Monday, June 17, 2013

A18-49+: The New Shows Post


The A18-49+ theme posts combine all of the individual season info in one specific category, allowing us to line up the last eleven seasons of collective Live+SD ratings declines on a relatively apples-to-apples basis. In future seasons I will update these pages with the new season numbers and updated info on the longevity of the new shows.

For people who followed the first iterations of these posts back in Spring 2012, there will be a lot of text copied over. The only completely "new" stuff is some tweaks to the sections discussing the new shows' longevity, plus a table involving the recently introduced Career A18-49+ at the end.



Put 'em All Together:

YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBig Hit
2001-02361613832
2002-03361813632
2003-0433209421
2004-05341214963
2005-06402012410
2006-07341912611
2007-08291310410
2008-0925149320
2009-10261211630
2010-1134179310
2011-124014151041
2012-1328168310
2013-143919101051
2014-15381916862
2015-16372015620
2016-173713181241
TOTALS:5462621941024514

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBig Hit
2001-0244%36%22%8%6%
2002-0350%36%17%8%6%
2003-0461%27%12%6%3%
2004-0535%41%26%18%9%
2005-0650%30%10%2%0%
2006-0756%35%18%3%3%
2007-0845%34%14%3%0%
2008-0956%36%12%8%0%
2009-1046%42%23%12%0%
2010-1150%26%9%3%0%
2011-1235%38%25%10%2%
2012-1357%29%11%4%0%
2013-1449%26%26%13%3%
2014-1550%42%21%16%5%
2015-1654%41%16%5%0%
2016-1735%49%32%11%3%
AVERAGES:48%36%19%8%3%

Renews By NetABCCBSNBCFox
2001-023343
2002-034432
2003-041413
2004-056233
2005-061614
2006-075331
2007-085131
2008-092223
2009-104223
2010-112313
2011-126342
2012-132132
2013-143232
2014-157513
2015-164443
2016-173564

For an additional piece of perspective on the "longevity test," here's a list of how these shows ultimately graded out in the Career A18-49+ labels. The changes based on 2015-16 numbers are included in parentheses.

YearTotUtilityStapleTentpoleStarIcon
2001-023685310
2002-033632210
2003-043343222
2004-0534108751
2005-064083330
2006-073454100
2007-082932111
2008-092543200
2009-102695310
2010-113444 (+2)100
2011-124085 (+1)2 (+1)00
2012-132831 (+1)000
2013-14397 (+3)1 (+1)000
2014-15387 (+5)11 (+1)00
2015-163700000
2016-173700000

2001-02: Still extinct.

2002-03: Still extinct.

2003-04: NCIS keeps rolling well past the icon threshold, but the career labeling is resolved now for this class.

2004-05: American Dad! has had a nice season on cable, so maybe it can get to icon someday. For now, it remains a long way off.

2005-06: Criminal Minds didn't do enough to make icon this season, but it did get a renewal, which ensures it will get there next season. Prison Break's revival counts toward its total, but it will need another season at some point (and at least a 59 Plus) to get to staple. I guess I will un-red those categories for now and see if there's a prospect for another season next year.

2006-07: Still extinct.

2007-08: The Big Bang Theory is still rolling well past the icon threshold, and could pass CSI to post the second-highest career A18-49+ in the era next season. But labeling is resolved.

2008-09: Still extinct.

2009-10: Nothing happened this year, but next year will be busy for the class of 2009-10 as Modern Family becomes an icon (needs just 53 points) and NCIS: Los Angeles becomes a star (also needs 53). The only one with any drama will be The Middle's bid for star, as it will need to uptick a bit in Plus (to a 127) to make it next year.

2010-11: Bob's Burgers and Blue Bloods became the third and fourth staples of the class, rounding out that label, and both could become tentpoles in a couple years. After an amazing season, Hawaii Five-0 will easily become a tentpole next year and actually has a shot to pass Mike & Molly to have the highest career total of the class next season.

