Friday, May 31, 2013

Top 10 of the Last 10, Comedy Seasons


The collective decline in Live+SD ratings makes it hard to fairly compare numbers across seasons. But with the A18-49+ stat, we have the technology! So today, I'm introducing the "Top 10 of the Last 10" lists, which will line up the last ten seasons (2003-04 thru 2012-13) and give us an idea of which shows were strongest after we set the collective decline off to the side. (I'll throw in the raw numbers too, to give a sense of how far ratings have fallen.) Today, we start with the top 10 sitcom seasons in the last decade.

Top 10 of the Last 10, Comedy Seasons A18-49+ A18-49
Image 10. Two and a Half Men (CBS, 2012-13) 180 3.79
Season two of Ashton Kutcher's stint on Men appeared doomed for a collapse, but a move to Thursday after The Big Bang Theory helped prop up the ratings. Retentionistas think Men wasn't all that special this season, so its top ten berth goes to show how huge TBBT has become.
Image 9. 2 Broke Girls (CBS, 2011-12) 180 4.25
By far the closest thing we've had to a season one comedy megahit was 2 Broke Girls, which launched to a 7.1 after the ridiculously high-rated debut of Ashton Kutcher but held at a very strong level, not really showing any vulnerability till The Voice showed up in February.
Image 8. Will and Grace (NBC, 2003-04) 186 7.53
How important was the Friends halo to Must See TV? Will and Grace made this list in Friends' final season, but it dropped about 40% in the following season, then actually went below the league average in its 2005-06 final season.
Image 7. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2009-10) 188 5.26
Big Bang's first stint as the top scripted show on TV came when CBS moved it after Two and a Half Men in fall 2009. It turned out to be just a one-year "power hour," as Big Bang headed for eventual bigger and better things on Thursday starting the next season.
Image 6. Modern Family (ABC, 2012-13) 201 4.23
Though Modern Family came back to earth a bit from its 2011-12 numbers, it did narrowly hold onto its megahit status in a season that was ugly for many a program.
Image 5. Two and a Half Men (CBS, 2011-12) 210 4.96
Season nine of Two and a Half Men started off introing Ashton Kutcher with an astonishing-for-2011 number: a 10.7 demo. It ended dropping behind two other megahit comedies in season average. Still, this should go down as the zenith of the biggest sitcom of the late-aughts comedy depression.
Image 4. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2011-12) 210 4.97
While Two and a Half Men was adding Ashton Kutcher and Modern Family was adding another truckload of Emmys, Big Bang was breaking through in a far less glamorous way: thanks to syndication exposure on TBS.
Image 3. Modern Family (ABC, 2011-12) 214 5.05
Two and a Half Men's explosion was the big headline maker of premiere week 2011, but Modern Family scored its second straight Emmy the night before, then found its own series high (6.1) on Wednesday. When the dust settled, Modern narrowly held the sitcom average crown in the year of the sitcom.
Image 2. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2012-13) 249 5.25
Though its 2011-12 average ended about on par with 2.5 Men and Modern Family, by season's end it was clear which show was hottest. And Big Bang backed it up by leaving them in the dust in 2012-13, growing 6% in a year generally marked by steep broadcast declines.
Image 1. Friends (NBC, 2003-04) 300 12.19
It's worth noting Friends would've been much closer to the pack (roughly a 261) if you throw out the series finale, a double-length ep averaging an unbelievably enormous 24.9 demo rating. But the final season remained a behemoth, consistently hitting double-digit demos in the last half of the final season.

Notes: This is one of several lists that's heavily concentrated in a certain part of the ten-year period. I figured starting with one leaning toward the last couple years would start us off on a less depressing note. Nine of the 10 seasons listed here come from either 2003-04, 2011-12 or 2012-13. So what of the seven-year gap in between? The top comedy by season, starting with 2004-05: Everybody Loves Raymond (155), Two and a Half Men (127), Two and a Half Men (128), Two and a Half Men (151), Two and a Half Men (171), The Big Bang Theory (188), Two and a Half Men (177).

2013-14 Update: Once again, The Big Bang Theory (269) checked in with the new biggest sitcom season since Friends, putting it at #2 over the last eleven years. And a declining Modern Family (188) was still good enough, tying for #8 on the new list. The final season of How I Met Your Mother (180) was the show's biggest season ever, but it's in a three-way tie for #11 on the new list.

The War of 18-49, NCIS: Los Angeles



NCIS: LOS ANGELES (CBS)

Scheduling history: Nearly every episode of NCIS: Los Angeles has aired in the Tuesday 9:00 hour directly after an original episode of the NCIS mothership. Only the season two premiere and the season three finale branched into another hour. (Both of those were two-hour episodes starting at 9:00.) And only a November 2013 episode after Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer hasn't had an original NCIS lead-in. But that changed as the show headed to Monday 10/9c in season five. After two years there, it's slated for a Sunday 8/7c slot in season eight.


Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/29/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • CBS trotted out its annual "keep the slot warm for Big Brother" early summer series, this time called The American Baking Competition. Thrown against a much more powerful food competition on Fox, it was actually down significantly from last year's already weak Dogs in the City premiere (1.3). 
  • ABC resumed its burn-off of the cancelled late-season comedies and modestly premiered The Lookout at 10/9c, which is the renamed primetime edition of Nightline.
  • Week two of Fox's MasterChef ruled the night and picked up a bit of steam in the 9:00 hour, when there was much less competition than last week.
  • NBC resonated to a greater degree than usual with an above-average Dateline and a Blake Shelton benefit concert.

