. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2011-12) 210 4.97
While Two and a Half Men was adding Ashton Kutcher and Modern Family was adding another truckload of Emmys, Big Bang was breaking through in a far less glamorous way: thanks to syndication exposure on TBS.
Image 3. Modern Family (ABC, 2011-12) 214 5.05
Two and a Half Men's explosion was the big headline maker of premiere week 2011, but Modern Family scored its second straight Emmy the night before, then found its own series high (6.1) on Wednesday. When the dust settled, Modern narrowly held the sitcom average crown in the year of the sitcom.
Image 2. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2012-13) 249 5.25
Though its 2011-12 average ended about on par with 2.5 Men and Modern Family, by season's end it was clear which show was hottest. And Big Bang backed it up by leaving them in the dust in 2012-13, growing 6% in a year generally marked by steep broadcast declines.
Image 1. Friends (NBC, 2003-04) 300 12.19
It's worth noting Friends would've been much closer to the pack (roughly a 261) if you throw out the series finale, a double-length ep averaging an unbelievably enormous 24.9 demo rating. But the final season remained a behemoth, consistently hitting double-digit demos in the last half of the final season.

Notes: This is one of several lists that's heavily concentrated in a certain part of the ten-year period. I figured starting with one leaning toward the last couple years would start us off on a less depressing note. Nine of the 10 seasons listed here come from either 2003-04, 2011-12 or 2012-13. So what of the seven-year gap in between? The top comedy by season, starting with 2004-05: Everybody Loves Raymond (155), Two and a Half Men (127), Two and a Half Men (128), Two and a Half Men (151), Two and a Half Men (171), The Big Bang Theory (188), Two and a Half Men (177).

2013-14 Update: Once again, The Big Bang Theory (269) checked in with the new biggest sitcom season since Friends, putting it at #2 over the last eleven years. And a declining Modern Family (188) was still good enough, tying for #8 on the new list. The final season of How I Met Your Mother (180) was the show's biggest season ever, but it's in a three-way tie for #11 on the new list.

The War of 18-49, NCIS: Los Angeles


Scheduling history: Nearly every episode of NCIS: Los Angeles has aired in the Tuesday 9:00 hour directly after an original episode of the NCIS mothership. Only the season two premiere and the season three finale branched into another hour. (Both of those were two-hour episodes starting at 9:00.) And only a November 2013 episode after Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer hasn't had an original NCIS lead-in. But that changed as the show headed to Monday 10/9c in season five. After two years there, it's moved to Sunday: at 8/7c in season eight and 9/8c since then.

See (who saw) how it all began: CBS' spin-off of NCIS premiered after pretty much the best possible lead-in: the highest-rated episode of NCIS in series history. The mothership had 20.60 million viewers and a 4.8 demo, and LA followed with 18.73 million viewers and a 4.4 on 9/22/09. LA didn't drop much in week two, to a 4.1, but it took a bigger hit to a 3.6 in week three. It hung in the mid-3's area for most of the rest of the fall, then dropped along with NCIS when American Idol arrived in early 2010.

The best of times: LA's biggest raw number remains the 4.4 on premiere night, and it broke the 4.0 barrier three other times throughout season one, then never again. But on average, the show has actually been more valuable in seasons two to four, mostly because it and its NCIS lead-in haven't dropped as much in the winter/spring months. It's a safe bet that has a lot to do with not having to face American Idol on Tuesday anymore.

The worst of times: Though LA was fairly consistent after the mothership, it became a much weaker player went sent to its own night in 2014-15. Its 1.9 premiere was below any of its points on Tuesday. The show held in the upper-1's for most of the rest of the season and thus became a massive improvement on CBS' huge bombs in the Monday 10/9c hour last season. It didn't go south of 1.5 till a stinker 1.4 after a strong Scorpion finale, and it couldn't recover when Stalker became its lead-in for the last three episodes, which led to a rough start in season seven. It hit a new low 1.1 on 10/12/15, and matched it on 4/18/16, then hit several 1.0's in season eight. A move to Sunday 9/8c in season nine brought a slew of fractional results, including a 0.7 on 4/29/18.

