Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Question Results Through Fall 2013


Here are the results for the ratings prediction game The Question through the end of fall 2013. We've got a tie at the top heading into 2014! After taking December off, The Question is BACK this Thursday, so mark your calendars!

Schedules Plus, CW Tuesday


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.

A highlight of the WB's schedule during the Gilmore Girls glory days, Tuesday night became another crumbling frontier during the CW's existence. 90210 began its run with one of the most impressive individual results in the network's history and remained pretty solid through season one. But as it fell, so too did the CDub's Tuesday ratings... until a major rejuvenation in the 2013-14 season.

Schedules Plus, Fox Tuesday


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.

During the mid-to-late aughts, the definitive primetime lineup took up shop on Fox Tuesdays in the winter and spring: megahit House leading out of giga-hit American Idol. But by fall 2010, both shows were off the night completely, as House shored up Monday during the tail end of its run and Idol moved to Wednesday/Thursday. Fox initially had a stout replacement in Glee, but as that show burned out and moved to Thursday, the network has struggled in its attempts to establish a Tuesday comedy night.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Schedules Plus, CW Monday


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.

As of the WB/UPN merge, both networks had a reasonably successful Monday lineup; the WB had family dramas 7th Heaven and Everwood, while UPN had a two-hour block of African-American sitcoms. The new CW initially went with the WB approach but quickly audibled into the UPN one. Then in 2008, they set out on their own direction: Dawn Ostroff's infamous teen soaps. While it's not remembered too fondly nowadays, the inaugural lineup in 2008-09 was actually quite successful. But after five years of fairly rapid decline, Monday is now the CW's only major problem weeknight.

Schedules Plus, Fox Monday


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.

Like much of the Fox schedule, Monday has historically gotten a lot better in the second half of the season. While 24 was a very solid option in the 9/8c option for many years, the shows Fox used to try to get through the fall were almost always much weaker. Fox was never really a major Monday player in the fall until House permanently moved to Monday in 2009.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Schedules Plus, CW Sunday


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.

The WB/CW Sunday post chronicles the death of a night of primetime programming. While UPN never actually programmed Sunday night, the WB did so pretty successfully with genre drama Charmed. So the powers that be tried to keep the night alive after the CW merger. Unfortunately, nothing the CW put there in its first year had anywhere near the power of Charmed. And things got exponentially more embarrassing in the next two seasons. First, they had megaflop family drama Life is Wild, then they sold the night to Media Rights Capital, whose two dramas were as weak as anything we've ever seen on a big-five network. Starting in 2009-10, the CW gave up on trying to nationally program the night and gave it back to the affiliates.

Schedules Plus, Fox Sunday


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.

At the beginning of the A18-49+ era, The Simpsons was on a ratings island on Sunday, significantly outrating a bunch of weak/waning comedies. But Fox solidified its Sunday lineup with the 2005 resurrection of Family Guy and successfully accompanied it with fellow Seth MacFarlane show American Dad! Those three have remained in place for nearly a decade, though Dad!'s run on Fox ended after the 2013-14 season.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Top 10 TV Ratings Moments of 2013, 5 to 1


It's time for my fourth annual look at the year's top 10 moments in TV ratings! As always, the criteria are pretty subjective, but I go for a blend of 1) relatively isolated incidents that are impressive for their sheer enormity/cultural impact and 2) moments that exemplify much larger trends in TV this year. The headlines link back to my writings on these moments at the time they happened. Enjoy, please let me know about my most egregious rankings/omissions, and check out the first post from yesterday. Happy New Year!

Here are the three previous years:
2010: 10 to 6 | 5 to 1
2011: 10 to 6 | 5 to 1
2012: 10 to 6 | 5 to 1



Schedules Plus, CW Friday


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.

When the CW first came together, Friday wasn't much of a problem; they simply threw on the solid-rated WWE's Smackdown! franchise, which UPN had moved to Friday starting in 2005. The CW parted with that franchise two years later, and it may have been a good financial decision, but from a ratings standpoint the night has (almost) never been the same since. Smallville and Supernatural both cycled through the night for a couple years and actually made Friday one of the network's best nights (especially the year they aired together), but otherwise Friday has been a dumping ground for repeats and low-priority stuff.