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 5/28/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • ABC brought back the always soft Extreme Weight Loss, which shed 20% of its ratings weight from last year's premiere and tied last year's finale. (The name also shrunk from the old Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.) They led into the series finale of Body of Proof, which as usual dropped off without a Dancing with the Stars lead-in.
  • CBS quietly premiered documentary series Brooklyn DA, which couldn't match the network's preceding NCIS repeats.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The War of 18-49, The Vampire Diaries



THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (CW)

Scheduling history: Every single episode of The Vampire Diaries aired on Thursday at 8:00... until 2016, when it was moved to the Friday lead-off role.


The True Top 25, Week Ending 5/26/13 (2012-13 Week 35)


Modern Family was the top show of a relatively quiet last few days of the TV season, posting the biggest raw number in the most competitive timeslot (against MasterChef and the finales of Criminal Minds and Law and Order: SVU). 20 of the 25 slots on this list came from the in-season portion of the week, plus three Thursday shows (Hell's Kitchen the only original), a Friday Shark Tank repeat and Sunday's NASCAR.

The True Top 25 will return sporadically over the course of the summer!

Spotted Ratings, Memorial Weekend Roundup (5/24-5/26/13)


WHAT MATTERS:
  • ABC won Friday on the strength of Shark Tank repeats, but Fox got some surprisingly OK mileage out of a special airing of the Nat Geo series Brain Games. Sports dominated the next two nights, with the NHL on NBC and then Sunday's NASCAR beating the combined competition (including the finale of Smash). Memorial Sunday saw the largest viewing depression relative to the norm for that day of the week.
  • NBA conference final games on cable beat all the broadcasters on each of these three nights: Eastern Conference on Friday (3.0) and Sunday (3.1) and Western Conference on Saturday (1.9).

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Monday 5/27/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The broadcast programs were pretty weak on Memorial Day, even though there was no discernible drop-off in overall viewing. This curious phenomenon also occurred last year, when The Bachelorette posted a number far weaker than any other that season and America's Got Talent was also several tenths below the surrounding episodes.
  • The return of The Bachelorette was down a surprising 27% from last year's post-Dancing with the Stars premiere (2.6), but it was even with the strangely low holiday airing a year ago (which was week three of that season). So I'm gonna wait till next week before passing judgment. The Voice also disappointed, continuing its late-season fade, but again... we'll see where it ends up next week.
  • Cable featured the rather mixed return of A&E's drama lineup. The Glades (0.7) was down a couple ticks year-to-year, but sophomore Longmire (0.9) tied its series high and was a tick above last year's series premiere.

The War of 18-49, Community



COMMUNITY (NBC)

Scheduling history: Nearly all of the Community run has taken place in the Thursday 8/7c timeslot. Exceptions: the show premiered in 2009 with a three-week tryout after The Office, it aired at 8:30 once in 2010 after a Halloween special, and in 2012 it aired three episodes on one night (at 8:00, 9:00 and 9:30) to end its season.


SpotVault - The Goodwin Games (Fox) - Summer 2013 Ratings





The Goodwin Games
Mondays, 8:30/7:30c, Fox







Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The War of 18-49, Glee



GLEE (FOX)

Scheduling history: Though it was commonly billed as the scripted version of American Idol, Fox courageously began Glee's run in the fall when Idol wasn't on the air, scheduled after a regular season edition of So You Think You Can Dance. It got the post-Idol berth for just the second half of season one before moving into the Tuesday lead-off role for the next two seasons. In season four, it moved to Thursday and returned to leading out of singing programs, The X Factor in the fall and American Idol in the winter/spring. In the second half of season five, it made a not-so-triumphant return to its old Tuesday lead-off slot. The final season moved to Friday.


Monday, May 27, 2013

The Question Results, 2012-13 FINAL


Congrats to Billie_Dawn for scoring The Question Season 1 Championship, and to Chris L and James "One" Shade for rounding out the top three! The prize is... bragging rights!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks again to everyone for playing. I'm going to try to do a very limited schedule of these over the summer, starting one week from today with the Mistresses premiere.

The War of 18-49, Modern Family



MODERN FAMILY (ABC)

Scheduling history: Every single episode of Modern Family has aired somewhere in the 9:00 hour on Wednesday. It's aired a few special 9:30 episodes to lead into drama premieres at 10:00 (Revenge in 2011 and Nashville in 2012 and 2013).


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 5/23/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The opening day of summer was pretty crowded with premieres, but few of them drew a lot of interest. Making the biggest splash was Fox's old faithful Hell's Kitchen, which began the summer portion of its season at its highest level since the mid-March premiere. It led into a relatively soft debut from widely derided reality series Does Someone Have to Go?.
  • ABC was also all original with Motive, which ended up holding its entire post-Dancing with the Stars demo from three days earlier, and the fourth season premiere of fellow co-production Rookie Blue, down a couple tenths from last year.
  • NBC began its burn-off of sitcom Save Me, which certainly affirmed the notion that it didn't fit at all with NBC's in-season comedies. Its skew was hugely different; it actually had more total viewers than most Community episodes but barely half of the demo rating. Hannibal at 10/9c was roughly even with recent in-season results, which can be spun two very different ways: 1) It held up even though its lead-in was over two points weaker than last week! or 2) It couldn't grow despite facing way less competition from ABC and CBS! Ultimately those two things probably roughly cancel out.

