The links below in each category are to the old theme posts (most 2006-12), but I will update these links as the new theme posts come out over the course of the summer.
Defining Shows/Overall Thoughts:
Coming off of the best development season in five years, in 2010-11 broadcast primetime saw some of those shows display even more promise in season two. The two most promising 2009-10 newbies each took significant steps up, with Modern Family (135 -> 175) further solidifying ABC's return to the sitcom game and Glee (143 -> 175) taking up shop on Tuesday as that night's new anchor. Both those shows nearly finished as the season's #1 scripted show but narrowly lost out to Two and a Half Men (177). Sophomores The Middle (81 -> 97) and NCIS: Los Angeles (125 -> 134) also took steps up.
With Glee so strong on Tuesday, Fox was able to move its enormous reality show American Idol (310/281) over to Wednesday/Thursday, completely changing a Thursday game in which Fox had long been irrelevant. Throw in a still strong (but fading) House (142) on Monday and Fox had assembled one of its strongest Monday to Thursday schedules.
CBS made one of its bolder recent moves in this season, sending defending top scripted program The Big Bang Theory over to Thursday and shuffling longtime Thursday 8/7c occupant Survivor to Wednesday. The move initially took a chunk out of Big Bang's ratings (159) and would not be truly vindicated until the show's surge the next season. The network also had one of its better Sunday lineups with unscripted sophomore Undercover Boss (121) and a transplanted CSI: Miami (95). But Charlie Sheen's departure from top scripted program Two and a Half Men left some major questions at the eye as the season wound down. The show was out of episodes by mid-February, and the other CBS Monday comedies faded considerably in the subsequent three months.
Even with some good news on the comedy front and the peak seasons of Dancing with the Stars (171/150 in the fall, 184/144 in the spring) and Castle (106), ABC still got a little weaker as a network. The Grey's Anatomy (162)-led Thursday and the Desperate Housewives (137)-led Sunday continued to deteriorate. ABC struck out time and again in its long-problematic Wednesday 10/9c hour. And they still couldn't really get anything going outside of the DWTS results on Tuesday, where a promising start from newbie No Ordinary Family (73) ultimately turned into a winter level that was less than half of the premiere number.
And NBC pretty much bottomed out in this season, where strong premieres like Law and Order: Los Angeles (64) and The Event (68) flamed out and The Biggest Loser (108/113) fell off considerably. The Office (148) sent off Steve Carell with its relative strongest season, but its lead-in was of little long-term help to Parks and Recreation (95) and newbie Outsourced (83). Some of the strongest ratings on the network came from holiday filler The Sing-Off (114), which perhaps prompted the network to take a bigger stab at the singing competition game. They introduced The Voice (182) in the closing weeks of this regular season.
Hits: Mike and Molly (133)
Solid: Hawaii Five-0 (120), $#*! My Dad Says (117)
Sub-solid renewals: Raising Hope (98), Breaking In (96), Bob's Burgers (92), Body of Proof (91), Harry's Law (71), Happy Endings (70), Blue Bloods (70)
Renews by network: CBS 3, Fox 3, ABC 2, NBC 1
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.
With Hawaii Five-0 and Raising Hope both Friday-bound (at least for now) and Mike and Molly sitting out till midseason, only one member of this class is on a fall 2013 weeknight schedule: Fox's Bob's Burgers. We're talking about just three years later!
I would make the argument this was Fox's strongest season ever, even moreso than 2007-08 when they had a higher network rating (130). Their dominance in 2007-08 was largely because they were much better equipped for the writers' strike than scripted-dependent networks like ABC and CBS. Hitting this kind of number when everyone else is at full strength is extremely impressive.
Days of the Week:
Fox threw a major wrench into the Tuesday-dominated landscape by moving the biggest program on TV off of the night. Bones and American Idol made long-time Thursday afterthought Fox a huge player on the night. And the longer performance shows on Wednesday coupled with the rise of ABC's comedy block made that long-mediocre night a huge player again.
Time of Day:
*- I don't have the half-hour breakdowns entered for 2006-07 thru 2009-10, so for now I will break these seasons down by hour rather than by half-hour. They'll probably be a bit off, since two-hour telecasts won't be broken out exactly right, but they're close enough to get a good general idea by hour.
Repeats & Sports/Specials:
Most of Sunday Night Football's raw numbers growth came in the 2009-10 season, but it had another big season in 2010-11, going +9% and for the first time passing American Idol (even in a very good season for Idol) to become the top Live+SD program of the season.
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