Then vs. now: I remarked once that it's tough for a show to make it this long with as little clarity about its ratings potential as there is for NCIS: LA. It didn't take long to say what we knew: 'It gets pretty good retention out of NCIS.' It never aired a single original episode separate from a mothership original until season five (when its holiday special lead-in had a very NCIS-esque rating), and its year-to-year trajectory suggests its audience is pretty much attached-at-the-hip with its lead-in; it's gone -4% -> -6% -> -12% -> -16% while NCIS has gone a basically identical -2% -> -6% -> -11% -> -13%. But CBS pushed an NCIS spin-off to series for 2014-15 (after a failed attempt the year before), so we finally hit the end of this five-year pairing. It shed a third of its audience in the move but was still one of CBS' best 10/9c players, and it had some redemption when it benefited a lot from a move to Sunday at 8/7c in season eight.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12009-10Tuesday 9:003.502.74.4detail
62014-15Monday 10:001.60-34%1.32.0detailC
82016-17Sunday 8:001.30-1%1.01.7detailA-
92017-18Sunday 9:000.91-30%0.71.3detailC+
102018-19Sun 9:00, Sun 10:000.83-9%0.51.1detailB+
112019-20Sun 9:30, Sun 9:000.68-18%0.50.8detailB-
122020-21Sunday 9:000.61-10%0.40.8detailB-
142022-23Sunday 10:000.35-30%0.20.5detailC

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:



The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/29/13

  • CBS trotted out its annual "keep the slot warm for Big Brother" early summer series, this time called The American Baking Competition. Thrown against a much more powerful food competition on Fox, it was actually down significantly from last year's already weak Dogs in the City premiere (1.3). 
  • ABC resumed its burn-off of the cancelled late-season comedies and modestly premiered The Lookout at 10/9c, which is the renamed primetime edition of Nightline.
  • Week two of Fox's MasterChef ruled the night and picked up a bit of steam in the 9:00 hour, when there was much less competition than last week.
  • NBC resonated to a greater degree than usual with an above-average Dateline and a Blake Shelton benefit concert.

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 5/28/13

  • ABC brought back the always soft Extreme Weight Loss, which shed 20% of its ratings weight from last year's premiere and tied last year's finale. (The name also shrunk from the old Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.) They led into the series finale of Body of Proof, which as usual dropped off without a Dancing with the Stars lead-in.
  • CBS quietly premiered documentary series Brooklyn DA, which couldn't match the network's preceding NCIS repeats.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The War of 18-49, The Vampire Diaries


Scheduling history: Every single episode of The Vampire Diaries aired on Thursday at 8:00... until 2016, when it was moved to the Friday lead-off role.

See (who saw) how it all began: The Vampire Diaries was the CW's largest series premiere ever in total viewers and its second-largest in the 18-49 demo, beginning on 9/10/09 with 4.91 million viewers and a 2.1 demo. It took a large drop to a 1.6 in week two, but it pretty much hung around that 1.6 for most of the rest of the season. (It did a little better late in the fall of 2009, getting back as high as a 2.0 at one point.)

The best of times: The best raw numbers for The Vampire Diaries all came in the first half of season one, topped by the 2.1 premiere. But the show has held up quite nicely for a CW show, especially in season four, when it dropped by just 4%. It's gotten as high as a 1.6 demo in seasons three and four. The 1.6 to kick off season four was actually (very narrowly) bigger than the 2.1 series premiere after historical adjustment.

The worst of times: The Vampire Diaries never dropped below 1.0 in its first four seasons, but it finally happened with a big drop to 0.9 on Halloween 2013. For awhile, that looked like an isolated incident, but sub-1.0 became a regular occurrence in the winter and spring of 2014. And it never cracked a 1.0 in the significantly down sixth season. The series low 0.3 came on 4/8/16 and 5/6/16, after it was moved to Friday during season seven, and several more times during the final season.

Then vs. now: Like HBO's own highly successful vampire series, The Vampire Diaries premiered at the perfect time: at the height of a vampires craze largely fueled by the breakthrough success of the film Twilight. But even if its premiere rating owed some debt to the larger culture, and even on a network whose audience is infamously fickle, The Vampire Diaries had incredible legs for half a decade. It was only barely weaker in season four than in season one, after adjusting for the collective entertainment decline. It took three more years for the CW to develop another new show even in the same ratings stratosphere (Arrow). And despite being a bit weaker than usual in season five, the show proved its franchise potential as spin-off The Originals launched quite successfully on Tuesday. But things finally took a turn for the worse as 2014-15 brought big drops for both those shows, and the slippage continued after Nina Dobrev's departure in 2015-16.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12009-10Thursday 8:001.701.32.1detail
72015-16Thu 8:00, Fri 8:000.46-36%0.30.6detailD
82016-17Friday 8:000.38-19%0.30.5detailC+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:



The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.