2011-12: New Girl became staple #5, but the Last Man Standing cancellation leaves it a heartbreaking four points shy and resolves that label for this class. New Girl looks very unlikely (needing 135 points) to get to tentpole. Scandal became a tentpole but with an announced final season, will need to somehow find megahit levels to get to star. Once Upon a Time survived into its reboot phase, meaning it will become the third and probably final tentpole of the class next season.

2012-13: Chicago Fire is a staple, saving 2012-13 from the embarrassment of becoming the only staple-free class. It'll need a big bounce to 153 to get to tentpole next season. After garnering just 52 points this season, it's possible Elementary could not even make it to staple with two more seasons. (It needs 108 more.) Nashville continues to survive on cable, but it would be quite the accomplishment if it can actually put together 171 more points on CMT to get to staple.

2013-14: Chicago PD, Sleepy Hollow and Brooklyn Nine-Nine all made it to utility, rounding out the class at seven staples total. The Goldbergs did exactly what it had to do, which was break even in Plus, and barely eked out the staple label in four seasons. Next year, Mom, The Blacklist and likely Chicago PD will join it, while Agents of SHIELD and Brooklyn Nine-Nine will need two really good seasons (or three not so good ones) to get there.

2014-15: Empire became a tentpole in three years, and will need a 170 to become a star in four years next season. The best bet to become a staple next season is How to Get Away with Murder (90 points away). Black-ish (119 away) will need an exceptional hold in its move to Tuesday. A host of utility players were crowned in Black-ish, Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans, Gotham and cancelled The Odd Couple. Hope is still very much alive for a record-tying 10 utility players; Fresh Off the Boat and The Last Man on Earth should make it nine next season, while Madam Secretary needs just 61 points but is moving to 10/9c. The demises of American Crime and Secrets and Lies mean 11 utilities will not be in the cards. (Maybe the class of 2016-17 has a shot?!)

2015-16: Life in Pieces and Chicago Med held up well enough in their timeslot downgrades that they should be good bets for utility next season.

2016-17: This Is Us will become a utility player in its second season. Barring some absurd sophomore bounce, everybody else will need at least two more years.



2001-02

YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2001-02361613832

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2001-0244%36%22%8%6%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2001-023343

Big Hits: Leap of Faith (184), Inside Schwartz (178)
Hits: Scrubs (133)
Solids: Crossing Jordan (119), The Bernie Mac Show (106), Alias (104), Baby Bob (104), According to Jim (100)
Sub-solid renewals: Law and Order: CI (99), Watching Ellie (98), 24 (98), Andy Richter Controls the Universe (88), The Agency (86), George Lopez (81), The Guardian (78)

NBC's wealth as a network extended into the newbie class, where they produced the top four of the season. Unfortunately... the first two aired directly after the 303-rated Friends, and NBC didn't mess around with giving them a chance to collapse elsewhere. The other two were a different story; Scrubs (142) had very good retention of Frasier on Tuesday, and Crossing Jordan built noticeably on Third Watch on Monday. Those two along with Law and Order: CI were ultimately long-term decent but unspectacular performers for NBC.

ABC and Fox also produced some long-term decent players in this season, but nothing that went on to be a huge player. The Bernie Mac Show, Alias, According to Jim, 24 and George Lopez all ran for 5+ seasons, but 24 was the only one that ever produced a hit season. CBS pretty thoroughly struck-out; CSI lead-out The Agency moved to Saturday for season two and failed to ignite the night, while The Guardian got three seasons on Tuesday but continued to deteriorate.

The biggest newbie excitement in 2001-02 came on the netlets. Initially, the biggest win was UPN's Star Trek series Enterprise (79), which opened at a simply colossal 6.3 rating (146 A18-49+) but was at less than half of that in the second half of the season. WB's Smallville (70) opened at a much lower (if still very good) 3.8 but held a lot better post-premiere and was actually out-rating Enterprise in spring comparisons. Those trends continued big-time in their respective sophomore seasons, when Smallville stepped up to another level. Enterprise became just another solid player by netlet standards and ultimately ended after four seasons.