Schedules Plus, Fox Friday


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.

Fox Friday has long been a massive wasteland for low-priority programming, burn-offs, movies and repeats. Though this post tries to make sense of it, a lot of other crap not pictured below also cycled through the night, none of it really making a mark. Fox's first decent lineup on the night was really Kitchen Nightmares and Fringe in 2011; prior to that, the only lineup to even break a 50 Plus was an all-repeat night during the 2007-08 writers' strike!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Top 10 TV Ratings Moments of 2013, 10 to 6


It's time for my fourth annual look at the year's top 10 moments in TV ratings! As always, the criteria are pretty subjective, but I go for a blend of 1) relatively isolated incidents that are impressive for their sheer enormity/cultural impact and 2) moments that exemplify much larger trends in TV this year. The headlines link back to my writings on these moments at the time they happened. Enjoy, please let me know about my most egregious rankings/omissions, and check out the now live top five. Happy New Year!

Here are the three previous years:
2010: 10 to 6 | 5 to 1
2011: 10 to 6 | 5 to 1
2012: 10 to 6 | 5 to 1

Schedules Plus, CW 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.

In the last year of the WB's existence, it moved Smallville to Thursday, and since then the 8/7c hour has seen by far the least upheaval of any netlet timeslot. Only once has the CW made a move: when they replaced Smallville with a very worthy heir in The Vampire Diaries in 2009. The 9/8c hour has not been quite so steady; after four plus seasons of Supernatural, the network had a new occupant each year for four seasons. Reign broke the streak by staying put in 2014-15, but it's gone for fall 2015.

Schedules Plus, Fox 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.

The executive decision is made; there will be separate Fox tables for fall and for winter on the Monday-Friday posts, since their lineups drastically change at midseason much more often than other networks. The winter tables chronicle January/February lineups and may still omit a bunch of spring replacements. We'll start with Thursday, a night on which Fox was completely off the radar during the days of those epic clashes between Survivor/CSI and Friends/ER. It took a move of old reliable Bones to achieve some Thursday respectability, and it took an even more drastic move of American Idol to become a true threat for #1.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Schedules Plus, NBC Wednesday


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.

For many years, the star of NBC Wednesday was the 20-year procedural Law and Order, which was still quite potent at the beginning of the A18-49+ era. But it really fell hard in NBC's first couple post-Friends years (perhaps owing largely to CBS' competing newbie CSI: NY). That's left a void on Wednesday that NBC's never really been able to fill, even a decade later.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Schedules Plus, NBC Tuesday


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.

Tuesday was the one NBC night that remained consistently solid even through NBC's very darkest days as a network. While most NBC nights were characterized by crumbling veterans, NBC's relatively young procedural Law and Order: SVU and upstart reality series The Biggest Loser were able to hold up amid the turmoil. And the arrival of The Voice on Tuesday has singlehandedly made the night even stronger than it was at its Biggest Loser/SVU heights.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Schedules Plus, NBC Monday


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.

In 2003-04, NBC's last truly dominant season, the network had a strong Monday lineup with some unscripted properties and new drama Las Vegas. Then, after a couple years of erosion, it was one of the few nights that NBC was really able to rejuvenate during the network's declining years, riding strong new drama Heroes. As Heroes got softer and then went away, things got very lean on the night for a few years. But Monday became better than ever starting in 2012 when it became the permanent home of very strong reality series The Voice.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Schedules Plus, NBC Sunday


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 Sunday started with a respectable duo of Law and Order: Criminal Intent and Crossing Jordan, but the pair weakened as ABC's dramas took over Sunday night starting in 2004. In 2006, NBC acquired the rights to a primetime NFL package aired on Sunday, and it's become an increasingly dominant program as DVRs have eroded entertainment programming ratings.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 12/19/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The two-hour finale of The X Factor exploded to a whooping 1.7 rating, the series' best Thursday delivery since before the baseball hiatus... but even with this decent finale spike, it was still down forty-five percent from last year's finale. Final verdict on season three as a whole: it was a below-league average show that was down about 40% year-to-year on each night. The wait for official word on its fate begins.

