Wednesday, August 28, 2013

True Power Ranking the Summer 2013 Shows

As a one-time only event, I'm bringing my regular season True Power Rankings system to the summer shows to examine the uncertainties among the marginal broadcast shows. Since there's so much uncertainty about how much real estate the networks actually want to program during the summer, I'm consistently going to be very wishy-washy, but I still thought the numbers might be of interest. With Best Case/Worst Case season on the horizon, this will be the last formal use of "True2" before I introduce a few relatively minor tweaks to the number for 2013-14 by the end of this week.

The True2/A18-49 averages use the same Power Rankings rule used in the regular season posts: they average the last one third of episodes aired through last Sunday, August 25.

ABC SummerTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1The Bachelorette2.172.15411
3Extreme Weight Loss1.411.20411
4Celebrity Wife Swap1.361.1039
5Secret Millionaire1.341.1024
6Rookie Blue1.331.00410
9The Lookout1.200.86513

ABC has by far the most uncertain hierarchy, with only about a 0.3 to 0.4-point separation (in either raw numbers or in True2) between #2 and #10. True2 is somewhat biased toward the shows later in the week, because overall viewing declines on each day of the week before spiking on Sunday. That means the much-disparaged Wipeout actually owns the #2 spot, and shows like The Lookout and Motive are closer to the pack than it might seem like they should be. Still, I do think The Lookout and Motive are the two least likely returnees of the bunch.

#3, #4 and #6 are all renewed already, #1 will return, and I think The Lookout and Motive are at the bottom of the heap. Beyond that, I just don't know, because I have no idea how many more slots ABC will want to devote to this mediocrity. I wouldn't begrudge them for canning everything else, but I wouldn't be stunned if another two or three get renewed.

I do think Wipeout is the strongest show by the narrowest of margins, but it's also trending most sharply downward (down nearly a third year-to-year), so there's no real upside. A show like Whodunnit? can at least point to its spike to a 1.4 for the finale and say maybe, since it's so new, it can bring that audience back. While I would certainly scoff at the notion that Mistresses is a "winner," it might be a finale spike away from getting a renewal too. It's all just so packed together.

CBS SummerTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1Under the Dome2.842.4739
2Big Brother Thu2.802.2339
3Big Brother Sun2.602.3339
4Big Brother Wed2.582.1338
5The American Baking Competition1.421.1337
7Brooklyn DA0.850.4526

Baking Competition is the closest thing to a "bubble" show; while I was disappointed with its lack of momentum at the end of the season, it still ended up with a slightly higher 18-49 average than the previous year's occupant Dogs in the City. It's definitely got a better shot than Dogs in the City did, but I wouldn't put it higher than 50/50.

I believe CBS will do away with Unforgettable after this summer, but I will just note that in the new version of True, it looks a lot more favorable. It gets about a 0.3-point bump in the new True because of a new Sunday cable competition adjustment and because it's so incompatible with Big Brother. (More details on these things coming tomorrow or Friday.) Sadly, that still leaves it in the vicinity of a show like Golden Boy from the regular season. I don't think it's quite as dead as it looks here, but I doubt CBS will see a need to bring it back considering they have another show they can point to as a smashing summer scripted success.

NBC SummerTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1America's Got Talent Tue2.792.45412
2America's Got Talent Wed2.652.2337
3American Ninja Warrior1.711.5038
4Hollywood Game Night1.461.1737
5Get Out Alive1.371.2737
6The Winner Is1.350.9337
8Save Me0.980.6337
10Crossing Lines0.660.4738

When Hollywood Game Night scored its renewal, Deadline pegged Get Out Alive's chances at 50/50. (Though they later deleted that from the end of the article.) Seems about right. What might be surprising is how high The Winner Is in True2 considering it couldn't even crack a 1.0 most of the time on Thursday. Some of that is the "bias" toward shows later in the week, but it also usually had more competition and a one-point worse lead-in. I still think the large raw numbers difference means NBC would absolutely renew GOA first of the two, but it was a bit of an eye-opener.

If any scripted show returns, it'll be Camp, but because of its Got Talent lead-in it doesn't have much of an advantage in True2 over shows like Siberia or even the burn-off Save Me. I'd do away with all of them.

Fox SummerTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
2Hell's Kitchen2.752.09721
3So You Think You Can Dance1.621.36515
4Does Someone Have to Go?1.030.8526
5The Goodwin Games0.860.5737

The only drama here is with So You Think You Can Dance, which staved off some renewal uncertainty last year and is down another 19% so far this year. The one thing you might think it has going for it is how little summer stuff Fox has. With Hell's Kitchen called into duty early and ending early, and with Hotel Hell remaining on the bench, it has often felt like Fox is really phoning in the summer, and SYTYCD is certainly doing a lot better than all those repeats of the Tuesday comedies. But Fox should have more going for them in 2014 as 24 returns to the airwaves. This will just come down to how much original real estate Fox wants to have. They talked a big game about year-round programming at press tour, so maybe SYTYCD returns to fill out the sked.

