Thursday, December 19, 2013

Schedules Plus, NBC Thursday

Schedules Plus is another innovative application of the historical ratings statistic A18-49+. I hope this will be the ultimate resource for comparing the evolution of shows, networks and timeslots over time, complete with ratings numbers that make a fair adjustment for the collective decline. Right now this only includes programs aired in the fall. Much more about the process that went into this at the bottom.

NBC Thursday is one of the uglier stories that Schedules Plus has to tell: an epic descent from literally top to bottom. This night was TV's strongest three-hour weeknight lineup in 2003-04 and its weakest in 2012-13 and 2013-14. NBC managed to stop the bleeding in a couple season (the final season of ER and the peak season of The Office), but the general trend is down and fast.

NBC Thursday

8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30 Avg
2001-02 Friends Inside Schwartz Will and Grace Just Shoot MeER 248
303 178 224 191297
240 207
2002-03 Friends Scrubs Will and Grace Good Morning, MiamiER 219
261 183 222 153247
222 188
2003-04 Friends Scrubs Will and Grace CouplingER 219
300 166 192 154250
233 173
2004-05 Joey Will and Grace The Apprentice FallER 169
118 120185202
2005-06 Joey Will and Grace The Apprentice FallER 119
75 94120152
2006-07 My Name is Earl The Office Deal or No DealER 110
101 11093131
2007-08 My Name is Earl 30 Rock The Office ScrubsER 103
95 86 137 94104
90 115
2008-09 My Name is Earl Kath and Kim The Office 30 RockER 106
82 73 142 110116
77 126
2009-10 Community Parks and Recreation The Office 30 RockThe Jay Leno Show 84
78 74 141 9956
76 120
2010-11 Community 30 Rock The Office OutsourcedThe Apprentice 87
73 89 147 10653
81 126
2011-12 Community Parks and Recreation The Office WhitneyPrime Suspect 77
65 78 117 9354
71 105
2012-13 30 Rock Up All Night The Office Parks and RecreationRock Center 66
66 59 100 7748
62 88
2013-14 Parks and Recreation Welcome to the Family Sean Saves the World The Michael J. Fox ShowParenthood 60
62 50 54 6267
56 58
2014-15 The Biggest Loser Bad Judge A to ZParenthood 67
74 56 4577

Avg 114 125 132 124

2014-15 Update: The narrative at the 2014 upfront was that NBC was phoning it in on Thursday in the fall, and their real push would come when The Blacklist arrived in February. But in the end, the midseason lineup was actually no better than the fall one. Yes, even a disappointingly diminished The Blacklist (averaged a 100 for Thursday episodes) was a huge improvement, but it was surrounded by megabombs in The Slap (45) and Allegiance (51). NBC will take another stab at surrounding The Blacklist with dramas, hoping there is still some interest to be mined from late-aughts genre drama Heroes with a limited series revival at 8/7c. 

Notable midseason replacements:
  • I went with NBC's very first 2003-04 lineup, but Coupling got pulled after four weeks. Immediately after that, the network moved Scrubs to 9:30 and aired Friends repeats and a bunch of brief tryouts at 8:30 over the rest of the fall. Then in the winter, Will & Grace went to 8:30 and NBC launched the breakthrough first season of The Apprentice (239) in the 9/8c hour, a show so big that it kept NBC from airing two Thursday comedy hours for the next three years.
  • They returned to two-hour comedy in 2006-07, airing Scrubs (82) and 30 Rock (70) in the 9:00 hour starting in November.
  • Technically, the strongest show NBC has aired at 10/9c since ER was 30 Rock, which averaged an 86 in a winter/spring run in the 10:00 hour during the 2010-11 season. At 10:30 was Outsourced (which dropped to a 63 in that slot).
  • Parks and Recreation aired its short first season at the end of 2008-09 (79) and was held for midseason again in 2010-11, when it replaced Outsourced at 9:30 (95).
See here for more explanations/disclaimers about Schedules Plus.


Spot said...

I never knew that season 2 of Joey had the same relative ratings as the second season of Community! I was always surprised they didn't grit their teeth and didn't push it to syndication, seeing how well Friends does in syndication

Spot said...

This is so depressing that I don't even know what to say. Talk about fall from grace. Parenthood is however very impressive indeed, especially considering it gets probably the worst lead-in from 9h30 than any show has ever gotten (albeit it's probably a compatible one). I think they should go for The Biggest Looser/The Blacklist/New Drama next year and stick with one hour of comedies for Tuesday only. They can still renew Parks and Community if it makes sense for syndication purposes, either for midseason Sundays or for replacements in case a Tuesday comedy fails. Or to bridge the voice cycles on Tuesday for instance. But I think Thursday comedy has to be done at least at 9pm. They could keep the 8pm with syndication bound comedies but that would provide too weak of a lead-in for the 9pm show I fear.

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