Schedules Plus, NBC Friday


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 was a strong player on Friday nights in the first couple years of the A18-49+ era. But as NBC's depth dried up in the post-Friends years, and as CBS developed Friday dynasties Ghost Whisperer and Numb3rs, Friday became a much lower priority for the network. A recent surprise Friday success called Grimm has gotten the network back to a respectable level on the night.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 12/18/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The X Factor joined The Voice in taking an atypical week-to-week dip for its performance finale. That meant this X data point suffered perhaps the ultimate embarrassment: it was down more than 50% year-to-year! It'll have to go above a 1.5 tonight to avoid the same fate for the season finale. Simon Cowell seems convinced this thing is getting renewed; all I can say about that is it'd be fascinating to hear the execs have to justify that decision at press tours. X was also crushed by some special programming on other nets, including ABC comedy repeats and, for the second straight week, NBC's The Sing-Off (itself down from last Wednesday on a low-usage night).
  • The night's real winner was ABC, where The Goldbergs repeated pretty well in its first ever Wednesday tryout. (It was two ticks above last year's corresponding The Neighbors repeat.) And Barbara Walters' final 10 Most Fascinating People special was up a tick year-to-year even though it led out of an original Modern Family last year.

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.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The True Top 25, Week Ending 12/15/13 (2013-14 Week Twelve)


A season-low Sunday Night Football held off The Big Bang Theory for another True Top 25 crown as most entertainment programs finished out their 2013 original runs. A surging midseason finale of Scandal was broadcast's top drama, while Fox had more representation than usual thanks to a really good Sunday for their animated comedies. The Millers joined Agents of SHIELD and Sleepy Hollow to make it a trio of new shows on the list, while Shark Tank was, as usual, the only Friday series.

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 12/17/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • NBC got its usual bounce for the two-hour season finale of The Voice, but (like most of the back half of the season) it was down nearly 20% year-to-year. The trend in the back half of the season might seem somewhat worrisome, but the show should come back strong after all the Winter Olympics promotion.
  • CBS was the only other network in originals, and upward finals adjustments took NCIS and Person of Interest off of season lows and to slightly below average levels.

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 12/15/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Leading out of the NFL game of the day and airing opposite a season-low NFL matchup on NBC, Fox's animated lineup had a really big night, with new season highs and double digit growth across the board.
  • CBS was stronger than usual for an NFL-less Sunday with the two-hour season finale of Survivor, down 19% from last fall's finale. (However, given the show had an NFL lead-in last year and only a couple regional lead-ins this year, that's probably not as bad as it seems.)
  • ABC was down on midseason finale night with Once Upon a Time and Revenge.

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 12/14/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • On a night full of repeat holiday specials, CBS ruled the roost, riding Rudolph and Frosty to one of its best Saturday nights of the season.
  • Fox was also above average with its first UFC turn of the season, but it was down massively from the 2.1 for last year's December telecast.

Spotted Ratings, Friday 12/13/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • While last week's near-unanimous Friday growth caused some rejoicing, the True numbers from that night were mostly unimpressed, arguing that there was more overall viewing than usual for a Friday. Maybe there was something to that, as most shows came back down on an unlucky Friday the 13th. Particularly jarring were the drama performances; the Grimm roller coaster shot down to a season low 1.2 average across its two original hours, while Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods also hit/tied season low points.
  • The only real winner this Friday was ABC, where a steady Shark Tank stretched its lead over everything else on the night to more than a half point and 20/20 was broadcast's only riser.

Schedules Plus, CBS Wednesday


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.

At the very beginning of the A18-49+ era, CBS Wednesday was a problem night. But developing CSI: NY and Criminal Minds in back to back seasons cured a lot of ills. The 8:00 hour remained a problem for pretty much those dramas' entire time together, but starting in fall 2010 CBS locked it down by moving Survivor to the night. A second former Thursday megahit joined when the original CSI took over 10/9c in 2011, creating a solid three-hour lineup that was intact for three years.

Schedules Plus, ABC Wednesday


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.