2002-03


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2002-03361813632

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2002-0350%36%17%8%6%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2002-034432

Big Hits: Good Morning, Miami (153), CSI: Miami (152)
Hits: Wanda at Large (129)
Solids: Still Standing (121), Without a Trace (119), Hidden Hills (103)
Sub-solid renewals: Oliver Beene (99), 8 Simple Rules (94), Life with Bonnie (88), Boomtown (87), American Dreams (86), Less than Perfect (81), L.A. Dragnet (75), Hack (52)

From a scripted perspective, this was another one of those seasons like 2010-11 in which CBS churned out a few nice players and everyone else was pretty close to disastrous. The biggest win by far was the first spin-off of megahit CSI. CSI: Miami was a big hit that almost doubled the ratings in its timeslot year-to-year, and this season was actually its lowest Plus until season five. In a vacuum, Without a Trace didn't have impressive retention of CSI's audience, but it looked better because CBS had done a lot worse the prior season with The Agency. And Still Standing, while it paled in comparison to the show that would occupy its Monday 9:30 slot the next year (Two and a Half Men), at least churned out a few years of service for the network's Monday lineup and made it into syndication.

The only other show in the entire big four class to make it to four seasons was the modest ABC sitcom Less than Perfect. Fellow ABC Tuesday newbie 8 Simple Rules was the far bigger breakout initially, but it had eroded to a huge degree even by the end of season one. (That was before the death of John Ritter, which briefly bumped the ratings back up in season two but ultimately derailed things even further.)

Back when I had A18-49+ data going back to 2003-04, there was only a very limited snapshot of the frauds that had heavily inflated ratings as part of the NBC Thursday lineup. Good Morning, Miami was another example of this, but at least it scored a second season (unlike Coupling from 2003-04 and a couple even higher-rated examples from 2001-02).



2003-04


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2003-0433209421

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2003-0461%27%12%6%3%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2003-041413

Big Hits: Coupling (153)
Hits: Two and a Half Men (137)
Solids: Las Vegas (123), The OC (104)
Sub-solid renewals: Cold Case (86), Hope and Faith (77), Arrested Development (69), NCIS (67), Joan of Arcadia (66), Tru Calling (46)

In terms of how the shows appeared in year one, 2003-04 may have been the worst scripted development season of the last decade, which is really saying something. The median new show had just a 66 A18-49+, tied with 2008-09 for the lowest in the last decade, and the percentage of flops was just enormous (if perhaps a bit inflated because there were a ton of shows in the 65-69 range). The only "big hit" of the year was sort of an even more exaggerated version of 2011-12's high-rated but one-and-done Rob; NBC's Coupling was greatly inflated by an enormous lead-in and cancelled after just four episodes.

You could argue that future seasons made this class look better, especially in CBS' case. Only two of the nine renewals, Joan of Arcadia and Tru Calling (the latter an extraordinarily generous renewal to begin with), got axed after just one more season. The CBS renewals not named Joan greatly brightened the strength of this class; Cold Case turned in a seven-season run with this same kind of upper-80's A18-49+ for most of it, while we all know how valuable Two and a Half Men and NCIS have become.

The first half of the aughts was the golden age of reality TV, at least in terms of developing new ones, and a couple very long-running ones came out of this season: The Apprentice (a phenomenal 241 mixed into NBC's Must See Thursday) and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (101), which would build considerably the next season.