War of 18-49 Flashback, Arrested Development (Fox, 2003-06)



ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (FOX)

Scheduling history: The first two seasons of Arrested Development were part of Fox's Sunday comedy lineup, back in the days when mixing animated and live action comedies was commonplace for Fox. The show's first season aired at 9:30 after what was really the last OK-rated season of Malcolm in the Middle. Arrested then got a decent upgrade in season two, moving to 8:30 and leading out of higher-rated The Simpsons. The 13-episode third season was then asked to fend for itself, leading off the Monday lineup in fall 2005. After it got horrible ratings in that role, Fox infamously burned off the series' final four episodes in a two-hour block against the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Spotted Summer 2013


Another regular season is in the books!

Next stop: the summer. For those new to the program, this blog always keeps the lights on but transforms quite a bit during the off-season. Here are some details about what's going down in what should be yet another best summer ever:




Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/22/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The finale-filled last day of the 2012-13 regular season wasn't all that exciting. Nobody had a spike of note, and most shows were even to a little bit up from last week, from The Middle to Modern Family to Law and Order: SVU to Criminal Minds to Nashville. The only noticeable finale dropper was Chicago Fire, probably nicked by tougher than usual CBS competition in the second half of Minds.
  • Fox continued its early transition to summer with the return of MasterChef, which was down a couple ticks from last summer's premiere and identical with the spring premiere of fellow Gordon Ramsay show Hell's Kitchen (2.1/2.3 on March 15).

The Climate, Weeks 33/34



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 5/21/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • ABC bid farewell to the Tuesday edition of Dancing with the Stars with a finale that went just a tick above Monday's episode and was down 18% year-to-year. It appears to have been hurt by all the musical reality competition in the 9:00 hour, as it preliminary spiked from a 2.3 at 9:30 up to a 2.7 at 10:00 and a 2.9 at 10:30.
  • Meanwhile, Fox's So You Think You Can Dance grew a tick week-to-week in its first two-hour edition of the season (though it was down from the post-Idol Wednesday ep) and didn't seem to suffer against the competition at 9:00. And NBC led off with an Oklahoma-themed news special, which matched last week's The Voice recap and easily handled ABC's competing special about The Bachelor (which basically matched last week's Wipeout).

Spotted Ratings, Monday 5/20/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The last Monday of the regular season was highlighted by the transition to summer, as ABC premiered Motive in the 10:00 hour at 40% behind last week's Castle numbers, while Fox began its burn-off of The Goodwin Games. Motive will have to hope to stay near this level in its regular Thursday slot, and the best case to make for that actually happening is that ABC mostly promoted the show's Thursday premiere rather than last night's "preview."
  • With the finale tonight, ABC had a nice final Monday bounce from Dancing with the Stars.

The Question, Wednesday 5/22/13: Can Fox Premiere Masterfully On a Night of Finales?


Many scripted season finales populate the final night of the 2012-13 regular season, but I'm opting for the biggest unknown: the return of Fox's Gordon Ramsay show MasterChef. It's been a bit weaker than Hell's Kitchen and stronger than So You Think You Can Dance, so I'm going in the middle of their respective 2.2 and 1.9 premieres this regular season. It has surprisingly little competition at 8:00, but it'll be hard-pressed to grow at 9:00 vs. the Modern Family/Criminal Minds/SVU finale gauntlet.

Over/Under: 2.05.

The True Top 25, Week Ending 5/19/13 (2012-13 Week 34)


In the last full week of the 2012-13 season, The Big Bang Theory had one last big win, spiking in the True2 numbers thanks to greater competition than usual. Once the TV event of the season, Thursday's finale of American Idol was a very distant second and could've easily been even lower. Several other shows like NCIS, How I Met Your Mother and The Office were hugely above average thanks to impressive finale bumps.

The season finale of Shark Tank finished off an incredible season with one last berth to represent Friday night programming, while a very impressive penultimate week of Chicago Fire managed to eke out a spot for the underwhelming new class of 2012-13. The return of So You Think You Can Dance managed the #24 spot (with the Tuesday premiere just a hundredth behind at #26).

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 5/19/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Awards shows remain one of the best (only?) ways the broadcast networks can draw viewers to Sunday. ABC's Billboard Music Awards were up a whooping 30% from last year's 2.7 and the show's biggest rating since December 2003 (when it aired on Fox). They nearly doubled last week's ABC drama finales. CBS curiously aired an ACM Tim McGraw special against it and didn't do much.
  • The other two networks wrapped up their seasons of Sunday entertainment programs with Celebrity Apprentice only barely growing week-to-week and Fox hosting one-hour finales for The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons and Family Guy. The last two were close to even year-to-year, but Celebrity Apprentice was down huge from last year's 2.2.

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 5/18/13



Spotted Ratings, Friday 5/17/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • It was mostly an unscripted game on the season's last Friday, with ABC comfortably winning thanks to two hours of Shark Tank and 20/20. The 8:00 episode in a special hour was way below average, but it still held off CBS' Undercover Boss, which was similarly weak.
  • Most of the Friday scripted excitement either wrapped up earlier or got moved to another night; the finale of Nikita was the only scripted original, though it held its 0.4 in finals to pull off a +100% week-to-week.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Question, Tuesday 5/21/13: Will the Dancing Finale Get a Gold Star?


Tonight brings what may be the last-ever airing of Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday night. While the last couple Dancing finales have spiked to 3.0+ from seasons in the 2's, those finales also completely avoided The Voice. This one has to face it head-to-head in the 9:00 hour, along with So You Think You Can Dance. However, DWTS may draw more of those viewers than normal since The Voice's season still has a few weeks to go. That seemed to be in play for Monday's airing, which grew to a preliminary 2.5.