The True Top 25, Week Ending 5/26/13 (2012-13 Week 35)

Modern Family was the top show of a relatively quiet last few days of the TV season, posting the biggest raw number in the most competitive timeslot (against MasterChef and the finales of Criminal Minds and Law and Order: SVU). 20 of the 25 slots on this list came from the in-season portion of the week, plus three Thursday shows (Hell's Kitchen the only original), a Friday Shark Tank repeat and Sunday's NASCAR.

The True Top 25 will return sporadically over the course of the summer!

Spotted Ratings, Memorial Weekend Roundup (5/24-5/26/13)

  • ABC won Friday on the strength of Shark Tank repeats, but Fox got some surprisingly OK mileage out of a special airing of the Nat Geo series Brain Games. Sports dominated the next two nights, with the NHL on NBC and then Sunday's NASCAR beating the combined competition (including the finale of Smash). Memorial Sunday saw the largest viewing depression relative to the norm for that day of the week.
  • NBA conference final games on cable beat all the broadcasters on each of these three nights: Eastern Conference on Friday (3.0) and Sunday (3.1) and Western Conference on Saturday (1.9).

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Monday 5/27/13

  • The broadcast programs were pretty weak on Memorial Day, even though there was no discernible drop-off in overall viewing. This curious phenomenon also occurred last year, when The Bachelorette posted a number far weaker than any other that season and America's Got Talent was also several tenths below the surrounding episodes.
  • The return of The Bachelorette was down a surprising 27% from last year's post-Dancing with the Stars premiere (2.6), but it was even with the strangely low holiday airing a year ago (which was week three of that season). So I'm gonna wait till next week before passing judgment. The Voice also disappointed, continuing its late-season fade, but again... we'll see where it ends up next week.
  • Cable featured the rather mixed return of A&E's drama lineup. The Glades (0.7) was down a couple ticks year-to-year, but sophomore Longmire (0.9) tied its series high and was a tick above last year's series premiere.

The War of 18-49, Community


Scheduling history: Nearly all of the Community run has taken place in the Thursday 8/7c timeslot. Exceptions: the show premiered in 2009 with a three-week tryout after The Office, it aired at 8:30 once in 2010 after a Halloween special, and in 2012 it aired three episodes on one night (at 8:00, 9:00 and 9:30) to end its season.

SpotVault - The Goodwin Games (Fox) - Summer 2013 Ratings

The Goodwin Games
Mondays, 8:30/7:30c, Fox

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The War of 18-49, Glee


Scheduling history: Though it was commonly billed as the scripted version of American Idol, Fox courageously began Glee's run in the fall when Idol wasn't on the air, scheduled after a regular season edition of So You Think You Can Dance. It got the post-Idol berth for just the second half of season one before moving into the Tuesday lead-off role for the next two seasons. In season four, it moved to Thursday and returned to leading out of singing programs, The X Factor in the fall and American Idol in the winter/spring. In the second half of season five, it made a not-so-triumphant return to its old Tuesday lead-off slot. The final season moved to Friday.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Question Results, 2012-13 FINAL

Congrats to Billie_Dawn for scoring The Question Season 1 Championship, and to Chris L and James "One" Shade for rounding out the top three! The prize is... bragging rights!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks again to everyone for playing. I'm going to try to do a very limited schedule of these over the summer, starting one week from today with the Mistresses premiere.

The War of 18-49, Modern Family


Scheduling history: Until season eight, every single episode of Modern Family aired somewhere in the 9:00 hour on Wednesday. It's aired a few special 9:30 episodes to lead into drama premieres at 10:00 (Revenge in 2011 and Nashville in 2012 and 2013). It aired a special 8:30 episode for the first time in season eight, leading into the miniseries When We Rise.

See (who saw) how it all began: Modern Family began its run as the centerpiece of an ABC Wednesday night of all new shows, but ABC still managed to give it a nice known quantity lead-in on premiere night. A special Wednesday Dancing with the Stars averaged a 3.3 demo rating, then Modern Family built to a very impressive 4.2 rating. The show dropped just 9% in week two to a 3.8, then to a 3.4 in week three. The show hung in the mid 3's for the rest of the fall before picking up some momentum in the second half of season one. In the penultimate episode of the season, it hit a 4.3, the first time it topped its premiere rating.

The best of times: For most of the next two seasons, Modern Family was on a steady growth trajectory. Aside from in season one, the show has always flexed the most muscle in the fall, likely riding its overwhelming success at the Emmy Awards. It hit a series high 5.1 demo for the season two premiere on 9/22/10, then crushed that mark again with a 6.1 in the season three premiere on 9/21/11.