2004-05


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2004-05341214963

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2004-0535%41%26%18%9%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2004-056233

Big Hits: Desperate Housewives (262), Grey's Anatomy (199), Lost (169)
Hits: Medium (135), CSI: NY (130), House (129)
Solids: Boston Legal (120), Joey (118), Stacked (112)
Sub-solid renewals: Numb3rs (93), American Dad! (88), Rodney (87), The Office (72), Jake in Progress (58)

When comparing the new show classes of the last decade, there are three that really stand out in a good way: 2004-05, 2009-10 and 2011-12. Though most people would probably guess (correctly) that 2004-05 was the strongest of those three, many of the top-to-bottom numbers put these three seasons on relatively equal footing. The 2004-05 Flop % falls in between 2009-10 (46%) and 2011-12 (35%); the % renewed is basically tied with 2009-10 (42%) and barely ahead of 2011-12 (38%), and the Solid % has only a teeny edge (vs. 25% for 2011-12 and 23% for 2009-10). The median new show's A18-49+ was 79 in all three of these seasons.

Where this season really separates is at the very top. ABC's three defining dramas all qualified as big hits; there have been just three "big hits" in the other nine A18-49+ seasons combined (2 Broke Girls (180), Heroes (164) and Coupling (154))! Desperate Housewives is the runaway #1 new scripted show of the decade, Grey's Anatomy is a pretty comfortable #2, and Lost checks in at #4, trailing only 2BG from the other nine seasons. Throw in the three hits and there were six new scripted hits in this season. Only 2011-12 even made it to four hits, and that was out of a class with nine more new shows total.

This season also passes the longevity test. Only three of the 13 renewals lasted just one more season, and all of the remaining ten made it at least five seasons. Quite a few of these shows peaked very early: Desperate Housewives, Medium, CSI: NY, Numb3rs, Boston Legal. A few started strong and at some point got even stronger: Grey's Anatomy, Lost and House. And there were a couple shows that started slow but eventually went on to run longer than almost all the rest: The Office and American Dad!



2005-06


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2005-06402012410

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2005-0650%30%10%2%0%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2005-061614

Hits: My Name is Earl (125)
Solids: The Unit (104), Prison Break (103), Criminal Minds (101)
Sub-solid renewals: The New Adventures of Old Christine (96), The War at Home (93), Bones (92), How I Met Your Mother (87), What About Brian (85), Ghost Whisperer (77), Close to Home (72), The Loop (63)

In 2012-13, the networks followed up their strong 2011-12 development season by ordering far fewer new scripted shows. But 2005-06 was the opposite; 38 scripted newbies populated the big four, up from 32 and 31 the previous two seasons. Perhaps the other three networks were inspired by ABC's success.

Despite all these shows, none of them even sniffed at what had been pulled off the prior year. The only true breakout was NBC's My Name is Earl, and only a couple others (The Unit and Prison Break) could even be called legitimately impressive out of the gate. Had My Name is Earl gone just a touch lower, it could've been a year without a single new hit (and would've been the only one of the last decade).

The weakness of ABC's development slate was particularly jarring; by consolidating so much of their new-found strength on Sunday, they didn't yet have a ton of lead-in juice. The net had scores of new sitcom failures, and among dramas they ultimately had to choose a face-saving renewal between two very modest performers: What About Brian (84) and post-Lost's Invasion (92). (The former won, much to my dismay at the time.)

If I'd told you that the three top-rated shows of this class would all decline from here and be done after four seasons each, you might have thought at the time that this class was a complete disaster. But the 2005-06 class is actually brightened considerably using the longevity test, because Criminal Minds, Bones and How I Met Your Mother went on to become much stronger shows than they initially appeared. (And throw in Supernatural, which has held up remarkably well as the last scripted show standing from the WB/UPN.)



2006-07


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2006-07341912611

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2006-0756%35%18%3%3%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2006-075331

Big Hits: Heroes (163)
Solids: Brothers and Sisters (124), Rules of Engagement (121), October Road (110), Ugly Betty (105), Shark (104)
Sub-solid renewals: Til Death (77), Men in Trees (76), Jericho (71), 30 Rock (68), Notes from the Underbelly (66), Friday Night Lights (61)

Most of the big picture numbers say this was a fairly average class, and Heroes was one of the top five new shows of the last decade. There were a couple more flops than you might expect from a 34-show class, but the other numbers are almost exactly in line with the ten-year percentages.