CW SummerTrue2A18-49Counted EpsEps
1Whose Line Is It Anyway?1.050.8338
2America's Next Top Model0.560.3524
3Oh Sit!0.360.30410
5Perfect Score0.330.2025
6Breaking Pointe0.260.2025

Has Whose Line? so changed the game that the CW raises its summer expectations beyond the #3 to #6 tier, or will something return out of that low-rated group? If the CDub renewed Oh Sit! and Breaking Pointe last year, I'd guess they'll take a flier on one of those shows. I'm pretty sure it's not going to be Breaking Pointe, but True2 actually thinks the other three shows, all in vastly different situations, are about equivalent. 0.3 leading off Monday = 0.3/0.4 with a great lead-in on Tuesday = 0.2 leading off Friday. Perfect Score is probably the long shot after it got downgraded from its Tuesday slot so quickly, but I could see either Oh Sit! or Capture maybe getting a reprieve. Oh Sit! has the "bird in the hand" advantage; we know it can lead off a night and at least do a little better than lower-tier repeats. Capture has the best raw numbers, and it may have the best shot if it can keeping hanging 0.4's.


Spot said...

Damn I had missed this, glad you did it! I don't have much to add, I don't know how to predict summer stuff very well, because as you've said, depends a lot on how much networks really want to invest in summer. I generally agree with everything you've said.

I am now eagerly anticipating your adjustments to the TRUE metric. I am really happy that it seems that you have included adjustment to the Sunday issue and to the compatibility issue. Also, glad to hear the best case/worst case thing is starting!

Spot said...

Had ABC not already announced renewals for Extreme Weight Loss, Rookie Blue, and Celebrity Wife Swap, its entire summer schedule minus The Bachelorette would be on the bubble. Any more renewal decisions feel like they'll be based on non-ratings reasons (namely production costs). But if Body of Proof was able to score a third season after a ratings spike at the end of its second season (courtesy of Dancing with the Stars), then there's hope for Whodunnit.

Not that I think it would have made a big difference to being renewed, but scheduling Unforgettable after Big Brother was odd to me. CBS was clearly parceling out its few new shows throughout the week, but decided to double-up on Sundays with BB/Unforgettable. While it spared the network from low-rated reruns of The Good Wife, I would have scheduled it on Tuesdays after NCIS and bumped NCIS: LA to 10:00.

I also wouldn't renew any summer scripted show on NBC, but if forced to it's Camp by default: Save Me was burn-off theater while the low co-production costs to Siberia and Crossing Lines are not going to be enough. NBC's programmers were wisely on to something by pairing ANW and GOA to create a "Guy's Night."

Hotel Hell's continued benchwarming makes me wonder if it's going to see the light of day or it'll gather dust like The Moment of Truth. My thought is if Hotel comes into play, it'll be on Fridays during the regular season. SYTYCD is probably being hurt by airing against another talent show, so I'd put my thumb on the renewal side of the scale.

Whose Line ranks now slightly above where Supernatural ranked at the end of the season. While that's mostly due to being a pre-existing brand, let that sink in for a second. It won't change/raise The CW's expectations but it will certainly push the network to try harder next summer; the quick rescheduling of Perfect Score is evidence of that.

Spot said...

A lot of bubble shows this summer...

Spot said...

Regarding Unforgettabe, I think they didn't want to mess up with Tuesdays to have the audience get ready for the new POI timeslot and lead-in. Personally, I would have scheduled Unforgettable Wednesdays at 9 after Big Brother but against less competition than it face on Sundays

Spot said...

Wednesdays at 9:00 would still leave Unforgettable with an incompatible Brother lead-in and force the show to go against both America's Got Talent and MasterChef. Hammocking Unforgettable between NCIS and either NCIS: LA or Person of Interest reruns at least would have made Tuesdays thematically coherent and given CBS some new programming on every weeknight.

Spot said...

Hm.. True point about the competition on Wednesdays. I understand your tuesday idea, I just think making an investment on tuesdays for the fall is more worth it than getting unforgettable to be a couple of tenths higher in summer.

Spot said...

It's funny. CBS put forth the least effort this summer and ended up with the most valuable show. Meanwhile, ABC and NBC threw everything but the kitchen sink and don't have much to show for it. Their vets are another year older and a little weaker, and of their rookies, only Get Out Alive and Hollywood Game Night stand out, and not by much.

Spot said...

I wonder if a Whodunnit season 2 would get mid-1's for the season. That finale rating came out of nowhere, and the finale was fairly exciting.

Spot said...

I hope CBS brings back American Baking Competition and tries it in a different slot. I think it can become a solid summer performer with better scheduling.

I think with Under The Dome, CBS has reaped the benefits from really committing to a single appealing show rather than heart-heartedly churning out cheap programming.

I'll be surprised if NBC doesn't axe all its scripted shows.

I think ABC will renew Mistresses with its uptick in the last couple of weeks.

Sadly, I think SYTYCD is a goner at this point. It's clearly weaker than MasterChef and Hell's Kitchen and Fox needs the schedule space if they're committing to their year-round schedule.

I can see The CW bringing back Capture, because the scheduling suggests they like the show. I think Oh Sit is a true toss-up.

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