Friday, November 1, 2013

Fox 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 True 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

Fox ComediesTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The Animated Anchors
1The Simpsons2.813.0059%-14%1
2Family Guy2.402.5062%-24%1

Though it might have seemed like Fox was clearing the animated deck a bit in recent years, with The Simpsons' renewal it seems pretty certain the two-hour animated block will continue on into at least next season. But with only three cartoons slated to return, the battle for the fourth slot will come down to something new. Fox has both a Bret McKenzie and a Spike Feresten animated project in development.

Fox ComediesTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The Second Tier
3American Dad!1.872.1061%-18%1
4New Girl1.731.8065%-22%2
5Bob's Burgers1.661.9060%-16%1
6Brooklyn Nine-Nine1.561.5555%2

The Super Bowl likely won't be of much assistance ratings-wise to New Girl or to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a bet I'm making just because it happens so rarely for scripted shows. The real headliner probably won't end up being what happens surrounding that event; it's that the event is happening at all, that Fox likes Nine-Nine enough to give it that berth to begin with. If they like it that much, then they probably like it enough to give it a second season, especially given it's upticked a couple times in the last few episodes.

Fox ComediesTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The Bubble
8The Mindy Project1.281.3564%-15%2

Though The Mindy Project seems like a far more valuable show than its ratings suggest, I was still somewhat surprised that it doesn't seem Fox even wants to try anything else after New Girl. I thought we might at least be setting up for an Us & Them whirl in that slot, but it's clearly not on Fox's priority list after its order was trimmed. New Girl is low enough at this point that it's not some huge lead-in being wasted. And perhaps Mindy is just the Fox version of The Good Wife, a show totally unquantifiable by pure 18-49 ratings. (Though at least in Mindy's case, we can see how young it skews, and we can see in the ad rates articles how much more money it gets than its 18-49 ratings suggest. The Good Wife has never really had any of that.)

Fox DramasTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
The "See You in January" Division
2Sleepy Hollow2.782.7545%2

Glee and Sleepy Hollow are renewed for next season. The above number for Glee is wildly inflated (its second episode, probably more telling about its long-term strength, scored a 1.65). Almost Human is still pending. And Bones, though it doesn't really "deserve" it, appears to be Friday-bound. So there's not a lot to say right now, but there will be a lot to say in a couple months. I wish Fox would simply put Bones on hiatus until they see what the deal is with Almost Human; that would allow the network to have the most possible episodes for the second half of the season, should Bones need to go back to Monday.

Fox UnscriptedTrueA18-49Skewy2yCounted Eps
1The X Factor Wed2.262.3041%-34%2
2The X Factor Thu2.182.0039%-35%2
3MasterChef Junior1.531.3544%2

With Fox having developed a couple respectable dramas of late and its Tuesday lineup seemingly intact for the full season, does Fox have enough depth that we can say The X Factor is on the chopping block? This is another of those shows like Two and a Half Men that I'm just not sure will work economically as a marginal type of player, and that's what it is these days. I'm not sure Fox has the depth to replace all three hours, but they're in a little bit better shape there these days; again, this is a network on the verge of airing Bones on Friday. It feels like a bit of a reach right now, so we may see a slimmed-down version again next season, but they're not that far away.

MasterChef Junior seems quite likely to return next fall. It could be one of those shows that helps them deal with the potential loss of The X Factor on Wednesday/Thursday (a Bones/MChefJr. Wednesday could be very respectable), but it's been very nice in this Friday role too.

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