However, this class is actually considerably hurt by looking at future seasons. Five of the 11 renewals did not make it beyond season two. The crown jewel of the class, NBC's Heroes, flamed out in just four seasons. Other entries like Brothers & Sisters and Ugly Betty were decent players, but only for a few seasons. In fact, 2006-07 is the only scripted class of the A18-49+ era that's gone completely extinct, unless you count the CW's The Game, which moved to cable.



2007-08


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2007-08291310410

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2007-0845%34%14%3%0%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2007-085131

Hits: Private Practice (127)Solids: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (117), Samantha Who? (110), Bionic Woman (105)
Sub-solid renewals: The Big Bang Theory (99), Pushing Daisies (97), Chuck (93), Dirty Sexy Money (88), Life (80), Lipstick Jungle (76), Eli Stone (74)

The WGA strike has an interesting effect on these numbers. While it was a weak year in terms of solid/hit shows, the shortened seasons for big scripted hits (and a lot of reality junk filling in) lowered the entertainment average, meaning a relatively low percentage of outright flops. The strike chaos also probably got a lot of shows renewed that wouldn't have been with a full season. A staggering seven of the 10 renewals went only one more season. However, slow starter but eventual megahit The Big Bang Theory almost singlehandedly lifts this class above some others. Chuck somehow eked out five seasons, and Private Practice made it six, but in the end there was very little long-term impact outside of TBBT.



2008-09


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2008-0925149320

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2008-0956%36%12%8%0%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2008-092223

Big Hits: ()
Hits: Fringe (135), The Mentalist (125)
Solids: Lie to Me (111)
Sub-solid renewals: Castle (81), Parks and Recreation (78), Southland (76), Gary Unmarried (74), Dollhouse (48), Better Off Ted (43)

Only three of the eight renewals (the bottom three) were axed after season two, which is good. But only The Mentalist and Castle were really able to emerge as long-term solid players, and neither was a long-term hit. Overall, a very weak season.



2009-10


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2009-10261211630

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2009-1046%42%23%12%0%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2009-104223

Hits: Glee (141), Modern Family (134), NCIS: Los Angeles (125) 
Solids: The Cleveland Show (112), Cougar Town (104), Accidentally on Purpose (102)
Sub-solid renewals: V (98), The Good Wife (95), Parenthood (93), Human Target (87), The Middle (81), Community (78)

Right now, the class of 2009-10 looks like the best since 2004-05 by a pretty long shot. It's tied with 2004-05 for the highest renewal percentage, and a whooping nine of the 11 renewals went on beyond season two. Glee was very nearly the biggest scripted show on TV in 2010-11, and Modern Family claimed that title in 2011-12. Throw in the CW, where they developed pretty much their only hit ever (The Vampire Diaries) this season, and it was one great year.



2010-11


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2010-1134179310

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2010-1150%26%9%3%0%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2010-112313

Hits: Mike and Molly (132)Solids: Hawaii Five-0 (119), $#*! My Dad Says (117)
Sub-solid renewals: Raising Hope (97), Breaking In (96), Bob's Burgers (92), Body of Proof (91), Harry's Law (70), Blue Bloods (70), Happy Endings (68)

Despite an above-average 34 new shows, an extremely low three even graded out as "solid," and all of those were CBS shows that took significant dips from their lead-ins. Even to get to that very low 26% renewals, it took (in my opinion) multiple reaches. While there could be several nice utility players out of this class, there was little to no star potential. Very weak season, and a catastrophe for everyone but CBS.