ABC Wednesday has centered around one signature show in recent years, but those shows have been very different. At the start of the A18-49+ era, reality series The Bachelor was in charge. Then came breakout drama Lost in 2004. And after a brief stop-off with Private Practice, Wednesday then became a comedy-centric night, led by two-time megahit Modern Family.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Monday 12/16/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The December downturn in overall viewing continued onto the last relatively normal Monday of 2013, as most regular originals were down 10% or a little more. (Mike and Molly and Hostages fared better since their last originals aired after repeats, but M&M was still below all its post-original eps.) The drops were most disappointing for The Voice, down two ticks on its last performance night (when it almost always grows), and ABC's holiday filler The Great Christmas Light Fight, which dropped 29% in week two.

SpotVault - Specials & Movies (CW) - 2013-14 Ratings





Specials & Movies on The CW






SpotVault - Specials & Movies (Fox) - 2013-14 Ratings





Specials & Movies on Fox






SpotVault - Specials & Movies (NBC) - 2013-14 Ratings





Specials & Movies on NBC






SpotVault - Specials & Movies (CBS) - 2013-14 Ratings





Specials & Movies on CBS






SpotVault - Specials & Movies (ABC) - 2013-14 Ratings





Specials & Movies on ABC






SpotVault - The Great Christmas Light Fight (ABC) - 2013-14 Ratings





The Great Christmas Light Fight
Mondays, 9/8c, ABC







SpotVault - The Sing-Off (NBC) - Fall 2013 Ratings





The Sing-Off
Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays on NBC







Schedules Plus, CBS Tuesday


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.

CBS Tuesday takes a long journey from being one of its network's very weakest nights to one of its very strongest, for all eleven years starting with one single four-letter show. NCIS has found a very stable lead-out in its spin-off series, but the 10/9c hour remains one of CBS' most perplexing hours on the sked historically; no series has hit the league average... until this season.

Schedules Plus, ABC Tuesday


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.

ABC Tuesday, like ABC Friday, starts by chronicling the death of a family comedy night. In its place came the emergence of Dancing with the Stars' second night, along with an incredibly inconsistent cast of characters around it. As you might expect, all the discontinuity came because very little of this stuff worked. Only once in eleven years has this lineup hit league average in the fall, and that was when the 90-minute DWTS performance show inhabited the night.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Schedules Plus, CBS Monday


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.

CBS Monday is revered for its two-hour comedy block, now the longest-running active block on TV (though it's breaking up in fall 2014!). However, the lineup historically hasn't had anything like the ratings dominance of NBC Thursday during the Must See TV years. In fact, in the years after Everybody Loves Raymond and before How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory came to life, the two-hour average actually went below the league average! But the night's ratings were long propped up by one of the A18-49+ era's strongest 10/9c programs, CSI: Miami.

Schedules Plus, ABC Monday


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.

ABC Monday could very well have become a major disaster area after the network lost its usual fall fixture Monday Night Football following the 2005-06 season. But the emergence of a new reality franchise called Dancing with the Stars not only kept them above water on Monday; it occasionally helped them do even better than the MNF-fueled lineups!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Schedules Plus, CBS Sunday


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.

CBS Sunday was the last bastion for the regularly scheduled movie night on a fall weeknight lineup. Those movies became much weaker by the mid-2000s, prompting them to join the entertainment series game on a three-hour basis. It has not been one of the network's stronger evenings, but stalwarts like Cold Case and The Amazing Race have carved out lengthy runs.

Schedules Plus, ABC Sunday


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.

ABC Sunday looks at one of the most consistent lineups on any network. Setting aside that America's Funniest Home Videos is always at 7:00, the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Desperate Housewives pairing aired together for seven full seasons (plus a few extra weeks at the beginning of fall 2011). Perhaps even more improbable was five full seasons out of a completely intact four-hour lineup during the Brothers & Sisters years.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 12/12/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Several shows that seemingly got slammed against NBC's The Sound Of Music Live! last week bounced back somewhat with NBC over three points weaker. As in the prelims, The Big Bang Theory and The Millers saw some bounce-back, but it was dampened after football pre-emptions came out, and the results ended up being pretty dire in the 9:00 hour, where The Crazy Ones tied its Halloween series low and Two and a Half Men set a new one.
  • ABC's Grey's Anatomy also bounced all the way back, with the double benefit of a Glee repeat as competition in the 9:00 hour. And the midseason finale of Scandal went back above 3.0 for the first time since week three.
  • NBC's The Sing-Off didn't hold up so well in its first turn on the network's accursed Thursday night, but it did remain narrowly ahead of The X Factor.
  • The NFL Network closed out its Thursday Night Football season with a very strong 3.3 rating, the franchise's highest since September (and the network's biggest ever rating this late in the season).

