Friday, June 14, 2013

Top 10 of the Last 10, New Scripted Shows

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! Enter 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, the top 10 scripted newbies of the last decade. It's quite an eclectic list; some went on to sustained success and are still big nearly a decade later, some flamed out quickly, and some... didn't even get renewed for season two?!

Comedy Seasons
Drama Seasons

Top 10 of the Last 10, New Scripted Shows A18-49+ A18-49
Image 10. Two and a Half Men (CBS, 2003-04) 137 5.55
Before it was the CBS comedy anchor, and before a brief stint as literally the only hit comedy on TV, Two and a Half Men began with very respectable retention of the Everybody Loves Raymond (149) audience.
Image 9. Once Upon a Time (ABC, 2011-12) 139 3.27
Of the many breakthroughs in the 2011-12 season, this may have been the most surprising. Many expected longtime occupant Extreme Makeover: Home Edition would be filling in for Once in short order. Instead, Once premiered at a 4.0 and held at 3.0+ for most of the season.
Image 8. Rob (CBS, 2011-12) 140 3.30
#8 on the list actually aired just eight episodes, most of which appeared to be posting fairly decent retention of The Big Bang Theory's megahit audience. Perhaps Rob was undone by its drops in the last two weeks, including a 2.6 demo when Big Bang was a repeat.
Image 7. Glee (Fox, 2009-10) 143 3.98
Glee turned its May 2009 preview into a reliable low 3's fall audience, even with a fairly weak So You Think You Can Dance lead-in, but it didn't truly break out until it got the American Idol lead-in back in April 2010.
Image 6. Coupling (NBC, 2003-04) 154 6.25
Before NBC got it right with The Office, Coupling was the cautionary tale about the perils of remaking a British sitcom. It aired just four episodes, rating 7.8 -> 6.7 -> 5.6 -> 4.9 after much bigger Will and Grace and wasn't seen again. You couldn't have burnt off a few on Saturday to deflate this average, NBC?!
Image 5. Heroes (NBC, 2006-07) 164 6.13
Of all the "Next Lost" efforts in the mid to late aughts, Heroes was the only one that truly broke through, and season one was a huge bright spot for an otherwise fast-fading network. It's hard to believe "Heroes vs. Lost" was an actual debate back in 2006-07.
Image 4. Lost (ABC, 2004-05) 170 6.89
Welcome to the ABC 2004-05 section of the program. Lost kicked off the ABC resurgence with a 6.8 demo for the premiere, but it didn't really heat up until early 2005. The 8.4 winter premiere and 7.8 finale were amazing numbers, even if overshadowed by other results on the same network.
Image 3. 2 Broke Girls (CBS, 2011-12) 180 4.25
If we were just comparing series premiere episodes, the pilot of 2 Broke Girls (301), which aired after Ashton Kutcher's Two and a Half Men debut, would take the cake. It remained a major mid-4's force through the fall before sagging against The Voice late in the season.
Image 2. Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 2004-05) 199 8.09
Grey's 7.2 premiere demo made an instant and significant improvement on previous post-Housewives occupant Boston Legal. But that was actually the low point of the short first season. When it rocketed to a 9.8 for the finale, it was clear that huge things were possible.
Image 1. Desperate Housewives (ABC, 2004-05) 263 10.66
Housewives struck a chord out of the box unlike anything else on this list, premiering at a whooping 8.9. But like Lost, it didn't realize its full potential until the second half of season one, capped by an enormous 13.4 finale.

Notes: Only five of the ten seasons are represented on this list. Here's the top show in each of the other years:
2005-06: My Name is Earl (125)
2007-08: Private Practice (128)
2008-09: Fringe (135)
2010-11: Mike and Molly (133)
2012-13: The Following (125)

Three of the six new shows in this period that eventually went on to become megahits didn't make this list in their first season: Modern Family (135), House (130) and The Big Bang Theory (99).

2013-14 Update: In a year heavy on hits, The Blacklist (151) was the biggest; it would've been on the list at #7. The Millers (140) also would've made the cut, tying Rob (another timeslot hit leading out of The Big Bang Theory) for #9. Sleepy Hollow (138) had the ratings to qualify for the top 10 last year, but the other 2013-14 newbies would've bumped it down to #12 in a new list, right between #11 Once Upon a Time (139) and #13 Two and a Half Men (137).


Spot said...

Great work as always, Spot. Just out of curiosity, do you have the 18-49+ for House's first season? I know the first half of the season was a dud, but I'm interested in seeing what it had for the season overall.

Spot said...

Out of interest, what are #11 and #12 (or, to put it another way, what are #9 and #10 if you exclude the one-and-done outliers Rob and Coupling)? Fringe and Mike & Molly?

Spot said...

Modern Family (135) and Fringe (135) I guess would be #11 and #12.

Spot said...

New Girl (137) is #11, and before rounding Medium (135) is ahead of Fringe (135) and Modern Family (135).

Spot said...

What! I thought Grey's Anatomy had a 200 A18-49+ for its 2004-05 season. :(

Spot said...

The '04-'05 league average continues to fluctuate slightly as I add some of my "old data" to fill in pieces of the missing weeks in the "new data." So it might actually go back to 200 by the end of the summer, because it's very close right now (199.30)

Spot said...

Wow so cool. I am very surprised that New Girl isn't on the list. I guess its spring really killed it, but fall wise it sure would be here, no? Anyway, such a cool list, even though I really find odd to find a show like Rob and, especially, Coupling, in there!

Post a Comment

© 2009-2022. All Rights Reserved.