2011-12


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2011-124014151041

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2011-1235%38%25%10%2%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2011-126342

Big Hits: 2 Broke Girls (180)
Hits: Rob (140), Once Upon a Time (139), New Girl (137)
Solids: Person of Interest (122), Suburgatory (110), Napoleon Dynamite (110), Terra Nova (106), Revenge (104), Last Man Standing (102)
Sub-solid renewals: Apartment 23 (99), Smash (96), Unforgettable (95), Touch (89), Scandal (85), Whitney (79), Up All Night (79), Grimm (65)

By the big hit/hit/solid/flop standards, this looks like the best season for new shows out of at least the last six, but the gap with 2009-10 considerably narrowed in the last month of the season as Apartment 23 and Smash and Touch all dropped sub-solid. The hit/solid percentages are about on par with the great 2009-10 season, but there were noticeably fewer flops than in any other season. And this doesn't even count the 42.5 hours of new unscripted big hit The X Factor. In sum, the gap between the new shows and the veterans is historically small this season. Was that about a great development season or a bad season for returning shows? I think both were true, really.

Obviously there is still much to be written about the longevity of this class, but a slew of sophomore slumps suggest this will likely end up making less impact than the 2009-10 class.



2012-13


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2012-1328168310

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2012-1357%29%11%4%0%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2012-132132

Hits: The Following (125)Solids: Revolution (122), Elementary (107)
Sub-solid renewals: Nashville (89), The Neighbors (88), Chicago Fire (87), The Mindy Project (74), Hannibal (53)

Following the strong class of 2011-12, the big four networks ordered far fewer shows in 2012-13 (28, a huge drop from 40 the previous season), and they handed quite a few plumb timeslots to promising sophomores like Revenge, Suburgatory and Person of Interest. Their lack of interest in the new class was vindicated, I guess, as this was one of the very worst classes of the last decade. Only 2003-04 and 2008-09 had more flops by percentage, and only 2003-04 and 2010-11 saw fewer renewals by percentage. (If not for the miracle Hannibal renewal, this season actually would've had the lowest renewal percentage of the last ten.)

In thrilling fashion, The Following barely managed to keep this from becoming the only year without a single new hit. (In fact, if it hadn't adjusted up in finals on finale night, it'd have pulled a 124!)

A big part of why this season was bad for broadcast was the new comedy problem. CBS and ABC had incredible returnee strength and used it to produce just one renewal, The Neighbors (88), and it could've very well been cancelled. NBC axed its entire class, and only very marginal Mindy came out of Fox.



2013-14


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2013-143919101051

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2013-1449%26%26%13%3%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2013-143232

Big Hits: The Blacklist (153)
Hits: The Millers (140), Sleepy Hollow (138), Resurrection (133), Agents of SHIELD (127)
Solids: Mom (111), The Crazy Ones (111), We Are Men (101), Almost Human (100), About a Boy (100)
Sub-solid renewals: The Goldbergs (89), Chicago PD (88), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (80)

After a shockingly light 2012-13 season in terms of new show volume, the total count swung way back up in 2013-14. 41 new shows inched past 2011-12's 40 for most new shows in the A18-49+ era. This helped produce some of the largest numbers we've seen in the various A18-49+ categories. 18 flops was the highest number since 2006-07, 10 solids tied the most in the A18-49+ era (with 2011-12), while it was the first five-hit season since there were six in that miracle 2004-05 year. The Blacklist was the first big hit since 2 Broke Girls two years ago, and the first drama big hit since Heroes seven years ago.

These stats are so ridiculous in large part because of the higher volume of new shows, but even the rate stats are pretty favorable. 44% flops is less than the 11-year average of 47%. 24% solids is well above the 17% average (and behind only 2004-05 (26%) and 2011-12 (25%)). Even if you throw out the three shows that barely hit the league average (including two-and-through We Are Men) the number drops to 17%, which is still average. And 12% hits ties 2009-10 for second-best behind 2004-05 (19%), well ahead of the 8% average.