Over/Under: 2.75.

2013 Fall Matchups


For a fourth straight year, here's a lineup of every timeslot (except Saturdays) and some really quick reactions to how the matchups look. Here are the previous editions: 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Question, Monday 5/20/13: Will Viewers Find a Motive to Watch ABC This Summer?


Two summer scripted programs premiere tonight, but ABC's Canadian co-production Motive is the one with an actual realistic shot. The promos are generic; a new murder every week? Mind blown!! But if there's anywhere you want to premiere a generic procedural on ABC, it's after Dancing with the Stars. I seriously doubt this'll be able to sniff at Castle numbers, but it should be able to sniff at Body of Proof numbers, at least for the first episode.

Over/Under: 1.45.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Question Results Through 5/16/13


With three games to go in the regular season (one each on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday), the top spot is not quite clinched yet and the race for third place is even more up in the air! Here are the results and individual standings through May 16 for the ratings prediction game The Question:

Friday, May 17, 2013

2013 Upfront Answers, General Thoughts


All of this week's Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW

Thanks so much to everyone for reading, commenting, linking and RTing all of this upfront stuff. It keeps getting so much bigger every year, which is hugely flattering. I'll have my annual super-quick look at the matchups next week, but this post is the "official" end of the upfront coverage. Here are some final thoughts on the week as a whole:


Spotted Ratings, Thursday 5/16/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The finale of American Idol adjusted up in finals to a 3.6 demo, down a ridiculous 44% from last season's final episode. As I said yesterday, don't crucify the show over this individual point, because most Idol finales have faced almost no competition, and this one faced a ton. This was roughly what most of you expected, actually. Crucify it over the fact that it's been down a third or more year-to-year even in recent weeks when it faced almost no competition. Either way, it will not be a fun off-season for the Fox brass as they try to stabilize this sinking ship.
  • Meanwhile, NBC sent off The Office at easily its highest level of the season. It's the show's best rating since the middle of last season. And the 8:00 retrospective special was close to in line with the season's original average (and a big improvement over the usual 8/7c occupants). But the bigger lead-in didn't help Hannibal at all in a special 10:15-starting episode.
  • Big finale nights on the other networks were a bit underwhelming, surely due to the hefty competition. For the fourth time in six years The Big Bang Theory was down week-to-week for its season finale (though just by a single tick following a huge finals adjustment), while a two-hour Elementary, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, The Vampire Diaries and Beauty and the Beast were all only about even week-to-week.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Question, Thursday 5/16/13: How Many Huge Finales Can Broadcast Stuff Into One Night?


Welcome to Finale Night in America! Somehow the season finales for TV's #1 show, TV's long-time former #1 show, TV's hottest show, the CW's biggest hit and the series finale of NBC's most successful scripted show of the last decade all managed to converge on one fateful evening. (Oh yeah, and Grey's Anatomy, Elementary and Beauty and the Beast too. Plus, how will Hannibal do with an Office series finale lead-in? Gahhh!!!) Maybe this is just the kind of night that brings scores of people back to broadcast TV, or maybe this glut means that some shows are bound to get lost in the shuffle. How many huge finales can broadcast stuff into one night? That's The Question for Thursday, May 16, 2013.

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/15/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • ABC's three renewed-for-next-season Wednesday anchors all swung back up from ugly week-ago dips, with Modern Family probably benefiting the most due to lessened Fox competition. The finales are next week!
  • Rather than airing directly against a singing competition like Tuesday's premiere, night two of So You Think You Can Dance actually got to air directly after one (American Idol), and the result was a solid uptick.
  • With no The Voice at 8/7c, the penultimate Law and Order: SVU fell back to earth, but Chicago Fire grew for a third straight week, building some momentum as it prepares to follow The Voice next season.

2013 Upfront Answers, The CW


Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2013 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

CW upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


First Two Weeks, Family Tools


WEEK ONE
The last significantly in-season newbie of the season was ABC's Family Tools, which began its run after The Middle (2.0) with 5.79 million viewers and a 1.5 demo on May 1. If this were several weeks into the run, I guess it wouldn't be absolutely awful; in fact, it was the same number as renewed The Neighbors' finale. But doing that for a series premiere is pretty bad and left no cushion for a drop. (Of course that assumes it had any real chance to begin with.)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 5/14/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Another finale-filled night of scripted programming saw minor week-to-week bumps from NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles and no bumps from New Girl and The Mindy Project.
  • The nets continued their early transition to summer as Fox brought back So You Think You Can Dance, down by 21% from last year's premiere on the first day of summer. It was ahead of pretty much the whole half of the last SYTYCD season, but this has become a show that always falls off a lot in the second half. And ABC again got almost nothing out of former summer powerhouse Wipeout.
  • NBC shrank The Voice back to an hour but aired a recap special at 8/7c which actually edged SYTYCD. The original The Voice and Grimm continued their gradual deterioration.

Spotted Ratings, Monday 5/13/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • It was a positive finale night for scripted programs as Castle, 2 Broke Girls and Mike and Molly all did at least a little better than in recent weeks. But the big winner was How I Met Your Mother, which surged all the way back to about its February level on its big reveal night. The only weak finale was also the only series finale: the CW's 90210, which went just as utterly ignored as has most of this season.
  • Fox continued its slog through the post-Bones/The Following portion of May sweeps, this time airing two hours of Hell's Kitchen. That reality logjam may have helped cause further damage to The Voice, down a few more ticks even with a finals uptick.