Schedules Plus, CBS Friday


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.

CBS Friday looks at the half-decade reign of terror of dominant bookends Ghost Whisperer and Numb3rs and all the shows in between that couldn't quite live up to those standards, then moves into the still perfectly fine CSI: NY / Blue Bloods era.

Schedules Plus, ABC Friday


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.

ABC Friday features the return and fall of TGIF, the rise of Shark Tank and a new TGIF, and the lean years in between.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Schedules Plus, CBS Thursday


Over the rest of December, I will be rolling out the first edition of Schedules Plus, 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. This is not the full realization of the vision here, but I wanted to release a somewhat condensed version because the "complete" version may well be so daunting that it never gets done. The major point is that right now this only includes programs aired in the fall. Much more about the process that went into this at the bottom.

Schedules Plus, ABC Thursday


Over the rest of December, I will be rolling out the first edition of Schedules Plus, 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. This is not the full realization of the vision here, but I wanted to release a somewhat condensed version because the "complete" version may well be so daunting that it never gets done. The major point is that right now this only includes programs aired in the fall. Much more about the process that went into this at the bottom.

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 12/11/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • While down 25% from its post-Voice premiere, The Sing-Off still proved a pretty nice option in its two-hour self-starting debut on Wednesday; it did a few ticks better than NBC's usual Revolution / Law and Order: SVU mix, and it's still an improvement (even in raw numbers) on the show's previous full-fall cycle from two years ago. It led into a modest-rated Kelly Clarkson Christmas special, which posted the same number as last year's Michael Buble special.
  • The other networks all had their regular lineups in full original mode, most of them for the last time in 2013; ABC saw some recovery for Modern Family but a dip from Nashville, while CBS' crime procedurals actually did no better than their last airings on Thanksgiving Eve. (CSI was even worse.) The CW's The Tomorrow People ended up with a dip to its first 0.5, and an announced demotion to Monday followed later in the day.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The True Top 25, Week Ending 12/8/13 (2013-14 Week Eleven)


Sunday Night Football won another True Top 25, and a huge Big Ten Championship Game put the pigskin in the #2 slot as well for a second straight week. Next was top entertainment series draw The Big Bang Theory, and rounding out a very strong top four was NBC's breakthrough special The Sound of Music Live! The drama race narrowly went to Scandal in a very good week for both of the top two draws; Scandal was up a tick even with the NBC competition over three points stronger than usual from SOML, while The Blacklist's fall finale grew by two tenths over its normal level.

With a few of the top newbies sitting out, only two made the cut this week; we seem to be at a point where one of the three new CBS comedies sneaks on every week, and this time it was The Crazy Ones' turn (for the first time since week three). Shark Tank was the lone Friday representative as usual, but it just barely made it thanks to irregularly high viewing estimates on Friday.

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 12/10/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • The Agents of SHIELD roller coaster took another sharp dip, closing out the fall on a new low after a couple recent increases. The show was probably somewhat inflated last week by an easier situation, but dropping this much is simply not the way the show wanted to head into a four-week break. However, ABC got better news in the 9:00 hour from The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife with holiday themes, a better lead-in and no comedy competition.
  • SHIELD was not alone in dropping against the return of original CBS competition; all the regulars on NBC were down a bit as well. Even the NCIS duo had lower-end performances.
  • Fox pre-empted its comedies for the latest edition of its blatant attempt to get into the country music specials business, The American Country Awards, even year-to-year. And CBS' Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was down just a bit from last year but still the top show of the evening.

