Friday, May 24, 2013

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:

History! I always go into "history mode" during the summer months, since there are so few interesting things happening in the present, but that will be happening to a greater extent than ever this summer. Credit three older seasons added to the A18-49+ fold and the stellar class of 2009-10 eligible for the War of 18-49.

War of 18-49. The War is back for another run with a post each weekday for eleven weeks, not including the usual one-week hiatus after the fifth week. Most of these posts are the brief "Updates," grading a veteran show's most recent season. I'll also throw in a few "Flashback" posts revisiting slightly older shows that may not have run for a long time.
  • But the large class of 2009-10 means several more all-new posts than last year, so the first week will be reminiscent of the War's first season in 2010, with ALL NEW POSTS EVERY DAY. We're coming out with a bang with a new post for each of the big five networks, starting on Monday!
  • Now what? I'm adding another new stat to the War of 18-49 tables called "Now." This is an estimate at a season's 18-49 average if it aired in the 2012-13 environment. Basically this is just a rearrangement of A18-49+, except putting it in the context of the most familiar ratings landscape (the most recent season) rather than in a vacuum. It's a bit redundant with A18-49+, but I thought it might be a more easily accessible version for the casual observer. I've had several comments over the years asking things like: "What would this old show's rating be if it aired today?" The "Now" stat is my stab at an answer to that. Here's an example, and it'll be installed on all the War of 18-49 pages over the course of the summer.
  • Though the eleven-week War run starts on Monday, there's a "sneak peek" going up in a few minutes. It is a very special and rather timely Flashback post...
Rebuilding the A18-49+ Theme/Yearly Posts. Last spring/summer I created a round of historical posts using the newly introduced A18-49+ stat, each one focused on some theme like sitcoms vs. dramas, unscripted, reruns, sports, etc. Since there are a whooping four more seasons in the mix since then (2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2012-13) I figured it'd be best to just redo all of them. Also, I really enjoyed the yearly recaps I did for 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06, so I'm going to continue doing those for the subsequent seven seasons (starting with 2012-13, then jumping back to 2006-07). The theme/yearly posts will have a lot of the same stuff, and quite possibly even some literal copy/pasting, just arranged two different ways, by theme and by year. The goal is to have either a theme or a yearly post (or some other A18-49+ spotlight) every Monday for pretty much the whole summer, and that should get it done.

A18-49+ Top Ten Lists. The whole point of A18-49+ is to create a fair (or at least fairer) comparison between shows airing in different years. The theme posts do that pretty well, and the War of 18-49 posts do that within one individual show, but I think there's room for something else that makes quicker, simpler comparisons across different seasons. Enter the weekly top ten lists, which will examine the top ten shows over the decade across which A18-49+ info is available in some category: new shows, drama seasons, etc. I only have about 11 list ideas so far, so this might not continue through the whole summer. But for now, expect one every Friday starting next week.

The Downshift. With all of the above stuff going on, plus a lot less interesting stuff happening in the here and now of TV ratings, I always make significant cutbacks on the regular season "grind."

Daily. Except on really interesting days, I won't do the preliminary ratings post at noonish, instead just wait till the evening and make a post after finals, including cable info when pertinent. With so little of interest on Friday/Saturday, I'll usually just do "weekend roundup" posts covering both at once after I get the Saturday finals on Wednesday. There will be at least one week (and quite possibly more) that I'll take off completely, doing "two-a-days" the next week to catch up on each day of the week.

SpotVault. This will be around for summer shows, though as with the daily posts, it may not get updated on the same kind of rigid schedule. I might even add a few select cable shows to the mix!

Climate/True Top 25. Admittedly this summer on broadcast is a little more interesting than usual, so I'm going to try to do one of each of these posts every month or so. But every week is not gonna happen.

The Question. I have gone back and forth on whether I want to do any of these at all over the summer. Either way, it will not be nearly as frequent as in the regular season. It'd probably just be for like the non-burnoff broadcast scripted premieres and maybe a handful of the really big unscripted/cable premieres. So there'd be like 10-12 across the whole summer, and probably no "standings" update till the very end. Still mulling over whether that is worth the effort... lemme know!

The Miscellaneous. The history stuff is the big focus this year, but there are several other minor things I am hoping to knock out. Some others may develop, but off the top of my head:

True Strength Version Three. This number is not a very high priority this year. It's still not as great as I would like, but I'm not sure "greatness" is really possible with the limited info we have. I'm very skeptical there would be enough improvement to be worth all the headache of another wholesale overhaul. There are a couple pretty clear problems that I'll address and a few minor additions I'll experiment with, and I'll update some of the numbers in the formula for the new environment, but most of this will happen behind the scenes, and I'll say a little bit about it at the end of the summer.

Intro to Nielsen. I've mentioned on several occasions that I want to do a big manifesto that brings together all the stuff about why I use the numbers I use. That's still on the agenda, and believe it or not I've actually done a little bit of the writing in this area over the last few months! I really hope I can get this done this summer, but I can't make any promises.

Accountability Week. My big initiative this season was to try to make the day-to-day ratings grind more interesting by adding preview/prediction aspects. Based on all the comments I've gotten on The Question posts, that seems to have been a worthy pursuit. I'd like to take some time at some point soon and revisit how all of these many, many predictions went, from The Question to Best Case/Worst Case to the old First Two Weeks posts. This is probably a very foolish idea, as there were many awful predictions, but... hopefully it's coming.


Spot said...

I really like The Question and seeing what we wannabe-prognosticators think of a show's potential. And there's some interesting shows that may merit a guess with its premiere ratings:

1. The Bachelorette: Will it follow Bachelor's lead by growing after a remarkably steady season last year?
2. Dexter: Can this veteran and still high-profile/highly-rated show for its network leading into its last season while also shifting into the summer for the first time ever hit new highs?
3. True Blood: Can this HBO drama continue defying gravity?
4. The Killing: Will AMC make a Killing in the ratings with a resurrected (and audience-damaged) show?
5. Unforgettable: *Insert obvious unforgettable joke/question here*
6. Big Brother: Will the Chenbot program better ratings not having to face the Olympics?
7. Breaking Bad: Can Walt & Jesse cook up even bigger ratings in its last season?
8. Under The Dome: Is CBS popping its scripted bubble on the right show?
9. America's Got Talent: Yeah, but does America Got Ratings after a lackluster summer last year?
10. Whose Line is it Anyway?: Was The CW joking that it'd seriously get back into the comedy game eventually? (This would probably be a good option for the "Field" bet again.)

Spot said...

I would agree that a summer edition of The Question is a good idea! As Chris L pointed out, there are some long-running shows coming to an end on cable and it'd be interesting to play!

Spot said...

I'll add to the love for The Question, one of my main attractions to the site. But this plan for the summer sounds great and I look forward to reading any of the long articles, the majority I find very fascinating!

Spot said...

Sounds exciting! Continue The Question through summer.

Spot said...

Will you add Wars for #2 show Walking Dead and T10 Drama Game of Thrones? They're kinda big deals, and sometimes I consider looking up #s for Walking Dead just to see even its earlier #s vs. the declining broadcast dramas, but don't have the energy for it.

Spot said...

Those'll both be here next summer, after they complete their fourth seasons. That's always been Spot's policy for War of 18-49 eligibility.

Spot said...

Love the "Now" thing! Awesome feature, really!

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