2013 Upfront Answers, CBS


Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2013 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

CBS upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


The True Top 25, Week Ending 5/12/13 (2012-13 Week 33)


Week 33 was probably one of the "fullest-strength" weeks of the season, with almost all the heavy hitters still in play and some posting stronger-than-usual finale numbers. I'm not sure there's been a week when the bar to make the True Top 25 was as high as the 2.47 from this week. (But feel free to check the last 32 posts if so inclined!) Several shows like Saturday's NASCAR, New Girl and The Middle hung numbers that would've made the list almost any other week, but not this time.

The Big Bang Theory was tops, then The Voice, then Modern Family, then as usual a group including Idol, NCIS, Grey's, Two and a Half Men and newly ascendant Scandal. Despite the higher bar, three Friday/Saturday shows still made the list, including a strong Undercover Boss and a Saturday NBA playoff game. But this was a rare week without a single new show. (Elementary's 2.16 would've made the list some weeks, but it was all the way down at 35th this time.)

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 5/12/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The Sunday disappointment just keeps on coming. (As noted in network press releases, the overall viewing was oddly low on the night; Mother's Day dinners?) low on this evening, perhaps explaining  ABC wrapped up Once Upon a Time with just one tenth of week-to-week growth, and the two-hour season finale of Revenge was actually down week-to-week. Both these shows were down around 30% year-to-year.
  • CBS was also a bit underwhelming with the season finale of Survivor, just a tick higher than the last Wednesday episode. It was down 7% year-to-year, a teeny bit better than the season average as a whole. And Survivor took a chunk out of fellow Mark Burnett show Celebrity Apprentice.
  • Survivor did end the three-week streak of Sunday supremacy for Game of Thrones (2.4), which took a significant dip week-to-week.

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 5/11/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Each year ABC randomly gets a second-round NBA playoff game in Saturday primetime. The ratings were good as always, but this year's edition was a half point below last year's. The good news for ABC was that at least this one got counted as part of the regular season. (The NBA lockout last year pushed this telecast to the first Saturday of summer last year.) The NBA peaked in the 10:00 half-hour with a 2.6 rating.
  • Fox countered on a sporty Saturday with a solid NASCAR, down just a tenth from the year-ago race.

Spotted Ratings, Friday 5/10/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • While Undercover Boss rallied pretty much all the way back from last week's oddly low number, CBS sprung another leak in the 10:00 hour as the finale of Blue Bloods went two tenths below its season low point. Weird stuff always seems to happen at the end of the year on CBS Friday.
  • ABC topped Friday despite not getting any timeslot improvement from a weak 8/7c Shark Tank repeat. But the impressive combo of original Shark Tank and 20/20 did the trick.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

2013 Upfront Answers, ABC


Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2013 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

ABC's upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


Monday, May 13, 2013

2013 Upfront Answers, Fox


Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2013 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

Fox's upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 Upfront Answers, NBC


Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2013 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

NBC's upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


The Question, Sunday 5/12/13: Can the Survivor Finale Claim the Sunday Throne?


As suspected several weeks ago, HBO's Game of Thrones has taken up the "beat every broadcast program" mantle for Sunday cable, pulling off the feat each of the last three weeks. But the bar figures to be at a higher level than usual tonight as the season finale of Survivor heads to the night. Can the Survivor finale claim the Sunday Throne? That's The Question for Sunday, May 12, 2013.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Climate, Weeks 31/32


Continuing the post-upfront preview catchup!

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 5/9/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • It was another milestone night for sophomore drama Scandal, which blew away its previous series high and outrated lead-in Grey's Anatomy for the second time in three weeks. (Though the gap was closed to just a single tenth in finals, as Grey's was adjusted up to a very good number of its own.) This result adds another layer of interest to what should be an incredibly interesting next Thursday (with The Office's series finale and finales for The Big Bang Theory and American Idol also thrown in).
  • But ABC did have a little bad news as Wipeout returned rather weakly at 8/7c, only improving the slot by two ticks vs. last week's Wife Swap and down 35% vs. last year's premiere (which was in the middle of the summer). It's more important where it ends up in two weeks against summer competition, but this isn't a good start.
  • Also posting a pretty solid penultimate result was another one-hour The Office, which had its best "self-starting" number of the season. (It only did better in a post-Voice ep in November.) And the season's last Community (but, as we'd learn later, not the series' last) was a little above average too. Hannibal remained stalled at what looks like an unacceptable number even with a big lead-in boost. But, again, it was a lot better than last year's Awake.
  • Fox's Glee finale was up a bit (though nearly a third behind last year's post-Idol finale), but CBS' Person of Interest finale was largely lost in the shuffle, and the penultimate Elementary continued its disappointing late-season deterioration. That show will throw a two-hour finale at Idol, The Office and Grey's/Scandal next week. Good luck.

Demos Year-to-Year, May Sweeps 2013 Winners/Losers


Though I retired the formal daily year-to-year posts, after the premiere week I did pledge to shoot for at least one weeklong summary to put a spotlight on where we are vs. one year ago during each sweeps period. I'm trying to pick out the most "normal" week from each period, so this time I'm dipping back to week one (April 25 to May 1), when almost all regular schedules were still airing. Would've done this a week earlier but all the upfront coverage got in the way!