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 12/8/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • With The Walking Dead on hiatus and NBC providing a mediocre Sunday Night Football matchup between Carolina and New Orleans, the broadcasters got a rare bit of Sunday relief. This was most evident on male-skewing Fox, where (with an assist from an NFL lead-in) all four cartoons were at or very near season high levels.
  • On CBS, The Amazing Race wrapped up its season at 19% behind last season's finale, about the same year-to-year trend it's experienced all season. And the returns from revamped The Mentalist remain surprisingly promising, as it adjusted up to another new season high (albeit with its largest lead-in of the season from TAR).
  • After finals adjustments, ABC ended up with minor week-to-week growth out of both Once Upon a Time and Revenge.

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 12/7/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • In college football, national championship play-in games always draw a crowd. (Just look at Notre Dame-USC hanging a 5.1 last year.) On this night, somewhat uniquely, there were two of them going head-to-head in primetime, and the Big Ten was a clear winner over the ACC (and up triple digits vs. last year's less nationally significant game). Much of the gap was due to the quality of games; the discrepancy was much closer in the first half-hour (Big Ten 3.4 to ACC 2.3), but by 10:30 the Big Ten's game was nearly 4x the ACC (5.0 to 1.3). Given Florida State was a 29-point favorite in the ACC game, you could argue they did ABC a solid just by playing to a scoreless tie in the first quarter.

Spotted Ratings, Friday 12/6/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Eleven regular series aired on Friday night. All eleven were up from their most recent originals in 18-49, at least preliminarily. (The Neighbors and The Carrie Diaries adjusted down in finals to merely even.) Among the most significant: NBC swung back up after a Black Friday hiccup with Grimm and, perhaps more importantly, grew at 10/9c with Dracula. After three straight 0.9's, it now finds itself back at a level that could make season two look more reasonable for the co-production... if it can maintain it when it returns, which won't be for at least four weeks. (Grimm airs two episodes next week, then both go into repeats.) And Fox's Bones continued its impressive recovery on Friday, tying the occupant of its old slot, Almost Human.
  • Some of the growth may have come because CBS sat out its regular lineup and was softer than usual, especially in the last two hours. They had solid holiday specials Frosty the Snowman and Yes, Virginia at 8:00, an NCIS: Los Angeles repeat at 9:00 and the Grammy Nominations Concert at 10:00. All three specials were down double-digits year-to-year, with the concert down 27% in a move from Wednesday to Friday.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Monday 12/9/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Two years after an ill-advised turn as a full-fall staple, The Sing-Off is back into its much more successful Holiday Event Mode, and it did significantly better than any of its fall 2011 numbers. However, it surely benefited from its first ever direct The Voice lead-in, and it dropped all the way from 2.9 at 9:00 to 2.1 by 10:30 (in prelims). Original airings this Wednesday and Thursday will be more telling.
  • I've been slower than many bailing on Almost Human's prospects, but I was ready to go if it dropped again this week against depressed competition. But it didn't happen; the show was up a tick. So I consider it still in the mix (just compare it to everything the network is airing from Tuesday to Thursday!), but it will still have to deal with original CBS next week and then some rather erratic scheduling early in 2014.
  • A whooping four-tenths downward adjustment in finals left the premiere of ABC's own holiday reality series The Great Christmas Light Fight at a mediocre 1.4 demo.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ad Rates: How Accurate are Ad Rates Surveys?


As I say every year, the article with 30-second spot prices is one of the most important things written about the TV industry each year. Thousands and thousands of articles are written about Nielsen ratings, but ratings are several steps removed from what really makes and breaks the industry: $$$$$. The ad rate article takes us another step closer to the profitability equation, and doing that can teach us things about how to value shows beyond the adults 18-49 rating starting point.

However, as I also say every year, these articles are estimates, based not on every single advertisement but on those particular people surveyed. Some crazy things can happen if you look at them as exact gospel on a case-by-case basis. I say this mostly because the articles themselves say it, but I've never really known just how much error is to be expected.

This year, something new and helpful happened in the world of ad rates media: competition. I actually found three different articles with complete ad rates tables. (Maybe this always happened, but I sure wasn't aware of it.) I don't know the details behind the process that goes into compiling these tables, but it's pretty clear from the tables that it's not a situation where each publication is fed the exact same numbers from the exact same source. There are disagreements on every show. Unlike a Nate Silver, who can test the polls he uses against actual election results, there are no actual results here. So we won't be able to truly answer the question in the headline. But it will still give us a little better idea of what's going on if we compare these estimates with each other - and with A18-49 ratings.