But the real weirdness of the class of 2013-14 is this: even with what seemed like a relatively strong slate ratings-wise, the renewal axe was wielded quite liberally. The big four brought back just ten new shows out of the 41. Even with the most new shows of the era, this was behind the average number of renewals per season (10.5), and the lowest renewal rate of the last eleven years (24%). Almost everything that seemed like it should've been on the bubble or leaning renewal (specifically Friends with Better Lives, Almost Human and Growing Up Fisher) got canned. The only show with truly bubbly ratings to sneak through was Brooklyn Nine-Nine. And at an 80 A18-49+, it was the strongest "lowest-rated weeknight renewal" in the 11 seasons to date.

We don't know yet how this class will do on a long-term basis, but some of the top-rated shows like Sleepy Hollow and Resurrection feel pretty fragile moving forward. Maybe this will be a year like 2005-06, in which some of the unassuming season one performers like How I Met Your Mother, Bones and Criminal Minds end up being the bigger long-term players. I could see that happening with the likes of The Goldbergs and Chicago PD.



2014-15


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2014-15381916862

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2014-1550%42%21%16%5%

YearABCCBSNBCFox
2014-157513

Big Hits: Empire (303), How to Get Away with Murder (176)
Hits: Scorpion (137), Black-ish (136), The Odd Couple (132), Gotham (129)
Solids: NCIS: New Orleans (124), Fresh Off the Boat (102)
Sub-solid renewals: The Last Man on Earth (97), Agent Carter (89), Secrets and Lies (89), Madam Secretary (85), CSI: Cyber (82), Galavant (79), The Mysteries of Laura (72), American Crime (69)

At the top, the new class of 2014-15 was undeniably one of the best for broadcast TV in a decade. Empire was the biggest newbie of the era (rather easily surpassing Desperate Housewives), and it combined with How To Get Away with Murder to produce the first multiple big hit class since ABC's Desperate/Lost/Grey's Anatomy trifecta ten years prior. There were six total hits, tying 2004-05's record for the era, and NCIS: New Orleans was just a point away from becoming the seventh hit. And this big four focus ignores the fact that the CW also developed The Flash (86), by far the biggest series in network history.

It was also pretty top-heavy; there's a big drop-off from NCIS: NO down to the frontloaded league-averageish ratings from Fresh Off the Boat and The Last Man on Earth, and nothing else was all that close to average. The number of solid shows was actually down year-to-year.

However, the renew percentages this year were still among the highest in the era as the networks showed a great amount of patience with marginal newbies. A year after one of the least patient seasons in memory, this time the big four tied the era record by renewing eight sub-solid shows. ABC became the first network in the A18-49+ era to renew seven scripted newbies. Granted, four of these were for bridge/low priority timeslots, but it still counts!



2015-16


YearTotalFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2015-16361815620

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBigHit
2015-1650%42%17%6%0%

Net RenewsABCCBSNBCFox
2015-164443

Hits: Life in Pieces (137), Blindspot (125)
Solids: Chicago Med (117), Supergirl (115), Superstore (102), Lucifer (101)
Sub-solid renewals: Rosewood (92), Code Black (86), Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (86), Quantico (85), Shades of Blue (80), Dr. Ken (76), The Real O'Neals (76), Scream Queens (76), The Catch (67)

After two strong classes of new series in the last two years, the class of 2015-16 fell back to earth, as most of the percentages above fell a bit worse than the historical averages. Even these tepid numbers probably look better on the surface than they actually will be over the long-term; the only two "hits" were Life in Pieces and Blindspot, and they both seem very unlikely to ever qualify as hits again since they were in very cushy situations and will be getting much worse ones next year. Plenty of the other renewals were pretty front-loaded (Scream Queens, Quantico, Lucifer) and/or will be getting timeslot downgrades (Chicago Med, Supergirl, Rosewood) next season.

Despite lukewarm at best numbers overall, there was still another high volume of renewals. This mostly wasn't about massive reaches, as The Catch was the only renewal in flop territory. It was more about a high renewal rate within the marginal category, as 8 of those 12 series got a season two nod; only Heroes Reborn, Limitless, The Muppets and Angel from Hell were denied.