The worst of times: For three-plus seasons, Modern Family's weakest ratings remained that mid-3's level in the first half of season one, with the series low being a 2.5 on Thanksgiving Eve in 2009. But in the back half of season four, Modern Family returned to that mid-3's level on a few occasions, and then it was pretty much the norm in seasons five and six. The season six finale hit the show's first new low in over five years, a 2.3 demo on a night when half of the comedy block was off. And it got as low as 1.0 in the last two episodes of season ten. For nine years, the show's weakest season on a historical-adjusted basis came in season one, but the streak finally ended with season ten.

Then vs. now: ABC's breakthrough with Modern Family was a key step in the sitcom's return to prominence on broadcast TV. In fact, it may have been the single most key step, because it came on a network that had almost entirely fallen out of that game during the heydays of Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy and Lost. ABC has since built a nice framework of stable second-tier family sitcoms around the show, and acclaimed series like Cougar Town, Happy Endings and Apartment 23 likely produced more episodes thanks to Modern Family than they would have if thrown into ABC's sitcom dead times in the late aughts. But after some slightly underwhelming trends in seasons four and five, it looks like the Modern Family phenomenon has peaked. The show's trend didn't improve with syndication exposure in season five, but it trended better in the second half of the season and improved a bit as it got more compatible companions in season six. But the declines returned again, especially in seasons seven and nine.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12009-10Wednesday 9:003.762.54.3detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

22010-11174big hit1.43+30%146201201165
52013-14188big hit1.54-6%149223223196
62014-15190big hit1.55+1%137226226137
72015-16175big hit1.43-8%142216216142
82016-17171big hit1.40-2%127212212137

AVERAGE:168big hit

The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 5/23/13

  • The opening day of summer was pretty crowded with premieres, but few of them drew a lot of interest. Making the biggest splash was Fox's old faithful Hell's Kitchen, which began the summer portion of its season at its highest level since the mid-March premiere. It led into a relatively soft debut from widely derided reality series Does Someone Have to Go?.
  • ABC was also all original with Motive, which ended up holding its entire post-Dancing with the Stars demo from three days earlier, and the fourth season premiere of fellow co-production Rookie Blue, down a couple tenths from last year.
  • NBC began its burn-off of sitcom Save Me, which certainly affirmed the notion that it didn't fit at all with NBC's in-season comedies. Its skew was hugely different; it actually had more total viewers than most Community episodes but barely half of the demo rating. Hannibal at 10/9c was roughly even with recent in-season results, which can be spun two very different ways: 1) It held up even though its lead-in was over two points weaker than last week! or 2) It couldn't grow despite facing way less competition from ABC and CBS! Ultimately those two things probably roughly cancel out.

War of 18-49 Flashback, Arrested Development (Fox, 2003-06)


Scheduling history: The first two seasons of Arrested Development were part of Fox's Sunday comedy lineup, back in the days when mixing animated and live action comedies was commonplace for Fox. The show's first season aired at 9:30 after what was really the last OK-rated season of Malcolm in the Middle. Arrested then got a decent upgrade in season two, moving to 8:30 and leading out of higher-rated The Simpsons. The 13-episode third season was then asked to fend for itself, leading off the Monday lineup in fall 2005. After it got horrible ratings in that role, Fox infamously burned off the series' final four episodes in a two-hour block against the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Spotted Summer 2013

Another regular season is in the books!

Next stop: the summer. For those new to the program, this blog always keeps the lights on but transforms quite a bit during the off-season. Here are some details about what's going down in what should be yet another best summer ever:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/22/13

  • The finale-filled last day of the 2012-13 regular season wasn't all that exciting. Nobody had a spike of note, and most shows were even to a little bit up from last week, from The Middle to Modern Family to Law and Order: SVU to Criminal Minds to Nashville. The only noticeable finale dropper was Chicago Fire, probably nicked by tougher than usual CBS competition in the second half of Minds.
  • Fox continued its early transition to summer with the return of MasterChef, which was down a couple ticks from last summer's premiere and identical with the spring premiere of fellow Gordon Ramsay show Hell's Kitchen (2.1/2.3 on March 15).