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 12/5/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • NBC's pre-season initiative to create "event" television is probably a good idea in general; if it works, it gets people to re-write the DVRing rules that have ground away at live ratings for entertainment series. However, the results so far have been very mixed, with mega-hyped pre-season game show Million Second Quiz a clear disappointment. But last night, the "event" initiative scored, and it scored really big. The Sound of Music Live! (18.6 million viewers, 4.6 A18-49, and an even more impressive 4.3 A18-34) nearly tied The Big Bang Theory as Thursday's biggest program, narrowly losing to TBBT at 8:00 but walloping the competition in every other half-hour. It pulled about four times the demo delivery of NBC's usual Thursday travesty. (Though the TLa number below compares it with last week's football game.) The reviews weren't good, but this is the kind of rating that will encourage more of this brand of splashy risk-taking; that's a good thing for all viewers.
  • NBC's takeover wasn't a huge game-changer for the competition, though it seemed to be at its most impactful on younger-skewing Fox and the CW; The X Factor, Glee, Grey's Anatomy and The Vampire Diaries all got nicked. CBS was also a little off in the 8/7c hour with TBBT and The Millers but steadier from there. By the 10/9c hour, at least a few Sound of Music viewers were fleeing, and Scandal was actually up a notch.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The True Top 25, Week Ending 12/1/13 (2013-14 Week Ten)


Sunday Night Football dominated a holiday week; as last year, the Thanksgiving Thursday game had a huge True advantage over a lower-end Sunday game mostly because of the huge overall viewing difference; more than 30% more A18-49ers were watching TV on Sunday than on Thursday.

With most Wednesday/Thursday/Friday shows sitting out, Monday's The Voice was the top entertainment program, with increasingly legit-looking The Blacklist #2. How I Met Your Mother was the top sitcom. Four new shows made the cut as Mom had an eyebrow-raising surge to get on the list for the first time all season; Almost Human was just a hundredth of a point away from making it five newbies. The sole Friday/Saturday representative was CBS' very strong Garth Brooks special on Friday.

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 12/4/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • NBC had its best Wednesday of the season with big performances from holiday specials Christmas in Rockefeller Center and Saturday Night Live Christmas, which combined to nearly double the usual entertainment series ratings and go roughly even with the same lineup a year ago. (Rockefeller was up a bit and SNL down a bit.) That may have been a factor in another horrible performance out of The X Factor and a very weak night for ABC's comedy block, led by easily season low showings out of The Middle, Back in the Game and Modern Family. (Super Fun Night also got there after finals.)
  • As for the good news: the finals adjustments meant Arrow tied a season high in its introduction of the Flash, while The Tomorrow People ticked down after adjustments to its fifth consecutive 0.6. CBS' only original, Survivor, was also at best-since-October levels.
  • On cable, TNT had a soft start from its new series Mob City (2.29 million viewers and a 0.6), which is being double-pumped for three weeks.

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 12/1/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • After a couple massive Peyton Manning-fueled Sunday Night Footballs, NBC took a major week-to-week dive this week with a stinky Giants/Redskins matchup. Despite this, ABC saw no rally as Once Upon a Time came back from a week off, and they were a bit lower than normal from 9-11 with Hallmark movie Christmas in Conway, down huge from the December Hallmark movie's 1.8 a year ago.
  • Fox sat out its animated anchors but aired the bottom-of-hour shows in originals; Bob's Burgers and American Dad! matched or edged their repeat lead-ins.
  • CBS debuted its new-look The Mentalist with a season high; that's definitely something given it started at 10:50.
  • And AMC wrapped up the fall season of The Walking Dead (6.1) at just a single tenth behind Sunday Night Football. TWD's explosive year-to-year growth was somewhat tempered after some big post-premiere drops, but this episode was still 13% ahead of last fall's finale.