Top 10 year-to-year SHOW losers
1. Smash (Sa 8-9pm vs. M 10-11pm) -78%
2. Touch (Fr 9-10pm vs. Th 9-10pm) -68%
3. Fashion Star (Fr 8-9pm vs. Tu 10-11pm) -53%
4. 90210 (Mo 9-10pm vs. Tu 8-9pm)  -50%
5. American Idol Wed -38%
6. Dancing with the Stars Tue -38%
7. Once Upon a Time -33%
8. Hawaii Five-0 -32%
9. The Cleveland Show -31%
10. American Idol Thu -30% 

In one year, Smash has quite literally moved from the best timeslot on NBC to the worst. Touch and Fashion Star can also blame timeslot downgrades for much of their problems. Beyond that, most of these declines are unfortunately fairly "real."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/8/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The big listings change of May sweeps' second Wednesday night was an original results show of The Voice in the 8:00 hour, where it was far below its normal Monday/Tuesday numbers yet held off the 8:00 hour of American Idol and Survivor to win the reality logjam. The Voice also gave Law and Order: SVU its best lead-in of the season by a pretty wide margin, and it responded with a big uptick. And Chicago Fire was also up again at 10:00.
  • But the 8:00 logjam may have derailed The Middle and especially week two of Family Tools, and the horrifying lead-in sent Modern Family to near a season low. This was pretty much the worst-case scenario for Family Tools; if it's hurting Modern Family, it may not air in the next two weeks and simply get bumped into the summer (if that?) How to Live and Nashville were also down a bit to round off a bad ABC night.
  • CBS, the one with the truly awful evening last week, managed to rebound across the board with Survivor, Criminal Minds and CSI, but still not quite to normal recent levels.

2013 Upfront Questions, The CW


Part two of the upfront preview is the SCHEDULE-centric portion, as I examine the big-picture scheduling questions each network faces on each night in the final week before its upfront. I've always favored laying out the possibilities rather than creating an actual mock schedule; this seems to set me up better to review the schedule next week without making it all about how my own prediction/recommendation did.

Last week's Power Rankings were the SHOW-centric portion, in which I drilled more into the merits of individual shows: CW True Power Rankings

Other Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 5/7/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • NBC's second week with a two-hour Tuesday The Voice went a hair worse than the first; both The Voice and Grimm were down 5% week-to-week after finals adjustments.
  • Meanwhile, some of the shows mowed down by The Voice's move to 9:00 last week were able to normalize a bit this week. NCIS: Los Angeles and Dancing with the Stars were each up a couple tenths, and even New Girl rebounded by a notch.
  • The only data point with any potential importance to next week's upfronts was squarely-on-the-bubble Body of Proof, which regressed to its normal recent level after spiking a couple weeks ago. This 1.4 was perhaps a little "better" than the other 1.4's, since its DWTS lead-in was weaker and the NBC competition was more potent. But the moral of the story: this wasn't a game-changer in either direction.

2013 Upfront Questions, CBS


Part two of the upfront preview is the SCHEDULE-centric portion, as I examine the big-picture scheduling questions each network faces on each night in the final week before its upfront. I've always favored laying out the possibilities rather than creating an actual mock schedule; this seems to set me up better to review the schedule next week without making it all about how my own prediction/recommendation did.

Last week's Power Rankings were the SHOW-centric portion, in which I drilled more into the merits of individual shows: CBS True Power Rankings

Other Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


The True Top 25, Week Ending 5/5/13 (2012-13 Week 32)


In the first fully May sweeps week of the season, the order at the top wasn't surprising: The Big Bang Theory, then a big drop to The Voice and Modern Family. American Idol continued its downward movement, this time dropping well behind an NCIS that surged to its best True2 score since the season premiere.

The full-fledged arrival of May sweeps meant a lot of competition for the True Top 25 slots, and many a usual list-maker like New Girl and The Office missed out despite True2 scores that weren't all that atypical. The finale of The Following was the only new show, while Shark Tank was the only Friday/Saturday show.

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 5/5/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • It was another irregular Sunday in broadcast primetime due to sports overrun. But it wasn't CBS this time! It was Fox, whose cartoons were all bumped due to NASCAR.The race as a whole averaged a 2.0, but Fox had a 2.4 in the roughly 90-minute primetime portion. Fox then aired only their final two hours of cartoons with a 25-minute delay and some rather irregular ratings (including an uncommonly low Family Guy and American Dad! building on it).
  • Among the others, most of the positive movement was on ABC as Once Upon a Time, Revenge and the Red Widow series finale all finally managed to make up a little bit of their recent collapses. CBS had to be disappointed to see no finale spike from The Amazing Race, though it was down about as much as the season as a whole. With an improved lead-in, the season finale of The Mentalist at least had one of its better numbers since event season.
  • On cable, Game of Thrones found another series high (2.9), while a very sizable crowd wrapped up the release weekend of Iron Man 3 by tuning into FX's Iron Man 2 (1.4). That was a larger L+SD demo audience than showed up for any episode of Justified or The Americans this year!

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 5/4/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Back to back originals of Cops turned out to be the 25-year franchise's final original airings. While Cops has always managed reasonable enough ratings on the surface, at least by Saturday standards, its ad rates have been extremely low by comparison, and the highly erratic scheduling this season certainly wasn't a good sign.

SpotVault - Family Tools (ABC) - 2012-13 Ratings





Family Tools
Wednesdays, 8:30/7:30c, ABC







Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Monday 5/6/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • A week after nice Monday finale numbers from Bones and The Following, Fox went totally off the Nielsen map with a Rihanna special and a repeat of Bones.  But the competing networks didn't benefit, as The Voice and Dancing with the Stars were down again and CBS was roughly even.
  • The only positive movers were in the 10:00 hour, where Hawaii Five-0 was up a couple ticks and Revolution finally halted its spring slump.