The Climate, Weeks 33/34

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 5/21/13

  • ABC bid farewell to the Tuesday edition of Dancing with the Stars with a finale that went just a tick above Monday's episode and was down 18% year-to-year. It appears to have been hurt by all the musical reality competition in the 9:00 hour, as it preliminary spiked from a 2.3 at 9:30 up to a 2.7 at 10:00 and a 2.9 at 10:30.
  • Meanwhile, Fox's So You Think You Can Dance grew a tick week-to-week in its first two-hour edition of the season (though it was down from the post-Idol Wednesday ep) and didn't seem to suffer against the competition at 9:00. And NBC led off with an Oklahoma-themed news special, which matched last week's The Voice recap and easily handled ABC's competing special about The Bachelor (which basically matched last week's Wipeout).

Spotted Ratings, Monday 5/20/13

  • The last Monday of the regular season was highlighted by the transition to summer, as ABC premiered Motive in the 10:00 hour at 40% behind last week's Castle numbers, while Fox began its burn-off of The Goodwin Games. Motive will have to hope to stay near this level in its regular Thursday slot, and the best case to make for that actually happening is that ABC mostly promoted the show's Thursday premiere rather than last night's "preview."
  • With the finale tonight, ABC had a nice final Monday bounce from Dancing with the Stars.

The Question, Wednesday 5/22/13: Can Fox Premiere Masterfully On a Night of Finales?

Many scripted season finales populate the final night of the 2012-13 regular season, but I'm opting for the biggest unknown: the return of Fox's Gordon Ramsay show MasterChef. It's been a bit weaker than Hell's Kitchen and stronger than So You Think You Can Dance, so I'm going in the middle of their respective 2.2 and 1.9 premieres this regular season. It has surprisingly little competition at 8:00, but it'll be hard-pressed to grow at 9:00 vs. the Modern Family/Criminal Minds/SVU finale gauntlet.

Over/Under: 2.05.

The True Top 25, Week Ending 5/19/13 (2012-13 Week 34)

In the last full week of the 2012-13 season, The Big Bang Theory had one last big win, spiking in the True2 numbers thanks to greater competition than usual. Once the TV event of the season, Thursday's finale of American Idol was a very distant second and could've easily been even lower. Several other shows like NCIS, How I Met Your Mother and The Office were hugely above average thanks to impressive finale bumps.

The season finale of Shark Tank finished off an incredible season with one last berth to represent Friday night programming, while a very impressive penultimate week of Chicago Fire managed to eke out a spot for the underwhelming new class of 2012-13. The return of So You Think You Can Dance managed the #24 spot (with the Tuesday premiere just a hundredth behind at #26).

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 5/19/13

  • Awards shows remain one of the best (only?) ways the broadcast networks can draw viewers to Sunday. ABC's Billboard Music Awards were up a whooping 30% from last year's 2.7 and the show's biggest rating since December 2003 (when it aired on Fox). They nearly doubled last week's ABC drama finales. CBS curiously aired an ACM Tim McGraw special against it and didn't do much.
  • The other two networks wrapped up their seasons of Sunday entertainment programs with Celebrity Apprentice only barely growing week-to-week and Fox hosting one-hour finales for The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons and Family Guy. The last two were close to even year-to-year, but Celebrity Apprentice was down huge from last year's 2.2.

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 5/18/13

Spotted Ratings, Friday 5/17/13

  • It was mostly an unscripted game on the season's last Friday, with ABC comfortably winning thanks to two hours of Shark Tank and 20/20. The 8:00 episode in a special hour was way below average, but it still held off CBS' Undercover Boss, which was similarly weak.
  • Most of the Friday scripted excitement either wrapped up earlier or got moved to another night; the finale of Nikita was the only scripted original, though it held its 0.4 in finals to pull off a +100% week-to-week.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Question, Tuesday 5/21/13: Will the Dancing Finale Get a Gold Star?

Tonight brings what may be the last-ever airing of Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday night. While the last couple Dancing finales have spiked to 3.0+ from seasons in the 2's, those finales also completely avoided The Voice. This one has to face it head-to-head in the 9:00 hour, along with So You Think You Can Dance. However, DWTS may draw more of those viewers than normal since The Voice's season still has a few weeks to go. That seemed to be in play for Monday's airing, which grew to a preliminary 2.5.

Over/Under: 2.75.

2013 Fall Matchups

For a fourth straight year, here's a lineup of every timeslot (except Saturdays) and some really quick reactions to how the matchups look. Here are the previous editions: 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Question, Monday 5/20/13: Will Viewers Find a Motive to Watch ABC This Summer?