2016-17

YearFlopRenewSolidHitBig Hit
2016-1735%49%32%11%3%
AVERAGES:48%36%19%8%3%

Renews By NetABCCBSNBCFox
2016-173564

Big Hits: This Is Us (219)
Hits: Kevin Can Wait (131), Lethal Weapon (128), Speechless (127)
Solids: American Housewife (117), Bull (116), The Great Indoors (114), The Good Place (111), Star (110), Son of Zorn (104), Designated Survivor (102), Man with a Plan (101)
Sub-solid renewals: Superior Donuts (97), The Mick (91), Timeless (90), MacGyver (88), Taken (82), Trial and Error (75), Great News (64), The Exorcist (55)

The class of 2016-17 certainly had a signature breakout in the NBC drama This Is Us, but it was also particularly noticeable for its depth. 12 out of 37 shows broke the league average, easily breaking the previous record for the A18-49+ era even on a percentage basis. There were also relatively few shows to drop below the 70 flop threshold: 13 out of 37. That 35% flop count puts it in line with the two lowest flop-percentage seasons in the past, 2004-05 and 2011-12.

It was also a banner year for new series renewals. 49% of the big four newbies (18 of 37) got renewed, which is easily a new A18-49+ era record, and it marks the third consecutive season that this percentage has fallen in the 40's after the usual standard used to be about one-third. For 2016-17, there is certainly some network generosity in getting to this number; for example, I still don't really understand why NBC needs Timeless and Taken and Trial and Error and Great News. But a lot of it should be credited to the strength of the class in general. After all, there were even a couple above-average cancellations in Indoors and Zorn, after none of those occurred in the previous two seasons.



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9 comments:

Spot said...

If you include unscripted shows, 2006-07 is the only extinct class since 1997-98!! Not counting unscripted shows, 2002-03 is the second most recent extinct class.

Spot said...

Once again, a superb read with great facts.

Amazing that 06-07 doesn't have a single show left.

Spot said...

Great post (as always).

I'm very interested about how the third seasons of the 2011-12 shows will pan out. They're all in very different spots:
1. 2BG, Once, Revenge, Last Man Standing, and New Girl are left with the same problems they faced this year. Some might do better, some won't.
2. Grimm and Scandal are the successes of this class (who woulda thought?). Scandal is fresh off its first instance of beating Grey's, still in a cushy spot. Grimm, off some nice post-Voice promotion, finally as a steady lead-in (Dateline, which should excel away from 20/20). I like where these are going.
3. Unforgettable is a late starter for the summer (who knew that was possible) going against cable competition and some network wild cards (NBC's Crossing Lines and ABC's Whodunnit?). I smell bad things.
4. Person of Interest is going from a cushy timeslot to a considerably-less-cushy-but-still-OK timeslot.

I have a question: What was Last Man Standing's A18-49+ this year? And what would that translate to on a weekday? IMO, it's held up pretty well for a show that's been moved to Friday.

Spot said...

I am also very interested in all these outcomes. But I think that not calling 2BG, OUAT and New Girl successes (and even Revenge to a lower degree) is a vast understatement.

Spot said...

Of course they're successes too. I meant that Grimm and Scandal were the biggest successes of the class.

Spot said...

Last Man Standing had a 1.49 average, so its A18-49+ was 71 (1.49/2.105 or program average/league average). That would make it solid on any weeknight and a hit for Friday.

Spot said...

Thanks. That's pretty interesting.
If my math is right, it would be a 129 A18-49+ on a weekday. That's 2.7ish in regular numbers! Wow.

Spot said...

Of course, I know it probably wouldn't get a 2.7 if it was moved back. It's hypothetical.

Spot said...

it's always fun to see that Big Bang theory was a "sub-solid renewal" at its time :P

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