Spotted Ratings, Weekend Roundup 11/29-11/30/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Typically Black Friday and the following Saturday are somewhat overrated as a part of the "holiday weekend," as they tend to post overall viewing levels in line with those nights' normal (low) levels. That was fairly close to the case again, though it seemed a bit low in the Friday 9/8c hour where Grimm and Raising Hope each had drops.
  • Saturday Night Football had its third nationally unappealing matchup in four weeks; over the last month, the franchise has gone from +14% year-to-year all the way to -16%! (Last year's penultimate week scored a 5.1 demo for a Notre Dame national championship play-in game; this year, the last four games haven't even hit a 5.1 combined!)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 12/3/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • Tuesday presented an opportunity to see Fox's comedies under new situations. Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine benefited a bit from a very easy timeslot opposite repeats of both NCIS and Agents of SHIELD, while The Mindy Project suffered a bit after a repeat of New Girl.
  • ABC's comedies also saw a situation change with lead-in SHIELD in repeats. Their first airing in this situation was arguably what got these shows their back nines, but the second one didn't go quite as well for The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife, though Goldbergs still built big from the SHIELD repeat. And the alphabet's latest stab at 10/9c, the premiere of Primetime: What Would You Do?, was notably weaker than when it aired on Friday last year.
  • NBC was on the upswing vs. the smattering of repeats with The Biggest Loser, The Voice and Chicago Fire all hitting their best numbers in several weeks.

Spotted Ratings, Monday 12/2/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • In its last airing before it gets a without-Voice run in January, the returns were promising for The Blacklist, though not as eye-popping as before a Monday Night Football pre-emption was taken out in finals. The show was up two tenths to its biggest demo rating since week three. (For comparison, it was three tenths above Revolution's fall finale last year, even with The Voice eight tenths weaker now than then.)
  • The end of Dancing with the Stars on ABC used to mean big benefits for the CBS lineup, but it seems DWTS' demo audience has been ground down enough that it really just amounts to a total viewer increase for CBS nowadays. The shows were basically even demographically, with Mom giving back some of last week's big surge.
  • The fourth episode of Almost Human was down another couple tenths, making it now clearly somewhat weaker than Bones was in the hour; we'll see if it can stabilize next week with CBS in repeats and lead-out Sleepy Hollow returning.

SpotVault - ER (NBC) - 2008-09 Ratings


ER
Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

SpotVault - ER (NBC) - 2007-08 Ratings


ER
Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

SpotVault - ER (NBC) - 2006-07 Ratings


ER
Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

SpotVault - ER (NBC) - 2005-06 Ratings


ER
Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

SpotVault - ER (NBC) - 2004-05 Ratings


ER
Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

SpotVault - ER (NBC) - 2003-04 Ratings


ER
Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

SpotVault - ER (NBC) - 2002-03 Ratings


ER
Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

SpotVault - ER (NBC) - 2001-02 Ratings


ER
Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

SpotVault - ER (NBC) - 2000-01 Ratings


ER
Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

SpotVault - ER (NBC) - 1999-2000 Ratings


ER
Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spotted Ratings, Holiday Roundup 11/27-11/28/13


WHAT MATTERS:
  • As has been noted here every year, holiday viewing depressions are always harsher to younger-skewing shows and a smaller deal for older-skewing ones. The ever-solid CBS Wednesday lineup was down just 11% on Thanksgiving Eve, but Fox's all original Wednesday and Thursday were down in the vicinity of 30%. It's not that shocking for The X Factor and Glee, but it certainly doesn't help the narrative surrounding the struggling shows.
  • NBC's new NFL Thanksgiving tradition was a lower-end matchup compared to the usual Sunday Night Football this season, and it was down 4% from the same game last year.
  • Of some note is that CBS had the late afternoon NFL lead-in on Thanksgiving, which surely helped juice The Big Bang Theory a bit.

First Two Weeks, Almost Human


WEEK ONE
I've kinda stopped counting out-of-slot previews as "week one" in these things, but I will still note that Almost Human previewed after a Sunday NFL game with a 3.1 demo. (Its lead-in The OT averaged a 5.7.) It then pulled a 2.3 demo in its timeslot premiere, making it a slightly better option than previous occupant Bones. The True metric says the preview and premiere performances were almost exactly equal, though I think it probably underrated the preview rating somewhat. (It likely wasn't quite as compatible with the NFL as the nearly identical skews suggested.) The 2.3 demo came against slightly less-than-usual competition as NBC had a The Voice recap special.



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