2013 Upfront Questions, ABC


Part two of the upfront preview is the SCHEDULE-centric portion, as I examine the big-picture scheduling questions each network faces on each night in the final week before its upfront. I've always favored laying out the possibilities rather than creating an actual mock schedule; this seems to set me up better to review the schedule next week without making it all about how my own prediction/recommendation did.

Last week's Power Rankings were the SHOW-centric portion, in which I drilled more into the merits of individual shows: ABC True Power Rankings

Other Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


Spotted Ratings, Friday 5/3/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • ABC likely said goodbye to Happy Endings with a final week that was about in line with its typical Friday performance, though up from last week, then rounded out the night with a lower-end Shark Tank and a higher-end 20/20.
  • NBC replaced Tuesday-bound Grimm with Dateline, which went a tick below last week's Grimm low point. It did seem to help Rock Center, though, as it broke into the 1's for the first time in two months (excluding the Boston bombing coverage two weeks ago).
  • Of note on the other networks: Undercover Boss apparently began its annual mystifying late-season downturn, while Nikita dropped yet another notch to its second point two (and first since it returned to 8:00).

Monday, May 6, 2013

2013 Upfront Questions, Fox


Part two of the upfront preview is the SCHEDULE-centric portion, as I examine the big-picture scheduling questions each network faces on each night in the final week before its upfront. I've always favored laying out the possibilities rather than creating an actual mock schedule; this seems to set me up better to review the schedule next week without making it all about how my own prediction/recommendation did.

Last week's Power Rankings were the SHOW-centric portion, in which I drilled more into the merits of individual shows: Fox True Power Rankings

Other Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


2013 Upfront Questions, NBC


Part two of the upfront preview is the SCHEDULE-centric portion, as I examine the big-picture scheduling questions each network faces on each night in the final week before its upfront. I've always favored laying out the possibilities rather than creating an actual mock schedule; this seems to set me up better to review the schedule next week without making it all about how my own prediction/recommendation did.

Last week's Power Rankings were the SHOW-centric portion, in which I drilled more into the merits of individual shows: NBC True Power Rankings

Other Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


Spotted Ratings, Thursday 5/2/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The general direction was "even to up" on the Thursday after the NFL Draft; only American Idol, which had already dropped noticeably on Wednesday, and Scandal, coming back from last week's high point, were on the downswing.
  • The biggest gainers were mostly comedies whose audiences had some draft overlap. The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Parks and Recreation and Community were all up multiple ticks week-to-week.
  • The post-Draft bounceback was much less exciting in drama land. Person of Interest and Elementary stayed at last week's low levels, while Hannibal only got back one of the seven tenths it's given up over the previous two weeks. While that doesn't feel like "enough," keep in mind it's miles ahead of Awake, which only had a 0.7 in this slot last year.

Friday, May 3, 2013

CW True Power Rankings, May 2013


It's time for this season's final edition of the True Power Rankings! I line up every entertainment program in broadcast primetime by network/category using my timeslot metric True2, offering my take 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 (and excluding some inflationary season/series finales that aren't that relevant). The number of episodes in the average is listed under "Counted Eps." These numbers are all through April 28.

The best way to describe the two-week upfront preview is that these Power Rankings are the "SHOW-centric" portion. The Power Rankings are largely about discussing the merits of renewing and/or moving marginal and just-above-marginal shows. Next week's Upfront Questions will be more the SCHEDULE-centric portion. These things do overlap sometimes, but that's a general guideline.

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


Fox True Power Rankings, May 2013


It's time for this season's final edition of the True Power Rankings! I line up every entertainment program in broadcast primetime by network/category using my timeslot metric True2, offering my take 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 (and excluding some inflationary season/series finales that aren't that relevant). The number of episodes in the average is listed under "Counted Eps." These numbers are all through April 28.

The best way to describe the two-week upfront preview is that these Power Rankings are the "SHOW-centric" portion. The Power Rankings are largely about discussing the merits of renewing and/or moving marginal and just-above-marginal shows. Next week's Upfront Questions will be more the SCHEDULE-centric portion. These things do overlap sometimes, but that's a general guideline.

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


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/1/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Another important night in the ABC universe went pretty close to as-expected; the premiere of Family Tools only managed low-end The Neighbors numbers despite a very steady The Middle lead-in, while How to Live had a huge rebound with Modern Family back in originals. It was still four ticks beneath its last post-original ep, but Modern was also down a couple ticks from that airing. So this showing probably helps the show's renewal case and may give it a shot at holding onto the 9:30 post-Modern slot.
  • Outside of ABC and the steady CW, there were some major WTF moments on the other networks with everyone back in originals. CBS was down well into the double-digits across the board with Survivor, Criminal Minds and CSI, while Fox's American Idol finally completed its 50%+ collapse from the premiere number. It may have been damaged by a recap The Voice at 8/7c. So what's going to happen when The Voice is actually an original next week???

NBC True Power Rankings, May 2013


It's time for this season's final edition of the True Power Rankings! I line up every entertainment program in broadcast primetime by network/category using my timeslot metric True2, offering my take 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 (and excluding some inflationary season/series finales that aren't that relevant). The number of episodes in the average is listed under "Counted Eps." These numbers are all through April 28.