Two summer scripted programs premiere tonight, but ABC's Canadian co-production Motive is the one with an actual realistic shot. The promos are generic; a new murder every week? Mind blown!! But if there's anywhere you want to premiere a generic procedural on ABC, it's after Dancing with the Stars. I seriously doubt this'll be able to sniff at Castle numbers, but it should be able to sniff at Body of Proof numbers, at least for the first episode.

Over/Under: 1.45.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Question Results Through 5/16/13

With three games to go in the regular season (one each on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday), the top spot is not quite clinched yet and the race for third place is even more up in the air! Here are the results and individual standings through May 16 for the ratings prediction game The Question:

Friday, May 17, 2013

2013 Upfront Answers, General Thoughts

All of this week's Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW

Thanks so much to everyone for reading, commenting, linking and RTing all of this upfront stuff. It keeps getting so much bigger every year, which is hugely flattering. I'll have my annual super-quick look at the matchups next week, but this post is the "official" end of the upfront coverage. Here are some final thoughts on the week as a whole:

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 5/16/13

  • The finale of American Idol adjusted up in finals to a 3.6 demo, down a ridiculous 44% from last season's final episode. As I said yesterday, don't crucify the show over this individual point, because most Idol finales have faced almost no competition, and this one faced a ton. This was roughly what most of you expected, actually. Crucify it over the fact that it's been down a third or more year-to-year even in recent weeks when it faced almost no competition. Either way, it will not be a fun off-season for the Fox brass as they try to stabilize this sinking ship.
  • Meanwhile, NBC sent off The Office at easily its highest level of the season. It's the show's best rating since the middle of last season. And the 8:00 retrospective special was close to in line with the season's original average (and a big improvement over the usual 8/7c occupants). But the bigger lead-in didn't help Hannibal at all in a special 10:15-starting episode.
  • Big finale nights on the other networks were a bit underwhelming, surely due to the hefty competition. For the fourth time in six years The Big Bang Theory was down week-to-week for its season finale (though just by a single tick following a huge finals adjustment), while a two-hour Elementary, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, The Vampire Diaries and Beauty and the Beast were all only about even week-to-week.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Question, Thursday 5/16/13: How Many Huge Finales Can Broadcast Stuff Into One Night?

Welcome to Finale Night in America! Somehow the season finales for TV's #1 show, TV's long-time former #1 show, TV's hottest show, the CW's biggest hit and the series finale of NBC's most successful scripted show of the last decade all managed to converge on one fateful evening. (Oh yeah, and Grey's Anatomy, Elementary and Beauty and the Beast too. Plus, how will Hannibal do with an Office series finale lead-in? Gahhh!!!) Maybe this is just the kind of night that brings scores of people back to broadcast TV, or maybe this glut means that some shows are bound to get lost in the shuffle. How many huge finales can broadcast stuff into one night? That's The Question for Thursday, May 16, 2013.

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/15/13

  • ABC's three renewed-for-next-season Wednesday anchors all swung back up from ugly week-ago dips, with Modern Family probably benefiting the most due to lessened Fox competition. The finales are next week!
  • Rather than airing directly against a singing competition like Tuesday's premiere, night two of So You Think You Can Dance actually got to air directly after one (American Idol), and the result was a solid uptick.
  • With no The Voice at 8/7c, the penultimate Law and Order: SVU fell back to earth, but Chicago Fire grew for a third straight week, building some momentum as it prepares to follow The Voice next season.

2013 Upfront Answers, The CW

Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2013 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

CW upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW

First Two Weeks, Family Tools

The last significantly in-season newbie of the season was ABC's Family Tools, which began its run after The Middle (2.0) with 5.79 million viewers and a 1.5 demo on May 1. If this were several weeks into the run, I guess it wouldn't be absolutely awful; in fact, it was the same number as renewed The Neighbors' finale. But doing that for a series premiere is pretty bad and left no cushion for a drop. (Of course that assumes it had any real chance to begin with.)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 5/14/13

  • Another finale-filled night of scripted programming saw minor week-to-week bumps from NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles and no bumps from New Girl and The Mindy Project.
  • The nets continued their early transition to summer as Fox brought back So You Think You Can Dance, down by 21% from last year's premiere on the first day of summer. It was ahead of pretty much the whole half of the last SYTYCD season, but this has become a show that always falls off a lot in the second half. And ABC again got almost nothing out of former summer powerhouse Wipeout.
  • NBC shrank The Voice back to an hour but aired a recap special at 8/7c which actually edged SYTYCD. The original The Voice and Grimm continued their gradual deterioration.

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