Friday, July 26, 2013

Top 10 of the Last 10, Scripted Newbie Cancellations

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.)

This week, by request, we're taking a look at the top ten new shows that got cancelled.

Comedy Seasons
Drama Seasons
New Scripted Shows
Scripted Newbie Reach Renewals
Network Seasons
Netlet Scripted Seasons
Scripted Episodes

Top 10 of the Last 10, Newbie Cancellations A18-49+ A18-49
Image 10. Eleventh Hour (CBS, 2008-09) 99 2.97
The list's only crime procedural got the axe because it paled in comparison to its CSI lead-in (159). This Bruckheimer production had no second shot even though similar-rated Shark (103) was renewed two years earlier after a much stronger CSI (185).
Image 9. How to Live (ABC, 2012-13) 102 2.14
As in the reach renewals list, I opted to hold averages to regular season airings, since the lists are based on decisions made on regular season numbers. How to Live premiered to a 2.9 after Modern Family and settled in-season at around a 2.0. Though Apartment 23 was renewed at the same level a year earlier, it wasn't enough here.
Image 8. Accidentally on Purpose (CBS, 2009-10) 103 2.87
This was one of Jenna Elfman's least unsuccessful post-Dharma and Greg TV failures, retaining How I Met Your Mother (126) at an OK but ultimately unacceptable clip. Like most other CBS comedies on this list, it got a short episode extension but not quite a full season.
Image 7. Worst Week (CBS, 2008-09) 104 3.11
During a very positive year for most of CBS' comedies, the network could not accept some of the worst-ever retention from this post-Two and a Half Men (171) offering, though it did get a small extension beyond the initial 13. Worst Week was notable as a rare CBS foray into the single-camera comedy game.
Image 6. Terra Nova (Fox, 2011-12) 105 2.49
Terra Nova was one of the very few shows on this list (joining the one just below it) that pulled off its ratings as a "self-starter." But it was clearly not treated like the normal new show; with its reportedly exorbitant costs came very high expectations, and steadily decent-rated Terra Nova did not meet them.
Image 5. Bionic Woman (NBC, 2007-08) 106 3.48
One of the great post-premiere collapses you will ever see, Bionic premiered at a huge 5.7 and had evaporated to 2.2 by its last ep a mere two months later. At that point it was out of eps due to the writer's strike. NBC promised it would return with some major re-tooling, but it never happened.
Image 4. Napoleon Dynamite (Fox, 2011-12) 110 2.60
Once we get into shows cancelled at a 110+ level, we're usually talking about short orders heavily inflated by early numbers. Napoleon premiered with 8:30 (4.4) and 9:30 (3.3) episodes after an NFL playoff game but settled around 2.0 in the subsequent four episodes.
Image 3. $#*! My Dad Says (CBS, 2010-11) 118 2.97
Bleep aired as many episodes (18) as the rest of the top four combined. The first of The Big Bang Theory's many Thursday lead-outs, its 4.0 premiere was the largest of the 2010 premiere week, but it settled in the upper-2's, well below Big Bang's low-4's.
Image 2. Rob (CBS, 2011-12) 140 3.30
To repeat what I said on the new show list: "Perhaps Rob was undone by its drops in the last two weeks, including a 2.6 demo when Big Bang was a repeat." It may have also been hurt by CBS' comedy development strikeout, which kept the net from adding a fourth comedy hour in 2012-13.
Image 1. Coupling (NBC, 2003-04) 154 6.25
Again repeating from a previous list: "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."

Notes: Though it seemed last season's Partners (98) was an even clearer failure than many of the above CBS shows, it still very nearly made this list. 2005-06 CBS comedies Out of Practice (96) and Courting Alex (92) were also in the ballpark. And two-and-through How to Be a Gentleman (83) would make the list if I threw out its one in-season burn-off episode. (Mostly I included the in-season burn-off episodes here because I would be afraid of forgetting something if I had to manually weed all of those out.)

The biggest lead-in of the last decade, American Idol, somewhat surprisingly didn't put any lead-outs on this list; I guess most of them just got an opportunity to fail somewhere else. 2004-05's Life on a Stick (97) was closest. (And 2010-11's Breaking In (96) would've been even right there as well if not for its un-cancellation.)

2013-14 Update: Continuing the dominance of CBS comedies on this list, The Crazy Ones (111) would've checked in at #4. Two-and-through We Are Men (101) is #11 and Almost Human (100) #12; both would've beaten the 99 from last year's #10 Eleventh Hour.


Spot said...

Coupling definitely tops the list because it's the only show out of the 10 not to air all produced episodes and therefore not have its average dragged down.

Interesting that comedies dominate this list 7-3 over dramas, and all of them had an x:30 slot. The good-not-great philosophy of retaining your lead-in's ratings to hold your time slot appears not to correlate with renewal.

Do you know what the top reality show to be one-and-done is? My guess is The Moment of Truth, with Oprah's Big Give a distant second.

Spot said...

Does MoT count here given that it had a summer run and *technically* got a renewal, only for the entirety of S2 to be left unaired?

Unan1mous is the other one I'm thinking might be in the mix.

Spot said...

How to Live is on the list since its summer run episodes are excluded. Valid point on MoT getting a renewal but was canceled before it ever aired.

Spot said...

Can you do top ten for series premieres and finales?

Spot said...

I believe it is My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance (198!) though I don't know for sure if that was ever really intended to have a season two. Regular season only for Moment of Truth would be 175, Unan1mous had 148, Oprah's Big Give 112.

Spot said...

I have four weeks left for these, three of which are pretty locked in. The last one is "veteran final seasons." What I will do is check on the premieres and finales and see if they vary that much from the shows on the rookie/final season lists. I might end up making the series finale info part of the "Notes" on the final season list (and do a similar update to the Notes on the new shows list).

Spot said...

Thanks for this, was very interested to see this. I was wondering how ABC's Eastwick did, I doubt it would have made this list but I was such a fan and thought it did respectably considering.

Spot said...

Eastwick got a 60; in 2012-13 terms it was about the equivalent of NBC's Deception (61).

Spot said...

Thanks! Nowhere near the list then haha but just wanted to know. Loved that show even though it was only a "flop".

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