The best way to describe the two-week upfront preview is that these Power Rankings are the "SHOW-centric" portion. The Power Rankings are largely about discussing the merits of renewing and/or moving marginal and just-above-marginal shows. Next week's Upfront Questions will be more the SCHEDULE-centric portion. These things do overlap sometimes, but that's a general guideline.

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


CBS True Power Rankings, May 2013


It's time for this season's final edition of the True Power Rankings! I line up every entertainment program in broadcast primetime by network/category using my timeslot metric True2, offering my take 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 (and excluding some inflationary season/series finales that aren't that relevant). The number of episodes in the average is listed under "Counted Eps." These numbers are all through April 28.

The best way to describe the two-week upfront preview is that these Power Rankings are the "SHOW-centric" portion. The Power Rankings are largely about discussing the merits of renewing and/or moving marginal and just-above-marginal shows. Next week's Upfront Questions will be more the SCHEDULE-centric portion. These things do overlap sometimes, but that's a general guideline.

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


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Question, Wednesday 5/1/13: Will Family Tools Fix the 8:30 Timeslot?


The last scripted newbie to air significantly in the 2012-13 regular season also may be one of the least; ABC's new Family Tools has already seen lead J.K. Simmons join another pilot, and it's up against a gauntlet of competition that includes a special recap-ish The Voice. It's an OK fit, and I have seen a few more promos than expected, but I'm still not optimistic. I will say it premieres tonight near the low end of what The Neighbors did in the hour (and drops from there).

Over/Under: 1.45.

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 4/30/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The Tuesday premiere of Grimm was rather Revolution-esque. It was certainly better than some other things NBC can (and has) put in the post-Voice slot this season, but the size of the increase was not particularly inspiring given the its lead-in size multiplied by over five. We'll see how it develops next week, but I'm pretty sure the show is still best utilized by NBC in a self-starting role. Meanwhile, a two-hour The Voice continued its mid-season drop-off, and the week-to-week decline would've been even larger in just the 8:00 slot (where it preliminarily averaged 3.4).
  • These two-hour The Voices remain quite an education on the power of timeslot competition; The Voice at 9/8c totally mowed down NCIS: Los Angeles and Dancing with the Stars, and the Fox comedies didn't do so hot either. ABC's only consolation on a dreadful night was a decent 10/9c showing from an Amanda Knox special.
  • But it was much sunnier at 8/7c with The Voice weaker; NCIS continued its rebound and Hart of Dixie reversed some of its recent bleeding.

ABC True Power Rankings, May 2013


It's time for this season's final edition of the True Power Rankings! I line up every entertainment program in broadcast primetime by network/category using my timeslot metric True2, offering my take 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 (and excluding some inflationary season/series finales that aren't that relevant). The number of episodes in the average is listed under "Counted Eps." These numbers are all through April 28.

The best way to describe the two-week upfront preview is that these Power Rankings are the "SHOW-centric" portion. The Power Rankings are largely about discussing the merits of renewing and/or moving marginal and just-above-marginal shows. Next week's Upfront Questions will be more the SCHEDULE-centric portion. These things do overlap sometimes, but that's a general guideline.

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


The True Top 25, Week Ending 4/28/13 (2012-13 Week 31)


May sweeps are here, and The Big Bang Theory reclaimed the top position in the True Top 25. Its numbers were depressed a bit on NFL Draft night, so it lost the raw number crown to Monday's The Voice. The Following and Elementary remained the only reliable list-makers among the new crop, while Shark Tank, Undercover Boss and Fox's Saturday NASCAR all represented the weekend crowd.

A few shows have caught some notable late-season fire; Survivor hit a season high in both raw numbers and True2, Scandal tied its series high in raw numbers and exploded again in a True sense*, and Shark Tank again cracked the raw ratings top 25 and found yet another True2 high (pulling a 2.0 on a Friday with a measly 0.6 lead-in!).


Spotted Ratings, Sunday 4/28/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • It was another lazy Sunday on broadcast TV, with most shows within a tenth of their typically weak levels. ABC's Once Upon a Time ticked down again in the prelims and once more couldn't find a finals uptick, leaving it at another new low. Red Widow at 10/9c returned from its hiatus at well below any of its previous results; this is pretty clear pull-me-now territory, but with one left in the run ABC will most likely take the hit. They should've just aired out the string while the other ABC shows were on hiatus.
  • On cable, the bar was higher for Game of Thrones to beat all the broadcast shows again since Family Guy was back in originals. But GoT cleared it again, hitting another new series high 2.8 demo. And History's Vikings had a solid 1.3 finale, but that was actually down a notch from last week.

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 4/27/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Fox Sports dominated yet another Saturday with originals on every network. NASCAR was just one tick below last year's corresponding race.

Spotted Ratings, Friday 4/26/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Most shows were normal to kinda low on the first Friday of sweeps. The only real surprise was the latest ghastly batch of Happy Endings numbers. If you're into using percentages, then nearly half of the Happy Endings audience has rejected the show in the last two weeks! Oh, margin of error...
  • Combined with a season low for NBC's Grimm in a slot where there originally wasn't supposed to be an original, it makes me wonder if there was at least a little program guide confusion caused by the mass pre-emptions last week. Doesn't matter either way, as Grimm has its renewal, and its post-Voice episodes starting this Tuesday will be the more interesting data at this point.
  • The NFL Draft also populated this night and may have been a factor, though it's never nearly as big a deal on the second night. Its combined 1.5 rating on ESPN2/NFLN in primetime was down a tick year-to-year and has been applied as competition for True2 scores.

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