Thursday, October 31, 2013

CBS True Power Rankings, October 2013


As November sweeps kicks off, it's time for this season's first full edition of the True Power Rankings! I line up every entertainment program in broadcast primetime by network/category using my timeslot metric True, offering some thoughts on the ratings strength of the shows. As on the Weekly True Power Rankings, these True2 and A18-49 numbers are averages of the last third of the season's episodes to date rounded up, which weeds out inflated early episodes that don't really matter anymore. This year, I'm also including the year-to-year trend for the season to date and the "skew" (or percent of the total audience within the 18-49 demo). The number of episodes in the average is listed under "Counted Eps." These numbers are all through October 27.

Other October True Power Rankings: ABC | CBS | NBC | Fox | CW




CBS ComediesTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The Elite
1The Big Bang Theory5.325.2037%+10%2
2How I Met Your Mother3.113.0550%-1%2

Since CBS will still have The Big Bang Theory, the loss of How I Met Your Mother is not quite as striking as the loss of The Office was for NBC comedy last year, but because none of the new shows seem to have real anchor potential, it's pretty close. It's got CBS talking spin-off!

CBS ComediesTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The Second Tier
3The Millers2.342.9532%2
42 Broke Girls2.302.5541%-27%2
5Two and a Half Men2.082.2032%-34%2
6Mom2.032.1539%2
7The Crazy Ones2.032.3532%2

Like with the ABC newbies, the CBS shows are closely-packed enough that relatively minor fluctuations can seem like big game-changers. The Millers appeared to be emerging as the strongest of these shows, even in a True sense, but Mom bumping up to 2.3 last week followed by The Millers crashing to 2.7 on Thursday seemingly put all three new shows on roughly equal footing. They're all gonna be around for the full season, so there will be a lot of time for this to sort out. True gives The Millers the edge right now since it's really only had one "bad" week, but it'd do well to bounce back.

Though all the new shows have been fairly disappointing, I still think a couple of them survive even if CBS drops a comedy hour, but mostly that's because I'm operating under the assumption that the expensive Two and a Half Men isn't worth keeping around at its current bubbly ratings. I could be wrong about that, but my guess is its only real path to renewal is for it to emerge as a well-above-bubble performer. But it's definitely not impossible that Men could end up looking significantly stronger than the new shows by the time May rolls around; last week it matched The Crazy Ones.

Still to come: "The New" Mike and Molly, which seems likely to post ratings that will put it in roughly this tier.

CBS ComediesTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The Dunzo
8We Are Men1.691.8040%1




CBS DramasTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The Elite
1NCIS2.843.0521%-10%2
2Criminal Minds2.412.7031%-11%2

The very rough idea of "compatibility" that I developed this summer, which compares a show's "Skew" with its lead-in's "Skew," seems to be helpful in some situations and neutral in almost all others. But I do have to wonder if Criminal Minds is the kind of situation where it actually hurts the show too much. Minds and Survivor have almost the same skew, but I'm not sure they're really all that compatible. Most of Minds' best True2 scores last year came when it aired after procedural repeats in January, and that gap may actually widen with the compatibility adjustment. Either way, Minds still looks fine.

CBS DramasTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The Second Tier
3NCIS: Los Angeles2.082.5522%-11%2
4Person of Interest1.822.2022%-26%2
5CSI1.762.0527%-17%2
6Elementary1.721.6526%-26%2

Most of these shows are nicked significantly by True because they have good/compatible lead-ins, but the True number is a big buyer on Elementary, which has the lowest-rated and least compatible lead-in of these four. Combined with the relatively low Thursday viewing compared to the earlier weeknights, plus the Scandal competition, and that's enough to make up almost all of the ratings gap. It's done fairly respectably this season, with one exception: that 1.5 on October 17 (which is one of the two eps counted above). If it gets back to that level again, it can start getting worried. If not, I think it's very much a part of this pack.

CBS DramasTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The Weekend Dramas
7Hawaii Five-01.571.4020%-24%2
8Blue Bloods1.451.3016%+3%2
9The Good Wife1.391.4020%-20%2
10The Mentalist1.291.2520%-24%2

If the season ended right now, I'm fairly sure CBS would bring back Friday completely intact. Hawaii Five-0 has done a bit better than I expected; and given the CBS disappointments elsewhere, that means it's much higher on the totem pole than I'd have anticipated. H5-0 and Blue Bloods are not that far away from becoming a bit questionable, but they look good to go thus far.

And I see no reason to change the pre-season belief that The Mentalist was CBS' Marked for Death veteran drama, as it has shown no real muscle this season. The real questions: 1) Will The Good Wife go with it, prompting CBS to make a major shake-up on Sunday? For the last few years I've assumed that The Good Wife's prospects are simply not quantifiable by ratings, and for now I'll just stick with that. Shrug. And 2) What replaces The Mentalist on Sunday? It's probably too early to be thinking about this, but only two returnees really stick out as having any chance to make that move: CSI and Elementary. TGW and Elementary might make for a nice critically-acclaimed pairing, but that doesn't seem like the right kind of theme to throw at the Sunday cable fray.

CBS DramasTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The Dunzo
11Hostages1.221.2030%2




CBS UnscriptedTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
1Survivor2.442.5033%-14%2
2Undercover Boss1.921.7024%-10%2
3The Amazing Race1.761.8529%-22%2
460 Minutes1.252.0521%-14%2
548 Hours1.060.8521%-10%2

One of the great debates in TV ratings today is what the deal is with the broadcasters on Sunday. Is it the shows, or is Sunday cable simply creating an environment where the broadcasters inevitably can't hang normal weeknight numbers? I have always thought there's some of both, and one of the reasons was that many of the Sunday staples (namely the Fox cartoons and The Amazing Race) haven't really depreciated much over the period in question. But it is worth noting that may be changing; The Amazing Race is having a pretty stinky season this year.

9 comments:

Spot said...

Ok, I asked this in The Vault, but it's even more obvious here. All of the other CBS series are down by double digit percentages Y to Y, except Blue Bloods (+3), and HIMYM (-1). So how exactly does TBBT GROW by double digits, considering the numbers it's already pulling in? Not to mention ABC is pretty much the same (three shows total that aren't falling by double digits). That +61 by Scandal is pretty impressive.

Spot said...

Losing HIMYM is going to hurt CBS in one obvious way: next season the network can't help but see its median age go up as its youngest show leaves. And no other sitcom currently on the schedule looks to be a suitable anchor at this point. Monday in general is going to be adrift for 2014-2015 if something doesn't perk up, and the winter lull between seasons of The Voice that CBS enjoys is being cut short by the Olympics.


I maintain that CBS has the right idea with a reality show like The Amazing Race being skedded on Sundays, but it's hampered by the 60 Minutes lead-in. Giving an old-skewing show such a young-skewing lead-in with the NFL late afternoon game negates the effect it could have on the rest of the night.

Spot said...

At some point, we're going to get to see TAR get that direct lead-in - it just needs the game to overrun past 7:59. We came *very* close with the Broncos-Cowboys game - ran within a few minutes and could easily have gone into OT. The Masters (whilst not nearly as strong as NFL) came within three minutes of bumping 60 Minutes, too.

With the 4:25 kickoff, it's going to happen once. I'd love to see it this season from a ratings geek standpoint.

Spot said...

My understanding is that CBS just time-shifts all of its shows no matter when the game ends. But I hope you're correct because bumping 60 Minutes back a week is easier than disrupting a scripted show's rhythm like The Mentalist.

Spot said...

Yeah, 60 Minutes is always first. The only thing that can change is that The Mentalist doesn't air if its start time would be after 11:00.

Spot said...

Some comments...


Comedies:
- I think your TRUE metric is mostly correct but I think it's still over-estimating the millers and last night's numbers sort of show that. I think all 3 newbies, plus Two and a Half Men are in the same ratings range and final decisions will depend on who grows more or looses more
- I agree with you that Two and a Half Men is likely going to end, but I think comedies follow less of a trend than serialized dramas or even procedurals so it is hard to say something for now here.


Dramas:
I think syndication economics play a major role here. I think as far as renewals and cancellations go it is like this:
1st tier: POI, NCIS, NCIS LA, Criminal Minds
2nd tier: CSI, Hawaii, Blue Bloods, Elementary
3rd tier: The Good Wife, The Mentalist
4t tier: Hostages


This being said, I think that the fact that TGW has that insanely high syndication deal and that Blue Bloods has yet to score one (while I am sure it will get one, it may not be as profitable) may result in TGW getting another season and Blue Blood going. I imagine it is more attractive for CBS to send CSI to Fridays and Survivor or Elementary to Sundays (while bumping TGW to 10) than it is for them to have to completely rebuild Sundays from scratch.

Spot said...

I agree with both of these comments. The Mother's profitability is likely higher than we think as I believe the only show to have higher 18-34s than it has on the network is TBBT. I think all other shows, excluding maybe its lead-out do way lower numbers on 18-34s.

I also agree 100% on the sunday comment. I've been arguing for over a year that reality is the way to go on Sundays and this applies to CBS, ABC and NBC. I think CBS ought to try Survivor there. I think the Wednesday at 8 slot is not that bad a slot to launch a new drama. It doesn't have lead-in support but competition is minimal, so if they manage to create buzz it should do good business there. Part of me still says they should have sent POI there this year, but whatever.

Spot said...

Well I am not sure anyone can answer you that. TBBT just keeps growing and the other things just keep falling, it's just the way it is. It's certainly impressive, yes.

Spot said...

Ah, I stand corrected. I had the impression 60 Minutes got bumped (and I'd still say that would work better).

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